A Definition of Success

The Black Ring is six volumes and nearly 700,000 words. It is not a series. Each volume leads into the next, and follows directly from the one before. It would read better if it were published all in one volume — turn the page, next chapter.

But publishing a book of something like 2,700 pages is a problem. I don’t have the reputation to convince editors that they should take a chance on it. I don’t really write “commercial” fiction, after all. If I wanted to get The Black Ring published, there were three options: 

I could butcher the six manuscripts to fit the guidelines. Each volume is too long, so it would have to be tightened and shortened, leaving out essential descriptions and character growth and plot development. I didn’t want to do that. And each volume would have to be more or less stand-alone, which now they are not. I really didn’t want to do that.

I could put these stories away and write something more acceptable. But this is the story I wanted to tell, it has taken me most of a lifetime to do it, and if I wrote something like it but just to fit the publisher’s guidelines, it would have no heart. I didn’t want to do that.

Or I could publish the six volumes myself. And it would have to be six volumes, because I don’t think CreateSpace/KDP can handle 2,700 pages all in a lump. I would have to learn how to design the book, how to make it look professional, how to deal with typography, how to prepare covers, how to become an editor and publisher (of sorts), not just a writer. But if that was the only way to get The Black Ring, all six volumes, published the way I wanted them to be, then that’s what I would do.

It has taken me a long time to acquire the skills I needed. Everything from Cat Tales to Slaves of War was preparation for The Black Ring. And then I had an opportunity to go with Double Dragon, instead of doing it myself. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I chose to do that. It’s out of my hands now. We’ll see what happens.

All the books which were published traditionally, except the three V books, were re-issued by ReAnimus Press. The Black Ring is available now from Double Dragon and Amazon. The books I published myself, more recently under the Ogden House imprint, are also on Amazon. Sometimes I sell a copy or two. 

If success is measured by how much money I make, I am a failure. But my stories are out there. People can find them and read them. If they tell me honestly that they really enjoyed them, then that is a form of success.

I choose my own definition of success, not someone else’s. I will not give up my growth, my development, my learning, just to do what someone says I ought to do. Even if they seem to be right.