Project Report – Eternity’s Empire

Project Report – Eternity’s Empire

With both the Island of Lost Forevers and Crossroads of Frozen Eternity paperback releases behind me (and the Sea of Twisted Souls paperback on its way), I find myself reflecting on the end of a decade-long journey. There was a time I thought my books would never be more than ebooks. Now that they’re all making their way into the physical world, I’m overjoyed. But it means that most of the creative process for that project is over. I plan to release a digital book bundle for the Mystical Island Trilogy, and then I’ll be checking the project off my list.

Which is not to say that I’ll never revisit those characters, or that my journey with them is over – far from it. I’ve still got a lot to learn about marketing and a lot of marketing to do for those books. But I will have finished creating what I set out to create.

This has me thinking about the status of my other projects. Back in May, when I announced the upcoming paperback releases, I also moved Eternity’s Empire to a bimonthly release schedule. I touched on the reasons, briefly, but I don’t think I talk quite enough about the status of my various projects here.

Eternity’s Empire started as a way to fill the gap between the end of the Mystical Island Trilogy and the release of my next big project (which I’ll talk more about next week). It wasn’t meant to be filler or unimportant. Since I wanted to keep content flowing, I decided to try a monthly release schedule. And the format of Eternity’s Empire as a series of short chapters, or episodes, suited the serial format. From the beginning, I conceived of it as a series of five or six books, which would mean twenty-five or thirty chapters (it may even turn out to be longer by the time the tale is told).

How it has worked for me:
Having a monthly release schedule keeps me constantly creating. And I like that. I don’t have time to get bogged down in insecurities, I just turn off all the things that normally distract me from big projects and go. I do a minimal amount of planning for this project, which allows me to discover the story as I go – something I’ve sorely missed since I started devoting my time to larger, longer-term projects (which pretty much require detailed outlines). And it has been nice to get feedback along the way that has helped me make each subsequent chapter of the story better.

How it hasn’t worked:
As the story grows larger and more complicated, a month turns out to be too short an amount of time to develop a single chapter. In the beginning, I set aside time between large projects to get a buffer, but that was quickly eaten up in the hustle and bustle of indie publishing projects (which is just how it goes). On top of that, I haven’t done the best job on marketing – mostly because I just barely get the chapters ready for release on time, causing marketing to fall by the wayside. Which means that there probably hasn’t been much point in releasing them each month, although it’s really gratifying when someone goes through and grabs all the chapters.

So I’ve decided to move to, and keep, a bi-monthly schedule. This will allow me to devote a little more time to developing and marketing each chapter. And this will prevent the quality from suffering – which is something I constantly worry about. I do NOT want to put out poor quality content. At some point in the future, I might pull the individual chapters from various retailers and offer only the collections – the novel-size groups of five chapters that come out after every five installments – but for now I hesitate to do so because I think the 99 cent price tag keeps the initial chapters more accessible. But eventually, buying the individual chapters will become more expensive than buying the collections and I don’t want that!

Aside from how I plan to present chapters of Eternity’s Empire in the future, I’ve spent the last few months thinking about how I want to present the story. There is a lot of history that needs to come out, because it will affect how our heroes (and our villains) approach the coming events. The next five chapters of the story will have a lot to do with flashbacks for the guardians, explaining how they came to be in Aeternitas’s court in the first place. This doesn’t mean the current thread of the story will be dropped, however, and I’m working on how to balance this interlude with forward momentum of the main storyline.

As always, it will be a long, slow road from the beginning of this story to to the publication of the final chapter – and I’m sure I have a lot to learn along the way. But I’m confident this story will eventually be something great and I’m really looking forward to sharing the rest of it with you. If you’ve read any of the Eternity’s Empire saga (even if it’s only the first few chapters), leave me a comment letting me know what you’d like to see in the story’s future – I’d love to hear from you! (If you haven’t read it, check out the first book here!)

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