If you’re a fan of epic fantasy stories, you may have heard of Matthew Wolf, the bestselling author of the epic fantasy series The Ronin Saga. His latest book, Tides of Fate is the fourth installment in the series and is live on Kickstarter today.
Matthew is a prime example of an author who’s not just successfully self-published, but used crowdfunding to springboard his work to a much larger audience.
In our interview below, he goes into what readers can expect in the new book, and his insights into using Kickstarter as an author.
For those new to your series, what is the Ronin Saga about and what can we expect to see in Tides of Fate?
First, welcome! Always a pleasure to meet new readers and fellow lovers of grand fantasy tales! The Ronin Saga is a nine-book epic fantasy series revolving around elemental warriors and set in the magical realm of Farhaven. Gray, Ayva, and Darius are our main characters, a trio who discover they have powers of wind, sun, and leaf. They are Ronin. A myth brought back to life after a thousand years. Unfortunately, the world views the Ronin as killers, traitors. Dark legends. Now Gray and company must find the others of their kind in the elemental cities and band together to stop the true evil that threatens to tear the world asunder.
Tides of Fate will continue in this tradition, building on the evil… in fact, even perhaps *spoiler* revealing that which has been hiding in the shadows. We’ll also get to watch our “dark” heroes try to find the next young legends, travel the magical city of Median, City of Water, and face a host of dangers including nefarious pirates, grand sea battles, water serpents, and much more in a thrilling next installment of the Saga. I can’t wait for you all to dive in, those brand new or those returning. However, be careful for the Tides of Fate are ever-shifting… 😀
Tides of Fate marks your 8th project on Kickstarter – how has crowdfunding impacted your reach as an author?
Good question! I definitely needed a nudge to get The Knife’s Edge, book one of the Saga, off the ground. What I didn’t expect was a few-fold. First, I love my Kickstarter returning fans. I’ve met people that I never would have normally thanks to Kickstarter, and then they tell their friends. This happens with my books, but Kickstarter is a little different. It gives such great and unique opportunities (like my opportunity to write people in as characters, or penning a short story for someone) that are so individualistic and special, that it draws in a unique crowd and encourages people to say “hey, you might be interested in this”.
Second, I’ve had the honor of having amazing people like Michael J. Sullivan and a few others who found me and my projects on Kickstarter. He believed in the Saga and reached out to his fans. As a result, I saw a huge influx of amazing fantasy fans from all over. Lastly, I think now is a special time because there’s such a cross-section of amazing fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, MJS, and more who really draw in true lovers of fantasy, great books. Now, everyone gets all these things, but they get to be truly a part of the project as well–an integral piece that helps bring it to life. And get sweet swag.
“First, I love my Kickstarter returning fans. I’ve met people that I never would have normally thanks to Kickstarter, and then they tell their friends.”Matthew Wolf – Author of the Ronin Saga
I think in the current climate, and just in general, everyone wants and craves to be a part of something bigger. I’m nowhere remotely near MJS or Sanderson’s level and sphere of influence, but I’m honored that so many cool readers get to be a part of my journey and are so excited for its growth.
Your first Kickstarter campaign launched in 2013 – has your approach to new projects changed over 7 years?
Well, everything scales, both the writing, the worldbuilding, and of course, my approach to projects has gotten a tad fancier. It used to be just my mom and I juggling orders and fulfillment out of my cramped apartment. Now, things have grown a bit. We have professional editors, a videographer, a content designer, several artists for things like title illustrations and interior artwork, and a host of beta readers.
“Overall, however, while we’ve grown, I’m still very much an independent author. I love being able to sign each hardcover or paperback by name, by writing in amazing backers into the story, or penning short stories of fantasy.”Matthew Wolf – Author of Tides of Fate
In many ways though, the books are getting bigger and better, and the Kickstarters more professional, it’s still the same. I am still doing 90% of the work, and I like it that way. I want to be integrally a part of the process. Also, funding has grown, but the amount allocated has always stayed the same. With book one, The Knife’s Edge, our goal was $3000 I believe, now we’re aiming for a base of $12,000. However, like book one, I want to foot a good portion of the bill for Tides of Fate. This includes a large print run, a host of editors, artists, etc (see Kickstarter for full transparency break down).
Overall, however, while we’ve grown, I’m still very much an independent author. I love being able to sign each hardcover or paperback by name, by writing in amazing backers into the story, or penning short stories of fantasy. My time has grown a little thinner, and the books are demanding more of my time, but I definitely will never change being the guy doing a lot of the grunt work.
Many crowdfunding projects struggle to keep their momentum going once the campaign is over – how did you make the transition from Kickstarter to Amazon bestseller?
I honestly think that was word of mouth. I sent out hundreds of copies for people to read, bloggers, reviewers, influencers, posted on forums, applied for deals and promotions, and a slew of other things to get the word out. However, a lot of the sales I’ve heard about over years are simply friends placing the Saga into another’s hands and saying “you got to read this”.
Where can readers find your books and what cool rewards can backers expect with Tides of Fate?
Amazon is always a top spot, but we have a brand new website that’s getting a lot of love where you can get personalized and autographed copies of any of the books in the series, as well as awesome swag. Check it out at www.matt-wolf.com
I couldn’t be more excited about some of the rewards for Tides of Fate. First off, backers get early-bird copies, a release several months before general audiences, AND are automatically included in the acknowledgments just for being a part of the project.
We’d like to thank Matthew Wolf for taking the time for this interview. If you’d like help put Tides of Fate on your bookshelf, you can currently pre-order the book in digital, paperback or hardcover editions. Pledges start at $10 and are estimated to deliver November 2020.