(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Woah, Really Cool Fan Mail

Okay, so, if you think you guys are having trouble waiting, I am going to freak out from having a whole month to go before you all really get to know Marcia and Claudia and Cassie, and meet the rest of the Tinsley family, and Irene, and Jacky, and... well, I've become deeply invested in my characters, is what I'm saying.  They're not complete until you all know them, too.

But, while I wait, I got this message on Goodreads from a writer named Andrew Seiple.  I've never gotten anything like this before, and it really moved me.  I asked, and he's fine if I share it.  So from here forward, His Letter:

Good afternoon, Richard. Or do you prefer Rich?

I just wanted to tell you thank you. But now I suppose I should tell you why...

A few years ago I was kicking around an idea. A roleplaying game I'd been planning had collapsed, due to time constraints, and I was left with a superheroic world that I'd painstakingly constructed and a whole slew of characters. Including one villain, which I was pretty sure would make an awesome protagonist.

And the idea occured to me... well, why not write about her? And the rest of it? There's enough material there for ten or twenty books.

It would mean writing "for realsies." Hitherto then, all my efforts had been for private roleplaying game sessions, and fanfiction. But this seemed like a way to step up my game, maybe get read by more than just a few friends and some forum buddies.

I was on the fence about it for a while. Tried a few false starts. Never could quite find the right way to build up... it was frustrating. I had the characters, I had the setting, but I just couldn't get it to gel.

And what's more, it really didn't look like there was much of a market for original superhero fiction that didn't involve a visual medium. True, "Soon I will be Invincible" had done moderately well back in the day, but that was more due to its uniqueness, I thought. There had been a few stabs at other superhero fiction, but most that weren't backed by established universes and characters and companies flopped.

Could I make this fly? Would it be worth the effort? I agonized over it for days.

Then, right at my moment of doubt, you went and released the first Inscrutable Machine book.

That was the first Kindle e-book I ever bought, I kid you not. And not only was it beautifully written and a fun ride, it was doing great!

It seemed like a sign. So I buckled down, and tried various techniques, and researched writing...

And I wrote Dire:Born, as well as a few pieces of shorter fiction which I quietly put out there, and experimented with to pave the way for my Dire's first book. It took a long time, and things didn't end up coming out in the order I expected, but c'est la vie.

Dire:Born launched on Black Friday, 2015, and it's been doing pretty well. Not set-the-world-on fire well, but well enough for a no-name indie self-publisher's first book. Reviews are good, my friends and family are pleased, and I know that the sequels are going to be well-recieved. It will take me time to build the world of words and images I see in my head and get it to published paper, but I know I'll get there now. And by the end of it, it'll be pretty damn epic so long as I focus on doing my best throughout.

I know how to do this, now. There's things I need to learn like marketing, mailing lists, and websites, but the foundation has been laid, and I never would have taken those first steps if you hadn't published a superfun supervillain book when you did.

Wanna know another funny thing?

I expected a post-Christmas slump in sales, but the opposite happened! It's been steady sales throughout, and a ton of KU reads. I poked around a bit, trying to figure out why...

And then I noticed, in my book's Amazon listing among the also-boughts, there's the third Inscrutable Machine book, right THERE.

Richard, man, you couldn't have helped me more if you planned it. Here's to that "Supervillain" keyword! May it ever grow in usage.


That's why I want to thank you.

Oh, and also for "Sweet Dreams are Made of Teeth." That book was freaking awesome. But anyway...

Thanks man.

You rock.

P.S: I'd love to send you an autographed copy of Dire:Born, if you want one. On the house, naturally. Your call, and I'll not be slighted if you decline.


  1. ^_^ Congrats mate, you are now at the point where your work is inspiring others. Pat yourself on the back!

  2. Inspiring others to do likewise... isn't that a hero thing? :)

    1. Depends. Both of then have villains as main protagonists.

    2. Uh... you DEFINITELY need to read book three.

    3. [/Yoda voice] Oh read it I will, brains to pick I shall, and much enjoying to be had![/]

      I'm saying though that it's also the villain thing to inspire others. That's more or less the shop description of villainy - to be the class of criminal or badguy that makes people go "Dayum, wish I was that good!"
      To quote Megamind - the different between a villain and a supervillain is, "Presentation!"

    4. Well it's clearly not a villain thing.

      Well, okay, maybe if we're talking about someone who dresses in black, describes his own laugh as "creepy", and has an alias derived from the name of a famous, amoral mad scientist.

      But really, how likely is that?

      It's not as if anyone was talking about recruiting "henchmen".

    5. The alias is because a friend called me 'Frankensteinbeck' once, and it describes my preference of writing dark and painful stories about very strange, often not-human people. The Supervillain books are actually non-standard for me! I wrote the first one because Quite Contrary made me tired (in a good way) and I wanted to write something totally light and fluffy.

    6. It's not an impression your about-the-author text or digital media footprint necessarily leave, if that's a concern. In fact, it had never even occurred to me until I read Kirsty's two comments above, which made me think "wait, all of these things could sort of fit together..."

      So if you want a running joke connecting you with villainy, you have work to do. Review Dr. Horrible, cultivate phrases like "rue the day", something along those lines.

  3. Just like The Inscrutable Machine book, it seem Rich you have inspired other people. Tech Support Will Save/Rule The World!

  4. I see "...I've Got Henchmen" is #1 in Amazon children's action-adventure superhero ebooks. That sounds kind of narrow, but it's #16 in children's action-adventure ebooks (the first 10 slots are Harry Potter and Hunger Games).

    I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of Amazon Rank, but that sounds pretty good for a book that's not out yet....

    1. It likely includes pre-orders and or hits on the books amazon page. Lets face it while HP and Hunger Games are still selling they're rather old now so Don't Tell My Parents has trending in it's favour.

  5. I had to search for this book, i cant believe people haven't realized how many people want supervillain stories.

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  7. I just finished Dire: Born. I can recommend it, and hope to read more of her story.

    Good voice for the Character, especially the Pronoun issue she has.

    However, to be totally honest, not in the same league as 'Please Don't..."

    1. I would have expected more interesting use of her speech pattern, and banter.

    2. The book starts right after the character performed brain surgery on herself, and 'Dire' wakes up with her personal memories deleted, and unable to use "I." She says "she" instead of "I." So, her statements are something like, "She is grateful," and "She has a plan," when speaking about herself or her plan.

      However, it is only an minor issue with one or two people in the book, and not a big one at that. Just a minor bit of confusion, which they clear up in a few moments. It does not affect the story, nor is it is a significant issue.

      I kept waiting for it to be a plot point of some sort. I thought that her use of the pronoun would cause a significant miscommunication, and it never did. A Chekhov's gun misfire of sorts.

      But, she is an interesting character all told. Like I wrote, I can recommend it. I just recommend the Please Don't Series much more.

  8. I saw this and couldn't resist sharing: http://9gag.com/gag/ajAqmeq
    Knowledge is Power
    Power Corrupts
    Study Hard
    Be Evil

    I think it works for these books.
    PS REALLY looking forward to the new one coming out!

  9. read Dire:born & the shorts, loved them all...and I ran across them as an Amazon link to Please don't tell my parents I'm a Supervillian

    1. Read the shorts as well - and they are too short. Mostly "world-flavor" without anything significant in them. They introduce the characters, and show a bit about what they can do, but that is all. No significant plots, or character growth, just an introduction. The Thin Black Line Between Infernal and Divine is the best, and has the most humor and is the longest.

    2. There is a bit of writing advice which goes something like - "Is this the most interesting part of the character's life? And, if not, why aren't you writing that?"

      The stories were more along the lines of a 'slice of every day life' of the characters - not the most interesting parts of their lives. I'm guessing the really interesting bits are being saved for another book.

      Not bad, but not very interesting in and of themselves.

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    6. slice on life can be good. k-on, azumanga dioh, kath and kim (yes i watch that )

    7. They can be.

      However, once the reveal is done, it does not (for me) have the same impact on rereading.
      I have reread 'Please' multiple times and enjoyed it each time.

  10. I was just re-reading book one. At one point Claire is testing out the friction-less insoles, and Ray drops in on them with his new agility, and then they rush off to stop Sharky from hurting that girl.

    Now, imagine it were to stop right there.

    If you only were given that part of the series, that would be the equivalent to reading the shorts - pieces of a much more interesting story. It was interesting to read their short fight with Sharky, but not as interesting or significant as what happened next.

    1. I seem to have dropped a line - I as referring to the short stories, not Dire: Born.

      The short stories are too lacking in content for me to recommend.

      Dire:Born is solid.

  11. Is there any chance that your books might be sold in the Google Play store?