I realized today that I wrapped up the first draft of my next story. Weird to say that I realized it, but sometimes weird happens. My concern while writing it was that I hadn't answered the main story question. I'd thought that I was going to need to do a bit more machining of the plot to get us to a place that satisfies the reader. But, just to make sure, I went back and read what I'd already written, and I think that main question is satisfied. So, with that question answered, story done.
Here's the thing, and this is why I'm writing. This story is in a new series. Probably going to be published under a pen name. I'm still debating that last part. So, this isn't the next New Eden story, and that's what I want to talk about.
I'm hitting pause on the New Eden series. I love it. I love the characters. I love the story and where it's going. I love writing it. The problem is, not enough people love reading it. And when I was writing it for fun, that was fine. I could still enjoy the process of creation. But I don't know that creation for the sake of creation is enough any more. I write to be read. It sounds a little weird and a lot selfish, but it's the truth. I don't want to do this creation thing in a vacuum. And while New Eden did have readers, their number was very small. Using all of my fingers and toes I could probably count them without the help of another person. So, treating this whole author/publisher thing like the business that it is, I'm not going to keep focusing on a product that's not of interest to consumers.
To pull the curtain back, Digi City has sold six copies since release. One was to me.
I think that the New Eden stuff has struggled for a couple of reasons. One of them is me. I haven't written them fast enough. Three stories, the equivalent of approximately 65,000 words in five years. That's painfully slow progress in a world where authors are regularly releasing series books at one month intervals. That's on me.
The second problem is also partially on me, I suppose, and that's that the New Eden stories, while clearly cyberpunk, don't necessarily hit all of the subgenre's major tropes. If you accept that the main theme behind cyberpunk is the idea of "high tech, low life" then the New Eden stuff is square. But the bigger tropes, those things that the readers expect (mainly a hyper tech society), aren't there. New Eden is run down. There's no electricity to much of the city. No lights, and classic cyberpunk is full of neon. So, while it's fair to call them cyberpunk, they aren't really. Not what the readers want anyway.
There's a third issue, and it's one out of my control. The cyberpunk category at Amazon is overrun with books that aren't cyberpunk. So much so that it's difficult for readers who want a true cyberpunk book to find anything that they'd want to read. Instead they'd find very traditional sci-fi, some sci-fi romance, and even some weird stuff that I don't know that I want to talk about here.
So what's next? Writing something that has a chance to succeed. To find a readership and make me some money. A few years ago I had an idea for a setting. It was a space station out at the edge of the galaxy, and I called it Transfer Station: Zulu. It was a place, much like New Eden, that felt like fertile ground for stories. It would allow me to tell stories that I wanted to tell with characters that felt like mine but in a way that may be more appealing to more readers. The space opera and space Marines categories on Amazon are popular. The readers of these genres are a lot like romance readers. They do it voraciously. They need a lot of books to keep them happy and their Kindles well-stocked. They are also readers who are open to indie published books.
With that in mind and my setting already in place, I began plotting, and that's how we get to where we are today. A finished space opera story. One that's rough but that I like. It definitely has holes, and it definitely needs a bit of depth added. But I can do that in the editing. That's what it's for, after all.