Hollow World ~ Michael J. Sullivan

  • Cover of Michael J. Sullivan's Hollow WorldTitle:  Hollow World
  • Author:  Michael J. Sullivan
  • Genre:  Science Fiction, Dystopian
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  NetGalley
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  4 out of 5

Description:  The future is coming…for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World. 

Welcome to the future and a new sci-fantasy thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.

Review:  I freely admit that I loved Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations and I was excited to find this new and different novel up on NetGalley for a review. I snapped it up and the ideas it presents have been racing through my brain ever since.

Hoping to find a cure for his illness, Ellis plans to jump ahead 200 years. Instead, he actually jumps ahead 2000 years. What he finds when he gets there is . . . grass. Fearing he has traveled to a time where he has the world to himself, and knowing he didn’t bring the proper tools to forge shelter for himself, he follows the river to see what he can find. What he finds is a murder – and a bunch of naked people who all look identical.

As I read this book, the voice in my head sounded very much like a performance of The Time Machine by Leonard Nimoy and John De Lancie I heard years ago. The same kind of eerie, echoing music played in the background of my head as Ellis slowly progresses through the world by himself. It seemed fitting. Even when he finds others, I still had that sound track echoing through my brain.

There isn’t a lot of action in this story – and what does happen does so in short spurts and it really isn’t until that last few chapters that things start moving at a break neck pace. So, there was no sense of urgency as I read but, rather, a sense of peace. It wasn’t a book that urged me to turn the page to see what happened next, yet I couldn’t put it down either. Instead of action, what we have here is a bunch of thought provoking nuances. And, make me think it did.

It also isn’t your typical dystopian world where one group has enslaved another. Instead, the world has evolved via science – to make everyone identical, because that is what was best for society. Or so it thought. And, because global warming has decimated the planet, they have all moved into the core of the earth – hence, Hollow World. Now, the science involved here, in time travel, in forming identical people, in ‘hollowing’ out the world, is not quite believable. But, you aren’t supposed to believe, you are supposed to accept and think ‘what if?’ And, that is something Mr. Sullivan does quite well – make you think.

In this world, there is no religion. No religion, no war, and no love. (Every stop to think how many wars are brought on by differences in religion?) Everyone is identical, so there are no comparisons. Everyone has a ‘maker’ (and how this comes about is very reminiscent of the Linux world) so everyone can have anything one wants. There are no genders or races or castes, no reason to be at odds with each other. So, what do people do? They seek out individuality – the seek tattoos and clothing and other things to make them stand out from the crowd. They seek new ideas (read religion and war) to advance civilization. I mean, really, where is there to grow?

The characters very search for individuality and God made me think about everything in my life. As a Christian, it made me seek God. But, both sides are presented here. There is no club over your head going – believe in God! Or You are a ninny if you believe in God! It is up to the reader to arrive at his own conclusion.

Love. Love is also an interesting thought process here. With no genders, how and who do people love? (There is an ‘app’ for sex . . .) Why do we love? How do we love? What is love? It made me appreciate the people in my life and appreciate what I have – even though I would be quite poor next to these folks.

I don’t believe there is any greater complement to a story than “It made me think.” I continue to adore Michael J. Sullivan. I adore his writing style. I adore his work ethic. I adore his publishing stance. I think he is a ground breaker and a genuinely good man. None of this made me like this book any more, but it made me more willing to pick it up – something outside of his typical book. I enjoyed the fact that instead of bloating the series he has already written for monetary gain, he sought readers and all of us stepped outside of our comfort zone to share in this new story. I hope that this will encourage other authors to come up with new worlds and new series instead of dragging down the ones we already love. Not that it isn’t possible to continue series in a good and polished manner, but an author should not be forced to do so either.

I give this one a solid 4 stars. It was an intriguing story in a different style written in a soothing manner. It is not action packed and there is no sense of urgency but, rather, a story full of ideas that will increase the wonder of the world around you.

November 30th News & Update

Hello, world! SSV has some news to share with our readers and would like to give you a little reminder of what we do here on Silk Screen Views.

General News


Silk Screen Views is growing fast as ideas burst into life and fires up our inspiration! We’ve created new sections to the site and reconstructed to expand our wings and share our thoughts and news. Two parts that will help you find what you want on SSV. Don’t forget the Search Bar–that’s helpful too!

  1. Site Map:  Unfamiliar with SSV? Want to know the bare bones of what we have to share? Look at the site map for up to date information on what SSV has to offer and a description of what each section is about.
  2. Review Directory:  Relocated under Nexus, this page is an alphabetical listing of all our book reviews on SSV. Books that do not have a current link are placed to show reviews that are to come.



The SSV crew loves the book community and wants to add another dimension to our involvement. We’ve put together a list of services that can help with bringing a fresh viewpoint to a project, add a marketable polish and highlight it to give it the best starting point in a venture. Check out what we offer and see if it fits your needs. Contact us if you have any questions or need more information. Email ~ SilkScreenViews@gmail.com




  1. Silk Screen Views is open to Author Review Requests. Please check out SSV’s Review Policy.
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Bloggers – Reviewers – Authors: 

SSV embraces vibrant, unique perspectives and diversity. We are looking for people to write thought provoking, emotion raging articles in our Rambling and Rampage sections. If you have something uniquely you to share and interested in joining SSV’s adventures, please email Silk Screen Views or fill out the Contact form on the Nexus.

WANTED:  Reviewers to Join SSV!

Due to the rapid growth of the site, we’re looking to add new people to the team! If you love to read, like to share your opinions on everything and anything beneath the sun–take a look at our Reviewers Wanted Post. If it looks like something you’re interested in, please apply!

Note that you must become familiar with SSV Goals, Review Policy and what the site offers. Experience is not necessary but we do require that you have basic writing skills.



Author Interview & Review Series began in order to celebrate our 100th Book Review post and to start adventures that will let readers get a closer look into the authors and stories we consume readily. We aim to bring you entertaining, candid interviews with the author and a unique perspective on the book. Curious about what other authors are coming up in SSV’s AI&R series? Keep an eye on the Calendar.

We have lots of new and exciting things planned for 2014! Keep an eye out and join us on our adventures!

SSV would be nothing without the people who help to run it.

THANK YOU–the awesome SSV Crew!

We would be bored without people who read our posts, the authors who write & publish their stories and the netizens who interact with us on the site.

You have our gracious thanks as well!


Interview: Michael J. Sullivan’s Kickstarter for Hollow World

I’m happy to announce that Silk Screen Views has had a chance to catch up with Michael J. Sullivan, an author known for the Riyria series books and novellas. Recently, Michael started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new book called the Hollow World and it just finished a few days ago. The project has been very successful and an interesting adventure for Michael. Let’s move on to the interview and get a sneak peak into the campaign, Michael’s thoughts about the project and the book that started it all.


~ Book Campaign: Hollow World Kickstarter ~

What made you think about starting a Kickstarter campaign?

I can take no credit for the idea. That’s all my wife’s doing. In general she takes care of the “business side” of things so I can concentrate on the writing end. She’s known about Kickstarter for a long time and saw some other authors* who did well with it and thought we should give it a try.

She’s pretty famous for always saying, “Well you won’t know unless you try.” And that has taken us in many interesting directions over the years.

*Authors: Brad Beaulieu, Tobias Buckell, T.A. Pratt

Why did you decide to try it out? You’re with a publishing house & under a contract.

Self-publishing isn’t new to me. I started out self-publishing, sold the series to traditional, and now I’m considering each project on a case-by-case basis. I just recently signed two books with Orbit, but they didn’t agree with my terms for Hollow World. I could have shopped it around elsewhere, but I was actually looking for a good excuse to shift to hybrid (doing some books self, and others traditional) so I leaped at the chance. I’m sure I’ll continue to do some of each from this point forward.

What was it like to brainstorm ideas for the Kickstarter? Was it easy to figure out donation gifts?

Most of that was my wife’s doing. We had a couple of requirements we wanted to stick to:
(a) having something reasonable at $10
(b) having something at $25 and
(c) providing a limited edition hardcover

We didn’t have any of the really high rewards ($1,000+) because I didn’t feel comfortable that I had anything to offer that was worth that much. Marc’s painting was so beautiful that it was a perfect choice to use for the stretch goals.

When did it hit you that the whole thing was going to work? When did it feel real? 

The next day when I got up and saw we were already 134% funded. But I never expected it to go over $30,000 mark. I figured it would do $10,000 – $20,000 tops.

If you could describe the whole experience in 5 words, what would they be?

Eye-opening. Exciting. Easy to do.

Did you ever imagine that you would gain the response you have to this project?

No, not at all. My wife and I had a bet going. I thought we would reach the goal a few minutes before the clock ran out at the end of 30 days.  She said we would get fully funded in 48 hours.  We were both wrong, it went to 100% in 17 hours, but she was closest so I had to clean the house that week. Well worth it!

What do you enjoy the most out of the experience?

That its success may be used as an example and encourage other authors to try the “non-conventional” options available to them. Earning well as an author has always been difficult, but by using all the tools at their disposal many authors who you’ve never heard of are actually doing quite well.

Was it tough to come up with new donation gifts as the project passed several goal marks? 

A little…yeah. I really wanted to do T-shirts but they can be expensive to buy and ship. Plus there is a lot of organization related to sizes.  In the end, I stuck to posters and bookmarks because they are (a) light to ship and (b) easy for me to produce.

What’s the standing for the Hollow World Kickstarter? Is it the first fiction novel campaign to be so successful?

If you look at the broad category “Publishing” it’s a small fry (still in the top 100 at #86). But there are sub-categories like children’s books, fiction, poetry, etc. In the fiction category, it ended up at #8.  But all the projects ahead of it are either:  interactive ebooks, anthologies, book & games together, or multiple book projects. So that makes it #1 for a single novel.  But again, that’s within the fiction category.  If you go over to children’s books there’s a project (Wollstonecraft) that earned almost three times as much but that’s a much different classification so it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

How active were you in the whole process? Networking, announcements, etc.

I tried not to be too obnoxious about the promotional end. I didn’t want to piss people off or get too annoying. Still, I have a big presence on Goodreads, Reddit, and the various staples like Twitter and Facebook. So I did post a few messages there. I also have emails of some of my readers and I did a mailing to them, but truth be told I stopped a lot of those activities once we did really well as there was no point to push it further. It’s not like this is the only income the book will ever produce. There will be plenty of people buying it when it is officially released.  My main goal (once we got past funding) was to have it do “well enough” that other authors would consider it a possibility for their own work.

What do you believe are key elements that made the project successful? Current fans? Word of Mouth? Your passion?

I think the key to any venture is having a product that people are excited by. The books I’ve released in the past have been pretty well received, but it’s been a year and a half since the most recent one came out. I think there are a good number of people who are anxious for my “next read.”  I also think it doesn’t hurt to go “direct to the readers.” There are a lot of people that get annoyed by “big business” taking so much of the profit, so having almost all the money (Kickstarter takes just 10% to process the payments/facilitate the process) is also a major draw. I don’t have full data yet, but I think that many of the contributors had never funded a kickstarter before and like the concept.

What advice would you give to other authors about your experience?

Wow, there’s a lot to say on this front. I’m actually going to do a whole write up on how mine was designed, what I did right, what I did wrong.  I’m going to be posting this for free so others can read it. But in general I say they should plan a lot ahead of time and be willing to make adjustments as it goes on.  Also don’t get stressed out during the middle of the campaign when contributions are slower.  It happens to almost all of them.

Artist: Marc Simonetti

~ Behind the Screen into Hollow World ~

How did you end up going from taking a break to writing Hollow World?

As a writer, you sometimes have these ideas that get into your head and you really have to write the book to purge them out. Hollow World was like that. I would keep coming up with more and more ideas about it and so it was really quite persistent. In many respects, the best thing was to get it written so I wouldn’t have it nagging me all the time.

Did the concept, writing and art all fall together easily for Hollow World or was it a step by step process that also had leaps of genius and productivity?

It’s one of those novels that came together really quickly for me.  But many of the concepts and ideas had been with me for decades. For instance, some of the inventions that exist in Hollow World are from notes I made 25 years ago. They finally started coming together like dust forming into planets after the big bang starts to calm down. The first draft was written in six weeks and that’s about twice as fast as most of my novels. So yeah, it was a pretty easy one and flowed together really effortlessly. Those are the best kind of novels for me!

How do you think people will react to you writing Sci-Fi? What did YOU think the reaction would be? What’s the reaction thus far?

An excellent question, and to be truthful I have no idea. To me, genre doesn’t matter. If a story is good, I don’t care what it is classified as but others aren’t like I am. My wife was a good test case as she generally enjoys fantasy but isn’t a science fiction fan. She loved Hollow World and she doesn’t love everything I write.

I think that if people say to themselves, “Well I like Sullivan, so I’ll take a chance,” then they’ll be pleased. To date the feedback has been really strong. My editor at Orbit, my agent and the beta readers (many of which are new to my writing) all loved it. I only had one person (a fellow writer) who didn’t like it, but that was because they liked a protagonist in the short story Greener Grass and he’s not in Hollow World. That guy was a bit too unlikeable to carry a whole story. In small dosages I can “take him” but my trademark has been characters that you would like to hang out with. So I needed to have a different main character for the novel.

I’ve guessed from your writing that your wife is your first, best, worst, love-hate critic and reader. How did she initially respond? What was her response once she read the book?

You are very correct about Robin’s role. While it was under construction, I would drop hints here and there and she often gave me very skeptical responses. I was really afraid that she wasn’t going to like it. She tore through it (always a good sign) and when it was over she said, “I know this is a standalone book, but I could see a story made about this, and that, and the other thing…”

I knew it was a big hit. She also has roamed around lamenting, “I miss Pax.” Which is a REALLY good sign. It was because she missed Royce and Hadrian that I wrote The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn. So responses like that from her are the best indications that the book came out well.

While being between contractual obligations, why Hollow World?

Oh, Hollow World wasn’t the only thing I worked on after my Riyria Revelations. There was Antithesis (an urban fantasy), and then The Crown Tower, and The Rose and the Thorn. Not to mention The First Empire Series which was actually supposed to be written before Hollow World. As I mentioned, Hollow World really just wouldn’t leave me alone so I had to get it out of my head so I could concentrate on other stuff. I’m now back to writing The First Empire while I wait to see how the readers think about the new books.

What about the story made you sit up, not let go and keep at you until the words were written?

Well I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. Oh wait, that’s a line for my secondary career as a spy/assassin. But seriously, I really can’t say because it would spoil the fun. Part of what makes the book intriguing is the unexpected directions it takes and the characters that you follow.  I don’t want to say too much about that.

But one of the cool things about this book is that different people will see it differently. I’m sure that a lot of people will assume I’ve interjected some of my own beliefs into it, but I’m a master of playing both sides of an argument and so only I and Robin know my real take on things found between the pages. It has the potential to be polarizing, and I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing, but it was interesting to do from a writer’s perspective.

How did you decide on the artist for the cover and the promos for the Kickstarter?

When the concept of people living under the earth in beautifully carved out caverns with simulated sunlight came to me, I had a very particular minds-eye impression for what that would look like. I’m an artist, so imagining the setting down to the smallest detail is easy for me. Marc Simonetti has done the covers for the French editions of my Riyria Revelations and he has a great eye for perspective. His artwork shows a lot of depth. Plus there is a real drama to his style. I knew immediately that he would be the perfect choice. I also found some other painters who have great work (just in case he wouldn’t be available…or would be astronomically expensive) but I’m glad he both had the time, and the Kickstarter provided the funding, because he really did an exceptional job with the painting.

Can you give a brief description of Hollow World?

Sure, Hollow World is about an “average Joe” who has a penchant for science but circumstances prevented him from going to MIT.  He’s generally worked hard, done the right things, but lived a pretty dull life. When he discovers he has a terminal disease, he takes a chance to build a time machine and go to the future, where he thinks he’ll find a cure. What he discovers is quite an adventure for him, and the readers who come along for the ride. His time travel also sets off a sequence of events that could have drastic consequences, but I won’t get into that as it would spoil the fun.

Are you already working on a sequel to Hollow World?

No, not at all—and I’m not even sure there will be a book two. As I mentioned, my wife wants one (or two or three), and she usually gets her way, but it makes no sense to write another until we see how the first one does. I was the same way with my Riyria franchise. I wrote six books and that was all that there were supposed to be. But the series was well received, and yet people still wanted more, so I wrote two more books.  I can’t afford to take time away from other projects without knowing whether Hollow World has any legs or not…but if it turns out it does, then I have a lot of potential ways to go about more in this world and with these characters. And I would love to return and do the same with it as I did with Riyria.

Did you daughter read the story? What’s her response?

Sarah did read the book, and her favorite character is Alva…who isn’t even a person, but I wrote it with Sarah in mind. She liked the book a lot, but she’s not as enthusiastic about me writing more in that world as Robin is. I’m not concerned about that because she had an almost identical reaction after reading the first book in my Riyria Revelations and now it is one of her favorite series. She’s one of those people who like a book more the longer she is away from it. Having only recently read it, I figure she’ll be really excited about the time the official version comes out in January. Another contributing factor is that she REALLY prefers to read on paper (she read it on her phone). My guess is that it will go up a few notches on the re-read.

Do you ever feel lucky & blessed that writing has become what it has in your life?

Blessed, definitely. Lucky…I have a bit of an issue with that word because I think it is used as a crutch by some writers. Too often I hear would-be writers say, “You have to be lucky to make it,” and I think that absolves the author’s responsibility to write well. By their reasoning, any piece of crap can ‘make it’ if the person is lucky enough. Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it,” which sums up my thoughts on the subject.

A better adjective for me would be to say that I feel extremely grateful. I’m always appreciative of the fact that many have given me their time, encouragement, and money so that I can do this as a full-time profession. I feel like the two of us have a covenant. For my part, I need to write the best books I know how, and in return they give me enough money to pay the bills so I don’t have to have a day job which would take time away from my writing. It’s a pretty good arrangement from where I sit.

So blessed? Yes. Grateful? Yes. As for lucky…it seems to take away any responsibility on my part, and I prefer to think I have a part to play.


Thank you, Michael, for joining us on Silk Screen Views and sharing your thoughts and experiences on the Kickstarter & Hollow World. I learned a lot and look forward to your collected thoughts on running a Kickstarter as an author. I can’t wait to read the book! I’m totally curious and can’t wait to get my copy. This won’t be the last time you see Michael J. Sullivan on SSV. I’m sure we’ll find other reasons to bring him back.

Michael is one of the handful of authors that have given Silk Screen Views permission to repost their articles on writing in our Scribes Corner. You can find him there but to really get an idea of what he’s like, please check out Michael’s website for more information on him and his work.

Editing ~ Michael J. Sullivan

March 19, 2013

Editing can polish a good manuscript into a piece of fine art. It can also shred a fine manuscript into a mess only fit for lining an undiscerning gerbil’s cage. Being able to tell the difference comes from confidence born out of the experience of writing and discovering what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately the responsibility falls to the writer, but how can a novice author be expected to know when to stay with what they have written or take the advice of the self-professed gurus of literature?

In the broadest sense, editing comes in two forms: structural, which concentrates on the story, and copy editing, which is meant to clean up grammar errors and make awkward sentences flow better.  For my novel Hollow World, I recently placed a small ad on the job board of the American Copy Editor’s Society. I specifically mentioned a need for copy editing, as Betsy Mitchell is doing my structural edits.

Ask most authors and they’ll tell you that copyeditors are gifts of the gods. People who save you from embarrassment and make you look better than you are. The general rule is to always listen to your editors, and I would agree with that, if you’re certain you have a good one.

The copyeditors that I worked with at Orbit are phenomenal. Their level of detail, not only at finding stupid little typos, but at watching the larger picture and finding inconsistencies, or outright errors in the story is amazing. These are the people who check the spelling of every made up word. Check the timeline, check the time of day, check to make certain the same speech pattern is used with the same character. You don’t have to tell them that Bob always substitutes yeh, for yes, or that Karen avoids any kind of contraction—they discover this on their own and look for breaks in the patterns. They learn your style, then make it better. When they find a problem they very politely highlight and ask: “David had a red tie on in the previous scene, now he has a burgundy tie, is this correct?”

Mostly copyeditors ferret out mistakes in language changing:

The soldier sheathed his weapon and extended a hand to help the courier to his feet, his face downcast.


His face downcast, the soldier sheathed his weapon and extended a hand to help the courier to his feet

To better show whose face is downcast. To get rid of those pesky dangling participles they would change:

Drawing back the curtain, the morning sun flashed through gaps in the leafy wall of trees lining the road.


As Arista drew back the curtain, the morning sun flashed through gaps in the leafy wall of trees lining the road.

Or how about:

Lord Valin was an elderly knight with a bushy white beard known for his valor and courage, but never for his strategic skills.


Lord Valin, an elderly knight with a bushy white beard, was known for his courage, but not for his strategic skills.

Because of the misplaced modifier and because valor and courage are redundant.

My editor even knew that I have a pet peeve with any sentence that contains more than one “had” in a row, as in: …when everyone else had had the good sense to get out of the way. At such times the double hads would be highlighted and the comment in the margin would be: “Reword to avoid “had had”?

Such corrections are phenomenal, but not all editors are created equal and aspiring writers planning on self-publishing, or those aiming to have their books professionally edited in order to get an agent, need to be very careful. Some freelance editors (that I’ve found in multiple searches over the years) are actually aspiring authors believing they can help improve your work.

It’s easy to tell the difference. Copyeditors do things like look for repeated words, improperly used homonyms, and that pesky participle. Any problem bigger than this and they merely highlight, and politely comment on in very brief terms as in the aforementioned: Reword to avoid “had had”?

Well-intentioned aspiring writers do things like taking this sentence:

He’d be an alcoholic if he had to look people in the eye the way she was.

And changing it to:

If he had to look people in the eye and dispense such news, he’d surely become deathly depressed, and he’d probably develop an addiction to alcohol or even heroin.

Or better yet, changing:

His mind refused to go there, wasn’t ready to, and remained focused on the sink and the dispensers.


His ears almost refused to hear what she’d said, His mind simply wasn’t ready to accommodate her words.

And yes the capital on “His” was a typo the would-be copywriter actually inserted into the manuscript sample I sent out.

These and many more changes were accompanied by the note:

Suggestions for improvement:

Try to avoid so many negative sentence constructions. Rewrite them. Instead of “I’m not going out,” say “I’m staying home.”

Try to use the word “even” less often.

Contractions are OK in informal writing, but keep them under control.

Take advantage of opportunities for literary devices such as stronger verbs, alliteration and the old rule of “show, don’t tell.” (I sneaked in words foreshadowing the possibility of death: cryptic, cadaverous, deathly. If I pushed too far, you can always change it back to your original version.)

You might devote more attention to the rhythm of your writing. You can practice little things like parallel structure, choosing just the right-sounding word and listening as if you were publishing mainly to an audio-book audience.

The fact is I agree with most everything in this note, but I’ve also discovered that while many people know the basic rules of writing, few are capable of actually applying them properly. I suppose it is kind of like riding a bicycle. You could watch others and learn a great deal about what to do and what not to. You could get a PhD in the study of physics, but all of that won’t make it possible to hop on a bike for the first time and ride it like an expert. (I have to admit I found the last sentence particularly entertaining given that Theft of Swords is up for an Audie award.)

What bothered me the most about this would-be editor’s submission was the level of confidence with which the editor presented the changes, and I realized that a novice writer might be persuaded to destroy a perfectly good manuscript to appease a less talented, less skilled, “editor” because of the adage that authors need to trust their editors. Writers tend to be a self-conscious lot, and it’s easier for many to accept that they aren’t as good as they had hoped rather than think individuals who earn their meals fixing manuscripts are idiots.

And if you’re still wondering if the “editor” was really that bad, consider that the whole point of hiring a copyeditor is not for structural advice at all, but merely to clean up the grammar, punctuation, and typos, but this “editor” changed the following sentence:

He also expected his mind to focus on all the things he’d never done, the words he said or ones he hadn’t.


He also anticipated his left un would focus on all the things he’d left undone, the words he’d neglected to say, or the ones he’d said but wished he hadn’t.

A copy editor that inserts typos is probably not one you want on your project.

If you’re an aspiring novelist, and looking for copyediting, get a sample—send a few pages of your work for them to demonstrate their capabilities—and then look to see what kind of changes come back. If they’re correcting objectively verifiable mistakes (unintentional misuse of the English language) you’re on the right track. If, however, the editor has it in mind to educate you on how to write “better”, or merely are trying to rewrite your work to better suit themselves, explain that you are looking for a detail-oriented copyeditor, and their failure to read the ad correctly is indication enough that they aren’t what you’re looking for.


To find out more about Michael J. Sullivan and his work, please visit his website.


Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World Kickstarter

Have you heard of Michael J. Sullivan’s new book Hollow World? He’s running a Kickstarter to gather investments to help him publish another independent title. Take a look at it and see if you would like to help out! The Kickstarter will run until April 4th, 2013. I’ve added my small contribution to the cause. You should too!

You can read about Hollow World on Michael’s site or on his Kickstarter.

For our post, I have included the blurb & cover from Goodreads:

Ellis Rogers is running out of time, even for a man with his own time machine.
A Detroit factory worker, who has always played it safe and done the right thing, finds himself rewarded with unemployment, a loveless marriage, and a terminal illness. Now with nothing to lose he’s willing to take an insane gamble. All he has to do is press the red button, and if he survives, he could find more than just a cure for his disease. Ellis could discover a future that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise.

Welcome to Hollow World, a science fiction thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.


Important Notes (Borrowed from Michael):

Marc Simonetti created the wonderful covers for the French edition of my Riyria Revelations. He’s also done covers for Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, and dozens of other high profile fantasy and science fiction authors. I’ve already hired him to create an illustration to depict Hollow World, a future where mankind now lives underground. The “matte painting” he created is beyond gorgeous, and if we reach various stretch goals, will be available as limited edition prints.

Betsy Mitchell was the editor-in-chief at Del Rey for over a decade. She has over thirty years in the business and has edited more than 150 novels from authors such as Michael Chabon, Terry Brooks and many other New York Times bestselling authors. Betsy now has a freelance editing service, and while I think the book is great the way it is now, I’m sure her input will give it the additional polish that only someone with her experience can provide.

Professional copy editors and proofreaders will ensure that the book won’t be littered with grammar errors and poor punctuation, which can distract from the reading experience. Because my roots were in self-publishing, I support many “indie” authors, and while I’m often impressed with their ability to spin a tale, it’s unfortunate that they often contain numerous errors. I’m dedicated to ensuring that Hollow World won’t suffer from this problem.

When will the books be released?

Because I also have books coming out from Orbit, there are some contractual restrictions that dictate what I can publish and when. This is done to ensure that the books they have invested so much money in have an exclusive window that won’t be distracted by other titles from me. As such, I’m not permitted to sell any new books between April 6th 2013 and January 17th 2014. This actually presents me with an excellent opportunity.

The supporters of this Kickstarter will essentially be pre-ordering Hollow World and while it won’t officially go on sale until January 20th, 2014. I’ll actually be receiving orders before April 6th. My intention is to ship any books funded as part of this project as soon as the professionals have finished their contributions. I’m anticipating this will be in early July, although it could be sooner.