How Egil and Nix ended up with Del Rey

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TheHammer&theBlade(corrected)I’ve been asked this often (and a few times recently), so I figured I’d post about it.  There’s really not much to it.

As most of you know, the first two Tales of Egil and Nix, THE HAMMER AND THE BLADE, and A DISCOURSE IN STEEL, were published by Angry Robot Books.  The next two Tales of Egil and Nix, A CONVERSATION IN BLOOD and a currently untitled fourth book (let’s call it EGIL AND NIX TICKLE YOUR SWORD AND SORCERY FUNNY BONE), will be published by Del Rey.  How did this happen?

Well, I signed a two book deal for Hammer and Discourse with the wonderful folks at Angry Robot Books.  The contract was silent on the obligations of either party with respect to future books in the series.  Hammer and Discourse did and are doing well, so we talked about a third book.  In fact, we actually reached agreement in principle on the financial terms of a third book, and I even outlined it, but I ultimately backed out of it.

Why did I back out?  Well, basically Jen and I had just added a fourth Kempling to the brood and I decided that I needed to be a bit more judicious when it came to taking on additional work.  Essentially I decided that if I was going to sacrifice time that I’d otherwise spend with my family by instead spending it writing, then I needed to feel it was an appropriate trade-off , and that more-or-less meant that it had to pay very well and have a somewhat higher profile.  I communicated this to my editor at Angry Robot and he understood completely.  Let me here say again that the team at Angry Robot is wonderful and I would publish with them again in a moment.  Seriously great publisher.

Anyway, at this point, there wasn’t going to be a third tale of Egil and Nix, at least not in the near term.  In the back of my mind, I was considering the possibility of self-publishing it sometime in the distant future, but that thought was nebulous at best.

Then I remembered that an editor at Del Rey that I’d worked with on a Star Wars novel had written me out of the blue about Hammer and Discourse months earlier to tell me how much he enjoyed them.

So on a lark I reached out to him, told him the situation, and asked him if he had any interest publishing the continued adventures of the boys from Dur Follin.  I honestly thought there’d be no chance of this.  To my surprise, he did want to publish them. He asked me to provide some rough information about sales and  send him the text of the novels, as he had to present all of that information to his boss.  I sent all that along, and when I did I made mention of my headspace, because I didn’t want to waste their time: I explained that any offer had to be above a given threshold or I’d have to pass.  He said he understood.

Things went very quickly after that.  His boss read Hammer and on the basis of that was ready to proceed to contract (she liked it, I gather).  He asked me why I hadn’t submitted Hammer to them in the first place, at which point I explained that I had so submitted but they’d passed (it was a different acquiring editor at that point).

Anyway, a contract for the next two books was soon forthcoming and it exceeded my threshold and here we are.

At this point, I’m looking forward to continuing to write about Egil, Nix, Tesha, Gadd, and the rest of the crew for a very long time.  🙂


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14 thoughts on “How Egil and Nix ended up with Del Rey

  1. You already know I’m on board for more adventures of the gang from Dur Follin 🙂

  2. Ever since I read Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar books as a kid, I have loved the buddy adventurer type books. Egil and Nix are right up there with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Michael J. Sullivan’s Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborne as my favorites of this kind of adventure. Can’t wait for the next books.

  3. Great news. I’m excited to read more from them. I really enjoyed Hammer and Discourse. I tore through them during a long business trip and was left wanting.

  4. Reading between the lines, does this mean you’ve signed a longer-term contract than you first anticipated? More than two books? Please say yes! Or, if you can’t publicly state so, please say “I can neither confirm nor deny your statement.”


    Love the books, obviously…

  5. Hey Paul, any news on Installment Number 3? Although I am a Erevis Cale addict, I have to say I became quite fond of Egil & Nix. Maybe they should do some planeswalking and end up in the same book. 😀
    If you have anything on the account of Mr Cale, I’d be happy to hear of that too!
    Anyway, as always Paul: I love your books, keep up the good work, hope to read you soon pal! 🙂

    Best Regards,

    • Thanks, Ricardo. Some good news brewing about the boys from Dur Follin and I should have a handle on release date for III before long.

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