I join your other fans in congratulating you on a huge milestone-300k sold is fantastic. Thank you for your honesty and openness on how KU works. My sense is you regard yourself as well treated by KU, something I had hoped is true but had no info about.
Being somewhat new to you and your blog, I may have missed an estimate of how many volumes you expect Cradle to be. Hearing from you on this, even if it is a rough guess, would be a great way to share with you where all of us are in the Journey, and a nice way to celebrate 300k sold.
Or, maybe you could share with us a tidbit on the creative process. Is there any recurring challenge, and how do you come out on top, or try to? When or how do you know you have a good idea for a series? Really any insight into how you work would really interest us and would be a way your fans could join you in celebrating a major milestone in your literary career.
Oh, and many thanks for this blog, which I am enjoying, while waiting for Blackflame.
I can't speak for anyone else's experience, but I've been VERY well-treated by KU. It's the bulk of my monthly income nowadays.
As for the Cradle volumes...SPOILER WARNING, I guess, although this is so fluid and subject to change that anything I say can't really be much of a spoiler because I haven't made my own mind up yet.
I'm planning 12 volumes actually on Cradle. It could end there...or not. It depends.
The answer to most of those creative process questions you've asked is "I fly by the seat of my pants."
Recurring challenge: getting up every day and going to work. I get paid regardless, there are no deadlines, and no single day is going to matter in the completion of a book. I combat that by putting myself in scenarios where I have no choice but to write--I'm locked in a hotel room without the WiFi password and no books or games. Writing it is.
Recurring challenge #2: demotivation. In every book so far, roughly into the 2/3 - 3/4 mark, I'm convinced that it's a pile of crap, the worst thing I've ever written, and completely broken from stem to stern. I just know that I'm going to have to throw it all out and start over.
It hasn't been true yet, but each time I'm sure that THIS is going to be the time.
And that's where I'm currently at with Blackflame. I am convinced it's garbage. But by this point I'm learning to predict my own issues, and I was ready for this. A week or two from now I'll be saying "Hm, this is better than I remember it being."
Or maybe for the first time it really is crap, and the book will be delayed.
How I know when I have a good idea for a series: when it sells well, because that means people are reading it.
For instance, I thought Elder Empire was a great idea. Much better than the ideas behind Traveler's Gate or Cradle. I crammed too much into the setting, that's true, but the "dueling perspectives" thing and the "epic fantasy with a Lovecraft backdrop" thing are both rich ideas. Plus it's more character-driven by definition, which is a neat change of pace for me.
Then not many people read it, so evidently it was not a great idea. Live and learn. Unsouled has outsold all of the Elder Empire books combined, I think, and if it hasn't yet it will soon.
So apparently that was the better series concept.
Less jaded and cynical answer to the same question:
I choose which new series to write based on what book I think I can enjoy writing AND what I can complete in a reasonable amount of time.
With Cradle, for instance, I'd been reading a lot of translated wuxia and xianxia novels, so I wanted to try writing one. I was passionate about the genre, I had a few twists on the established formula I was excited to include, and it seemed like it would be very possible to write without any hidden obstacles along the way.
That's pretty much it.
Xianxia stories are fairly formulaic to start with, so I knew I could at least write the first 80-90k words of one without much trouble. And initially I'd planned to release Unsouled as a free twice-weekly release here on the blog, but that's another story.
That was a much longer answer than I intended, I'm sorry. The creative process is a big topic--maybe I should talk about HOW I work more.
Problem is, I often feel like the answer is "I just kind of make stuff up until it all fits together." It's like doing a jigsaw puzzle, but instead of looking for the right piece, you just 3D print one to fit.