There comes a point in a writer’s life when he’s ready to make the transition from hobbyist to professional. And I think I’ve taken another step closer.
In 2013 I wrote an experimental novella that marries Western gunslinger tropes and Chinese wuxia traditions, with a very hard take on steam technology. A couple of weeks ago I revised the story and submitted it to a leading independent publishing house. Today I’m pleased to announce that it has (tentatively) been accepted for publication and is currently being edited. More details will follow as the situation firms up, but I can say that I honestly never expected that story to see the light of day outside of my self-published portfolio.
In other news, I’m moving into the final phase of editing for my upcoming novel, titled NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS. This is Book 1 of the Covenanter Chronicles, conceptualised as three trilogies. The series takes many urban fantasy tropes and places it in the context of a decades-long War on Terror, with covert government operators using unobtanium-powered magic to battle terrorists and conspiracies that tap into occult forces to further malicious agendas, set in a world that may have forgotten its gods though the gods have assuredly not forgotten the world. I do not anticipate this series to be self-published. Given that it throws so many science fiction and fantasy tropes together I am fully confident that the only way this book can reach appropriate audiences if it is entrusted to the experts and leaders who have gone before me in the field of SFF. And given the religious allusions in the series it is likely to be the only way to sustain this series in the long term.
At the same time, I’m also writing my next novel. I can say that this is a standalone work, a (reasonably) hard space opera set in the 25th century, with a slated completion date of December 2015. At this point I can say that it involves starships wielding ravenous death rays of stupendous range and fusion-powered missiles numbering in the thousands, Space Marines whose ultra-high-tech armor and ludicrous armaments belie the humans within, and an interplanetary romance that dares to defy the iron laws of relativity and the speed of light. Also, lasers. Any more details and I fear I will jinx the story. Like the above story, this is not meant to be a self-published work. I could do it if I have to, but my gut suggests that this one would reach its intended audience with a certain publishing house.
Finally, assuming I have the time for it, I intend to publish another experimental story I wrote in 2013. This is a martial arts thriller set in an alternate 1800s based on a little-seen-yet-significant real-world country with multiple competing cultures. This one needs some expansion, but it feels right. This story would likely be published in between NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS and the following work. With a publishing house.
Yes, at this stage I intend to shift away from self-publishing. In the immortal words of Larry Correia, a professional writer’s mission statement should be to GET PAID. To GET PAID means producing quality work, finding an audience who will appreciate these stories, and getting your stories to that audience. Given where I am, with my current capabilities and reputation, I think the best approach to getting paid and becoming a professional writer is to go through an established publishing house and leverage their capabilities.
This does not mean I intend to give up self-publishing altogether. The American Heirs series will be completed. There will be more series to follow, including the revival of Michael Chang. However, self-publishing does require the writer to shoulder the costs of publication. Until I can afford to continue self-publishing, these stories will have to be on hold. And, hopefully, not for too long.
And who knows…at this rate I might just become a full-time writer faster than I expect.