2016 was a good year for me.
Back in March, I released Vampire Outlaw. Book 2 in the Immortal Knight Chronicles, it was my 5th published novel, my longest book and the one I was most proud of at the time. It took me a long time to research and a long time to write but I felt truly happy with it and I still do.
But I still haven’t worked out how to effectively market the series. Anything with vampires in gets lumped into Twilight type Paranormal Romance or the like. Whereas my series is actually more like Bernard Cornwell’s stuff – historically accurate, soldierly adventure. I will work it out, find my readers and write more because I really believe in the series. And I really want to write about all the English and European historical events up to the present day that I have planned. I am particularly looking forward to writing Vampire Pirate, some time in the future…
I released Orb Station Zero in August, the first of the Galactic Arena series. It took a lot longer to write than I originally intended. It was also longer than I planned and it took more science research than expected. And I plotted it very tightly and edited it repeatedly. But it was a hit! It sold over two thousand copies in the first three months and had over 750,000 pages read under the Kindle Unlimited book borrowing program, which is pretty bloody great for me and effectively bumped me up into the next level of indie publishing. A level where I actually started making some money. I did a lot of advertising and promotion for it and that kept me rather busy in the Autumn.
Still, I released Inhuman Contact, the first prequel story for Galactic Arena in October. I had this story in mind for nearly ten years and I wrote it very quickly. I intended for this to be “funnel” book, a free / cheap point of entry for scifi readers. It forms part of my “Series Starter Library” that I offer to people who sign up for my email list.
Inhuman Contact isn’t military scifi but the main series is, so in November I wrote a second prequel story with more action and with a soldier as a protagonist for those fans who prefer their scifi with guns in it. I hoped to get it released in December but due to illnesses and whatnot, it will be January 2017. It is called Onca’s Duty and is ready for the proofreader now…
If I include the latest book that isn’t quite released yet (and I am) then I have published 350,000 words this year. Especially considering I only ever write between dinner and bedtime, that is something I am proud of. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s also just under 1,000 words per night, averaged across all of 2016. The trick, as well as writing stupidly fast first drafts, is that I never give myself a night off – I even worked on Christmas Day.
I also had to either do or procure marketing, editing, finance, legal and boring business stuff, cover design and so on – all the other activity you need to do as a publisher / business owner. As well as the trick of merciless consistency, I did all this by consuming vast amounts of energy drinks and by not sleeping at all.
Plans for 2017
After such success in 2016, I will focus on the Galactic Arena series for the first half of the year. The sequel to Orb Station Zero is well under way and I am certain to get the first draft done by the end of January. I hope I can release it in February 2017 but it will depend on the editing and proofing part, as always.
I will get straight on with Galactic Arena books 3 and 4 but in April we are expecting our second child and that may, possibly, disrupt my writing schedule a little bit.
But now that my universe is firmly established, my characters are known and my overall series plotted out, I will be able to speed up production throughout 2017. I will also write the final book in the Gunpowder & Alchemy Series and put them together in a lovely box set.
My next goal for my publishing business is to achieve a full time income from writing, allowing me to give up my day job and so increase the number of books I can write every year. This seems more achievable now than it ever has before.
Thank you so much for reading and for your support this last year.
I can’t wait for 2017, it’s going to be fantastic.