I’ve got a few more Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft articles planned, but in the meantime, An Inheritance of Magic has been out for a month or so, so here’s some news on how it’s doing.
Short version: it’s doing pretty well! Early reviews have been generally positive, and the book’s Amazon and Goodreads ratings are very high – certainly a lot higher than the ratings of the early Alex Verus books. There have been a couple of common criticisms, but on the whole the book’s gotten far more praise than dislike, and even when people have criticised it it’s generally been on grounds of “this part made me annoyed/upset/angry”, which as far as complaints go is one of the better ones to get. (Annoyed and upset reactions are something you can work with – it’s apathy and boredom that are the real killers.)
The really important metric isn’t reviews, though, but sales, and as far as that goes the news is also good. Early sales of Inheritance of Magic have been very good for a new series – much, much better than the early sales of Fated. Fated’s early sales in 2012 were measured in the hundreds, which is to be expected for a debut author but definitely not something publishers are willing to sustain in the long term. If the sales of Alex Verus 1, 2 and 3 hadn’t crept upwards over 2012/2013, my publishers would have dropped the series – luckily for me, they didn’t.
That said, while Inheritance of Magic’s first-month sales are much better than Alex Verus 1, they’re a fair bit behind Alex Verus 12. This is unfortunately the price you pay for starting a new series. While lots of the Alex Verus fanbase are going to follow me over to the Inheritance series, others won’t, and in the early days of a new series it’s very hard to know what the percentage will be. The sad truth is that in the short term, dragging out an existing series is usually a much better financial deal for the creator than trying something new. A new series is a gamble, but an established one is a sure thing, and that’s why so many book, TV, and film series are stretched out way, way beyond their expiration date even long after it’s become obvious that they’ve run out of interesting directions to go.
So I’m expecting the sales of the Inheritance of Magic series to be well under that of the Alex Verus series for a very long time . . . quite possibly forever, given Alex Verus’s eleven-year head start. That said, I’m still very glad I made the switch. I’m really enjoying the new series and getting to try something different and build something new. If I was still writing Alex Verus books, I’d probably be making a little more money, but I’d be enjoying myself much less (and the quality of the books would suffer, too).
For now, only time will tell how well things go. Books typically grow their readership in a very slow, viral way, where one reader reads it and recommends it to someone else, who recommends it to someone else in turn, and so on. I expect I’ll have to wait a good 1-2 years to have any sort of clear idea of how well An Inheritance of Magic is likely to do. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing the rest of the series!