Audiobooks and class action

Question for audiobook readers:

We now have the capability of selling audiobooks through the Arkhaven store. We could price them at the same price as a print book, throw in a free copy of the ebook, and do much better than we do on Audible. However, we know that many people on Audible simply acquire audiobooks through free credits rather than actually buying them at the inflated prices there.

So, is there any interest in buying audiobooks directly, which would consist of a series of MP3 files instead of whatever convoluted system Audible uses, or would doing so be pointless? We will still make our audiobooks available at Audioble, we simply won’t choose the exclusive option.

Please advise. One benefit will be that we can offer our audiobooks 2-4 weeks sooner than they appear on Audible. The audio quality will be identical, since the source files are the same.

UPDATE: After doing an amount of research, we’re going to target a base price of $9.99 for a normal audiobook of 6-9 hours. The maximum price will probably be on the order of $24.99 for a monster book like A Throne of Bones, which we anticipate being on the order of 36-40 hours. We will usually include a copy of the ebook with the audio book whenever possible, but keep in mind that we usually release ebooks long before we record the audiobook.

Instructions for original AH:Q backers:

If you are an original Alt-Hero:Q backer who opted out of the class action waiver in October, please email litle32000 AT yahoo DOT com to let him know that you would like to be included in the class action request for arbitration. He will get back to you with the information that is required. If you backed the campaign but did not opt out, please do not email yet, but wait for further instructions that will be provided in the next two weeks.

If you did not opt out, you can still definitely file your own request for arbitration, but that would cost you $250 and will likely prove to be unnecessary, depending upon how things develop going forward. It is our opinion that Indiegogo is not going to insist on standing by that particular Term of Use in light of the obvious alternative that would require them to pay for what could be hundreds of separate arbitrations.

Especially since we have confirmed that the woman who appears to have been primarily responsible for the deplatforming, Kerry J. Barker, left Indiegogo only weeks after Trust & Safety’s retro-cancellation of the AH:Q campaign, for reasons that are as yet undetermined.

UPDATE: Since there appears to be an amount of interest, if you’re interested in testing the audiobooks from our store, we have made two small ones available, both for $3.99. Our plan is to keep the prices low, roughly half the price of Audible, and keep the audio files DRM-free.


Building the infrastructure

The new Arkhaven Comics site is essentially in Beta mode, but it is now operational, complete with a modestly stocked online Shop and an active comics-focused Blog, to which a number of comics pros will be contributing on a regular basis, including The Legend Chuck Dixon. Right now, all we’re offering is about 50 Castalia ebooks in EPUB and Kindle formats, plus a pair of Arkhaven comics in CBZ and Kindle formats, since we’re still in the process of extricating most of our various books and comics from Kindle Select. This process will take until mid-February, although we will continue to keep a few books in KU, as well as selected new releases.

However, we are in the process of listing ALL of our books and comics there, since each product listing provides links to where you can obtain the print editions, audiobooks, and Kindle editions that we can’t offer for sale there yet. They should all be up by the end of the weekend. We hope to eventually integrate the Castalia and Arkhaven Direct stores into the site, so you will be able to purchase both digital and print editions there. And yes, we do have crowdfunding capability built into the site, and we expect to open up the AH:Q campaign again for 28 more days next week.

Check it out if you’re an Arkhaven fan or backer; we’ve put up the illustrations for a pair of new Alt-Hero Premium covers you won’t have seen before. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to make them. This is very early days, so don’t be surprised if there are a few glitches we’ll have to sort out.

UPDATE: We took it down for a while to get the spam filters installed. It’s back up now.


Gauging interest

So, a number of you have asked about subscriptions and so forth. We’re giving some serious thought to creating a Castalia/Arkhaven/Dark Legion Unlimited program that would provide complete access to all our combined digital editions for one year.

That means you would get all the new digital releases to come out that year, plus the ability to download whatever you wanted from the back catalog. The price would be $120/year, but we’d offer a discount to $99 for the first two weeks that we introduced it. All of the digital editions would still be available on Amazon and elsewhere, but none of it would be available on KU anymore.

If you’re an author, please don’t ask me how it would work on that end yet because we don’t know if there is even sufficient demand to justify any such program. Rest assured that we’ll take care of you fairly, and we definitely have not made any decision about doing this yet. Anyhow, if you are a regular Castalia or Arkhaven buyer, please share your thoughts, pro or con.

We realize this would probably cannibalize our digital edition backers for future crowdfunding campaigns, so there has to be enough interest to justify losing that. It’s always easier not to do anything, but we think this may be the right way to go in the future, if not necessarily now.


Right Ho, Jeeves #3

Right Ho, Jeeves #3: Bertie at Bay is now available in Kindle format.

BERTIE AT BAY is the third issue in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series, which tells of the travails of the inimitable Bertie Wooster, summoned from the comforts of #3A Berkley Mansions, London to Brinkley Manor by his imperious Aunt Dahlia. Love is in the air and Wodehousian shenanigans are afoot, as Wooster’s well-meaning attempts to help out his friends sort out their romantic difficulties only leads to one hilarious disaster after another.

Adapted from the classic Wodehouse novel by comics legend Chuck Dixon and drawn by SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN illustrator Gary Kwapisz, BERTIE AT BAY is issue #3 of 6 in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series

But that is not all. There is more good news on the Castalia front. Both Hitler in Hell and The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon are now available in paperback editions. The former is 472 pages in our standard demi-octavo size, the latter is 550 pages in royal octavo. Due to our desire to keep them under the $19.99 price point on Amazon and the discount structure required to do that, both books are slightly more expensive on the Castalia Direct Store.

We do our best to keep our prices down and are continuing our efforts in that vein. This sometimes leads to anomalies, such as the $3 comic price and the occasional higher price on the direct store.



Castalia House signs Chuck Dixon

Comics legend Chuck Dixon is a man of action. And in addition to writing more comic book pages than anyone else outside of Japan, he has also written a number of novels, including the Bad Times series. It has been both a pleasure and a professional learning experience working with him on Alt★Hero and Avalon, so I’m very pleased to announce that Castalia House will be publishing nine of his books in paperback and audio editions this year.

And since I mentioned Avalon, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a look at how the interior art for Avalon #1 is coming along. Needless to say, as befits his reputation, Chuck doesn’t waste any time before diving headlong into the action. We anticipate Avalon #1 being launched in both digital and print editions in March.


HAMMER OF THE WITCHES by Kai Wai Cheah

The terror is daimonic. The sorcery is real.

But enough bullets will kill even the most dangerous supernatural operator.

The Hexenhammer underground has aided the operators of the Nemesis Program in their war against the global supernatural terror campaign, but now Hexenhammer is accused of being the terrorist group responsible for carrying out a spectacular massacre in Greece.

Now Luke Landon must decide if Eve and her fellow underground members should be put down or if they have been set up for destruction by a conspiracy so big and powerful that it may have penetrated Nemesis itself.

HAMMER OF THE WITCHES is the second volume of The Covenant Chronicles, the supernatural Mil-SF series by Kai Wai Cheah, Hugo-nominated author of Flashpoint: Titan.

From the reviews of its predecessor, NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS.

  • This is an excellent fantasy/MilSF book. Fast paced; excellent battle scenes.
  • Cheah does a great job at building this world with lots of details and complexity. It’s a good read and one I had a hard time putting down.
  • Fans of books by Larry Correia and Jim Butcher should find themes in this book that they will enjoy. Character development is stronger than Larry’s earlier but not as strong as his current work.
  • Call of Duty meets Grimnoir Chronicles. If you like Larry Corriea’s Grimnoir series, and the world he has created, you will like the world this book inhabits. 
  • This book came out of nowhere. It’s… very different than anything I’ve read. The author has done some amazing world-building, where magic has been introduced to the ancient world, and changed the course of ancient Persia, Greece and Rome, and the modern world follows from there. 

Appendix N in audio

Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of SF/F’s past that will fascinate any serious role-playing gamer or fan of classic science fiction and fantasy.


Author Jeffro Johnson, an expert role-playing gamer, accomplished dungeon master, and three-time Hugo Award finalist, critically reviews all 43 works and authors listed by Gygax in the famous appendix. In doing so, he draws a series of intelligent conclusions about the literary gap between past and present that is surprisingly relevant to current events, not only in the fantastic world of role-playing, but the real world in which the players live.

Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons is narrated by Brandon Porter and is 10 hours and 22 minutes long. This is a deep and fascinating dive into the fantasy and science fiction literature behind the landmark role-playing game.

Lawdog in audio

LawDog had the honor of representing law and order in the Texas town of Bugscuffle as a sheriff’s deputy, where he became notorious for, among other things, the famous Case of the Pink Gorilla Suit. In The LawDog Files, he chronicles his official encounters with everything from naked bikers, combative eco-warriors, suicidal drunks, respectful methheads, prison tattoo artists, and creepy children to six-foot chickens and lethal chihuahuas.

The LawDog Files range from the bittersweet to the explosively hilarious, as LawDog relates his unforgettable experiences in a laconic, self-deprecating manner that is funny in its own right. The audiobook is more than mere entertainment, it is an education in two English dialects, Police and Texas Country. And underlying the humor is an unmistakable sympathy for society’s less fortunate – and in most cases, significantly less intelligent – whose encounters with the law are an all-too-frequent affair.

Narrated by David. T. Williams, The Lawdog Files are 4 hours and 29 minutes of genuine Texas hilarity. You really have to listen to the audio sample. His voice is just about perfect for Lawdog.


The Ember War comes to Arkhaven

Richard Fox, the Dragon Award-winning author of the bestselling science fiction series THE EMBER WAR SAGA, has an announcement.

Exciting news! The Ember War will come to a comic store near you! The contract with the comic imprint (either Dark Legion or Arkhaven, publisher’s choice) and fellow writer Jon Del Arroz (who’ll do the prose to script work) are signed. 

We’re excited about this, as we’ve wanted to work with Richard for some time now. The first series will be five issues that cover the events of the initial book; there are currently 9 books in the series. We’ll also have another announcement soon about a collaboration for Castalia House that is definitely going to be of serious interest to fans of a certain science fiction series that has already seen graphic adaptation.