Enter Villains, Stage Right.

As of this post, Villains Inc. is available on Amazon.com. To be more precise, the first episode of Villains Inc., Preemption, is now available. I am publishing Villains Inc. as a series of  linked novellas, one a month, the final episode–along with the complete novel plus glossary and appendixes–in December.

So what is the sequel to Wearing the Cape about? As with the first book, a whole bunch of stuff. It explores stranger aspects of the Post-Event world; it continues the story of Hope Corrigan as she grows as a hero; it introduces superhumans who haven’t decided to put on the mask and tights and operate under codenames; and it introduces a new set of Bad Guys–in this case a “supervillain team” modeled after the real-world organized crime ring, Murder Inc.

Why new villains? This isn’t the comics; the master-villain from WtC is out of the picture, and most of the members of Chicago’s supervillain gangs are in prison for a good long while. Besides, having explored the world of supervillain gang-bangers and supervillain terrorists, I decided it was time to bring in supervillain mobsters. They have to be around somewhere…

This is as good a place as any to talk about my plans for the Wearing the Cape series and the Post-Event setting. First, I anticipate at least two more stories after Villains Inc., both involving Astra (although I’m making it up as I go along, I do have a general idea of where I want her to end up). I am also working on a spinoff story, Bite Me: Big Easy Nights, which features Artemis as the main character. If Bite Me is well-received I may turn it into a separate series.

Beyond these projects, I have a YA Adventure story, Tales from Sitka-by-the-Sea, I may eventually get back to, and a science-fiction story, Worst Contact, I have sworn to finish. In the way such things work, I started both Tales and Worst Contact long before WtC and its successors.

It has been quite the adventure so far; I self-published Wearing the Cape at the end of April and spent a few weeks soliciting reviews from various bloggers. With positive reviews, WtC has enjoyed moderate success–I expect 400+ sales this month. I’m not exactly in best-seller territory yet, but my numbers are climbing, and I expect Villains Inc. to take off even faster since a bunch of my Amazon reviews end with “please tell me there will be a sequel!” How will the episodic release approach work out? I have no idea, but it’s one more adventure.

24 thoughts on “Enter Villains, Stage Right.

  1. I’m glad to see that this is out, but didn’t you say that the proceeds from cheaper books/instalments was smaller than from a higher priced book?

    Given that, and my hatred of leaving stories partially completed, why shouldn’t I hold off then buy the complete book when it’s available in three months?

    1. If you don’t like reading in installments, certainly. I’m publishing Villains Inc. this way for three reasons. First, the way I write, it helps me to lock down a block of story so I don’t go back and endlessly tweak it; in other words, this helps me write faster and more effectively. Second, publishing in regular installments will help keep reader interest up and may bring in more readers. Third and most important, I hope to get feedback as I go along, much like comic-book writers get in their “letter columns.” This really is an experiment. There are both pros and cons, and I’m sure that quite a few readers who enjoyed Wearing the Cape will want to wait to read the whole story at once. And that’s more than okay.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes–I’ve heard from other authors that serialised books don’t sell well, but because of the comic connection it might just work. In any case, good luck!

  3. I commented on your “Wearing the Cape” blog, but thought to come here and say it again.

    I just read “Wearing the Cape” and quickly purchased the first installment of “Villains, Inc.” Being an avid comic book reader and devoted “City of Heroes” player, your writing is exactly what I was looking for.

    I thought that the first book is very well-written, engaging and an absolute blast to read. I got to the end of it and just knowing that the sequel was just a button click away thrilled me. Of course, I’ll have to wait another month for the second installment.

    That’s okay, I am sure it will be worth the wait.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it–now say that again on Amazon, but louder. More seriously, I’m glad you think it’s worth the wait; as I said above, this is a bit of an experiment for me, and we’ll have to see how it works out. So far there have been no Amazon reviews on VI:1, so I have yet to see how the episodic release format is being generally received.

  4. Awesome to see the Astro City comparison; it’s been ages since I’ve read the comic, but it’s an amazing series that takes a second look at so many common superhero themes that I recommend it to everybody.

  5. All looking good so far!

    I suspect Ben’s right and serialization won’t work for most, but for this genre I think you’re onto a winner so long as nothing happens to prevent the delivery of each volume on time.

    @Ben – just got Charlotte II this week. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Certainly the numbers are good so far; right now VI is slightly outpacing WtC as readers are catching up! Looking forward to Ben’s new book as soon as it’s purchasable.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them, and how about putting up an Amazon review (I’m soliciting as many positive reviews as I can get to balance the bad ones I’m sure will come along)? I’m working hard to make sure the next episode gets up on schedule.

    1. Thank you. It’s great that you mentioned Wild Cards, one of my very early inspirations (I was disappointed by the series as a whole only because it didn’t concentrate more on the spandex-wearing superheroes). Any critical feedback, likes, dislikes, suggestions?

  6. One of my favorite things about the Wild Card books is how the powers were shaped by the person’s psyche (which you’ve also incorporated into your mythology with the breakthrough concept). I’ve reread them many times. Huge fan of the Great and Powerful Turtle! It didn’t bother me that they got away from costumes, but I was a huge comic book reader at the time (I’d still be a huge comic book reader if they were in any way affordable).

    I like the world you’re building. I’m always wary of the time-traveler archetype as they can become a crutch, but on the other hand, I’m a total sucker for the alt-reality, “Future Imperfect” stories, so I guess I’m saying just don’t get crazy. 🙂

    I *love* the fact you got godzilla into your world!


    1. Godzilla was fun–a way of showcasing the new members of the team as well as looking at how the Event shaped things like terrorism. And the idea of a “godzilla-plague” was too much to resist.

    1. WtC was also released through Smashwords.com, which made it available on the Nook. Given my formatting difficulties with that release, I have not followed suite with Villains Inc, although I may do so when all for episodes are complete and in a single book. Or I might simply stick with Amazon, the place it is selling in real numbers. For now, since the Nook is not compatible, if you wish to read VI:1-2, you can download the Amazon Kindle reader software onto your home computer and read it there. Inconvenient, I know, and I apologize.

  7. I finished reading Wearing the Cape about a week back, and really enjoyed it – naturally I immediately wanted to pick the story up again with Villains Inc. I’d noticed the first 2 parts of that were available when I bought WtC, but when I went back to Amazon UK (I’m a Brit) I ran into a slight technical hitch…they weren’t there any more.

    The same holds for the US Amazon site – WtC’s there, but if you click the author’s name it _only_ lists WtC as his work. Couldn’t find anything to suggest Villains Inc had been withdrawn on any of the related web sites, so was just wondering if Amazon had glitched things.

    1. Thanks–I’ll have to look into it over the weekend. I know there are changes on Amazon.co.uk–didn’t know it was affecting the Amazon.com site. Glad you enjoyed the book!

      1. Aha – I’ve been checking Amazon UK on and off, and this evening (after a frustrating week when they were visible but unpriced and unpurchasable) the Villains Inc episodes are available again! Thanks for any helpful kicks you’ve applied to get the Amazon machine moving again, George, and for sharing your tales in the first place!

        Right, off to the Kindle…

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