How I’m Going to Conquer the World in 2015

Happy Monday, everyone! I had a smashing weekend, and I hope you did, too.

You might have noticed that I’ve been awfully quiet recently… or perhaps you didn’t notice. Either way, I wanted to officially welcome you to the new year, chat a little bit about where I’ve been, and tell you about some of my plans. This is exciting stuff and I’m jazzed as hell to have you along.

The short version is that I’ve had a hard year and have been depressed, making writing pretty painful. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like absolutely everything you say is wrong, but it sucks. For a writer, it’s death.

What are we if not our words, right?

But even at the bottom of this, I had some successes this past year. My article on the passive voice reached nearly 3,000 readers, and none other than Hugh Howey called it “brilliant.” My short story, The Witching Light, was one of the winners in Booktrack’s 2014 Halloween Contest. I also posted a few other pieces on their site, namely the first chapter of Stars Rain Down and a fantasy short titled An Encounter With Burgroth, both with integrated soundtracks, and both maintaining 4+ star ratings.

Booktrack, by the way, is an incredibly fun, cool, and easy to use platform that allows you to add soundtracks to text. The process is addictive, and you should hop over and check it out pronto! You can check out my profile while you’re at it, too.

So, in short, I’m starting to get the impression I’m pretty good at this stuff. That’s a welcome change from feeling like I’m a giant ball of suck covered in extra-strength suckers.

That was all months ago, though. How about right now? Well, the first order of business is that my sales are terrible… I’m currently selling less than 10 books in a given month. That’s to be expected, of course; I’ve done nothing to promote my work (thanks to abject terror), and sales have vanished down the drain. Scientists would classify my behavior as stupid, and my answer is to A) violently yank my head out of my ass (yowch!), B) start doing the hard work of telling people about my work, and C) sell these pieces on their merits.

I write exciting, interesting, and wonderfully unique stories. I want to share them with you.

Alright, let’s get to the world conquering stuff. Here are my plans for the coming year.

Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation — My plucky story about the strange adventures of wizards in space has been lying around collecting dust for more than two years now, and I love it too much to leave it alone. My first order of business is to complete the novel and give you all something new and wonderful to chew on. If you haven’t read the first two parts, now’s a great time!

Biotech Legacy — I’m currently plotting out the next book in the series, tentatively called Biotech Legacy: Dawn Frontier. What I have so far is very rough, but I know the general trajectory, and it’s just about filling in the details. That’s likely going to be my next project once Arcana Universalis is out the door.

Earthian — Earthian is on hold. I wrote myself into a corner and my inability to fix it hurt a lot. My sincerest apologies if you’ve been following along, but I need to let it rest before I can repair it properly.

Writing on Writing — I’m going to be writing an awful lot more about writing & language. I happen to think there’s a deep sickness in the way English is taught, and I intend to start correcting that one blog-post at a time, with the ultimate goals of making you knowledgeable, confident, and more able to find your own answers to problems. Expect big things here.

Reviews — You read that right! I’m going to start doing book reviews here. My focus will be on other self-published work (mostly sci-fi and fantasy), but there will also be some mainstream releases. If you’re a self-published writer interested in having your work reviewed, leave a comment telling me about your book and I’ll take a look.

Oktopod — This one is the biggy. I don’t know about you, but I’m still dissatisfied with our self-publishing options. Amazon provides a good platform with a large install base, but it’s not our business. It doesn’t belong to writers, and because of that, we’re subject to their whims. Smashwords is working hard to help us get onto tons of platforms, but their tools leave me wanting and they’re basically just another middle-man. I want us to own our business in a way that’s sustainable, equitable, and focused on connecting writers directly with our readers. And more than anything, I want you to be involved. Come join our Google+ community!

Connecting with you — The thread that’s holding all of these together… I want to hear from you. Who are you? What brought you here? What have you read lately? What’s bothering you about self-publishing? Click the little comment button, and let me know! Hop on over and connect with me on Twitter while you’re at it. I’m super-active there, and I promise to entertain. 😉

All in all, it feels like I’m starting over. This is a reboot. I’m at the start of a very exciting journey that begins in the bog of infinite sadness, and ends with total world domination. I’d like to go there with you.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re hatching your own plots to make 2015 amazing.

~Chris

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9 Comments

Filed under Arcana Universalis, Booktrack, ebooks, Oktopod Operations, Propaganda, Self-Publishing, Writing

9 responses to “How I’m Going to Conquer the World in 2015

  1. arjaybe

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for your message. It’ll be fun watching you conquer the world.-) I believe you got my email address when I picked up Stars Rain Down on Noisetrade. I recall enjoying the book and noting that it was well made.

    I’m learning about self-publishing by doing it. My novel, Green Comet, CC-BY-SA, is on my site at greencomet.org as well as Internet Archive, Unglue.it and BitTorrent Bundles (links on my site.) My only measure of its success is the number of downloads, and I don’t know what that number means.

    I joined your Oktopod G+ community. Now there’s two of us.-)

    Cheers, Jim

    • Pleased to meet you, Jim!

      Thank you much for reading, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!

      Y’know, I think that’s how all of us have learned the self-publishing game. There isn’t a career path or any guidance beyond scattered blog posts, so we’re left with no option but diving in and failing until we get it right. That’s one thing in particular I’d like to address: giving people an on-ramp so they at least know which direction is up.

      The same goes for download numbers. At this point, it’s impossible to tell how well you’re doing. I moved a hundred books this month… is that awesome or terrible? I don’t know. When your only goalposts are your own previous performance, it leads to a lot of confusion and (for me, at least) self-doubt.

      Thanks for joining the community! Sorry it’s so bare bones right now (I just set it up this morning), but I intend to start posting more content soon. I’ve got a blueprint of what I’d like to see in a self-publishing platform, and I’ll definitely be interested in what everyone else wants and needs.

      …and before I hunt down Green Comet, I rather like to a hear a bit from the author himself. What’s it about? Who are your influences? And (this one’s probably a little odd) what’s your goal? By that, I mean things like telling a good story, making people think, expressing yourself, sharing an interesting thought. We write books for a million reasons, and I like to know what drives people. 🙂

      Cheers, and thanks for coming by!
      ~Chris

      • arjaybe

        I look forward to seeing your blueprint. I’ll be able to give you some feedback once I know what it’s about.

        Green Comet – what’s it about? I think of it as a love story in an exotic location – a comet. It’s 134,000 words and spans thousands of years. Elgin and Francis and their interesting friends struggle against an impersonal force that sees them as corrosion.

        My influences are everything I’ve read and experienced, but readers have compared the book to Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein. Yes, I’m blushing.-)

        My goal in writing Green Comet was to see if I could write a serviceable novel. Having done that, I released it into the wild as an experiment, to see what would happen. The experiment is still running. Meanwhile, I’m most of the way through the sequel, released as a series of extensions to the story.

        Jim

      • Very cool! And goodness… Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein are excellent company to be in. I’ll head on over and grab a copy.

      • arjaybe

        Those are high hurdles.

  2. GMBT

    I am excited about arcs is universalis and can’t wait for the next book. It has to be one of the most intriguing magic/space systems out there. I will also buy the biotech series. My biggest concern is that I don’t like reading books that don’t end. I don’t mind the feeling like at the end of the second arcanus book where another chapter was beginning, but it felt like a natural ending. I really like your stuff and will be able to tell more people about it as more complete stories come out.

    • Thank you so much! And I apologize for the lack of proper endings in Arcana Universalis thus far. I always intended the separate pieces as episodes that would form a complete novel together, but I fell off track and never reached the finish line. Once it’s all in one piece, I think you’ll be very satisfied with the conclusion!

      Cheers, and thank you so much for stopping by to talk!
      ~Chris

      • Actually, I felt the endings were good. That’s what I get for typing on a phone. I can’t quite recall where the different segments ended, but the last one was a wonderful short-term stopping place. It felt right.

        I’m excited to see where the rest of the story goes. The idea of using wizzardry to explore space is very well done. There’s a viceral reaction to the idea of using men to power these ships. I applaud it and look forward to reading the rest of it.

        Also, about writing yourself into a corner, Tolkien did that repeatedly with LoTR. The story goes that he would write until he wrote himself into a corner and then start all over again.

        I’m just a dude, but I read a fair amount and I like your stuff. I am sorry to hear about the depression. I have some experience with that as well. Good luck and I am looking forward to reading more.

      • Oh, no worries at all! I’ve heard a number of people mention that my endings kind of leave something to be desired, so I’m a little keyed into that. Just wanted to assure you that a real, honest-to-goodness ending is on the way. 🙂

        I’m amazed Tolkien didn’t drive himself completely bonkers working that way. I’ve usually had a policy of amputating just enough of a story as necessary to resume forward motion, but posting chapters of Earthian as I went made that more difficult. And then I was in a funk… and then I started looking at the whole project with suspicion.

        Anyway, thank you so much for the kind words! Hearing back from people means a lot to me, and I’m really glad you dropped by.

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