A Tale of Two Covers

Two weeks ago, I showed off the cover for my upcoming Star Trek Titan novel Fortune of War. I felt pretty good about it at the time.

The wrong cover, featuring an Akira-class starship.

And then eagle-eyed fans started to notice that there was something … *off* about the cover.

We had featured the wrong type of starship on the cover. Instead of the Luna-class USS Titan, we had used an Akira-class starship.

The two classes of ship have many similarities. But they are far from interchangeable.

Both Luna– and Akira-class ships have the same style of warp nacelles extended downward and set at angles to their pylons. Both  have structures connecting their saucer sections and secondary hulls. But the similarities end there.

The structures on the undersides of the two ships are very different. The Luna class, designed by Sean Tourangeau, is much larger.

The new-and-improved cover — this time featuring the right ship.

Also, on its dorsal (upper) hull, the Luna class has a superstructure inspired by those of the Miranda-class and Nebula-class starships.

Once the error on the cover was pointed out to us, everyone involved felt embarrassed. All of us — art director, editor, author, licensing team — felt that we should’ve caught the mistake before it reached the public.

We then scrambled to fix it before we missed the printer’s deadline. We weren’t going to just shrug and print a cover we knew was wrong.

Fortunately, VFX artist Darth Mojo (aka Adam Lebowitz) came to our rescue. In record time he made a new-and-improved cover, this time with the right starship.

How did all this happen? We’re not sure. What matters is not how it went wrong, but how quickly the team pulled together to make it right.

Thus I am proud to share with you all, the new-and-improved cover of Star Trek Titan: Fortune of War, coming Tuesday, November 28, 2017.

 

#SFWApro

Cover reveal: Star Trek Titan – Fortune of War

If you’ve been waiting for the cover reveal of my upcoming Star Trek Titan novel Fortune of War, here it is! (Updated on September 16, 2017, with the corrected cover.)

The novel comes out in mass market paperback and eBook on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. You can pre-order your copy now directly from the publisher or from your favorite retailer, using the links on my site’s page for Fortune of War.

Need more info? Here’s the book’s back-cover copy:


Death slumbers in the ashes of silent planets,
waiting to be awakened and unleashed….

Twenty years have passed since the interstellar scourge known as the Husnock were exterminated without warning by a being with godlike abilities. Left behind, intact but abandoned, their desolate worlds and derelict ships brim with destructive potential.

Now a discovery by a Federation cultural-research team has drawn the attention of several ruthless factions. From black-market smugglers to alien military forces, it seems every belligerent power in the quadrant hopes to capture the Husnock’s lethal technology.

All that stands between the galaxy and those who have come to plunder the cruelest secrets of the Husnock are Admiral William Riker, Captain Christine Vale, and the crew of the Starship Titan.

FORTUNE OF WAR
A VOYAGE OF THE STARSHIP TITAN

BY NEW YORK TIMES
BESTSELLING AUTHOR
DAVID MACK


If you’re a fan of Will Riker and the valiant crew of the Starship Titan, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss!

#SFWApro

How to Support Authors Whose Work You Love: Pre-Orders

When you like certain authors’ work, there are three key things you should do to support them: Pre-order their books, post online reviews, and promote them through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth praise for authors’ work is the greatest gift readers can bestow. Reviews rarely lead to sales. Praise often does.

Online reviews of books are vital to authors. It takes 25+ reviews to trigger beneficial effects from most retail sites’ algorithms. The most important thing to remember when leaving reviews of a work you’ve read is to be truthful, thorough, and fair.

That brings me to pre-orders. Online pre-orders are critical to the success of many books. I know some fans resist them. Don’t.

Waiting for a series to finish before you decide to buy it is a good way to guarantee that your favorite authors will get pushed off the shelves. It serves to kill new series before they get started.

Publishers and retailers use online pre-orders to gauge public interest in new books. This determines how they treat those books. Strong pre-orders for a book can inspire a retailer to increase its print order. It can propel a book onto bestseller lists.

When a publisher sees that a book has garnered strong support from pre-orders, it might invest more in its marketing.

Pre-orders help readers, too. Many online retailers guarantee pre-order prices, so you can lock in the best price.

So, if you love books, or like the work of a certain author, be sure to pre-order their books. It matters quite a bit.

FYI, The Midnight Front, Book 1 of my Dark Arts series coming January 30, 2018, from Tor Books, is currently available for pre-order in the format of your choice—hardcover, paperback, eBook, or digital audio. I’m just sayin’.

Also, if you’re an author who has a new book coming out in the next five to six months, and if that work is now available for pre-order in at least one format, please feel free to post links to your pre-order pages in the comments below!

#SFWApro

GenCon 50 Writers’ Symposium Wrap-up

Last week I attended for the first time the GenCon Writers’ Symposium, which runs as auxiliary programming at the world-famous GenCon gaming convention. Now that I’ve had a couple of days at home to catch up on emails, bills, and life in general, I’m excited to share my post-convention thoughts.

First, I apologize for the general lack of photos. I was kept pretty busy at GCWS, and most of the time I was having so much fun that taking photos rarely occurred to me. That said, I will remark that I found downtown Indianapolis to be quite a lovely place:

For those not familiar with GCWS, it is a comprehensive program of panels, workshops, and seminars designed to offer something of value to everyone from novice writers, authors of moderate experience, and even grizzled literary veterans. There are tracks of programming devoted to the writer’s craft, the writer’s lifestyle, the business of writing, and much more. Its participants include authors, editors, and agents, and its team of dedicated moderators are truly exceptional at their jobs.

David Mack, Charlaine Harris
Sitting beside me? That’s mega-bestselling author (and truly delightful lady) Charlaine Harris. Behind her are Mary Robinette Kowal and Brandon Sanderson.

Without exception, I found the symposium’s roughly 2,300 attendees to be knowledgeable in their questions, keenly engaged with the subject matter, and serious about improving their craft. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many attendees were not only familiar with but were genuine fans of my work, both for and outside of Star Trek. They were also very receptive to the pitch for my upcoming original novel The Midnight Front—we gave away 72 advance reader copies of the book at the show.

It also didn’t suck that my fan traffic remained steady even while I was signing beside fantasy publishing titans Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Charlaine Harris.

The Symposium’s sponsors, WorldBuilders and Archivos, were generous enough to underwrite a welcome meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Archivos) and snacks at the authors’ Saturday-evening hangout in The Rock Bottom Brewery (WorldBuilders). I’m also grateful to the convention’s bookseller, Half Price Books, who took a chance on stocking three of my Star Trek titles (of which we sold nearly every copy they brought, in part thanks to some hard-core hand-selling I did from their table on Saturday afternoon).

The people whose labor made all of this possible were the Symposium’s volunteers, and most importantly its director, Marc Tassin, who after this year will be moving on to new challenges and placing the Symposium into the very capable hands of new co-directors Kelly Swails and Melanie Meadors.

As for my personal experience? I was most blown away by how many wonderful new friends I met among the other Symposium participants. It was a genuine pleasure getting to meet and/or know folks like Monica Valentinelli, Elizabeth Vaughn, Kelly Swails, Jerry Gordon, Raj Khanna, Susan Morris, Dave Robison of Archivos, Anton Strout, Steve Drew, John Helfers, Beth Cato, and Maxwell Alexander Drake.

GCWS participants, from left: (unknown man), Beth Cato, Susan Morris, and Ilana C. Myer.

I also had the pleasure of spending quality time with such friends as Ilana C. Myer, Aaron Rosenberg, Marco Palmieri, Matt Forbeck, and Gregory Wilson.

authors at dinner
Ilana C. Myer and Aaron Rosenberg, at Shula’s Steakhouse.

As much as I could gush about the Symposium’s programming and events, ultimately what I loved best about GCWS was the people I met. There was just a wonderful vibe to this event. I felt the eagerness of the attendees to learn, and the willingness of the participants to share all that they could. For years I’ve heard great things about GCWS from Aaron Rosenberg and Marco Palmieri; I’m glad I finally heeded their advice and committed to this event.

This was one of the most enjoyable and emotionally rewarding convention experiences I’ve ever had, and I hope that the fine folks at GCWS will want to invite me back for many more Symposiums in the years to come.

That’s my rhyme. Peace out.

#SFWApro

My GenCon 50 Writers’ Symposium Schedule (#SFWApro)

If you’ll be at the sold-out GenCon 50 show this week, here is where to find me at the Writers’ Symposium, which is taking place in the Westin Hotel, across the Skywalk from the Indiana Convention Center.


Thursday — August 17

1pm – Story Craft: Ending the Story Right [Caucus]

2pm – Worldbuilding: Creating a Universe [Capital 1]

7pm – D&D with the Authors: “Night at the Forbidden Library” [Chambers]

 


Friday — August 18

11am – Science Fiction: Avoiding Scientific Obsolescence [Cabinet]

Noon – Science Fiction: Getting the Science Right [Cabinet]

3pm – Autographing [Exhibit Hall, Authors’ Alley]

6pm – Writer’s Craft: How to Write Bestselling Tie-in Fiction [Caucus]

 


Saturday — August 19

Noon – Autographing [Exhibit Hall, Authors’ Alley]

2pm – Writer’s Craft: How to Use Editors’ Comments [Caucus]

4pm – Reading (from my upcoming novel The Midnight Front) [Congress 1]

5pm – Writer’s Life: Writers and Depression [Cabinet]

 


I’ll be hanging around the symposium in the morning on Sunday, August 20, before I leave to catch my flight, but I have no panels or other events that day.

See you at Writers’ Symposium, folks!

#SFWApro

Cover reveal! Star Trek: Discovery – Desperate Hours (#SFWApro)

Here it is, the front and back covers of my upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours! (Click on the thumbnails to see higher-resolution images.)

 

I am very excited about the release of this book because I think it is the most Star Trek-y story I’ve written for a Star Trek novel in a long time.

Based on a premise requested by Discovery co-creator Bryan Fuller and guided into being by my extremely talented and insightful friend, fellow New York Times bestselling author and Discovery staff writer Kirsten Beyer, Desperate Hours is a story about confronting one’s past, learning to forgive, and solving problems through science and cooperation rather than through force or politics.

As revealed at last week’s Star Trek Las Vegas convention, the events of Desperate Hours take place on May 11–12, 2255, one year before the events of Discovery’s two-part pilot, and roughly one year after the Enterprise’s first mission to Talos IV (Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Cage”). It will delve into the relationships and rivalries that led to and define Lieutenant Commander Michael Burnham’s service aboard the Starship Shenzhou, and it will also force her to confront her complicated past on Vulcan.

It might also feature some characters and starships with which longtime Star Trek fans might be passingly familiar. <wink>

Star Trek: Discovery – Desperate Hours is available now for pre-order from the publisher as well as a variety of online retailers, in trade paperback, eBook, and digital audiobook formats. It is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, just two days after the series’ premiere on CBS and the CBS All Access streaming service.

#SFWApro

Vegas, baby! See me at the Star Trek 2017 Convention (#SFWApro)

BREAKING NEWS! I am now a listed guest of The Official Star Trek 2017 Convention taking place at Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!

I will be part of Creation Con’s celebration of Star Trek Discovery on the con’s opening day, Wednesday, August 2.

Joining me will be my longtime partners in creative mischief, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, as well as many members of the cast and creative staff of Star Trek Discovery itself. I’ll be there to talk about my upcoming novel Desperate Hours, the first original novel based on the new show — and I’m told we’ll be revealing its cover and its descriptive blurb live at the Discovery publishing panel.

Here is my official schedule for the show:


Wednesday, August 2

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.Pavilion (Main Theater)
Star Trek: Discovery Comics & Novels Revealed
Join Kirsten Beyer, Sarah Gaydos, Mike Johnson, David Mack, and Ed Schlesinger as they offer a first look at the new Star Trek: Discovery novels and comics coming this fall.


Thursday, August 3

12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Brasilia 4-6 (Secondary Theater)
Inside Trek: Star Trek Authors & Their Books
Meet the authors and editors that are expanding the Star Trek universe with new novels, travel guides, science books and unique (and funny) views of Trek fandom. Hear about their favorite stories, writing Trek, and the stories they really want to tell. Panelists: John Van Citters, Dayton Ward, David Mack, Kevin Dilmore, Ethan Siegel, Robb Pearlman, and Ed Schlesinger.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Away Mission Booth (Amazon Room)
Autographing: David Mack
I will be signing books and comics on a complimentary basis. Whether you buy my work at the show or bring it in from home, I will be happy to sign it for you at Star Trek: Las Vegas!


Friday, August 4

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Brasilia 7 (CBS All Access)
Inside Trek: David Mack, Author
I’ll be chatting one-on-one with Jordan Hoffman, host of Engage!, the official CBS.com Star Trek podcast, about my work for Star Trek, what I look for in a Star Trek story, and whatever else comes to mind in this half-hour candid talk.


After that, I will just be haunting the convention, lingering in the bar, or perhaps writing my new novel in a cabana by the pool. Feel free to approach me (as long as I’m not eating) for autographs and idle chatter.

#SFWApro