Today, I received a semi-annual royalty check for sales of my first published novel, Virtual Wiles. I'm pleased to see that the number of books sold during this period is up, higher than they've been in years! That's good news.
When I first wrote Virtual Wiles back in 2001, I remember having a lot of faith and pride in this work. I felt it was the best thing I'd ever written, and at the time it may have been. It was my fourth completed novel, and in retrospect it was the first one that truly met publication standards. Don't get me wrong, the first couple of books I wrote had promise, and still might be polishable, though in their original forms they weren't really saleable.
Of course, over the last four and a half years since Virtual Wiles was accepted for publication, I've written bigger and better things. While I still believe this first volume of the "Virtual Saga" to be a decent book, it was merely a stepping stone, and if I had it all to do over again there are a few things I might change in the text. There are a few scenes in the book I'd like to expand, and some I might trim down. This isn't the case with my subsequent publications, as I've gotten better at the writing craft.
With Virtual Wiles' sequel, Prisoner of Time, I don't have any regrets about the content (though I did write it in 2007, six years after Virtual Wiles). The same could be said of The Guns of Mars (though there is one "deleted" scene I might like to release someday). I've gotten to the point where I know what I'm doing with my writing. I understand my audience for the most part and can draft something everyone can enjoy. I hope that is evident with West of the Warlock.
I encourage anyone who has read my subsequent works to pick up a copy of Virtual Wiles, to compare my past writing to my present material. It's all relevant. If you want to save money, get your copies from my AuthorStore!
Everyone changes as they grow older. Whether a writer's stories get better or worse often depends on personal tastes. My greatest hope is that my work becomes popular enough to support me someday, but not so popular that I begin to write boring junk just for the money. I remember Mickey Spillane once joked that he was going to publish a book containing 200 blank pages, and he'd still sell a million copies the first week. Yes, that sort of name recognition would be amazing, but it can also change the way you write.
When you can publish anything, no matter the quality or worth, it is the writer's duty to keep their work relevant. The true character of a writer is therefore judged not only during his struggling years, but after his stardom is struck. How we handle success is equally as important as how we handle our failures.
I promise, no matter how popular I become, I will not sell out and publish unentertaining tripe. I'm committed to producing entertaining stories above all else, no matter the money involved. Therefore, I will forever write escapist garbage!