2020 is many things, both good and bad, but for me, in one sense, at least, it represents a milestone. This is the year where a vision over 15 years in the making finally becomes complete.
We’re a matter of a couple weeks away from the release of the 7th and final book in the Galaxy Ascendant series, A Worthy Sacrifice.
It almost feels unreal that I’ve reached this point, but here we are.
So, what is there to say, now?
First, when you have a vision, and a drive to realize it, work toward it! If it’s worth doing, odds are it won’t be easy, and it might not all go exactly the way you’d like, but if you don’t get started you’ll get exactly nowhere. Once I knew I was serious about writing this series, I first spent a couple years trying to go about things the tradpub route, before coming to the correct choice and going my own way. There are some things I’d do differently if I was going about all that with the knowledge I have now, and the series hasn’t quite reached as wide an audience as I’d have liked, but that’s largely due to my lack of experience and knowledge regarding marketing & promotion. I’ve gotten better at that over these past few years, and have a larger platform now, but that only helps so much once you’re already in the middle of a series in a genre whose primary audience is locked into legacy franchises–even if they just whine about them all day.
However, those who have found the Galaxy Ascendant series seem to have greatly enjoyed it, the books still sell–and having a book 1 still selling over 3 years post release, for a small-time indie author, is nothing to sneeze at–plus, the crowdfunds, which I only started doing with book 3 in the series, have shown steady (if very gradual) growth, particularly this most recent one. Now that the entire series will be out and available, it’ll start being seen by more people, G-d willing, and keep chugging along as I move on to other projects.
As might be clear from what I already wrote, you have to constantly be learning and adapting as you go. Not so much with the vision itself–a bit more on that later–but in how how you go about realizing it. Especially for creative types, marketing a project well is difficult, as is interacting with fans/backers/prospective readers/others creators, and just managing the whole project. It’s not as simple as it sounds, especially if you want to do it right (and you should, for obvious reasons.) I’ve learned so much about the whole process, from the writing to the marketing to coordinating all the moving parts of my little international operation, and I can’t wait to better apply it all in the future.
But returning to the topic of vision. I knew what I wanted to do with this series; in fact, I knew (at least in a general sense) how this final book would end, from around the time I started writing in the first place. Some things did change a bit along the way (mostly in the form of adding new characters/storylines as things got more complicated, but the central stuff remained the same, as did the general pathway there. If I hadn’t had such a clear, strong vision for this series, I’m not sure I’d have ever finished it, and even if I did, it would’ve been a vastly inferior product. We see it too often with creators (more often, I think, with those who got huge out of nowhere) that they had maybe a couple neat ideas, and a simple story, but little to nothing prepared beyond that. What results is a mess; disjointed stories in many respects, and a schizophrenic canon.
Star Wars, I’m looking at you.
Even if you want to do a simple, contained story, I’d advise having some idea of how you might expand things in one way or another should you find unexpected success, and, of course, if you are planning a series, then, well, plan it! Even discovery writers need to have at least some idea of their destination in mind, or you’re setting yourself up for a mess.
While this is the end of *this* series, I sure as hell am not done with the Galaxy Ascendant. While I will step away from it for a little while to work on other stuff, I already have plans for no fewer than three sequel/spin-off series in the works. The Galaxy Ascendant, and its heroes, will return. Also, I’m prepping a Patreon/Subscribestar exclusive serialized series that is set in the Galaxy Ascendant (albeit a long time before the main series, and not directly linked to the main story.) Consider subscribing there for that; all tiers will get access!
We’re just day away from me sending the ebook versions of A Worthy Sacrifice to Kickstarter backers, and then it’ll be two weeks till the book launches on Amazon. Now’s the time to share the series with anyone you think might be interested; one final push. Same goes for reviews. 😉
Also, it’s time to get hype for my next project, Light Unto Another World! More info on that, plus announcement of the Kickstarter for that series coming soon!