The other day I was thinking over the whole of the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe Series all the way up to Frontline and couldn't help but smile.
A number of things have happened since the first copy of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus sold from Mobipocket. My writing has gotten better (though I'm told Omnibus is still a fantastic read), and thanks to the support shown for this series the depth of storytelling in the Spinward Fringe Series has improved a great deal.
Out here in the real world Mobipocket and other science fiction fans have been kind and appreciative enough to support me by buying the books and sending donations the help out with necessities. Others, like the Somacow crew, have been there when I needed help online with everything from spreading the word to saving my Wiki entry.
It's not easy being an independent author full time. When sales slumps hit the concern that my run as a full time writer could come to a quick end becomes very real. Many people assume an independent author is self publishing because a publisher won't pick up his work and I can tell you, that's not always true. I've turned down three bad offers from publishers who assume I'm so desperate to get my stuff on the shelves that I'm willing to sell the whole series and all rights (print, ebook, TV, film, international and merchandising), along with a future book for a handfull of magic beans. The last offer was for an advance of $1.00 and the terms only got worse from there, for example. They obviously consider the series worthy of publication, I'm just not willing to sell it all for a publishing credit only to find myself making so little on each sale that I have to go find another full time job, taking most of my time away from writing. It sort of defeats the purpose...
I enjoy being connected to my readers and fully accountable for my work. You good readers determine whether I can keep doing this full time by buying the books, spreading the word and bringing new readers into the fold if I've entertained them well. You guys also send me emails, post your opinions in this and other blogs and get others hooked on the series. Without you I wouldn't be doing this full time and I'm very greatful. Having said that, if a publisher makes me a reasonable offer on the printed rights in any country I'd be glad to accept and see copies on the shelves. After all, printed copies of my work are still difficult to obtain outside of the US and very few have been sold, less than fifty.
Story wise, much of what began with The First Light Chronicles Omnibus has come full circle. By the end of Spinward Fringe Frontline so many things have resolved. I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out with the storyline.
Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is one of those very special books wherin I get to write a story I've been looking forward to since Spinward Fringe Resurrection was completed. The whole series has what I consider a solid foundation and vast potential and Rogue Element is where I start to take full advantage of the characters, their individual struggles, the micro storyline and the macro storyline. This is a faster work, it's taking a lot less time to pen. I'm also trying a different approach to novel writing that's working out exceptionally well.
People around the world have been simply amazing. I have to admit that part of this post was prompted by an email I received recently that asked if I was giving up Science Fiction for writing Horror. I can answer that in a word: no. The Dark Arts Horror Novella (which is being posted in serialized format right now), is something I completed over a space of four days. It resulted from a bunch of developmental writing I worked through to improve my writing skills, give my imagination a general workout and to clear my head after working on Frontline for six months solid. I've been working on Spinward Fringe Rogue element for almost three weeks now and am focusing all my writing efforts on science fiction. Will I cross over into other genres in the future? Sure!
However, as of this moment I have many stories left to tell in the Spinward Fringe Saga, and since readers are demanding more (Frontline has sold 150 copies so far depsite a brutal sales slump that's taking place right now), it looks like they want me to keep going. Science Fiction is a constant challenge, beyond any other I've faced. I'm heavily engaged in the characters and love the universe I'm building, so when I leave it's not for long.
There is SO MUCH going on with my work right now. For the next five weeks parts of the Dark Arts series will be posted. Add an upcoming event with The First Light Chronicles Omnibus and work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element and you could say I'm very busy these days. Still, thinking over the past seven books (including the novellas in the First Light Chronicles Series), leaves me amazed. How far this has come and the support of the 300 or so readers who have jonied me is fantastic.
For anyone who isn't familiar, here's a list of the books I'm talking about:
First Light Chronicles Freeground
First Light Chronicles Limbo
First Light Chronicles Starfree Port
First Light Chronicles Omnibus (Contains all of the above)
Spinward Fringe Resurrection
Spinward Fringe Awakening
Spinward Fringe Triton
Spinward Fringe Frontline
I consider the First Light Chronicles books a part of the Spinward Fringe series simply because the storylines ended up being intertwined. Anyone who is looking at reading the Spinward Fringe series should begin with the First Light Chronicles Omnibus.
Look for frequent updates right here on what's happening in my little microcosm.
On Friday I'll explain what the First Light Chronicles Omnibus Banner is all about. See you then!