Sunrise is no more. Long live the Chronicles.
I had been intending to release book two in my Sci-Fi horror epic series this month, but the more I got it ready, the more something wasn’t sitting right with it. I’ve been thinking of these as great big sci-fi horror epics, and the overall nine-book plot definitely is epic, but 100k+ words per book just doesn’t sit right. Each one ends up feeling more like a TV series… So I’m making a change. From now on, the Sunset Chronicles is going to be a monthly serial, with five ‘episodes’ per series.
As such, I’ve pulled down Sunrise – it no longer fits with the serialised concept, and I’m completely rejigging the order, but Series One, Episode One of The Sunset Chronicles launches on March 15th, with new instalments each month. Now, if you’ve already read Sunrise, don’t worry! You’ll be able to wait for series two, and you won’t miss much more than cosmetic changes. But if you want to read right along again, you can pre-order episode one on Amazon and Google Play now for free, and it’ll be available to get from all bookstores from March 15th. Check out the new cover…
So, why so serial? Sunrise, the intended first book in the Sunset Chronicles, came out a year ago, and its launch didn’t exactly go to plan. The people who read it seemed to really enjoy it, but sales over its first year have been… slooooow. Which is a real shame, since it’s the first book in a planned 9-book arc. It’s pretty hard to gee yourself up to write book three when nobody is reading book one. But the books are so big, getting each one ready takes quite a bit of time. And the truth of modern publishing is that momentum counts for a hell of a lot.
One comment I heard a lot was how it seemed quite… episodic, like the entire book was a series of some epic sci-fi show rather than a single novel. And it’s true – the story for The Chronicles is massive and sprawling, taking in everything from the crumbling ruins of Europe to an ice moon around Jupiter, all tied together under an overarching plot of corporate power and greed.
When I was growing up, I loved serialised fiction. I became a Stephen King fan at exactly the right age that going and getting a new episode of The Green Mile every month turned into that year’s highlight for me – the thrill of getting each new episode, of each fresh cliffhanger, I loved it. I remember Hugh Howey doing something similar with Wool, and there are countless other excellent examples (such as Twice) in recent years where people are making serials work really well for a modern, digital market.
So I went back and looked at Sunrise. I rejigged things around, took it all apart like a mechanic and stared at it for a while, sucked the air through my teeth, and shook my head. Then I put it all together in five separate books and stood back in wonder at my creation. The story – previously in chunks of narrative with each character – came alive in a way it hadn’t before. And so a serial was born.
I had already written the next two books (or seasons, as they now will be), so I went back and went through the same exercise again. It was huge fun, and reinvigorated my love of this epic tale.
So now I have a serialised tale, the first episode of which will launch on my birthday, March 15th. Then there’ll be a new episode every month, with a month off after each 5-episode season when I’ll release a paperback-only collection of the season. The individual episodes will only be available as an eBook, so you can choose your poison, so to speak.
At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that if you were one of the few who picked up Sunrise, please don’t worry. You won’t have to re-read the first series to get what’s going on – just hold off and re-join on series two. Although, if you just really really like the story, I’m not going to tell you not to enjoy it all over again.
You can find out more about each of the first three books in the series here. Each book page contains links to where you can pre-order (book one is only available on Amazon and Google Play as it’ll be a free download on release). And if you want to be among the first to get your hands on a copy when it comes out, why not sign up to my reader’s group, where you’ll also get a free book with seven exclusive short stories, and a 10% discount on all books bought direct from this site.