Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Shadow Wars - A Brief History


As of yesterday, 08.01.2017, I have finally returned The Shadow Wars to WattPad with the posting of the first chapter of DEAD ICE.

The series was finished back in December of 2016, marking the end of a three year plus journey of writing fifteen fucking novels, three novellas, and nine short stories. (Side Note: That's going to change. One of the novellas is becoming a full-length novel, I'm adding a novella, and two of the novels near the end are getting mashed together. Plus, I'm adding six more short stories onto the end.)

I've taken down and reposted the series more than once. Why?

Well, a little history. If you already know the history of The Shadow Wars, you can ignore this.

I'm honestly not sure when I first began working on what was the first incarnation of what would ultimately become Necropolis, the book that launched my writing career. Such as it is. In a way, I suppose the idea of fighting zombies in space has been floating in the cloud that is my brain for a long, long time, but the first incarnation of Necropolis, I think, came in the form of Survival, a Halo fan fiction I started writing. Although the initial opening featured a group of Marines investigating a derelict mining outpost, the few chapters I wrote afterward largely resemble the opening of Necropolis, and that was maybe in...I dunno, 2010? I took it down within five chapters when I realized that it was actually pretty cool and could be original.

I think that I wrote the first four or so chapters of Necropolis in late 2011. For awhile there I was toying around with all sorts of notions and ideas. My biggest problem was that I couldn't seem to write an entire novel, I could only create novellas and shorts. So I was thinking about releasing Necropolis piecemeal, in 20,000 word segments. I'm glad I didn't.

I worked on it a bit more in 2012, but ultimately put it away as my life got a little complicated. (I had to move across the country.) Then, in early 2013, someone mentioned this website called WattPad. I investigated, and on March 4th, 2013, I signed up.

I didn't have much to post at first. I put up a few things and got a few reads, not thinking much of it, not sure what to do. And then I decided to post up Necropolis. So I polished up the first five chapters I'd written and posted them.

Something happened. Necropolis caught on fire.

I started getting thousands of reads, comments, and votes. People were following me. You'd think I'd have the insight to actually get off my ass and start updating regularly, but no! For some reason, I'd update maybe once or twice a month.

Ultimately, this culminated in Necropolis being finished in September of 2013, getting a little over 250,000 reads, and hitting #1 on both Sci-Fi and Horror. (This was back when they let you choose more than one genre.)

That was kind of a breakthrough for me. I had finished a novel. A real, feature-length novel. I had never really done that before. So what did I do? I immediately unpublished it so that I could put it up on the Kindle and enroll it in the KDP Select, which granted me bonus abilities as a self-published author, but demanded exclusivity.

Then I got cracking on Necropolis 2. I hammered it out in less than two months, I think, and then got to work on Necropolis 3. The popularity began dying right away. Necropolis 2 topped off at 80,000 reads, Necropolis 3 55,000. The fourth novel, Absolute Zero, got maybe 20,000 I think. Of course, I wasn't doing much to help things. I kept taking the novels down, (it made sense at the time and was a sound investment, or I guess it would've been, had it paid off), and I couldn't seem to get my shit straight as 2014 hit. I spent weeks trying to figure out what to do after Necropolis 3 was finished. After nearly two months of indecisiveness, I finally started writing Absolute Zero, but it was a really bad time for me mentally, and that one took awhile to write. Longer than it needed to. I finally got it done, however, and then set to work on the fifth novel, Ceaseless.

Shortly after writing it, in June of 2014, I moved back across the country to Missouri again. From there on, things kind of sort of settled into a routine. For the next year, I wrote novels six, seven, seven and a half, eight, and nine. I also wrote Dead Ice during early 2014, during my indecisive time, in an attempt to help get more people involved in The Shadow Wars, and then I rewrote it later, after Ceaseless.

By the time the ninth novel, Countdown, was finished, I was ready for a break. It was July of 2015. I took a bit of time to hammer out Dead Skies, because I felt like Dead Ice needed a followup, and then I stopped for awhile. It was during that July that Amazon made a big change to its KDP Select policy that kind of chopped by income in half. So...that pissed me off. I ended up saying fuck it and pulled everything out of the Select.

I then spent the next three or so months editing and reposting everything I had written so far to WattPad. Then I got back to work, hammering out some short stories and the final six novels in The Shadow Wars. It was NOT easy. The final three novels, The Blind War, Into the Void, and Saturate were written under a lot of stress. I basically worked for five months straight to get them all done before 2017, while trying to buy my first home and also attempting some new psych meds.

But I got it done.

Now, a bit more on the KDP Select. In April of 2016, I decided to pull everything down off of WattPad again and re-enroll it in the Select. My reasoning for this was, and technically still is, sound. Basically, I was leaving money on the table. In theory. The Select allows some readers to 'borrow' your book for free. Well, for them its free, save a 10$ a month fee to access KindleUnlimited. Every page that gets read of your borrowed books earns you some money. Not a lot, but it adds up.

Well...it was nice in theory, but the fact that it really just didn't work out that way, combined with the fact that I'm going to be starting a second pen name, made me decide, you know what? Fuck it. I'm just going to give the people this entire series again. It will still be available for purchase, both as an ebook and as a paperback. And also not exclusive to Kindle anymore! I'll also be putting them up for the Nook, whatever Kobo uses, and a few other places.

So hopefully that'll help.

I hope you enjoy The Shadow Wars, and what comes next as well.

-Sean