A quick announcement:
Bringing Ragnarok: Book Three is live on Amazon!
Now, the writing of Book Four can begin, with the goal being to launch in late December.
Book Three of the Saga of Six Friends ushers them into the Second Season of Fimbulwinter, where the battles will become harsher and more of the deeper nature of reality is revealed. Length-wise, it is actually a bit longer than Book Two, despite Amazon's odd print-length prediction metric.
You may notice that it is also priced at $2.99 USD. For the past year, I have had the first two Books in Bringing Ragnarok set at $3.99, but after a month-long experiment at the lower price point I've decided it is better to stick with the lower price.
Also, I started adding up the reader costs across six books, and $24 for the complete Saga sounds a bit steep (to me). After all, the point of ebooks is supposed to be lower prices, right? $18 for six books sounds much more fair.
The nice thing is, while I give up about $0.70 in royalties for each sale (at the $2.99 price point Amazon pays 70% of sale price as royalties, half that (35%) if your price is any lower), when people read my work on Kindle Unlimited I actually earn more per book because Amazon pays on a per-page basis, resulting in a total royalty payment of about $3.00 for Book One and almost $4.00 for Books Two and Three.
Frankly I suspect this is how Amazon intends to build Kindle Unlimited - for starting authors, you end up spending every $ you make in sales royalties purchasing ads (the only way to get your work in front of readers on Amazon), so that added revenue from Kindle Unlimited pagereads (anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of my total revenues) ends up being authors' main source of profit. I'll take it, for now.
Like any company with dominant market-share, Amazon can be expected to slowly tweak rules and procedures to boost their share of Kindle profits at the expense of authors. I believe that I've gotten in early enough to have a real shot at making a living doing this, which is fantastic, but I certainly don't want to be reliant on Amazon forever.
So I have decided to begin submitting Bringing Ragnarok to print publishers, in hopes of pursuing a hybrid route to success as a full-time author. Ideally, I would continue to write and publish on Kindle as an Independent Author to give my core readers (you know who you are, and thank you!) the first chance to read Bringing Ragnarok (and Bivrost 9 after!), but allow a traditional publisher to handle a print edition in exchange for a reduction in royalties.
That would also open the door to a long-term dream of mine: exploring the world of Bringing Ragnarok in games and film.
All very prospective at this point, as this is a very unusual sort of fiction project that I've convinced myself to devote several years of my life to. While the majority of responses to it have been overwhelmingly positive so far (and I'm now able to say I've had hundreds of readers in the past year!), it is most certainly not mainstream - yet.
Fair warning: Book Three is where I set out in greater detail (through dialog between characters, no long narration) more of the deeper philosophical ideas I'm working into the core of Bringing Ragnarok. I try very hard not to preach, and to always offer counter-points and context, but I do want to transmit certain imporant and poorly-understood concepts rooted in hard science just as much as postcolonial philosophy.
I actually feel comfortable describing Bringing Ragnarok as "Hard" science fiction. Virtually all concepts are intended to be real descriptions of our reality - even the existence of the gods and other Worlds. Little I will present through the voices of my characters should be controversial to someone who happens to have worked through the right science - and understands the limits of scientific inquiry. Some don't, and they constitute what few true villains exist in my work.
My niche, my genre, so to speak, is as the person who puts the puzzle together. Who pulls from all disciplines to come up with answers to problems that affect people in the real world.
I'm writing a story I think will particularly (but not exclusively) appeal to people of a similar persuasion. Many, I hope, are current or past military personnel hungry for fiction that depicts the challenges of their profession as humanely and realistically as possible, sans all patriotic or hero-worshiping flair.
There's a reason I've used epigraphs from Joseph Heller, Erich Maria Remarque, and J.R.R. Tolkien in the past three Books, and am making military experiences central to the Saga.
So that's that! Bringing Ragnarok: Book Three is live on Amazon, ready for readers.
And if you came across this via the magical interwebs, here's the Amazon Series Page for Bringing Ragnarok. Book Three might not be there for a couple days, though it is available on Amazon via the link at the top - takes time for some things to get linked up on Amazon.