Dispelling the curse of early success

It’s been a while since I’ve shown my face around these parts. Too long a while, if I’m honest.

I never thought I’d do it, but I’ve finally written my fifth book. It’s the next book in The Saga of the Shrouded King, a direct sequel to The Tenth Reaver. I just sent my finalized first draft to the editor, and I hope to get it published live within the next month.

For the few of you that find this website and wonder where I’ve been, I apologize for the long delay between books. In part, life happened. I had an opportunity to transition into a management role in my career, which I felt I could not pass up. And I had a second kid. Both of these combined to make 2019 crazy, and I did not write a single word last year.

However, there’s more to my hesitation than that.

I released my first book, Rune Empire, without any knowledge or expectations. I just wrote the thing, formatted it, and put it on Amazon. It took off like a rocket. It was an unprecedented and unmitigated success. As a consequence, I immediately felt the pressure to write the next book, and then the next. Along the way, I encountered people who wanted to give me advice about how to capitalize on my newfound success. I followed their advice to the best of my ability.

But over time, I started to hate writing. I lost the joy of exploring my own stories and characters. I became so focused on trying to be a writing machine that I lost sight of why I was doing it in the first place.

By the time I finished writing The Tenth Reaver, I was miserable. And to my mounting despair, I was never able to replicate Rune Empire’s success. My sales tanked for no reason I could understand. The only conclusion I could come to was: the Amazon algorithm giveth and it taketh away.

So, yes, life happened, but I was also so disillusioned with writing that I thought I’d never write again.

Well, I’m back, and after an 18 month break, I wrote 80k words to finish my next book. And I enjoyed every minute of it. I discovered two things about myself in 2019. I don’t want to be in a management role, and I have to write.

There are people, even now, that are telling me I should abandon the books I’ve written and try to reboot my career with a new pen name. They’ve got all sorts of advice about what genres I should write in and what audience I should target.

This time, I’m ignoring all of that. If that means I toil in obscurity, so be it. You won’t find me on social media. The only time you’ll ever get an email on my mailing list is when I release a new book.

All that matters is the writing. I’m working towards something, I can feel it. I put everything I have into each book, and when I’m done, all I can think about is how to make the next one better.

For those of you who have read my books, I wish I could shake your hand, look you in the eye and say, “Thank you for reading my books. I hope you enjoyed them. Please be patient with me, because I know I can do better.”

2 thoughts on “Dispelling the curse of early success

  1. Beautiful words Mr. Wall. It sucks to hear you had some difficulty in recapturing your early success. I wish you all the best in your continued writing efforts.

    I was mainly a post-apocalyptic/horror reader who never gave fantasy books much of a chance until I came across Rune Empire. I actually got the audiobooks and loved every second of them. I understand producing an audiobook must be expensive since The Tenth Reaver hasn’t been released in that format but I hope you’re able to release another one at some point, I’ll be there ready to purchase it!


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