Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

Big news this week. The galleys for Sorcery for Beginners have arrived!


A "galley" is a printed preview version of the book. What you see above is called an "Advance Reader Copy," or ARC. ARCs are sent to bookstores, reviewers, and libraries to build buzz and help booksellers decide if they want to stock copies. That’s why the back includes marketing information. 

If you look closely, you’ll also see an amazing blurb we got from Mike Rich, author of the forthcoming Skavenger’s Hunt, which drops in November 2017. Mike wrote the movies Finding Forrester, The Rookie, Miracle, Cars 3, and many more, so it was incredibly kind of him to take the time to read Sorcery and write such a nice blurb. In case you can’t see it, here it is in its entirety:

"Sorcery for Beginners makes me wish I had this book when I was Owen Macready’s age. The story casts a spell of its own." Thanks again Mike!

Also thanks again to Juliane, whose interior illustrations can be previewed here:


We wanted readers to feel like they really picked up a working guide to sorcery, and Juliane’s illustrations went a long way to making that possible. 

I started writing this book in 2012. Now, five years later, to see a printed version of it is a humbling and emotional experience. This was not a solo effort by any means. At least a dozen people helped it reach its final form, and hundreds more people actually paid money to preorder it. 

Now it’s real. No matter what else happens, it’s a real printed book that come October 10, will sit on the shelves of bookstores. It exists because of you. I can’t thank you enough. 

-- mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

We are soooo close to having printed galleys for SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS! We’ll have some images to show you soon, but for now I’ll just say that our layout designer Kevin and illustrator Juliane are champions. We have been through many rounds of notes and tweaks, but it’s safe to say the finished layout will look like no novel you’ve ever seen.

In the meantime, I have a favor to ask. Goodreads has a list up of the most anticipated middle grade novels of 2017. It would be HUGE for us if we could get on this list. As it currently stands, it would only take 22 votes to get us into the TOP TEN! 

You’ve already done so much, but if you could go here and vote for SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS, it would really boost the book’s visibility:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/74235.Middle_Grade_Novels_of_2017

While you’re there, you could also vote for another book I worked on -- SKAVENGER’S HUNT by Mike Rich (screenwriter of Cars 3, Finding Forrester, and many more). I edited Mike’s book and it’s a fun adventure featuring historical characters like Mark Twain and Gustave Eiffel. 

Thanks again, and we’ll have more updates coming soon!

mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

Things have been very busy here at the Codex Arcanum. We got back some great notes from the copyeditor Pam, made those changes, then got back our first version of "the pour" from our layout designer Kevin. It looks so great, I can’t wait for you all to see it. We’re making some tweaks, and even creating some new illustrations because we were so inspired by the layout. 

So we’re working hard to make a book that will be fun for everyone to read. On the marketing front, things are progressing as well. We have a confirmed book signing event at the awesome Vroman’s in Pasadena on Oct 30 at 7 pm, and we’re locking down other events as we speak. Currently, here is the list of places we’re hoping to hit:

Los Angeles, CA
Irvine, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC
New York, NY
Westlake, OH
Oak Park, IL
Iowa City, IA

More may be added, but as it stands, October’s going to be a very busy month! Facebook event pages will go out as soon as dates are confirmed.

In the meantime, please keep adding the book to your favorite book store wish lists and "Want to Read" shelf on Goodreads. The more clicks we have, the more visibility the book gets, and the more it encourages bookstores to place orders. Here is a sampling of places:

Goodreads
Amazon
Target
Vroman’s
Book Soup
Powell’s

Thanks again for all your support!

mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

It’s been a couple weeks since our last update, but for good reason: Sorcery for Beginners has finally been shipped to the copy editor! For all intents and purposes, the last draft of the book has been completed. There may be some small final tweaks, but my last major pass on the story went out last Wednesday. 

I have to be honest, it’s a bit weird. I’ve been working on this novel off and on for four years, so to hit a point where there can be no more changes and tweaks feels odd. I feel good about the book, and I think it improved a lot in the last month, but there is still some George Lucas-y part of me that wonders if I should go back and make more tweaks. Maybe add some more people screaming "Nooooooo!" (Kidding.)

Juliane is hard at work on the illustrations, Kevin is working on the layout, and we’re discussing ideas for the back cover art. Very soon all the creative work on Sorcery for Beginners will be all finished, then we have to sit back and wait for the orders to come in. 

But before that, I wanted to introduce you to Euphemia Whitmore. Whitmore is the mysterious, intelligent figure who owns the Codex Arcanum, and sells Owen his copy of Sorcery for Beginners. She is also the author of the original edition, which was deemed too esoteric to understand, so Juliane and I were brought in to make it more of a novel. I’d like to say it was a fun experience working with her, but it was not. She is extremely demanding and condescending toward anyone who can’t cast spells at her level. (Which is pretty much everyone.)

Still, I’m grateful to her for letting us help tell her story. I only hope she doesn’t magically erase our memories to prevent us from saying anything about the Codex Arcanum.


If you haven’t done so already, please add us to your Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other favorite bookstore wish lists. It encourages them to order more books. Thanks again for all your support!

Amazon
Goodreads
Barnes and Noble
Powell’s
Vroman’s
Target
Book Soup

mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

We’re coming down to the wire. I spoke with the team at Inkshares yesterday and they are aiming to have galley proofs for Sorcery for Beginners in four weeks time. "Galleys", for those who don’t know, are the final print-outs of the book’s pages before it’s sent to the printer. So we are getting close to the final version. Even as I write this, I’m reading through the manuscript and making a few last tweaks.

But for now, I want to show you what the actual Codex Arcanum looks like. This is the bookstore where Owen first meets Euphemia Whitmore and gets his copy of Sorcery for Beginners. The store has entrances at 10 different spots all over the globe, which is why it’s made up of all these different architectural styles. It serves a few other functions as well, but to learn what those are you’ll have to read the book. 

Hope everyone is well, and I’ll send out more illustrations and updates soon!

mh

n

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

For this week’s illustration, I’d like to introduce you to my favorite character in Sorcery for Beginners. This is Perry Spring. She’s the first person Owen meets at his new school, incredibly smart, and doesn’t care a whit about what anyone else thinks of her. She can be a bit of a know-it-all (Her favorite phrase is "Think about it") but she’s loyal and always strives to do the right thing. I work every day to be more like her.

Her name was inspired by the mythological Pierian Spring, which was supposedly the source of knowledge for art and science, and sacred to the Muses. It’s a weighty handle for a 13 year-old, but Perry is up to the task.


Perry’s likeness was also inspired by our family friend, Rachel. Thanks to Rachel and her family for letting us immortalize her in this book. 

In other news this week, I updated the introduction to reflect the new rewrite. It’s much more of a warning and call to adventure then the last version. Hope everyone is well, and look for more illustrations next week!

mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

Happy Pi Day! I don’t know about you, but I aim to get at least one pie-related deal today, though I have yet to decide if it will be pizza- or dessert-based. But we also have another reason to celebrate with round carbohydrate disks -- the illustrations for the book are beginning to arrive! 

The amazing Juliane Crump, who by day works as the graphic designer for TV shows such as "The Goldbergs" and "Transparent", has been slaving away to bring the words of this novel to life. We always wanted Sorcery to be very visual, like a "For Dummies" guide, and Juliane is doing a fantastic job of bring that to life. Here’s our first illustration of the book’s main character, Owen Macready:


Owen thinks he’s just an average eighth grader, even prefers it that way, but Juliane’s managed to show that he’s got lots of untapped potential. Great work Juliane!

Secondly, we are IN BOOKSTORES! At least virtually. We would love it if you would put Sorcery for Beginners on your wish lists at your favorite book outlets, or pre-order if you haven’t already. It means a lot in terms of how many orders bookstores place, and whether or not we appear in search engines and home pages. At least, that’s what I’m told, I’m not really sure how all that Interweb stuff works.

Goodreads
Amazon
Powell’s!
Barnes and Noble
Target

Thanks all, and enjoy your pie!

mh
Userphoto2 original Brad Kawamura · Reader · added over 1 year ago
Hi Matt,
For what it’s worth, my vote is for Cover #1.

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

It’s here at last! The final cover design for Sorcery for Beginners, done by the amazing Mike Corley (with graphics from illustrator Juliane Crump). Without further ado:


Love it love it love it. Mike managed to capture the feel of a 1940s how-to guide but also make something that is striking and engaging. On top of that, we were able to add in elements from the book itself. All the graphics on the cover relate to the story in some way. There’s even a coded message in runes. I can’t wait to see this on bookshelves.

I couldn’t be happier. Actually, I could, because we also have pages on Amazon and Goodreads! 

Amazon
Goodreads

These two sites are extremely important when it comes to book marketing. The more people add the book to their wish lists, the more the sites will drive traffic to them. So even though you guys have already done so much, I have another favor to ask. If you could log in to your Amazon or Goodreads account and add Sorcery for Beginners to your Wish List and ’Want to Read’ list, it will make a HUGE difference for us. 

Thanks again for everything. More updates coming soon!

mh

Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,

One more runner-up cover to reveal before we get to the final choice. I promise we won’t do a last-minute switcheroo like last night’s Oscars. I was happy to see Moonlight win, but man do I feel for those La La Land producers. To have the trophy in your hand, then to realize you have to give it back ... oof. 

But on to happier topics. Our cover designer Mike Corley gave us such an embarrassment of riches with the options he sent. Keep in mind, I’m only showing three of 12 that he sent. They were all different, all interesting in their own ways. 

Here’s the last runner-up:



I love how striking this cover is. If I saw it on a bookshelf or Amazon page, I would immediately pick it up. I love the retro feel, and the title font, and the bold red. This should definitely be the cover of a book. But for Sorcery, it still came in second to our final choice, which you’ll see tomorrow. Amazing work, Mike Corley!

Another note: you might notice that the book is written by "Euphemia Whitmore." Those you who have read the sample chapters will realize that Ms. Whitmore is actually a character in the book. I thought it would be fun to treat this novel as if it were a real instruction manual, and Ms. Whitmore is a real person. Kind of like how Lemony Snicket pretends that the Series of Unfortunate Events books really happened. You will even be able to unlock a riddle in the book and apply for your very own Sorcery Learner’s Permit.

So you will see Ms. Whitmore’s name on the final cover of the book. In fact, she is listed as the primary author while I am but her ordinary, non-magical civilian aide. Not everyone gets this (my parents certainly don’t - sorry Mom and Dad), but now you know the truth.

Stay tuned for the final cover reveal, and some other awesome announcements tomorrow!

mh 
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