Mega Update

I’ve made a fair number of changes to my Author Platform recently – some of them evident, while others are behind the scenes stuff.

First off: after a million years, it seems, I’ve published a new novel!

Primal Nature 10 (1)
God Arm activated!

Primal Nature is the second novel in the Johnny Wagner, Godlike PI trilogy, and it features all the vivid, wacky characters seen in the first book.

Plus aliens!

As if corrupt government officials and arrogant superheroes weren’t enough, Johnny now has a whole new race of extraterrestrials to contend with. To make matters even more complicated, this alien culture has split into two warring factions, and the chasm between them is unbridgeable.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, the conspiracies get bigger and bigger – and, of course, more dangerous – as Johnny’s quest continues. Of course I’m not gonna make it easy on my private eye protagonist!

So go check it out!

Next up: Double Lives, the first book in the Johnny Wagner series, has a new cover to coincide with the Primal Nature cover.

Double Lives Re-Design v5
God Arm is also activated!

While my original cover had some eye-catching elements, I felt the novel’s genre wasn’t being conveyed.

This series is superhero fiction (with, naturally, many other genres mixed in) and I needed clear artistic themes to convey this. Thus why I decided on a cartoonish style, with caped crusaders in the background so no one would mistake what sort of story they were getting.

After much back-and-forth with my cover designer, I decided to keep the same image of Johnny for both novels (and for the third and last novel, whenever it’s released). Other elements carry over between the designs, as you can see. Anyone who’s spent any time browsing Amazon has seen how authors and cover designers create an overarching design to tie a series together.

The color scheme between the two novels does look very similar, but, as with everything else in self-publishing, if you don’t like it or it’s not working, you can change it.

Also: the price of Double Lives is now permanently set at 99 cents.

Yes, for less than a buck, you can get the first novel in the series!

Check it out, see if it’s right for you. If it’s not, you’re only out 99 cents – and Dak, the God of Destruction, will be angry with you, but I have no control over his emotions….

Next up on the Mega Update: blurbs!

I’ve tweaked my blurbs for both Johnny Wagner novels. Blurbs are tricky, and mine still aren’t optimized, plus I’m still trying to decide which “blurb ideology” to follow. Running ads on Amazon should get me some data so I can fine-tune things further.

I’ve also been pondering my author newsletter, something that has caused me endless grief. Not because it’s too much work – because I haven’t done enough work with it.

Designing a super-interesting newsletter to send out to folks has always seemed like a chore. I’d rather write a 2,000 word chapter on superheroes and aliens than a 200 word newsletter.

I have some fresh ideas now, though, so those who are subscribed will be seeing this new approach in action shortly. If you’re not subscribed, go ahead and sign up!

So what’s next in the novel queue? It’s not the last Johnny Wagner novel, though that will be published soon enough. Conventional wisdom says an author should finish a series before starting a new one, but what fun is that? I had ideas, and they had to get out!

The next release will be book one of a series centered on the Elites, the superteam seen in the Johnny Wagner novels. However, while they share the Elites name and are very aware of the team’s history, this is an entirely new set of superheroes who’ve banded together to thwart evil.

Sound juicy? Good. It’ll be out soon, perhaps as soon as early November.

(Note: I’ll never do pre-orders for my books. I’m terrible at estimating project completion dates!)

“So what does this Elites book mean, O Wonderful and Creative Author? It seems to share the same universe as the Johnny Wagner books…?”

Thanks for asking, O Wonderful and Kind Superfan. Yes, these two series will share the same universe, as will other superhero stories I write, unless I can think of a good reason to set them in another universe.

This will makes things much easier for me, and hopefully for readers. I don’t have to invent an entire world for each new series; I can bring in new characters, locations, and troubles, but there will always be known elements that everyone will recognize, and plenty of “easter eggs” for sharp-eyed readers to find.

Fans of comic books will, of course, be very familiar with this storytelling style. The X-Men, Avengers, and Spider-Man share the same world in the Marvel comics, for example, which means an important event – usually a mega-villain’s plan for domination – affects all of them.

A shared universe lends itself to lots of fun teamups, crossovers, character reinventions, and so on. And again, readers won’t have to strain to learn how everything works for each new release.

On the other side of the coin, tying things together too tightly means readers will have to read every book to understand what’s going on. Of course, that’s not ideal. Just like you shouldn’t have to read every X-Men comic ever written to enjoy the series, neither should you have to read everything I’ve published to enjoy my superhero stories.

It’s a balancing act – and I’ll be working hard to keep from falling into the abyss.

So does this universe have a name?

Sure does: the Z Universe, named after Z City, the most important metropolis in the stories.

Z is an edgy letter – insert meme about edginess here – and easy to remember.

Now that you’ve read about it, you couldn’t forget Z Universe if you tried.

Go ahead and try. I’ll wait.

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed the news and the behind-the-scenes stuff. There will be more information on the Z Universe, the new Elites novel, and everything else going on in my Author Platform in subsequent posts. Stay tuned!

And, as always, I welcome your comments. Have any suggestions, awesome ideas, self-publishing advice, or just want to talk about your favorite comic book superheroes or superheroines? Then type some words, people!

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