Inheritance of Magic – Series Health

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 FatedFated’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!

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12 Responses to Inheritance of Magic – Series Health

  1. Jason E says:

    I hope things continue to go well. I’m looking forward to book 2 and will be picking it up when it comes out.

  2. John says:

    I wondered if sales might also have been affected as this book was released in hardback. Perhaps sales for the paperback edition will be closer to what you’re used to. I’ll be getting the hardbacks from now on though.

  3. Benedict says:

    John: no, the fact that it’s in hardback wouldn’t have made any difference. Alex Verus had a pre-existing fanbase, and the new series doesn’t, it’s as simple as that. It’s just a cost you have to accept if you want to start something new.

  4. William says:

    I enjoyed the new book through the world did not immediately feel as vibrant and deep, this may very well be a function of the lense we view the story through. It did feel short to me. Especially the ending, I was looking for a few more chapters and then the end snuck up on me. Not necessarily a bad thing and it will most certainly be fine once there is a sequel out, but if I had not already been familiar with your work I would probably be turned off by the abruptness. I will read the sequel when it comes out and I wish you all the success with this project endeavor. I will finish by saying that stories need a beginning a middle and an end, and that I am very glad you brought your first series to a conclusion instead of keeping it on life support; that said, anytime you wish to revisit it that world, I will be happy to enjoy the trip.

  5. Bob says:

    Butcher’s Cinder Spires novel #2 took eight years after The first novel. Was it do to poor sales or creative issues? I wonder if other UF series have had slow starts or perhaps the readers resent the start of the new series and hope the author will return to the old series

  6. Kelley says:

    I’m a big fan of your Alex Verus books, but now I’m also a big fan of An Inheritance of Magic. I loved the voice, the magic system, and the way your fictional world feels so real. When reading, it’s easy to forget my own world doesn’t work quite like that. Anxiously awaiting book #2 now…

  7. Daniel says:

    I love the Alex Verus books. I’m reading them in German, so I still have to wait until next summer until the last two books have been published here. Until then I try to avoid spoilers 🙂
    Do you know if the new series will be published in German as well?
    Thanks for your books! 🙂

  8. Benedict says:

    Daniel: Yes, it’s coming out in German. Details here:

  9. Donovan says:

    I need more of this series, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for and my only regret is not coming across it when more books of the series were already out.

  10. Celos says:

    I do applaud your decision to make that step. Sure, money has some importance, but to a true craftsman it will always be secondary. And since you are satisfied with that decision, you definitely get something out of it that money cannot buy. Trying different things is also the only viable path to true masterty. If you do the same thing for too long, eventually things get stagnant, as you rightfully point out.

  11. Andrew says:

    I really enjoyed it – it has a fantasy of manners feel, but I don’t think it’s something that fits into an easy pigeon hole. Considering the amount of works building you had to fit I in, I’m really impressed with the character growth over the novel. Can’t wait for book 2!

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