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A History of Warpmancer

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The oldest of my readers will all know a little bit about my long love-hate relationship with the Warpmancer Series. Starting out as “The Terra War Saga” and even a standalone called “The Trooper”, what is now called the Warpmancer Saga has gone through many iterations since I first envisioned it as a young, bright-eyed school child with a desire to write.

But how did Warpmancer come to be? Why, by Terra, are there so many iterations and re-releases? And what does the future hold for the sci-fi series that started my career in writing?

My Childish Adventure: Original Release of Fall of Zona Nox

The first ever covers for Fall of Zona Nox, created by my dad and used on Smashwords.
The first ever covers for Fall of Zona Nox, created by my dad and used on Smashwords.

The history of Warpmancer starts with a little game called Spore. In particular, Spore: Galactic Adventures. In Galactic Adventures, the players are able to create their own worlds, missions and stories to share with other players. I created a series of quests in this game all set in a universe that I called Extos III.

The quests I created were a battle between armour-clad Troopers and alien birdmen on a red desert, the founding of a city called Nexus on a snow-world named Nova Zarxa, and a rebellion against an exanoid tyrant – dubbed the Glotos III uprising.

I loved writing and creating these quests and stories. But the limitations of the platform became readily apparent, and I decided that the best thing for me to do was to write a book. So, at the age of 13 in 2009, I began writing my first novel.

Initially, The Trooper was going to be a standalone book. It would tell the tale of a thief (inspired by Jimmy the Hand from Raymond Feist’s Rift War Saga) who eventually becomes a military hero.

And, oh boy, it escalated quickly from there.

Warpmancer’s complexity and the scale of its lore and universe grew fast. Four years later, in 2013, I’d finished the book. At least, the first edition of the book. This put me in my 2nd last year of high school. Coincidentally, I also decided to write a zombie book in that year. Which you can read here for FREE.

But what was I to do with this mammoth tome which I’d written? I initially tried looking for publishing companies. But the intimidation of finding a literary agent, or cold calling publishing companies as a 17-year-old was a bit too much for me to get over.

So, instead I went into self-publishing. Or, at least what I thought passed for self-publishing back then. Amazon KDP was, for some reason, quite hard to get into back then. Smashwords, however, allowed me to upload my book. And despite not knowing a vokken thing about what I was doing, I managed to get a bunch of sales.

And then didn’t write another book for three years.

Getting Serious: Becoming a Professional Writer

My first professional covers. All pre-mades or made by myself.
My first professional covers. All pre-mades or made by myself.

Following the first release of Fall of Zona Nox (as it was eventually titled) in 2013, I shifted my focus to politics, schoolwork, and eventually to university. That was until my final year of university in 2017, when I realised that I didn’t actually want to pursue a career in academia or politics. I wanted to write fiction.

With the help of a fellow sci-fi author, Jason Werbeloff, I learnt the ropes to self-publishing and realised that I needed to treat this more like a business. I finished the sequel to Fall of Zona Nox, Rise of the Defiant that year, and followed it up with two novellas (Godkiller and Outcast of Empire) and three short stories that further expanded on the Warpmancer universe.

I started my newsletter and met many amazing readers who are still with me to this day. In essence, my writing journey truly began in 2017. And once I graduated from university, I was ready to pursue a life as a fiction author.

Re-Packaging and De-Bundling: The Birth of the Original Warpmancer Series

The series covers for the first professional release of the Warpmancer Series. All pre-mades, except Endbreach, which I designed myself.
The series covers for the first professional release of the Warpmancer Series. All pre-mades, except Endbreach, which I designed myself.

With advice from fellow authors, I spent 2018 re-writing my sci-fi and separating the longer books into shorter episodes. In June of that year, I released the first book, Shadow (Part 1 of Fall of Zona Nox) and received the best month of sales of my publishing career at that point.

I was hooked! I soon released Fall of Zona Nox in three parts (Shadow, Trooper, Captain), Rise of the Defiant into two parts (Rise and Defiant) and bundled Godkiller and Outcast of Empire with a new book to make Daughter of Mars. I followed up with a brand new book, continuing the saga, with Conquest.

And then, I got burnt out.

Yeah. That’s about it. I got burnt out. And after talking to my fellow authors, I realised that I needed something new.

The Great Pause: When the Katverse became my focus

The Kat Drummond Series started as a side-thing. It was meant to be a small project that I could quickly write as a palette cleanser before moving back to Warpmancer.

As you may have guessed, it didn’t work out that way. The tail end of 2018 turned into writing Kat Drummond. 2019 was dedicated to writing even more of the series (with a short distraction of almost getting my honours in Economic History).

In October 2019, I released Part-Time Monster Hunter. And it all snowballed from then. An original outline of 4 – 6 books became (as of 2024) 16 novels with 2 spin-off novels, 5 short stories, and a 3 book spin-off series.

The Kat Drummond Series, and the Katverse, clearly became my real passion. I loved writing it! And while I still had a small contingent of Warpmancer fans, the vast majority of my readers were now there for Kat.

But Conquest had ended on a cliff-hanger. And many readers were getting impatient.

In 2021, I realised I’d taken too long. I had to finish Warpmancer. I had to fulfil my promise. So, I paused the Kat Drummond Series, and went back to Warpmancer.

The Failed Re-Release: My Big Mistake

While my initial serious release of Warpmancer had been a success for that time, it was not even a shadow of what I’d achieved with the Kat Drummond Series. As a professional writer, I needed to ensure that I wrote something that would sell. And I’d learnt a lot from my writing the Katverse.

So, I decided on unpublishing the Warpmancer Series, and re-branding it into a major re-release, slated for 2022. New covers! The smaller episodes re-packaged back into their original books, to avoid cliff hangers. Another re-write for every book. A reader-led marketing initiative.

And, most importantly, the conclusion of the saga.

But it didn’t end up that way.

I started rapidly releasing the new editions of the newly dubbed Warpmancer Saga in 2022. I finished Conquest (now: Conquest of the Defiant). But, writing it was hard.

The sales for the re-release were not good. Not a patch on Kat Drummond. And I wasn’t enjoying writing the series. I cut out a lot of planned material for Conquest of the Defiant and looked on at Fall of Terra and The Promised End with anxiety and depression.

I didn’t want to keep writing this series. And after arguing with other authors, and myself, I decided to not finish the series. And to avoid newer readers from starting a series that would never be finished, I unpublished it.

And then, I went back to Kat.

But the damage had been done. I’d lost momentum with Kat’s releases, losing some readers along the way. But even worse, I lost a huge proportion of my loyal readership, those who’d been with me from day one, as I abandoned my debut series.

And I’ve been dealing with the sting of betraying their trust ever since. Which brings us to 2024…

The Final Re-Release: The Promised End

The final covers for the Warpmancer Saga, custom made by MiblArt
The final covers for the Warpmancer Saga, custom made by MiblArt

I’m sitting with four unpublished books, six unused covers, and hundreds of readers waiting for a conclusion for an abandoned series.

And, while I’d foolishly put Kat Drummond on pause in 2022, I’m not making that mistake again. Kat Drummond is done. Cindy Giles is done.

I have no distractions now. Just Warpmancer. And I’m committed to finishing the series that started my career. For real this time.

The release schedule is really simple. A book every 30 days starting from the 1st of March.

Six books. Two of which are brand new. And regardless of market success or any other random quibbles that assail my addled mind, I will finish this series, and provide you with your Promised End.

You have my promise.

And I can’t wait for you to read the long-awaited conclusion to my career’s debut saga.