Ackerly Green FAQ
Ackerly Green Publishing was created by author CJ Bernstein in the summer of 2016 with the online, interactive story called The Monarch Papers, where readers could interact with characters, unravel centuries-old mysteries, shape the narrative, and even become characters in the final story. These days, it is a company dedicated to creating an immersive, interconnected universe of books where readers are characters and magic is real. Each book expands on the others, enriching the contemporary fantasy narrative, deepening the lives of the characters, the world they live in, and the connections readers have to both. In addition to an ever-growing series of books that span genre, subject, and age, Ackerly Green also creates sprawling “live book” experiences that bridge the gaps between our traditionally published books with one-of-a-kind interactive, immersive adventures that can only be told online, in the moment. A book being written as it’s read. Readers shape the story, affect the outcome, and even become part of the narrative themselves.
The story of the “Magiqverse” is ultimately about two versions of our world. One version teeming with wild and secret magic, the other darker and more desperate, whose inhabitants are searching for what little is left of wonder in the world. The dark world is ours, here and now, built on the ruins of the other, but still connected to the vast alternate history that occasionally seeps into our own. As the two versions bleed together, warring factions, powerful magic, and unlikely heroes are thrown together from both worlds in a vast, literary, lore-rich narrative that not only offers us glimpses at a vision of how our world once was, but how we could reclaim it together. Readers are not just bystanders in the Magiqverse. They’re integral parts of the narrative, building it, changing it, and becoming heroes themselves in the fight to bring magic back to the world.
The six guilds are a way of organizing members with certain strengths or talents within the Magiqverse. They are people who share common interests, personality traits, and magimystical connections. Your guild is your Magiqverse family, and they are the people you can turn to first with any questions or concerns. To find your guild, take the assessment in Ackerly Green’s Guide to Magiq.
If you feel like you know your heart best and would rather be in a different guild, there’s nothing stopping you from joining that group on the Forum and identifying as such. However, we do typically recommend trusting in the flow of magiq. Personalities are certainly not static; we grow and develop as people at a faster rate than we are often aware. Sometimes the Guide really does know best.
Yes! We have a ridiculously big plan for the Magiqverse, one that includes stories that will span several series, dozens of books, and years and years of live, interactive storytelling. A story that has twists and turns, both firm conclusions and open ends, and endless places for collaboration and shared storytelling.
The next book that will be set in the Magiqverse is The Book of Briars, which will be released in the early fall of 2019.
The in-world, immersive side of the Ackerly Green Forum is a way for readers to directly engage with the narrative in a way that breaks the traditional fourth wall of storytelling. At Ackerly Green, it’s typically a combination of creative writing/storytelling, role-playing, and good old fashioned make-believe within.
We like to describe the way we do interactive storytelling here as coming to a house. Inside the house are rooms that we’ve built for you and think you’ll really like, but if you decide you want to explore a different room, we’ll go ahead and build that one instead. And though some of the design and furnishings may be the same as the first room, we’ve created a new thing based on your curiosity and imagination. You have helped shape the story. And if we do our job well, you never know that what you experience isn’t the exact story we wanted to tell you. (That works about 75% of the time.) We are telling you a story, a story with rules and laws, walls and doors, but you are helping to shape my story with your ideas, imagination, and pondering.
For a full explanation of the the dynamic between Ackerly Green stories/books and interactive reader participation, we highly recommend that you check out CJ’s Forum post on Interactive Storytelling, Trust Levels, and Joining the Magiqverse. And remember, should you choose to participate, it is essential that you read the Forum Primer and respect our rules and the contributions of other readers in order to preserve the authenticity of the experience for everyone.
The interactive experience called The Monarch Papers ended in the fall of 2017. However, there are always other ongoing interactive experiences on the Forum that you can participate in. The current interactive narrative is called The Search For Magiq, and you can read more about joining the Magiqverse here.
The most straightforward way to catch up on everything relating to The Monarch Papers is to read the books that chronicle the experience in narrative form. You can download Volume One for free here, and Volume Two is available for purchase directly through our Ackerly Green Bookshop, or from any of your other preferred online retailers. If you’d prefer to explore on your own, we have an in-depth Magiqverse Wiki that can be searched by characters, guilds, phases of TMP, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
To catch up on the other narratives, which include The Secret Society and The Search For Magiq, you can visit their Forum pages by clicking on the hyperlinks, and you can also check the What’s Going On Right Now page to see where the most recent action is happening.
The Ackerly Green Forum evolved from a message board that was started in the summer of 2016 as a place for readers involved in the one-of-a-kind interactive literary experience called “The Monarch Papers” to communicate with characters, unravel mysteries, and meet other readers who also believed in magic. These days, the Forum is still a place of connection. It’s a place for friendships made both during and after the events of The Monarch Papers, where everyone can come together and chat about pretty much anything from books to movies to fitness plans and everything in between. It’s a fantastic hub for creativity, as many of our users enjoy posting their art and participating in creative challenges together, and it’s also where the books we published are expanded on and explored with immersive, ongoing in-world experiences that not only take you beyond the boundaries of the books, but allow you to shape and even become a part of the stories.
The Forum is actively maintained, structured, and monitored by AGP staff. Although anyone is welcome to create a topic of conversation at any time, larger initiatives that are associated with a Magiqverse narrative, such as The Monarch Papers, Secret Society, and The Search for Magiq, come directly from AGP staff. We also work closely with our guild leaders, who lead other community initiatives like fitness challenges, book clubs, game nights, and more.
For a full explanation of the the dynamic between Ackerly Green stories/books and reader participation, please see CJ’s Forum post on Interactive Storytelling, Trust Levels, and Joining the Magiqverse.
Nope! Just the Age of Magiq category and The Monarch Papers Archive. If you’d like to only see the in-world categories, you can click the “Magiqverse” button in the page header, directly to the right of the AG Forum logo. The “Magiqverse” button then transforms into an “Elsewhither” button, which you can use to return to all of the out-of-world conversations and activities.
That’s a definite possibility! By participating in our immersive experiences, you have the opportunity to shape the story with your fellow readers. The more active you are and the more you participate, the more likely you are to have an impact on the final narrative.
If it’s “in-world,” in that it has narrative implications, explores ideas about magiq or about your guild, it should go in The Age of Magiq. If it’s about something generally mundane (from everyday, non-magical life), it can go in the Cabinet of Otherworldly Wonders. If it’s book-related, it goes in Bookish. If it’s creative, it goes in the Creationary. We try to make the categories as intuitive as possible, but if you’re not certain where to post, you can always feel free to reach out to a guild leader, or ask in the General On/Off Topic Thread.
Please Note: Creating a new thread is like starting a new conversation, so make sure you have a first post ready to get the conversation started with when you make the thread! Please only create threads for topics you’re genuinely interested in talking about and don’t see being discussed elsewhere. Creating threads for the sake of creating threads is not a shortcut for increasing your trust level.
Not at all!! Please DO dig up old threads and add your own contributions to them. Just because a thread got buried once doesn’t mean there aren’t other people who would enjoy posting in it again too, so post away! We promise nobody will think it’s weird.
Your trust level is your designated access level within the Forum, and you can gain higher trust levels through consistent and genuine participation over time. You can check your trust level by clicking on your profile, but you can also click here for a visual walkthrough. Below is a brief summary of each trust level, but for a complete breakdown please see the Forum Primer.
Trust Level Zero: Newbie This is where everyone begins. You’ll be able to read and contribute to out-of-world categories like the Creationary, Book Club, The Cabinet of Wonders, and the out-of-world Community Projects. You’ll also be able to read the immersive In-World categories that take place within the narrative of the Magiqverse and catch up with The Monarch Papers Archive.
Trust Level One: Recruit Trust Level One won’t grant you complete access to the immersive Age of Magiq areas of the forum, BUT it will grant you access to the in-world Guilds category where you can begin your in-world adventure, explore your guild, and get to know your guild leader and fellow guild members. This level is the (relatively short) time period where you can get fully caught up with the events, inhabitants, and community of the in-world Magiqverse.
Trust Level Two: Regular At Trust Level Two you’ll be trusted with the ability to contribute to all of the in-world categories, which have their own set of creative categories, projects, and immersive rules. You can introduce yourself as whoever you want to be, crafting a persona for yourself within the Magiqverse. Whatever happens here is happening inside the narrative of the Ackerly Green Magiqverse novels.
Trust Level Three: Magimystic At Trust Level Three, you’ll gain access to the hidden Discord server where readers can have more casual and constant out-of-world discussions and better get to know one another. This server has rules for participation and posting, but it’s a fun, casual place to stay in touch with your friends and fellow readers.