Skull Throne ARC Contest!

Posted by Peat

Hey, all. This is a fairly long post. If you’re just interested in getting to the meat of it and finding out how to get your greedy hands on an advance copy of ST, skip to the end!

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately. It’s not that I haven’t had a lot to say. I have no end of blog posts half-written in my head, but I’ve been pretty busy finishing up book 4 in the Demon Cycle, The Skull Throne, and I wanted to keep my eye on the ball. I meant to do a big blog post the day it was finished, but it was right before the holidays, and I’d shoved much of the rest of my life aside for the last push. Lots of IRL things needed attention.

There was also, to be honest, a bit of an emotional crash. It’s expected, on completion of a project this big. It’s happened with every one of my books, yet it never fails to catch me by surprise.

The Skull Throne US CoverHow big a project are we talking? The first draft of The Skull Throne finished in August was 226,318 words, which came out out to around 850 double-spaced pages in MSWord. This took me 58 weeks of writing, where I wrote an average of 5148 words a week.

Skull Throne was the fastest, most organized book I have ever written. I had a firm plan going in, and accompanied it with a lifestyle change. After The Daylight Tour, I found myself out of shape, overweight, exhausted, and out of discipline. My cluster migraines were worse. I dared to step on the scale one day, and realized I had to make a change.

So I joined the gym down the street, and made a commitment to eating better, sleeping properly, and working out 4 mornings a week. Change was slow to come, but I kept at it. The discipline paid great dividends. Regular cardio helped reduce my headaches, and I found I was much more prepared for a focused afternoon writing session, with a word count goal set at 1000 words.

I’ve always found 1,000 words to be my sweet spot. It’s modest enough that there is no good excuse not to reach it every day, but substantial enough that if applied over time, it builds up swiftly. Distance running rather than sprinting. Constant, steady creative pressure.

The end result was dropping 22 pounds and finishing a draft of book 4 I was super proud of. At 58 weeks The Skull Throne was written considerably faster than the 97 weeks it took to write The Daylight War, which was still faster than the three years it took to write The Desert Spear, which was WAY faster than the 7 frickin’ years it tool me to write The Warded Man.

That said, I knew even then there was a lot of work ahead. Keeping that slow, steady pressure led me to cut some creative corners in the first draft, knowing I would have to fix them later in the rewrite. And indeed, when my agent, editor, copyeditor and beta readers read the manuscript and came back to me with their comments, they confirmed the weaknesses I was already aware of, and pointed out some new ones. I did a full re-read myself, coming up with even more areas I could improve.

Four grueling months later, the final draft is 236,217 words. You might ask what took so long, if all I did was add less than 10,000 words. But there was a LOT more to it than that. Sections needed to be cut and replaced with better ones. A bunch of important things happening off panel needed to be brought onto the page, adding new chapters and a new POV. Several chapters needed a full gut renovation. The timeline had to be reworked, so events on far flung corners of the map synched up properly. Even up into the copyedit, I was making significant changes. I doubt there’s a paragraph that wasn’t changed in some way from one version to the next.

But the book is SO much better for it. Skull Throne has gone from a book I was really proud of to a book I can’t fucking wait for everyone to read. Everything is how I want it to be. Inevitably, there will be readers who are annoyed because the story didn’t go in the direction they anticipated, or because I focused on one character over another, but I think there is more than enough awesome to go around in this book, no matter who your favorite character is. Seriously. Shit gets real as we ramp up for the finale in book 5.

The Skull Throne will go on sale in the US & Canada on March 31, 2015. The UK version just ten days later on April 9. I will touring in both countries at time of release. Tour details evolving here. The final manuscript has been sent to my international publishers for translation, but we do not have firm release dates for any translations yet. We’ll let you know when we do.

NEW LEGACY CoverIn all the agony and ecstasy over Skull Throne, it’s easy to overlook its companion novella, Messenger’s Legacy, which helps introduce one of the new POV characters in Skull Throne, the half-Krasian Briar Damaj. You don’t need to read one to enjoy the other, but like The Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold did for Desert Spear, I think Messenger’s Legacy adds a new layer that can really enhance reading of Skull Throne, and highly recommend reading it as an appetizer.

The Meat of It

Speaking of which, I have a whole box of US and UK printings of Messenger’s Legacy, and come the end of January, I should have a neat stack of Advance Read Copies (ARCs) of Skull Throne, two months before it is published.

Would you like one?

It’s been a while since we held a big fan art contest and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year.

Please note that “fan art” need not mean “drawing”. Sculpture, cosplay, homemade action figures, Lego dioramas, dramatic reading/reenactment, music, decorative baking/crafts, naughty limericks, tattoos, interpretive dance, and just about any other creative medium are all valid. Play to your strengths. You can even cheat and convince a ringer to do the work for you. I hear lots of creative people can be motivated by the promise of sexual favors.

Contest Guidelines

1. Choose a favorite scene from any of the Demon Cycle books.

2. Create a piece of fan art (see above definition) you feel represents that scene in some way.

3. Submit all entries to with the subject line “Skull Throne ARC Contest”. If you have a physical entry, you can send it to:

Peter V. Brett
P.O. Box 1022
New York, NY 10276

4. Contest open globally, enter as many times as you like.

5. Entries will be accepted until my birthday, February 8, 2015. February 9 I will pick winners, and prizes will ship ASAP.


Grand Prizes will be ARCs of The Skull Throne.

First prizes will be deluxe leatherbound copies of Messenger’s Legacy with cover art by Vincent Chong and beautiful color and B&W interior art by Lauren K. Cannon.

Second prizes will be hardback US trade copies of Messenger’s Legacy with cover art and B&W interior illustrations by Lauren K. Cannon.

Third prizes will be UK hardback copies of Messenger’s Legacy, gorgeously designed to look like beaten Messenger journals.


Posted on January 5, 2015 at 8:00 am by PeatB
Filed under Brayan's Gold, Contests, Craft, Daylight War, Desert Spear, Fan Art, Fans, Great Bazaar, Meg, Messenger's Legacy, Skull Throne, ST ARC Contest, The Daylight War, Warded Man, Warding Contest

11 responses to “Skull Throne ARC Contest!”

  1. It there a challenge for an ARC, for the artistically challenged? I’d love to do a review and promo, as I have read and own all your books, but I can’t draw for the life of me ( stick men are debatable).

    If there is any way to get involved in a review or review tour, ebook or otherwise, please please let me know!

    I do post to amazon UK and US, B&N, goodreads, librarything, booktropolis, twitter, tsu, FB, instagram, pinterest, tumblr and google+. I can also post anywhere else you need me to. 🙂

    Posted by Bri Wignall, on January 6th, 2015 at 4:35 am
  2. Can we use Brayan’s Gold or the Great Bazaar as well? I just have to make sure … 🙂

    Posted by Trevina, on January 7th, 2015 at 1:51 am
  3. You can definitely use Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold.

    Posted by Peat, on January 7th, 2015 at 7:17 pm
  4. You really are an inspiration man. You pin pointed your weaknesses, made a plan to gradually alter your life to fix them, attained your goals and still managed to shoot out the latest novel in your series.

    I look forward to entering the contest almost as much as I look forward to hearing more about Rojer…almost.

    Posted by Mathew Danskin, on January 8th, 2015 at 5:09 pm
  5. I would dearly love to have an arc of Skull Throne or one of those UK Messenger’s Legacy books.

    I continue thinking about doing something but I have come up with no good ideas I am capable of accomplishing. It is depressing to be so artistically disabled.

    Posted by Beverly Collie (BC1130), on January 10th, 2015 at 9:49 am
  6. Hi I would prefer to sketch a scene & send it to you by post Peter…..would that be acceptable?….

    Posted by Alan Ley, on January 12th, 2015 at 10:48 am
  7. Absolutely, Alan.

    Posted by Peat, on January 12th, 2015 at 10:51 am
  8. Hi, Peter!

    A massive well done on your biggest achievement, which seems to be finding a proper balance in your life!

    Health, sport, family and work can go together very well but only if they come in right proportions. Focusing on work too much (even if you love it) can make a misery out of your day-to-day life, which badly impacts on verything/everybody around you and eventually leads to hating your work, as well. Steady pace wins the race!

    I am really happy for you Pete! You are the man! Keep it up and cannot wait until I get my hands on the Skull Throne!

    PS. Any ideas on when it will be available in Poland?

    Posted by Kamil, on January 19th, 2015 at 7:43 pm
  9. “I hear lots of creative people can be motivated by the promise of sexual favors.”

    GodDamnit! You couldn’t ask this like 4 years ago. I knew a guy like that and now he’s married and is out of the question. Bad timing!

    Posted by DemonDarakna, on January 21st, 2015 at 3:25 pm
  10. Hi Peter,

    I sent my piece a few days ago but I never got a confirmation if you received it or not. I was wondering if you got it or if you did was the file too large?

    Posted by Romeo, on January 27th, 2015 at 10:03 pm
  11. Yes, we received your entry! Just posted today on the blog:

    Posted by Meg, on January 28th, 2015 at 3:23 pm