One of the coolest aspects of being a self-published author is the direct contact I have with my audience. Some readers are family members and friends that I’ve known for years, but many are people I have never met personally who have picked up a copy of my books through Amazon and have left feedback in the form of a review, a comment here on my website, or one of the various social media platforms on which I am active. And since I just released the third installment in the Blackout Series, Zero Hour, I thought this might be a good time to address a few of the more common questions I get from readers about the books and the series in general.
Q: Is this the last book in the series?
A: No, this is not the end of the Blackout Series. In fact, we’re still in the beginning phase of this story line. The first book, Officer of the Watch, was intended to cover the days immediately following the Blackout event. Storm Tide Rising, the 2nd book in the series, covered the next several months as the survivors began to try and establish safe redoubts for their continued survival and safety. In Zero Hour, we see the remaining survivors begin the struggle to collect themselves and the necessities of life while preparing for the coming war. Lots of the plot threads there were spread out all over the country have begun to converge as the story builds towards an ultimate conflict. The next book in the series, On A Red Horse, will cover the war and the immediate aftermath. I have two more books planned, one which will focus on the spring and summer planting season, and one to bring our cast of characters full circle to the one-year anniversary of the Blackout event and beyond.
That will mark the end of the first series of books centered around this group of characters and it’s planned to be six full books. Afterward my goal is to write a follow-up series that is set in the same reality as the Blackout series, and containing many of the same characters, which will examine life somewhere between 15-30 years after the Blackout. This follow-up series will delve into the changes in society and culture that have resulted from the multi-decades long struggle our characters have gone through to keep themselves alive while still clinging to some measure of their humanity.
So, as you can see there is a lot more in store for Captain Tillman and the rest of the Blackout cast.
Q: Are there going to be hard-bound copies of the books available in the future?
A: The short version of a long answer is I’m not sure. I’ve looked into various self-publishing avenues on this, but the cost is pretty steep. And most of the self-publishing platforms that offer hard-bound copies require you to purchase those copies in bulk (100+). At that point it’s not just price that becomes a limiting factor, but having physical space to store that many books.
But, if an agent or publisher becomes interested down the road, you never know….
Q: When are you going to release the next book?
A: As soon as I can. One of the valuable things I’ve learned about writing and selling books the past few years is that new content sells better than old, and new content boosts the sales of older content. I’ve also learned that it takes a LOT more time to write a book than it does to read one. This series is being released “in real time” as it were, which really just means that as soon as I finish the manuscript, proofing, editing, cover design, and interior layout, the books are being released. Sometimes that process takes longer than others, which is why the time between releases varies as much as it does and one book may be done in 10 months while another may take 18 months to finish and release.
As a reader myself I can tell you I know how frustrating this is. One of my all-time favorite authors was Robert Jordan with his epic fantasy series Wheel of Time. And it was excruciating waiting months, even years between releases. I would have to go back and reread some books, and at times, the whole series. So I get your frustrations and I can relate. However, having now been on the author’s side of the fence, my perspective has changed a little. As much as I want to get new material to my readers I want to get GOOD new material to my readers. And that process takes time, no two ways about it.
For my next series I plan to write at least 3 books all the way through to where they are completely ready to release before the first one hits the market. Hopefully that way I will have a little buffer time where I can release one book every 6-8 months while working on the next. I’ll always have new titles in the rotation, readers will be getting their fix on a more regular basis, and I will be constantly engaged in the creative process (the most fun part of writing for me). Of course that doesn’t do much to help you guys out on this series, so you’ll just have to bear with me.
I can tell you I’m working on the 4th book, but I still don’t have even the foggiest clue when it will be ready at this point. I guess we’ll find out together.
Those are probably the three most common questions I get asked by readers at this point. If you guys think of any others, feel free to drop a comment here or on any of the social media platforms I frequent. Hope you guys have an awesome day and, as always, THANK YOU FOR READING!!