The Ackerly Green FAQ

Ackerly Green

What is Ackerly Green

Hi. I’m C.J. Bernstein. I created Ackerly Green Publishing in the summer of 2016 with the online, interactive story called The Monarch Papers, where readers could interact with characters, unravel centuries-old mysteries, and shape the outcome of the final story. These days, Ackerly Green is still me, with help from freelancers and awesome community members. I’m still dedicated to creating an immersive, interconnected universe of books where readers can be 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 my 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.

How Do I Contact "Ackerly Green"?

The best way to reach C.J. for product support or anything having to do with the company is by clicking the purple dialogue bubble on the bottom of every page on the Ackerly Green main site.

If you have a question about the forum, community, or narrative, feel free to reach out to one of our community leaders!

What is The Ackerly Green App

As of October 2020, there is not currently a version of the Ackerly Green app available on the App Store or Google Play Store, and I don’t currently have plans to release one. To learn more about this decision, you can read my blog post here.

The Briarverse

What is The Briarverse?

The story of the “Briarverse” 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. When 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 also how we could reclaim it together.

Readers are not just bystanders in the Briarverse. They’re integral parts of the narrative, building it, changing it, and becoming heroes themselves in the fight to bring magic and wonder back to the world.

What Is a Guild, and How Can I Find Mine?

The six guilds are a way of organizing members with certain strengths or talents within the Briarverse.

They are people who share common interests, personality traits, and magimystic connections. Your guild is your Briarverse 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. Once you’ve been sorted into your guild, you can introduce yourself to your fellow guild members on the AG Forum.

I Got Assigned One Guild, But I Think I Belong in Another. What Do I Do?

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, sometimes the Guide really does know best.

What is a Guild Bearing?

The guild bearing assessment, as discovered by the Mountaineers in the fall of 2019, is an unpublished supplementary assessment to Ackerly Green’s Guide to Magiq.

After taking the assessment to find your guild, the guild bearing assessment further divides guild members into one of three sub-categories, or bearings, meant to more deeply explore their true natures. It is meant to provide magimysts with added clarity as to their role within their guild by providing a more specific assessment of their magimystical natures reflective of the diverse ranges of personalities within each guild.

Where Can I Get The Books?

All of my books are available here in The Ackerly Green Book Shop, or through any of your preferred online retailers.

Will There Be More Books in The Briarverse?

Yes! I have a ridiculously big plan for the Briarverse, 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.

Who are The Mountaineers?

The short answer to this question is that everyone with a profile on the Ackerly Green Forum is a Mountaineer! To learn more about the history of Basecamp 33 and the first generation of Mountaineers, you can read The Monarch Papers, or explore the Briarverse Wiki.

Interactive Storytelling

I Don’t Really Get The Whole "In-World Immersion" Thing. Can You Explain It?

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 with a combination of creative writing/storytelling, role-playing, and good old fashioned make-believe.

I like to describe the way I do interactive storytelling here as coming to a house. Inside the house are rooms that I’ve built for you and think you’ll really like, but if you decide you want to explore a different room, I’ll go ahead and build that one instead. And though some of the design and furnishings may be the same as the first room, I’ve created a new thing based on your curiosity and imagination. You have helped shape the story. And if I do my job well, you never know that what you experience isn’t the exact story I wanted to tell you. (That works about 75% of the time.) I am telling you a story, a story with rules and laws, walls and doors, but you are helping to shape that story with your ideas, imagination, and pondering.

For a full explanation of the dynamic between Ackerly Green stories/books and interactive reader participation, I recommend that you check out my forum post on Interactive Storytelling, Trust Levels, and Joining the Briarverse. And remember, should you choose to participate, it is essential that you read the Forum Primer and respect the community rules and the contributions of other readers in order to preserve the authenticity of the experience for everyone.

What's The Best Way To Catch Up On The Story?

The most straightforward way to catch up on everything relating to the Briarverse is to read the books that chronicle the experience in narrative form. You can download The Monarch Papers: Volume One for free here, and the rest of the Briar Archive are available for purchase directly through the Ackerly Green Book Shop, or from any of your other preferred online retailers. If you’d prefer to explore on your own, there’s an in-depth Briarverse Wiki that can be searched by characters, guilds, stories, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

To catch up on the narratives following The Monarch Papers, which include The Secret Society and The Search For Magiq, you can visit their forum pages by clicking on the hyperlinks, or you can download their e-book adaptations through my Book Shop here.

Is The Monarch Papers Still Going?

The interactive narrative known as The Monarch Papers concluded in the fall of 2017. It was followed by Ackerly Green’s Secret Society and The Search for Magiq, which have been turned into e-book novels that you can read here.

The Briar Society has taken on the mantle as the immersive, interactive narrative, which you can read about below.

How Can I Participate In The Current Narrative?

When you join the forum, you have the opportunity meet other readers and explore the Briarverse through the Community and Guilds categories. The Age of Magiq (the place on the forum where interactive narratives often play out) will become available to you when you reach Trust Level 2, after a week or two of consistent, meaningful participation during which you will have gained sufficient understanding of the Briarverse and how it works to be able to successfully contribute to the narrative.

For more information about trust levels, see below.

The Forum

What Is The Forum?

The Ackerly Green Forum evolved from a message board that started in the summer of 2016 as a place for readers involved in the 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, 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 talking, posting their art, and participating in creative challenges together, and it’s also where the books I write and publish 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.

What's The Relationship Between The Forum And AGP?

The Forum is actively maintained, structured, and monitored by leaders from the community, and myself. Although anyone is welcome to create a topic of conversation at any time, larger initiatives that are associated with a Briarverse narrative, such as The Monarch Papers, Ackerly Green’s Secret Society, The Search for Magiq, and The Briar Society come directly from me. I also work closely with community leaders who help manage the forum and lead community initiatives like creative projects, challenges, book clubs, game nights, and more.

For a full explanation of the dynamic between Ackerly Green stories/books and reader participation, please see my forum post on Interactive Storytelling, Trust Levels, and Joining the Briarverse.

Who Can I Contact If I Have A Question About The Forum?

The best person to contact with forum-related questions is a community leader. You can either send them a PM, or create a post in The Q&A Super Topic, which will also give other community members a chance to answer your question.

Is The Entire Forum In-World?

Nope! Just the Age of Magiq, and Guilds category, (and maybe one or two secret categories.) If you’d like to only see the in-world categories, you can click the “In-World View” option in the hamburger menu directly to the left of your avatar in the top righthand corner of the forum. The “In-World View” option then transforms into an “Elsewhither” link, which you can use to return to all of the out-of-world conversations and activities.

Who Am I Supposed To Be On The Forum?

Just be yourself! Many of our readers choose not to give their full names as their usernames for privacy reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’ve taken on a separate character or persona to who they are in everyday life. The only real difference between online and “IRL” you is your belief in and occasional practice of magic. Otherwise, it’s best to just be yourself so that everyone else can get to know you!

Can I Change My Username?

Usernames can be changed at admin discretion, though we don’t do it often because it breaks all mention of your previous username and causes a bunch of dead links on the forum. However, if you’ve just joined and don’t have any mentions yet, you can reach out to a community leader for a one-time change.

If I Post On The Forum, Will I End Up In A Book?

By participating in immersive experiences, you have the opportunity to shape the story with your fellow readers. The more you participate in a meaningful way, the more likely you are to have an impact on the final narrative.

I Have An Idea For A New Forum Thread, How Do I Know Where To Post It?

If it’s “in-world,” in that it has narrative implications, explores ideas about magic, 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 Community. If it’s book-related, it goes in Bookish. If it’s creative, it goes in the The Hall of Hobbies. I try to make the categories as intuitive as possible, but if you’re not sure where to post, you can always reach out to a community leader, or ask in the General Discussion Super Topic.

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. :cjheart:

Is It Bad Form To Post In An Old Topic?

Not at all!! Please DO dig up old threads and add your voice 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.

I'd Like To Know More About The Forum Trust Levels

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 Community, the The Hall of Hobbies, and Bookish. You’ll also be able to read the immersive In-World categories that take place within the narrative of the Briarverse 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 Briarverse.

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. Whatever happens here is happening inside the narrative of the Briarverse 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.


Who Is The Ackerly Green Community?

The Ackerly Green Community is made up of people of all ages, nationalities, beliefs, and backgrounds, who share a belief in magic and a sense of kindness and community. Though a few of the profiles on our forum are NPCs (non-player characters, or fictional characters controlled by me as part of the narrative), the vast majority of profiles are the very real people who make up the readership and have created this wonderful community.

What Is The Community Fellowship?

The Ackerly Green Fellowship is an outreach program that allows those who can’t currently afford books to request and receive books and small pieces of merchandise from the Book Shop. Members of our community who are able can contribute to a secure fellowship fund. For more information on how to donate to or request from the fellowship, please see the Community Fellowship page.

The Briar Society

What Is The Briar Society?

The Briar Society is a uniquely immersive storytelling experience in which readers become members of a magimystic secret society.

As a member, you will receive access to an exclusive area of the Ackerly Green site and forum, where you can explore original content and work alongside fellow “Briars” and characters to uncover hidden secrets and help shape the future of magic. You can learn more about The Briar Society here.

How Do I Sign Up?

You can register for the current chapter of the Briar Society here.

Can I Join The Briar Society If I Don't Want To Directly Participate?

Sure! If interaction isn’t your thing, you can also sit back and watch the narrative unfold in real-time, exploring content at your own pace and receiving email updates on the action. You can learn more about the Briar Society here.

The Book Shop

Where Does The Merchandise From The Book Shop Come From?

The Book Shop is divided into two categories: products that I make/fulfill myself, and products that are printed on-demand through off-site fulfillment centers. AG Alchemy candles, pins, buttons, and keychains are all handmade and fulfilled in-house at the Ackerly Green offices by me, while books, clothes, bags, and phone cases are all printed-on-demand off-site.

How Soon Can I Expect To Receive My Products After Ordering?

Books, bags, clothes, and phone cases are print-on-demand, so you can expect to receive them about a week (or less) after your order goes through. AG Alchemy candles, pins, buttons, and keychains are assembled and fulfilled by me in the Ackerly Green offices. I do my best to get those orders into the mail as soon as they come in, but this is also dependent on my schedule and the current limitations of the USPS.

Who Can I Contact If There's An Issue With My Order?

The best way to reach me for product support is by clicking the purple dialogue bubble on the bottom of every page on the Ackerly Green main site.

From there, I can figure out if the issue is something I can solve in-house, or I’ll direct you to the customer services of my third-party fulfillment sites.

For questions or concerns about clothing or prints you’ve received, you can visit: Printful Support

For questions or concerns about downloading or accessing my ebooks, you can visit:
Bookfunnel Support

What Is AG Alchemy?

AG Alchemy is my line of hand-poured candles that are tailored to represent concepts from the Briarverse books and designed to resemble artifacts from the lost age of magic.

They are “author-crafted,” which means I make them myself, from scent to shipping. I use custom, phthalate-free scents, and an ethically sourced soy-coconut wax blend.


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