Another year has passed so it’s time to take a look back at 2011 for Sword and Soul. We started the year with the release of Changa’s Safari, my third Sword and Soul novel. As you may know by now, Changa’s Safari centers on the adventures of Changa Diop, a deposed Kongo prince whose path has led him to the Swahili city of Mombasa. From their begins his world ranging adventures with an eclectic crew; a Yoruba priestess, a mysterious Tuareg swordsman, a cranky but uncanny Ethiopian navigator and a callow Yemeni amir. Changa’s world ranging adventures take place in the late 15th century in places familiar and long forgotten. The initial release was good, but Changa’s momentum was stalled by the anticipation and release of another book that had been in the works since the middle of 2010 and finally saw release at Onyx Con III(http://www.onyxcon.com/) in August of 2011.
That book was Griots. A short time after Charles Saunders and I met I came up with the idea of a Sword and Soul anthology. My idea was that for the genre to expand and grow we needed to seek out other writers and authors who had a passion for African-based heroic fiction. So that’s what we did. The call was made and answered. As I mentioned earlier, Griots debuted at Onyx Con III and the response was excellent. It was the best release of my books thus far, a large portion of that due to the number of people involved in its creation. With 14 writers and artists contributing it definitely got a lot of buzz. Add to that very favorable reviews and you have a book that has become the go to source for people wanting to know what exactly is Sword and Soul.
2011 was also the year I made a move toward ‘mainstream’ venues. Up until that year I concentrated on local book signings and Onyx Con. Last year I ventured out and tested the waters at a couple of other events. I participated in Atlanta Sci Fi Summer Con(http://sfscon.tripod.com/), a small con but a good one for making contacts. I also attended Dragoncon for the first time. I was a guest of Terminus Media (http://www.terminusmedia.com/) so I got to see the lay of the land and sell a few books, too. Results were encouraging; I’m seriously considering a booth in 2013.
So what about sales? Well, book sales are still not where I would like them to be but they are increasing. I sold 336 books total last year, a modest increase from the year before. Two items are worth noting; last year was the first year I sold books every month and it was also the year I began selling e-books and e-stories. Since beginning with e-books in August 2011 they have become a significant portion of my monthly sales. That trend has continue this year as well.
So what’s in store for 2012? A lot if all goes according to plan. This year will be the year I become a true publisher. I plan to publish two books by other authors. The first book will be Once Upon A Time In Afrika by Balogun. I met Balogun recently and we have immediately become Sword and Soul brothers. His writing talents and deep knowledge of Afrikan, particularly Yoruba, culture and history make Afrika a rich and exciting read. Afrika is due for release this May. The other book I hope to release this year is by my other Sword and Soul brother and mentor Charles R. Saunders. Abengoni: First Calling is the first book of a brand new trilogy by Charles and I am proud and humbled that he has allowed me to present these novels to the world. I hope I can debut Abengoni for Onyx Con 4, but realistically if will probably be end of the year. I’m also anticipating the release of Blood of Titans by C. Michael Forsyth. Michael has written an exciting book that will definitely add to the library of Sword and Soul books. As for me, I’m working on Woman of the Woods, my first Sword and Soul novel with a female main character, Sadatina. I’m also working with Balogun and artists Eugene Peterson, Wayne Parker, Kris Mosby and Stan Weaver on a Sword and Soul RPG titled Ki-Khanga. And then there’s the anthologies. Right now I’m working on three; Griots II: Sisters of the Spear, Dark Universe, and Steamfunk! I’m too early in the process to say when these will release, but they are all in different stages of development. Where do I find the time? I have no idea.
That being said, I hope you all continue to follow us. I’m still having a ball and I hope you are too. Thanks for your continued support and your patience. Sword and Soul Forever!