I just added a page for a ninth book here on my site. Time has flown, and before I knew it, I’ve become a real author.
I look back at the last two years and have a hard time keeping everything straight. Maybe my readers are struggling with that, too. Do you wonder which of my projects you’ve read or helped out with, and feel lost in the waves of book releases?
Now seems a good time to stop and take stock of what my supporters and I have accomplished together in the last 24 months.
I published my first book on January 18th, 2018. Making Peace took me 3 years from conception to publication, with 2.5 years of writing and 6 months of editing. It sold relatively few copies because I was mostly unknown but received massive acclaim from everyone who read it. This book went on to become a finalist for the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance Book of the Year award in 2019.
Shortly after publishing that book I began work on a series of fantasy novels, the Savage Hunters series, which ate up most of my writing time the first half of 2018. I vowed to do a quicker job of getting the books out than I’d done with Making Peace. I paused working on them in late summer to begin another project, then a family tragedy at the end of November 2018 halted progress entirely.
In summer 2018 I had one of my silliest book ideas ever and joked about it on social media. That joke went on to spawn massive hype and eventually led me to Kickstart Maxwell Cain: Burrito Avenger. Folks loved it.
At the same time, my professional clinical job prompted me to write some material for clients. I wrote Exhausted Wives, Bewildered Husbands in December of 2018.
By the end of 2018 I still had only a single novel published, though I’d written 4.5 additional books since January.
At the dawn of 2019, I had just one novel published but Maxwell Cain: Burrito Avenger and Exhausted Wives, Bewildered Husbands waiting for publication.
Exhausted Wives, Bewildered Husbands published first on February 5th, 2019. This book proved enormously popular and even led to an audiobook version. Readers still recommend it to their friends and family struggling in marriages and long-term relationships.
Maxwell Cain: Burrito Avenger published on March 30th, 2019 after going out to Kickstarter backers weeks earlier. The audiobook was published at the same time. Readers ate it up and continue to joke about it all over social media. I was briefly known as “That burrito guy,” to my absolute delight.
The success of my first Psychology guide plus repeated questioning by readers whether or not I could provide guidance for anxious people outside of relationships led to my second Psychology book, Slaying Your Fear, which published on May 20th, 2019. This book has proved to be my best ever seller, and continues to sell multiple copies every single day even 6 months later. An audiobook is now available and also sells more than any of my other audiobooks.
My non-fiction works proved powerful sellers, but my passion remained in fiction. I struggled to work at Savage Hunters but the lighthearted tone proved beyond me as my household still grieved the family tragedy from the November before. Instead, I poured those dark feelings into reading new material: old pulp fictions from the 1920s and 1930s, especially Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane. I contrived to write stories similar to these but with a Christian angle, to rejuvenate what I felt was a weak and flagging genre. I wrote about the idea and the new Christian setting, Deus Vult Wastelanders, right here.
The first book, Gideon Ira: Knight of the Blood Cross, proved such a popular idea that its Kickstarter campaign funded not only the first book but also two additional novels in the same series. The first book published on October 4th, 2019 and has been a smash hit. The second novel, Gideon Ira and the Winter Valkyrie, published yesterday on November 22nd, 2019. The third novel, Valkyrie Doll and the Ashen Brotherhood, is scheduled to publish on December 13th, 2019.
The Deus Vult Wastelanders setting proved so popular that in late August 2019 I launched a Patreon page at the urging of many readers. There I currently publish a spin-off Christian cyberpunk series, Neon Knights, set in the fictional ruins of Los Angeles. Backers receive 10,000-word installments each month, and have already read the first 3 chunks, with glowing praise for the darker tone and adult Christian themes.
After constant calls from readers for Deus Vult Wastelanders merchandise, in late November 2019 I opened a Teespring store where I offer the covers of several of my novels and the Deus Vult Wastelanders logo on various types of merchandise. I’ve had fun with products as the store has progressed, even offering joke memes and awesome slogans.
With 5 novels published this year and a 6th due to publish in 3 weeks, I’m looking ahead to the future.
Gideon Ira book 3, titled Gideon Ira in Castle Bloodghast, is now fully outlined and ready to be written. I’ll start writing that book in December 2019 or January 2020.
After almost 2 years of writing and planning I launched a Kickstarter for the first Savage Hunters novel, Ghostblade. If that funds, I plan to launch the book in early 2020 and begin working on several sequels. Savage Hunters will be an ongoing series of direct sequels with multiple story arcs.
I continue to plug away at Neon Knights in bulky installments each month. When each big portion completes, I’ll save up some money to edit the book and get a cover made. Folks on my Patreon really are helping out with all of my books at the same time, so anyone looking for a direct way to fund all future releases can check out my campaign there. Just $5 gets readers behind-the-scenes access.
Money remains my biggest obstacle to publishing faster content. I understand folks can feel overwhelmed with multiple Kickstarter campaigns, especially since other authors also use Kickstarter to launch each book or each series, so rest assured I’m not calling for every single reader to throw money at me each time I open a campaign.
The absolute best way to help me is spreading word about my books. I need lots of new readers getting fresh eyes on my works and picking up my novels. Every new reader shouting on social media about this great new series they discovered means a host of publicity and new sales. The more numerical entries I get in each series means a greater back catalog for new readers to buy when they discover me.
My intention is to focus in on Gideon Ira specifically, with periodic entries in the Neon Knights and Valkyrie Doll spin-off lines. I’ll also focus on Savage Hunters which has an entirely separate audience, being more geared toward young adults and fantasy readers.
Hopefully this lengthy list helps my readers keep a clear idea of what they’ve read, what I’m offering, and what they can do to help spread the word about my books.
Thank you everyone for your tremendous support. I’m looking forward to a productive 2020 with all of you.