Major Changes Coming

Over the last few months, I’ve been working furiously to finish The Awakening Storm.  Also, because of my long hiatus from writing and the self-publishing world in general, a lot of the technical stuff that goes along with maintaining a writing career had staled and gone out of date as well.  It’s my own fault–I’ve basically shot myself in the foot.  So I’ve also had to systematically go through every aspect of my online presence and business front, and change a lot of that around, too.

Some of you may have noticed my website, book covers, and information changing like the seasons lately.

After many long conversations and some hard thinking on my part, Iv’e decided to make some major changes to my label.  Hopefully this doesn’t alienate what few readers are still around since my past success, but let me attempt to explain and bring you around to my way of thinking.  In the end, this will be better for all of us.

First off, a bit of hard truth from me to you, and to myself.  When I published The Sentient Fire, it wasn’t ready.  It was a long way from being ready.  Some of the chief criticism I get from the story is that it’s massively long–and that’s true.  I wrote that book because I thought everyone was writing tomes of 350k+ words–in short, I had no idea what I was doing.  I showed up on the scene and dropped it at the feet of the world.  I was 22 when I started that book, and 31 when I typed the last word.  The man who wrote the first one hundred pages was vastly different than the one who finished it, and it shows.

Luckily it did pretty well–but it was definitely luck.

Here’s what I have done by releasing something so big:  One, I’ve vastly widened the period of time that passes between each book release.  Most novels are around 80k words or so–mine sits at about 348k, which is about four and a half times that size.  I’ve heard that for some people The Sentient Fire was around 17,000 Kindle pages!  Let’s be honest–I’m all for a long story, but one book that size is a little ridiculous.  Instead of writing one book at a time, I’ve basically been hammering away to produce three at a time.  That’s definitely not the smartest way I could be doing this.

And The Awakening Storm just hit the 300k+ mark the other day.

Two, I’ve made the print version of the book impossibly big, which means impossibly expensive.  Even adjusted as it is now–to give me the absolute least amount of royalty possible–the book comes in at $25.  Even I wouldn’t pay that much for a paperback, and that fact also just doesn’t make any sense.

If I had been smarter about the way I’d gone about publishing The Seven Signs, there would be five books currently on the market, and the sixth one would be over halfway done.  Instead of waiting years between each book (medical issues notwithstanding) there would be about six months between each release.  You’d have 2/3rds of The Awakening Storm in your hands now.

Plus, it is much harder to find professionals to work with you when you have one massive book.  Editors and narrators basically have to take a huge risk on you, and that’s a tough business decision to make.  Both of those professions requires hours of work for each “hour” produced, so you’re asking for much more of their time–which basically means much more of their money.  Finding someone good to work closely with–the way you want to do with an Epic Fantasy series–is nigh impossible.

So.  Here is what’s going to happen.

Starting immediately, both books–The Sentient Fire and The Awakening Storm–will be split into trilogies on their own.  The Seven Signs was planned for three books at around 350k words apiece, so now it will be nine books at around 120k words apiece, but probably closer to 150k.  Still long, but also within the range of a normal-sized book.

I will focus first on getting the first two parts of The Awakening Storm ready to publish, since they’re already written.  That means that you’ll have the next book in line in your hands in a few weeks–definitely earlier than I’d planned.  The next one in line will be ready to go as well, and it will be released after.

During that time, I’m going back through The Sentient FIre and revising it into three stand-alone books.  What that means for you is that if you’ve already purchased it, then you have it.  However, the newer version will be expanded somewhat–I’ll probably have to add about 30k or 40k words to each section in order to make them stand on their own–so there will be new material there.

Once those are done, I’m dropping them all at once, like Netflix and House of Cards.  The Sentient Fire will remain where it is until the books that are replacing it go live, at which time I’ll be pulling it down.  I don’t have titles as of yet–I’m just referring to them as TSF I, TSF II, etc.  So by the end of this year, instead of two books and two possible audiobooks, you’ll have six books with extra material, audiobooks much more likely, and an all around better product in each one of them than The Sentient Fire was.

And you won’t have to wait so Gods-damned long between books seven, eight, and nine.

So, here’s what it’s going to look like when the smoke clears.

The Seven Signs will be nine books long–the first five of which you’ll have by the end of the year, maybe even six.

The first book in the series will be free–and if you sign up for my mailing list, I’ll give you the second one free, too.  I like to give free stuff to my mailing list.

Each subsequent book in the series will be $2.99.

Some of you may not like this decision, but I think it’s the most fair thing for both of us.  This way the wait is shorter, the books are more manageable across multiple platforms, and I’m also not writing over a million words into books I can’t sell.  A guy’s gotta eat.

If you’re still looking forward to any of my writing, don’t forget to join my mailing list and get all the news straight from me, and sweet deals all the time.  I care about my readers, and I hope you guys understand this decision.  If not, well…I hope to win you back one day, but this is the way it needs to happen.

Thanks for sticking with me so far.

~~D.W.

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8 comments on “Major Changes Coming”

  1. Ben Reply

    I’m a big supporter of this decision, DW! I’m working my way through the City Under the Mountain, and it’s great. Loved Sentient Fire, and I can’t wait to reread the three-book version with beefed up story-line. Happy holidays and keep at it! Very proud of you!

    • authordwhawkins Reply

      It’s going to be much better. I’m currently a little behind on Child of the Flames, but it’s because it’s undergoing such a heavy rewrite. The new opening scene is much more exciting, and I’ve added around 25k to 30k words already. More backstory, more action, better writing. I think everyone will be much happier with it, and I can’t wait to get it to you. Glad you’re loving City Under the Mountain, and the next one–Oath of the Blade–is more exciting than TCUTM. Anyways, Happy Holidays back at ya, and thanks!

      • Ben Reply

        Sounds great! I finished TCUTM yesterday, and I have to say the imagery you provided with the city was stellar. I could visualize what you may have been picturing in your mind when you wrote it. Also, the scene with Bethany and the Garthorin was intense. I won’t spoil it for others, but holy cow. Can’t wait for OOTB and the rewrites. I really enjoy the world you’ve created, Sir! Keep it up!

        • authordwhawkins Reply

          I’m glad you liked it. The Oath of the Blade is going to be pretty intense, too. The next one is called City of Cages, and it’s also pretty ramped up.

  2. Paul Getner Reply

    So which book am I supposed to read after sentient fire? I purchased it right after you published it and finished it on my next deployment to Afghanistan, just want to make sure I’m reading them in the right order.

    • authordwhawkins Reply

      Actually, you may want to re-read the series, as it’s changed. The next one you’re looking for will be The City Under the Mountain, which has been pulled down as I’ve been re-writing the series. TSF has become books one through three, but they’ve all been completely rewritten, and I dare say, much better. The City Under the Mountain will be published around June or July.

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