July 30, 2021
A few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to hear an interview with Reiner Knizia, which had a deep impact on our lives. He said, “You cannot make a living from writing novels. But there are some exceptions. If you start, don’t try to become one of these exceptions; do it because your heart is in it, because you love doing it, and if you do something you love, it may actually become very successful, and then you can make a living out of it. But starting by saying ‘I want to be a full time professional author’ is setting yourself up for lots of disappointments.”
It’s been nearly a year and a half since we first brought the Vaal’bara Historical Society into the public light. We thought that, optimistically, our series would be greeted with excitement, and might afford us the ability to press onward with our passion at a rapid pace. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. However, that same week, the Covid outbreak exploded, and things rapidly went downhill. Viktor lost both his grandfather and father in addition to contracting Covid himself, starting a chain reaction that nearly killed him and destroyed our finances. So too, our series struggled, gaining almost no attention, lost in a sea of countless other novels.
It’s been a difficult road to travel down, as we’ve found ourselves in a position far worse than when we started. Those who have read our books mostly enjoy them, and our Goodreads reviews largely reflect that. But we’ve reached a point where sales are non-existent, we can’t afford marketing, and Amazon will only allow us a handful of days each year to pass out free eBooks while remaining within the confines of their service. Continuing to watch the months tick by, only to result in little to no increase in readership, has been disheartening and humbling to say the least. But we’ve now realized we made an incredible mistake.
Asking potential readers to pay for a book by a pair of authors they’ve never heard of, only to net ourselves a tiny sale, is counterintuitive, if not completely useless, when all we really want is to find people who enjoy what we’ve written. We have no desire for fame and fortune, but we do honestly hope to entertain readers and spark their imaginations, which does require at least some level of success. It’s what we love to do, and we were prepared to do so on a poverty-level income. When we opened our doors with multiple completed novels, we thought they might make a big splash by showing our dedication; when they didn’t, our passion quickly turned into a desperate, drudging, miserable slog - something we began this journey specifically to avoid!
So, after a lengthy discussion, we have decided to completely revise our series from the ground up, re-releasing improved digital versions for free on our website, in addition to maintaining that standard for our future novels as well. We will continue to create printed books for those who enjoy paper and ink, as we too love collecting physical novels for our own shelves, but they will never be a mandatory purchase. For the moment, however, our series has been removed from distribution while it is being reworked. When we return, you can expect new artwork, new revelations, and new insights throughout each volume!
Some choices a person is forced to make are difficult, but in the end, it turns out this was not one of them. In our hearts, we simply want people to have access to our books, and this will be an excellent opportunity to provide that service to you, the reader. This decision feels good. As we continue forward, we are still committed to writing, and we a new volume in the process of being written. That being said, due to our circumstances, progress will be slower than before. Thank you to those who have supported us thus far. We’ve certainly learned a great deal throughout this process, that’s for sure, but we’re not giving up; too much of the story remains untold!
Kristen & Viktor