As I write this, my novella LEGION is being uploaded to the various ebook stores. It should now be for sale everywhere at $2.99. Check out the beautiful cover of the ebook version by the talented Isaac Stewart (also known for his work on the maps and symbols for many of my books).
LEGION is a slightly different type of story for me. It’s about a guy whose hallucinations give him useful information about the world—each one an expert in some area, they let him be a one-man army of experts. In the novella, this man—Stephen Leeds—is hired to track down a missing piece of technology: a camera that can take pictures of the past.
When I originally had the idea, I pitched it to Dan Wells, my friend who writes psychological thrillers. It seemed more his type of story than mine. He knows abnormal psychology far better than I do. He liked the idea, and we were going to coauthor it for a while, but then life got in the way. (As it always seems to do in cases where Dan and I have a project together.)
Eventually, I found myself on an overseas flight with an itch to write a novella. And so, LEGION started to come out. Being me, I took the psychology away from real-world diseases and created my own, a psychological “magic system” (if you will) that I could then play with as I desired.
I’m very proud of the story, and from the beginning, it was my intention to get it out there as an affordable ebook. Clocking in at around ninety pages, it’s in that difficult length that print has trouble dealing with. Once upon a time, there would be few options for LEGION. We could release it as a standalone in stores (and we did this for collectors with the hardcover from Subterranean Press), but it looks very slender in that format. This makes pricing tough, as the costs to produce and distribute such a thing in hardcover don’t go down that much when the page count shrinks.
Another option would have been the sf/f magazines. This story, however, is more techno-thriller than science fiction. Oh, it does have some science fiction to it—but that’s not the theme of the novel. I suspect the magazines still would have considered it, but there are very few slots for novellas in them, and they generally can only take the shorter ones.
For me, ebooks and novellas are a very exciting combination. You can price the novella cheaply—in this case, $2.99—to reflect the length, but can also get large distribution and reach a lot of people. I hope to be doing more of these in the future. I actually like the novella format. (You can see from the two I’ve posted here on my website and on Tor.com.) It’s the short form of fiction I have made work for me the best. It lets me tell some stories I want to tell without always having to dig into a year-long novel process.
I hope that you are willing to check out LEGION and give it a read. This novella (and THE EMPEROR’S SOUL, which comes out in November) are experiments for me. If you enjoy them, and want to see more like them, let me know.
Thanks for reading.
Note: If you buy or already bought the Subterranean Press hardcover and want a free copy of the ebook, email your hardcover receipt or a picture of yourself holding the hardcover to [email protected]. We’ll get the ebook to you within a couple of days.