Behind the scenes video of our studio, showing us in production on the Amulet App. This is what our office typically looks like during production season. Featured in the video are lead production assistant Jason Caffoe, his dog Milo, production intern Zane Yarbrough, programmer/game designer Gordon Luk, comic book artist/writer Amy Kim Kibuishi (who is also my lovely wife), and me, drawing at the table.
The first month of 2013 has proven to be a very busy and productive time here at the studio. We have several new, exciting projects in the works, including Amulet Volume 6, a book that is only finally starting to take shape after many rough drafts. Over the years, I learned to accept that the writing process is a bit like aging wine or kneading bread. It takes time and patience to get the best results. As an author, I know these books will likely (in a best case scenario) be with me for a very long time, so I work hard to make sure the books deliver a very memorable reading experience upon publication. And if I do my job correctly, you will want to read the books more than once.
I’m still physically recovering from my illness last summer, and I thank everyone for their concerns and well-wishes. Despite this, we’re back to our regular crazy schedule here, and I feel like I’m currently producing what I believe is my best work. Strangely enough, I think my drawing skills have noticeably improved, or my illness has jolted me awake. Either way, I am happy with the results and with the fact that I’m still improving as I grow older.
Here’s to what I hope is a great 2013. Thanks for supporting us through the years, and we will work hard to continue producing the best stories and art we possibly can. For more regular updates, I recommend checking my twitter @boltcity. Okay, time to get back to work!
Hi everyone! I realized that the only blog we have been properly keeping up with recently has been our Kickstarter page, so I’d like to point you over there to see our recent updates on the progress of the Daisy Kutter Reprint project. In short, we are very close to finishing the shipping for the Kickstarter orders, and will begin shipping all Paypal orders soon afterward. Thanks again for your patience! I still have a few original pieces of art to finish, and we have quite a few international orders to pack up today and tomorrow, but we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have also been working steadily on revising and refining the early draft of Amulet 6, and also laying the groundwork for short stories that will be featured in Explorer 2 and 3. Just wanted to let people know that we are still hard at work on everything, and that things are rolling here. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback for the Daisy Kutter books that have been delivered! The feedback is very valuable, helping us get better at fulfilling orders and meeting your expectations.
The Daisy Kutter Kickstarter books have arrived and they look great! We’re currently getting all of our fulfillment processing set up (scale, labels, packing material, etc.) and we will be having a book shipping “party” very soon! I’m also still working to finish up the original art requests.
Thank you, everyone, for your patience! In an age where we are so used to getting things instantaneously, it is difficult to have to wait for a product, so we really do appreciate everyone’s patience on this. We have also been receiving orders via paypal on the website, and those will be fulfilled along with the Kickstarter packages. We’re still learning how to best do all of this as we go, so please excuse the dust. I’m confident by the time the last boxes are being shipped out, we’ll have a much better grasp on how to handle the process.
Some of you already know this, but I recently had a pretty intense bout with bacterial meningitis (2 weeks in the hospital, and 3 weeks recovering at home), and have been working to get my memory (and life) back. Things have been progressing steadily, but I’m still not 100 percent. I remember important events in my life -and what generally happens over the course of each day – but I often forget what pants or shirt I’m wearing. I suppose we never really pay close attention to these types of things, but since I always felt I had a very good memory, things like this really leave me feeling disconcerted. (Amy says I’m now like Dory from Finding Nemo) I’ve been told by family and friends that I am doing better by leaps and bounds each day, and I am working hard to get back in the saddle as soon as I can. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the doctors, nurses, family, and friends that worked tirelessly to keep me alive. When I see the looks on their faces, I know the situation was intense, and when I hear about what happened, I’m really glad I can’t remember most of it.
Things like this, however, really brighten my day! We received the early proofs for the new printing of Daisy Kutter: The Last Train, the full-color 1st printing of Amulet 5: Prince of the Elves, and a catalog for the upcoming Scholastic Book Fair with my goofy face on the cover (I think I have eyeliner on). The packages all came at once, right when I was starting to come back to the office to work. A very nice surprise after a difficult couple of months.
The Daisy Kutter Reprint Project Kickstarter was a success! We raised nearly 26 times the amount we were looking for in order to help cover the cost of printing the books ourselves. In one month, we took orders for more than 2,200 copies of the book! We also received a lot of emails from folks who found out about the campaign after it was over. If you or a friend would still like to order copies of the book, you can now do that here.
Daisy Kutter has been out of print for years, and we were unable to find a home for the book at a major publisher. In the meantime, the book grew increasingly hard to find while people continued to ask for it. We wanted to have at least a few copies to give to friends and family, so we started a Kickstarter campaign to take orders because we think you might want some copies too. Or perhaps you just want to support the title and encourage us to work on the second book. Either way, check out our Kickstarter page and pledge to get yourself a copy. And please spread the word!
Amulet 5: Prince of the Elves was completed at the beginning of April. This book was tremendously difficult to write, as I chose to stray far from conventional story structure, and I decided to simply let the characters be my guides. I think it proved to be an effective gamble. It was such a joy to discover so much about the characters and the world in this way, and I think the readers will enjoy the ride as much as I did.
We just returned from China, where Jason, Chrystin, and I visited a number of international schools in Shanghai and Suzhou to talk to students. Thank you so much to the librarians, teachers, administrators, and our booking agent Nancy Caffoe for making this trip possible. It was a wonderful experience, and definitely one of the best trips we’ve ever taken.
The Flight anthology may have ended last year, but that doesn’t mean we’re done! Explorer: The Mystery Boxes is the spiritual successor to Flight. The first volume features stories by Emily Carroll, Rad Sechrist, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Jason Caffoe, Johane Matte, Stuart Livingston and Kazu Kibuishi. Each story represents a unique take on the idea of a “mystery box”. Check out one of the early reviews for the book, over at Wired.com’s Geekdad blog. The book has also earned a starred review on Kirkus, and received another glowing review on Booklist. You can also see what people are saying about it on Goodreads.com. Explorer: The Mystery Boxes will be in stores March 2012, and it will be available in both soft and hardcover formats. My hope is that the book not only entertains the readers, but that it helps inspire people to create their own stories, in any medium.
Amulet Book 4: The Last Council is now available at your local bookstores and online retailers. The crew and I worked harder on this volume than any preceding it, and we learned a lot in the process. This is the first time I feel the team as a whole really hit its stride and the story itself means a lot to me, as I had to weather a very difficult year while writing it. I sincerely hope you all enjoy reading the new volume, and know that I am working very hard to make the next volume even better. Thank you so much to all the readers, retailers, librarians, teachers, and parents who have supported us over the years and have given us the opportunity to create more fantastic places and characters for readers of all ages to enjoy. Here’s hoping the best is yet to come!