Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

It’s been quite some time since my last blog post, and while I feel a little bad for setting my blog on the back burner, I’m heartened by knowing that the reason for my absence was due to a big event in my life.


Regulars to my website should be aware of my About Me and Beanseller Saga pages where I go on about these two books, Magic Beans and Golden, that I’m publishing. I’ve been plugging that they’re available to pre-order and I’ve posted the dates, but now that we’re coming up on a single-digit countdown, it’s all starting to feel very real. These aren’t the first books I’ve written, but they’re the first I’ve ever published, and for that reason, I kind of see them as my firstborns. Twins, as it were.

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Why two books at once?

I’ve been doing A LOT of research on traditional publishing (meaning, getting picked up by a mainstream publisher, with agents and print copies in bookstores, and all the rest of it) versus self-publishing; hardcopy versus digital; Kindle Direct versus other methods such as Etsy; etc. During the course of this research, which took place over like two years, I came upon this theory: If you write a book and publish it, people may read it and may like it. But people read faster than you can write, so they’ll finish your book and move on to someone else. But if you write two books and publish them at the same time, someone may read your book, like it, check to see if there is another–there is!–they read and enjoy that one, and now they remember your name. The next time you publish, you already have some people lined up to care about it.

So to answer the question, ‘Why did it take you four years to write and publish Magic Beans?’ once and for all: It didn’t. It took me four years to research, write, edit, critique, edit, beta, edit, query, pitch, edit, and publish Magic Beans AND Golden. Which is about right, if you think about it. And in that time, I have also begun the four novellas that follow Golden, and the three next novels. So I have not been idle!


So what are the books about?

Magic Beans, as I’ve said a million times, is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk from the perspective of the man who sold the magic beans. In my version, the beanseller is a man named Alois, a thief and veteran of the Ettin Wars. He and his partner, a woman named Sulat, also a thief, accidentally get mixed up in an attempt to overthrow the king, which sends them to all sorts of strange places, including the top of a magic cloud. They encounter a cast of colourful characters, like a girl with magic hair, thief-catchers, giants in hiding, the murderous Spider Queen, and, of course, young Jack.

Golden is the story of the magic golden harp. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she end up on the magic cloud? What happened to her after Jack took her? If you love the glitz and glamour of the royal court, you’re going to want to read this one. It’s got a plot to steal the crown jewels with deeper political undercurrents, social manoeuvring, a messy princess, complicated romance, and, not one–but two–weddings!

As of today, they are both still available for pre-order, but come September 22, 2018, they will be officially available for purchase from Kindle Direct.

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Why am I only publishing on Kindle?

Partially, it’s because of the royalty rates (Amazon gives me 70%, far more than any other platform). Also, did you know that publishers are allowed to edit your manuscript without your knowledge or consent, up to and including the removal of whole chapters? Nightmare.  Thirdly, A lot of the cost of a paperback book at Barnes and Noble is a result of paying the publisher and the agent, the marketing department, the designers, editors, the actual paper and ink printing, and the shipment to the stores. Digital publishing eliminates the vast majority of that. Also, I make my own covers, so that saves you guys some money, as I don’t have to factor in designer fees. Fourth, digital books don’t contribute to deforestation. I am considering ordering a limited (like 25 copies) run of signed paperbacks, but that will be highly dependent on how well the digital books do). Lastly, convenience. I realise not everyone has a Kindle–in fact, I only recently bought myself one. But the app is free and is available for all devices, including Nook, which I think is a bit cheeky. But basically, as long as you have an e-reader app somewhere, you can read my book, and it won’t take up any space.


On the 21, I will be hosting a launch party simultaneously on Facebook and in-person in Bakersfield, California. There will be games and prizes and all sorts, so you definitely don’t want to miss it!

I would also love to take this moment to give a shoutout to my fantastic illustrator, Ana King of Inkcell Illustration, and my good friend and freelance editor, Breanna Clark. I couldn’t have done it without either of them, and you should definitely check them out.

One more time before I go, follow the links, Magic Beans and Golden, to pre-order before September 22! Thanks so much for your support, and is you love it, be sure to leave a review!




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