Shadow of an Empire Progress Report + Other Reports

Hey everyone! Just dropping you a quick update on how progress on the first draft of Shadow of an Empire is going, as well as work on getting Colony into Beta, so you all know what’s going on.

First, work has been slower these last few weeks, as you might have noticed or guessed. I’m putting in a lot of shifts at my other job to try and pull myself into some semblance of financial stability (and it’s working, thankfully, though it’ll be months before I can do more than make a $5 luxury purchase). Unfortunately, this means less time to write and edit, so my monthly production has been halved, from 80,000 words to a little over 40,000. Which would probably be less impactful if I was writing piddly little 50,000 word books like a lot of self-pubs rather than 150,000 plus juggernauts.

Anyway … that progress report, right!?

So, Shadow of an Empire has hit 145,000 words as of this last week. At the current pace, and looking at where I’m at in the story, I’ve got about another 80,000-100,000 words to go, which means that Shadow is two-thirds done!

It’s been an interesting experience. A lot of the time when writing it, I feel like I did when writing Rise for the first time, simply because like that it’s my first foray into a new genre. Rise was writing an epic-adventure, Shadow is an epic-adventure western … and half the time I’m typing I’m wondering if I’m truly capturing that decrepit, sun-baked western feel or if I’m just deluding myself. Alpha readers will tell, I think.

Anyway, as a result of that careful path, trying to nail the feel of a western, work on Shadow is slower than normal. On an ordinary day I get a little over 3000 words done. Which isn’t bad—it’s a Sanderson-and-a-half, to use the joking terminology that came out of a recent writing conference, but it’s a shade below my usual pace in a more familiar genre of two to two-and-half Sandersons. And combine that will all the shifts I’m pulling at work (4 days this week, leaving me 2 to write) and work proceeds slowly. But surely. It is getting done.

And I’ll admit, I’m excited to see what readers make of it. New genre, new heroes, new magic system, steam … If you read Ripper from Unusual Events and were enthused by the new setting and magic on display, this is your ship coming in. Oh, and you will see more of Amicitia Varay (like you couldn’t guess that)!

So, that’s Shadow of an Empire. Now, what about Colony?

Colony is still in Alpha 2. There’s a few readers nearing the end, now, but I’m mostly waiting on them to finish it before I dive in and make the requested changes. And there are plenty, as you would expect with a 325,000 word story (that’s 1300 pages or so in hardback). But hopefully they’ll finish it up in the next week or two, and then I can dive into that and finally get it into Beta. Two or three of those and … publish.

Yup. Still on the fence about pricing. It’s a 1300 page book after all. I can’t even publish that in hardback without some sort of specialty printing machine, but as an ebook it has no issues. Now I just need to figure out pricing. If I was doing what most authors were doing, I’d just chop it into thirteen 100 page chunks, give the first away free, and sell the other twelve for between one or three dollars, for a total price of somewhere between $12 and $36 bucks for the full book.

Yeah, cheaper isn’t always cheaper once you do the math. At this point, I’m considering the following: cut it into two pieces, each one half the book, and sell them each for $6, while the full, all-in-one title is $9.99. So $12 if you buy separately, savings of $2 if you buy the whole thing outright.

Anyway, if you’re interested in being a Beta reader, leave a note in the comments.

So, other news. My author rating on Goodreads is still above 4 stars! One Drink is sitting at a solid 4 stars, while Dead Silver and Unusual Events both are laying claim to 4.5 stars each with multiple ratings and reviews. Reviews come slowly, but when they do, they always have something to praise. It’ll be nice to add Colony and Shadow to that mixer.

That’s the report, now I’ve got to get to my shift at work!

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