2018/12/06

Another Comparison to Galaxy's Edge

Combat Frame XSeed: CY 2 Gaiden

The Injustice Gamer compares and contrasts a few established and upcoming newpub projects, including the formidable Galaxy's Edge  and my own Combat Frame XSeed.
Galaxy's Edge does a lot of stuff very much right. They started with a bang, filling a desire with their #starwarsnotstarwars postings on twitter, and marketing that as the overall idea of the series. The money they spend on covers is large, but clearly successful, as they get emails from new readers drawn in by the covers. They've even been spotted in a few physical bookstores, something few indie books get, at least before they get signed by a publisher. Their output is about a book a month, and while that's great, all the books are by them, and start feeling the same after so many.
4HU started off a bit slower, with the first four novels being by Wandrey and Kennedy at 2 books each. And then they opened up the floodgates to other authors with anthologies. This let them get a feel for the audience early on and built the draw and talent pool available quickly. Currently, it sits at a 3 week release schedule plus some. The cover art varies a bit more, but there are only a couple I would actually replace of my choice. The cycling of other authors into the release schedule, with the novels tying together, but not directly interfering(through edicts such as only Chris and Mark actually write the 4H, and even appearances of characters from such need approval) with the other stories.

Not coincidentally, I happen to be one of the authors in the 4HU talent pool.

Silver Empire recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign for a universe called Heroes Unleashed, with interesting ideas that are somewhere between the two. What was termed Wave I will have 5 authors doing novels(likely series if successful). Morgon Newquist(school of arts and war) created this world with short stories in two anthologies(Paragons and HA! HA! HA!), and the others involved include some others I've reviewed here: JD Cowan(Grey Cat Blues, Knights of the End), Kai Wai Cheah(No Gods Only Daimons, Hammer of the Witches), Jon Mollison(Sudden Rescue, Adventure Constant), and Richard W. Watts, with whom I am unfamiliar.
Bradford C. Walker and Brian Niemeier both have run Indiegogo campaigns(Brian's is still live [Ed. The first campaign is over, but stay tuned for the next one.]), related to their #AGundamForUS work, and both have some good ideas. Now, if both do well, they will eventually face the challenge of putting out new material and keeping a fresh feel to their stories, which is where I think Galaxy's Edge has begun to fall flat, so this is no mean feat. My advice would be to do a contained series, maybe 6 books, at first, and perhaps invite other authors after, either for shorter arcs or standalone novels. Yeah, this is a throwback to the books they are somewhat imitating, but it did work then, and should work again, if they find authors that get what they're doing.
While it's highly encouraging that a no-nonsense critic like the IJ likes the ideas that inform Combat Frame XSeed, I'm the first to admit that it's the execution of  those ideas which make or break a novel. Fortunately for my readers, advance reviews from CFXS Indiegogo backers have been pouring in, and the clear consensus is that this book is my best. I've actually asked multiple prominent reviewers who'd intended to post reviews immediately after finishing CFXS to kindly wait until next month's official launch. I greatly appreciate their patience and assure them of more quality installments to come.

Speaking of which, I endorse the Injustice Gamer's advice to authors about keeping series contained. Now, Galaxy's Edge is following that template by doing "seasons" comprising a connected story arc each. Nine books is rather long for me, though. Instead, Combat Frame XSeed is currently planned as a standalone series of four to five novels with a short story set between each book. Next month's launch will help me decide the best way to follow up.

No matter what happens, you're gonna have fun, guaranteed.

10 comments:

  1. Congratulations on being selected for the talent pool, and good luck on your Xseed launch!

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    1. Echo the congrats and look forward to purchasing CFXS when it comes out.

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    2. Much appreciated. The wait's almost over!

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  2. I ended up burning out on Galaxy's Edge around book 5 or 6. Things kept going downhill, and I was never sure that any side was actually admirable. So I think their season is a bit long.

    OTOH, I avidly devoured Weber's Safehold series, which is nine or ten HUGE books, and was hooked every minute, because I knew who was good and who was bad, and you had people on the bad side who realize what's going on and shift towards good.

    So for my taste: if you aren't going to have unambiguous right and wrong, I'll give you about five books, then I'm done. I actually have no desire to go back to Galaxy's Edge right now, and I doubt I will unless people who've read it can convince me that there will be definable good vs bad, not just factions striving for power.

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    1. Not downhill in terms of quality, but in terms of the galaxy dumpster fire getting worse, like having live skunks thrown into it, and then exploding to start other dumpsters on fire, and then skunks getting thrown into the new dumpsters...

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    2. Gotcha. One of my highest priorities with CFXS is departing from Gundam's gray & grey morality.

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  3. Best ever? That's a tall bar to a guy who has read or listened to all of the Soul Cycle books about 2.8 times. Either way, I'm really looking forward to it, so bravo.

    Also, D.J., you might want to consider going back to Galaxy's Edge: yeah, they burn everything down in this series, but the arcs are resolved pretty well and it's all to a purpose. No Martinesque "oh you like him? He dies next!"

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    1. First things first: I sincerely appreciate your readership. As for the Soul Cycle vs XSeed, I understand your sentiments. The SC is my passion project and has deeply personal meaning for me. Then again, it's also my first published novel series, and all authors tend to improve over time.

      Saying that CFXS is my best work isn't just ad copy. For one thing, I'm not saying it. That opinion comes from trusted reviewers who've read the novel. These are tough but fair critics who've called out legitimate weaknesses in my previous works before. If they're raving about XSeed, there's probably something to it.

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    2. Brian,

      I find Alfred's advice to invite other writers to work in your sandbox a good one. It allows an expansion of your universe and to touch different themes while keeping true to the good are good; bad are bad and goodness eventually triumphs.
      When I write my review, I'll point out that I really appreciate the clear moral divide.
      xavier

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