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Aww, thank you! I'm very much looking forward to doing another Salim book under Tor's aegis, I've just been stymied by the fact that it apparently takes me a *really long time* to write a novel. :P
Actually, for a while I was considering holding off releasing The Redemption Engine until things with Tor were finalized, but I figured I'd already made people wait two years for a sequel, and three would just be ridiculous...
Yeah, I love what Gary did with the Aspis Consortium in this one, and how the book's two adventuring parties contrast with each other. Even though one is definitely the "good guy" party, he does an excellent job of humanizing everyone. I particularly like Morvius (the fighter) and his arc... I think he and Valeros would probably be great drinking buddies. :)
The Numerator wrote:
Thank you, Numerator—that's been exactly our thought process throughout all of this. It's always a careful balance between what's best in the short term (for the customer, for the company, for the brand) and the long term, and the six different perspectives rarely line up. But I'm really excited about where this change is already letting me take the line. :)
@John: Font size was definitely a concern for us as well! Pretty much everyone in our editorial pit wears glasses, so readability is more than just a philosophical issue around here. ;)
It's true! I talk about them a bit in the backmatter as well. :)
How did the Army of Exploration reach Amanandar by ship if Amanandar is inland and the entire western coast, bar a few port cities, is blocked by the wall of heaven?
That's a question for Rob, I'm afraid! He's the biggest Taldor fan on staff, and maybe the biggest Tian Xia fan as well, so he gets to make that call. :)
No worries! To each their own—if you're subscribing to the print books solely to get the ebooks, then the new deal definitely doesn't make sense for you. That said, you'll still be able to buy the ebooks on their own, now in a much wider variety of formats (including Kindle!). It's currently unclear whether you'll be able to buy those direct from us or if you'll have to buy them from the channels most associated with their format (Amazon for Kindle, etc.).
The change in subscription format was not one that we came to lightly, but the new Tor relationship is already letting us take the novel line in places we never could before, so I hope that when all is said and done, you'll agree that the changes were worth it!
Believe me when I say that the pleasure was all mine. :) Seeing people enjoy the book you spent two years on is a huge gift!
Just in that it contains a lot of the same people. :)
At least, as far as I know...
What are the main differences between your job duties and Mr. Schneider's?
Seriously, though, there's a fair amount of overlap. At a direct managerial level, I'm in charge of the editors, and Wes is in charge of the developers AND editors (including me). At the same time, I act as his second-in-command, so I pretty much step into his shoes when he's unavailable, which adds to that overlap. Beyond that, as two of the most senior folks in the pit, we're both part of the managerial team that helps guide the overall product strategy and world design, as well as internal scheduling. In terms of our development duties, Wes takes a more active role in outlining and backstopping the game books, while I captain the fiction line.
So in short, we do very similar things, but he's the boss. :)
Are you currently playing in any Pathfinder games?
I'm in Erik Mona's Shadows Under Absalom game, but otherwise I'm a little bit between campaigns since the Asylum Stone game I was running wrapped up. Now that I'm digging myself out from under some big writing projects, though, I'm starting to think about what I want to run next...
I'm in the middle of writing up something more substantial, but Mike was a great guy, and I owe him a lot.
For those who didn't know him: You probably know his work. Mike was instrumental in creating the Pathfinder setting, and from Korvosa to Darkmoon Vale to Shelyn to Tian Xia, Golarion wouldn't be the world it is without him.
I promise that these questions are answered in the book. :D
(Well, except for the Unholy Blight/Blasphemy question... I know the answer, but I never know whether it's better to tell or let people guess...)
The White Lion wrote:
I'm afraid it's like that old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall... practice, practice, practice.
At the moment, Paizo's only commissioning books/accepting inquiries from "pro" fiction writers. There's no one single path to becoming a professional novelist or short story writer (nor even necessarily consensus about what that means), but one basic idea is:
*Write a bunch of stories (set in your own worlds). Make them as good as you can.
I wish there was more of a secret to it than that. Certainly there are plenty of other avenues—you can hone your skills in journalism, or game writing, or editing, or self-publishing—but that's the one that I'm most familiar with.
Mr. Sutter, you can answer this at your own leisure (i.e. when the club members have all chimed in and we've moved on if you want), but I swear to god I will never, ever write more effusive praise about anything you do if you don't at some point tell me whether or not this was intentional.
But I look so much *smarter* in your interpretations! :D
When you're talking about Salim's growth as a character in this book, and the additional challenges to/explorations of his lack of faith, that's absolutely intentional. To me, all adventure aside, the heart of Death's Heretic was learning who Salim is and why. In The Redemption Engine, then, I wanted to actively challenge those beliefs and force him to show a bit more of himself and grow as a person. At the start of Death's Heretic, he's been in a Batman-esque self-loathing loner situation for a long time, which shows itself in his caustic relationship with Ceyanan/Pharasma. But by the end, despite the fact that he leaves Neila behind, she's managed to break away enough of his armor that he's now vulnerable, and a little more self-aware. That set the stage for what I was honestly afraid was too subtle a character arc in Redemption Engine—from seeing himself as slave to seeing himself as a necessary part of a greater system. I'm glad folks found it as satisfying as I did!
As for the Pharasmin symbolism during his and Maedora's banishment, though—I'll answer flat-out for once and say that was totally a happy accident, and I didn't even notice it until you pointed it out. So thank you. :)
I think Ceyanan would deeply approve of your description, especially the getting-the-mule-to-move part. :)
I'm currently not sure if that 30% will be for subscribers only, or everyone—there are still a lot of balls in the air!
Just to shed some light on the decision, there are two main reasons Paizo partnered with Tor:
1) It's the largest science fiction and fantasy imprint in the world, publishing iconic SF&F books ranging from Wheel of Time to Ender's Game.
2) Tor and Paizo already had several personal friendships tying them together. (For instance, I'm pretty sure that our senior sales guy Pierce Watters and Tom Doherty, Tor's founder, have been friends for longer than I've been alive...)
Those two things combined made us a perfect fit, and I'm super excited to have been a part of making it happen!
As far as the Tor.com article goes, while I don't want to get into an in-depth discussion of that particular essay, I want to make a couple of general points:
1) Tor.com is an online magazine owned by the company, not a blog or company editorial, and the author of that essay was a freelancer, not Tor staff. They run lots of different articles from authors with different viewpoints.
2) Regardless of how people feel about that particular article, gaming culture *does* have a race problem. It's something Paizo staff have been saying for a long time, and is one of the reasons why we try to make our iconics and other key characters diverse in terms of ethnicity (and gender, and sexuality, and body type, and...). Again, I don't want to get into the specifics of that article's points or approach--they're his words, not mine--but the fact that Tor.com would publish something about the issue of race in gaming (which is really just a subset of race in science fiction and fantasy) is yet another reason for us to respect them.
In my mind, our industry is getting more inclusive, but it still has a long way to go. So as much as it may hurt sometimes to have someone tell me "You're not doing enough!", I try to remember that anger is usually a symptom of hurt, and that trying to make our hobby more inclusive isn't an attack on it—it's an attempt to help it grow and flourish. Because when more people feel welcome in this space, everyone wins.
Just my two cents.
1) We're currently not planning to reprint the older books—those will remain in mass market, at least until they sell though. We *are*, however, working to get those into wider digital distribution (Kindle, etc.), and the new deal will help with that!
2) At the moment, we're not sure whether we'll continue to be able to give out free electronic copies with physical copy subscriptions—it's possible that people may have to buy one or the other. On the plus side, we *will* be offering a big 30% discount to make sure that the books remain roughly the same price folks are used to.
Dave Gross wrote:
Ah, but there is! :) They just started The Redemption Engine, and there's still time to get in on it:
James, thanks for answering the mass market question, even if I don't like the answer. This might finally get me to switch to digital, but it also is likely to have me buy fewer new books in favor of older used books (obviously not an option for books that never have mass market versions).
I understand. And hey, there'll still be *26* mass market-sized Pathfinder Tales novels you can buy new at the old price—the ones we've already printed aren't changing! :)
For folks asking: This is indeed a switch to trade paperback for real, not a "trade and then mass market later" setup.
There are a number of reasons for this. Mostly, it's just the way the industry seems to be headed, and for good reason: mass markets have such a small profit margin that you have to sell a *ton* of them to make them financially feasible (the "mass" in "mass market"). And as more and more people switch to digital, the audience for "smallest and cheapest format possible" print books is getting rapidly smaller. So a lot of publishers are starting to move to a two-pronged strategy where digital is the cheap option, and higher-quality trade paperbacks cater to those who want something a bit more substantial. For my money, I really like them: They have more space for cover art. They have better paper stock. They last longer (especially important for libraries). They tend to have larger print and to be easier to read. And, perhaps most importantly, the higher price point allows publishers to keep printing books when it might not otherwise be feasible. :P
I understand why some people prefer mass market, but I hope that when you see the new books, you'll agree that they're things of beauty! And either way, if you're buying through Paizo, the new 30% discount means you'll be paying roughly the same price as before.
Thanks for hanging with us during this transition! I really think it's going to mean great things for the line.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Presuming things go well, does this change make it more likely we might eventually see monthly releases of novels? Does it have any impact on the other golarion fiction you produce?
At the moment, we're committed to sticking with our current every-other-month model. I never want to produce so many novels that the quality starts to suffer, or readers start getting overloaded and losing interest.
The Tor deal only applies to the novels, and won't really affect stuff like web fiction or the Pathfinder's Journal.
Lord Snow wrote:
I'm still the editor in charge of running the line and commissioning all the books, so all the content and quality of the stories will be the same as you're used to (or better, as I like to think I get better at my job all the time). Really, the big impact of the Tor transition has to do with business stuff like printing and distribution and finally getting our books on Kindle. You will certainly see some new authors—being partnered with Tor is prestigious, and I'm already starting to get emails from big names looking to play in the sandbox—but that's nothing new, as I've always been committed to assembling the best roster I can. Rest assured that your favorites of our current authors aren't going anywhere. :)
Ross Byers wrote:
As I noted above, most of what the Tor changeover means for subscribers is that your books will be bigger and prettier at close to the same cost. :) While the price is going up, we'll be giving folks a 30% discount to bring it down to roughly the amount you're used to paying. We probably will *not* be able to continue doing a free ePub with print copies—you'll have to choose whether you want print or ebooks—but at long last we'll be on the Kindle!
As for more short fiction ePubs: Those are sadly on the back burner as we run around getting all the other products squared away, but I'm hoping to have another massive batch in another few months.
So listening to a recent episode of Tor.com podcast Rocket Talk, I heard Justin Landon mention that Sam Sykes is writing a Pathfinder novel. Anything you can add to this?
Sam is indeed writing for us! He's just started in on the novel, and having read the first chapter, all I can say is that if you like Sam's other books, this one will be just as snarky and irreverent. :D
Does the new announcement mean that a certain Pathfinder Tales Managing Editor will have more time that might get devoted to producing Campaign Setting and Golarion module materials?
Ha! Not at all—I'll still be doing everything I did for the line before, and more. :) That said, I *am* working on a new campaign setting supplement I'm quite excited about...