I have a decent track record on this blog for missing important anniversaries and milestones, or at least letting them whoosh by before remembering them, but this time round I’m fairly on the money for once. Today marks 365 days since Legion That Was debuted on Amazon KDP. My humble little tome has turned 1!
Okay, well technically the eBook’s birthday was yesterday, the paperback is today, and the hardback’s is more or less in exactly four weeks’ time. But you get it.
Naturally it’s a nice little stop to reflect and take stock of what the post-publication journey has been like. Marketing and championing a self-published novel is never an easy feat, unless your name is E L James or you’re a TikTok sensation. Neither of which, I’m happy to report, I am. In all honesty I doubted that dropping a debut novel on KDP – a debut in a famously narrow and underrep’ed genre, I might add – was ever realistically going to springboard my career as a writer in any way. And to tell the truth, a part of me still wonders if sticking with querying a little longer and not giving into impatience might have been a shrewder move.
But in reality, having a finished product I was (more or less) happy with, and packaged so well by the cover designers at Book Beaver, was such a fitting end to my 18 months of Covid-induced solitude. And while I get more critical of my finished work the longer I have to read and think about it, I am truly proud of what this first novel turned out to be, and more importantly, where the series is going to be going in the near future.
As you may know from my previous posts, since then I’ve written the follow up story Aquilifer, while I have rough plans for two more interim stories that will plug the gap between this first novel and Prince of Knaves. None of them are going to be necessary reading – if you don’t have Kindle or simply can’t be arsed, you won’t understand Book II any worse – but each one will be a fun little insert to the world, and give extra context to people and things that crop up in the books. One of them is another vignette kinda thing, like Aquilifer was, which will shape up to be a comedy piece more than anything else. The other is a little more plotty; a tale of political intrigue in one of the other Legions that Sallus Thracian becomes unwittingly embroiled in, which will foreshadow some of his appearances and motivations in Prince. I don’t know when I’ll physically get to writing them – between other bigger projects and work commitments, obviously – but it’ll be nice to space out their releases by a few months, or at least to plug the gaps until I know I can get on to Prince.
In other words, pretty much anything to put off actually writing Prince.
At the moment, Prince has a Prologue and two Chapters, and in my head I have a pretty firm idea of how the rest is going to pan out. But like everything else in this series, it just comes down to research, research, research. Tiberian era Rome is a famously complex period to get to grips with, and in the 5 year gap between Books I and II there are a lot of details and changes I want to make sure I get right. Once I have enough of that, I can weave it together with the plot and character journeys and finish the outline. And once there, it’s child’s play.
At the moment Shadow of the Prow is taking up about 99% of my attention, and I’m pleased to report that (by my standards) it’s actually going fairly quick and painlessly. As I’ve said before, Greek mythology is a vastly different beast to Roman history, and I’m finding it a lot more smooth to plot and execute. That said, it’ll be another long one, certainly, and the 17,000ish words I’ve done already have barely even set the ball rolling.
But I have a good feeling about it, so I’m not worried.
So for anyone massively invested on getting their next fix of little old Orbus – in other words, no-one – it may be a bit of a longer wait than you’d hoped, until the next proper novel at least.
But have no fear. Ancient Rome’s grumpiest soldier – and his rather unconvential familia – will be back on paper soon.
Happy birthday, Legion That Was. We love you, glaring formatting errors, multiple page break deletions and all.