Trilogy Gambit

A Bold Move or a Blunder of Good Proportion?

One of my favorite themes in writing is entrepreneurship. As a fiction writer, however, when I write about these things, I don’t have to personally deal with the consequences of big gambles, however. For example, when my characters empty their bank accounts to buy a new spaceship, or replace their dilapidated armor, or buy missiles, or whatever, I (as author) know just how well that’s going to work out for them. For you, well, at this point you’ve probably discovered that I don’t mind blowing up expensive ships, even after we’ve sunk countless hours working in the bilge or borrowed from unsavory types. When it comes to my writing career, however, gambits, gambles, risks and opportunities actually bring elements of risk back to me.

As an example of risks and rewards, we can look at my choice to alternate writing Privateer Tale Series books with alternate series, like Witchy World. While I’m not one to talk openly about dollars earned, I don’t mind sharing that each Privateer Tales book earns twice that of a Witchy World book. And, in turn, each Witchy World book has earned five times that of my Lesser Prince story. Turns out, the more you put into a series, the better it will perform. For example, if I were to continue to keep pushing Witchy World, it would actually start to perform better. Would it ever approach Privateer Tales? Not sure. And, there’s the rub.

So what does this have to do with Trilogy of the Bold? Turns out, quite a lot. While I was at a writer/publisher conference in Florida, I was challenged on my every-other-one strategy of Privateer Tales releases. You see, it’s not my pocket book that has me releasing every other one, it’s my muse. I love writing fantasy, urban fantasy just as much as I do science fiction. If I were all about the bottom dollar, I should have just kept writing Privateer Tales until my fingers seized up. That’s just not me though. I love exploring these new worlds and genres and I’m not turning something I love into work.

Now that we understand the issues, I can better explain what Trilogy of the Bold is about. In the Privateer Tales universe, I’ve set up for a giant problem. The Kroerak have threatened basically every sentient species they ever run into. Along the way, they were set back by the selich root found on planet Zuri. The careful reader, however, will have noticed that the Kroerak noble that took off from Zuri intimated at a cure for selich poisoning. Frak! Double Frak!! This same noble also overshared with Jonathan. And, that’s all your getting on story line, at least for now.

So – what’s the bold move? The Kroerak end-story is way more than what I can fit into a single book. It’s probably two books, at least. So – we could release one in February and then another in July – if I was doing things the way I have been for the last couple of years. Or — I could jam all my eggs into one basket, write this massive end-story all at once and release it! Only. I’ll get paid about half for writing one extremely long book instead two slightly longer books. How can I have my cake and eat it to!? Well – enter the idea of a trilogy.

According to those same folks at the writer’s conference, releasing a trilogy, books spaced about a month apart, will cause all three books to ratchet up in Amazon’s algorithms, such that all three of them feed on each other and cause a big splash. Yay you – you get three books in a couple of months. Yay me – Amazon shares my books with the masses and the heavens open and the choirs sing. Heh, right, that’s over the top, but you get the idea.  Any decently skeptical person can see where this is going. What if these writer’s conference folks are full of it? What if the trilogy is a bust and I’ve put all this energy into it? Well – turns out, we’ll get through it either way. If it’s a blunder, I’ll have learned that the approach isn’t for me. If it’s a moderate success – great, maybe save the approach for special moments, like I have with the Kroerak story arc. Fact is, if I don’t try, we’ll just never know.

And now you know, just what is up with this Trilogy of the Bold business.