I released Exodus: Empires at War: Book 5: Ranger on December 27th, 2013. Since that time it has sold over 2,400 copies, mostly ebooks, but some paperbacks as well. Currently it is ranked number 1 in three categories across the pond on Amazon.UK, Books: Space Opera and Kindle: Space Opera and Military Scifi. It’s ranked number 7 in Books: Space Opera and Military Scifi, and Kindle: Space Opera onAmazon.US, down from a number 5 rank in all those categories a week ago. It is averaging 4.5 stars at Amazon US, with 16 five star reviews, 2 four star, a three and a pair of twos. One of the twos admitted to skimming much of the book, so I really discount his opinion as far as how much attention I should give to his points. In the UK the book has six reviews, with five 5 stars and a 4. I have also received emails, Facebook posts and blog replies that let me know that people are really liking the book. Book 5 was somewhat of a departure from the previous books, concentrating on ground warfare, with one of the minor characters of the other books now the star, and the majors pushed into a distant supporting role. I was told by some readers even before the book came out that they wouldn’t like it because it didn’t feature space action. Some of my reviews said they loved the book despite the focus on land warfare, while others, mostly from ground pounders old and new, loved the setting.
When I started the Exodus series it was intended to be Military Science Fiction, covering all aspects of a future war on a grand scale. It was labeled Space Opera by readers who marked it as such on Amazon. No problem, since that is a very popular sub-genre. But I did not want to be pigeonholed into only writing about spaceships. There is so much more to scifi that things blowing up in space, though I tend to include a lot of that in most of my books as well. There are the planets, big complicated things with their own evolutionary path and history, leading to some strange and interesting life forms. There are aliens, who shouldn’t always act just like humans, nor look like people with prosthetic devices on their faces. There are politics, and intrigue, and technology. Aw, the technology. Several years ago on a site specializing in helping science fiction and fantasy writers I posed a question about wormholes, asking the members what uses they could think of for them besides transport of people and things. The answers I got really surprised me. Mostly no ideas, just responses of ‘what else would they be needed for.’ I have come up with many uses for wormholes in my novels, and have some more on the horizon. They are a central tech in my books, and central techs in societies are normally developed in way that even surprised the inventors.
The first four books stuck with the main storyline, as convoluted as it was. I decided that one of the characters needed a story, so I wrote it. One of the great things about being self-published is I have total control of the series. I will continue to write side stories in the future. I already have the ideas, and I think they add something to the overall saga. But I have a thought, just to keep everything straight, I would start doing the side stories under a different title, like Exodus: Tales of the Empire, to cover excursions into other areas of the war, short stories, and historical events (in that Universe). I will still concentrate on the main storyline, but will also put out one or two books a year in the side line. That way, people who only want to follow the main storyline can do so by buying the Empires at War books, while those interested in the larger scope of the Universe can also pick up the Tales of the Empire line. And thanks to all of you who keep buying any of my books. You make it all worthwhile.