That’s how long the UNSEC Space Trilogy took. Not for me to write and edit, mind. That time period was even longer—though I do note that I had other, smaller projects in between each book in the series. But even so, six years.
Colony, the first book in the trilogy, released in November of 2016, and I’m sure at the time few expected anything from it, even my readers. Prior to Colony, I’d only released a few books, each of them much smaller and far less grand that what Colony promised within its pages. One Drink and Dead Silver, while respectable, were both regular a novella and novel, respectably. Unusual Events, a collection of “short” stories I’d worked on while editing Colony that made it to print first, had sold a few copies, but not lit any fires (in fact, it remains my lowest-selling work to date by a large margin).
Then, with some fanfare but little attention from the world at large, I dropped Colony. An epic Sci-Fi adventure, first book of three in an at-that-time unnamed trilogy. from an author who had only published Urban Fantasy and shorts? There were definitely a few raised eyebrows. I recall that Christmas, when I returned to my hometown to visit my parents, garnering confused questions from people as to my reasons for jumping genres, or whether or not I thought people would buy it.
By then however, I’d already seen the numbers. November was over, and with it came more money than I’d ever seen in my time as an author. Reviews were rolling in too, readers gushing with praise and urging others to “Buy it, now!” Colony had struck, for my tine authorial imprint at the time, gold. Those readers that had trusted me and picked up the book found themselves “immersed” (that’s a deliberate pun) into the underwater colony world of Pisces, wrapped up in far-reaching mysteries as a search for a missing computer programmer by three complete strangers slowly but steadily expanded into an earth-shattering and action-packed conclusion full of big Sci-Fi ideas and tantalizing hints of what was to come.
Not everyone enjoyed it. A few people left one or two star reviews, citing complaints of one form or another. My personal favorites were two reviewers who each left Colony two stars, one angerly citing that there was ‘too much worldbuilding and not enough action,’ the other citing ‘too much action and not enough worldbuilding.’ But those reviews largely slipped to the bottom, mud for those who fed at that level to sling while above them the rest of the world purchased copy after copy, rapidly outselling every other book I’d released at that time and still maintaining a strong lead today despite stiff competition from one of my other books.
Colony was a hit. By my standards, at least. And now, six years later, by indie book standards as well, its sales numbers well above the average for indie titles.
Oh, and did I mention it was huge? It didn’t shy away from the “Epic” part of its genre. The finale alone ended up being more pages in length than my first published book.
And readers loved it. They loved the characters, with fans evenly split over which of the three protagonists was their favorite character (to this day one my favorite questions when someone starts talking to me about Colony is “Who’s your favorite of the trio and why?” because never has one of the three won out, and everyone always has a wide range of reasons why they prefer Sweets, Anna, or Jake as their favorite protag). They loved the setting, the dark future of Earth, the underwater environs and cities of Pisces, that Colony painted. They loved the mystery, even if some questions went unanswered by the end of the book. They just loved it.
Speaking of those unanswered mysteries, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked about the series as a whole is “When you released Colony, was all this planned? Or were you just making it up as you went along?”Continue reading