Doing a George Lucas (again)

I promise this is the last time.

Okay, so let’s set the scene. The year is 2021. I’ve been trying to write my book, and re-writing it, for literal years. Then, my psychologist dares me to try and actually finish something for a change. How dare they.

Anyway, I showed them. I wrote a bit of a thing, and that thing was The Asteroid Field. Yes, it was pretty short, but I genuinely think it’s what I needed. Finishing something and announcing it, and publishing it was great. I was, and am, really proud of it.

The problem is, I sold a grand total of two copies: one to my own kindle, and the other to my mum’s. I paid for some ads, but no good. The common consensus on writer’s subreddits tended to lean towards “write more books” as the best strategy, so I put my efforts into the sequel, Legal Alien. I spent all of 2022 writing it, and I made it through about 80% of it by the end of the year.

Then I read Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree. I loved it, best thing I read in 2022. And then I read the author’s blog, where they casually explained that they planned extensively, wrote the thing in the space of about a month, and had minimal editing. And I’m pretty sure Baldree is a millionaire now, along with being an inspiration.

Like, seriously. He starts off by saying he’s tried to write stuff before but failed, and this time approached it with a new perspective. Specifically the following advice really spoke to me:

  1. You’re not writing the next Great American Novel. Keep it simple.
  2. Try outlining

So, I spent the few days around Christmas of 2022 outlining and deciding on how I was going to structure Legal Alien. Keeping my first draft in mind, I decided that each chapter should be roughly two thousand words long, with several parts, trying to keep them to ~500 words each. And to ensure they matched, I went back to The Asteroid Field and looked at editing that.

While I wont pretend that I hated what I wrote in 2021, I did find that I could add more to it. The story didn’t feel 16k words long any more. When I re-planned it, I found myself adding to it. Currently, this draft is 35k words long, and its going to be at least another 10k words. Honestly I think writing regularly for a whole year just made me better at writing? Weird.

Anyway, the plan was that I’d re-write it, get it edited, put it out as a stealth-update. Just don’t do any promotion in the meantime – no one’s buying it anyway, no one will notice. Hey, suddenly the zero sales is actually a good thing! And I’ve also decided something else: I really want this book to be the best it can be. Who cares about sales or profit margins? So I’ve been reaching out to artists, commissioning aliens and maps and things.

I’ve also been thinking about promotions and things. But more on that later. In the meantime, if your wondering why the book isn’t available for purchase right now, that’s why. Please sign up to the mailing list or follow me on the socials, if you want to know when the new, improved version is available.

tldr: I’m super excited. I’m enjoying my hobby. I’m making something I’m proud of.