The Blog Exotic.
Ideas and Things I Geek Out About.
Somewhere in the past few weeks, "Black Sea Gods" hit fifty ratings on Amazon. They say 50 ratings is an important milestone that appeals to the almighty pagan god Algorithm. They say after 50 ratings Algorithm will be greatly pleased and bestow many blessings upon the product. I'm not sure if that's true. Perhaps Algorithm will need a shrubbery or some other worthy sacrifice before Amazon highlights "Black Sea Gods" above what it has in the past.
Some books garner 50 reviews in their first ten minutes after release, but most never reach 50 ratings. What matters to me is 50 readers bothered to leave a review or rating for my novel. I'm not ashamed to say I'm proud of that. I'm also proud "Black Sea Gods" continues to occasionally sell and receive positive reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads almost a decade after its release. What also matters is those 50 reviews have averaged 4.5 stars. I cannot express how important that is to me, or any author, for that matter. For those readers who took a chance on my indie novels, enjoyed it and left a rating or review - THANK YOU.
Ratings and reviews don't always mean sales, however. "Black Sea Gods" and "The Chronicles of Fu Xi" series, wasn't the overwhelming commercial success I had hoped it would be when I started this journey. That hope was born of naivety and market ignorance. I also know that's okay. This series isn't for everyone. Let me explain.
At a writers conference I was once asked what were "Black Sea Gods" "comps", or in other words, where does it fit on the bookshelf at the book store? As a fledgling author, I didn't have a clear answer back then, but I do now. "Black Sea Gods" belongs on its own bookshelf. This may sound arrogant, but it's not. "Black Sea Gods" is different. If you go back and read its reviews you'll see a trend of people saying they liked it, but didn't quite know what to make of it. These are the best reviews, because I know the novel did what it was supposed to do - entertain and challenge the reader. Is it truly an epic fantasy? Yes, and no. Is "Black Sea Gods"truly historical fiction? Yes, and no. Is it mythological? Yes, and well, no. "Black Sea Gods" is different. It doesn't fit neatly on a shelf or cleanly in a genre. So, how would I describe it?
These days, if someone asks be what "Black Sea Gods" is all about, I reply "It's the "Odyssey" meets "The Ten Commandments." Usually, people shrug, say "that's cool", and then change the topic. If they delve deeper, I explain it's about a simple man trying to save all he loves from a world turned violently upside down. It's about a good and faithful son, who also happens to be a powerful demigod, on a quest to save the world and, in the process, discovers who he truly is. It's about goddess struggling to atone for her past sins, and the wicked gods and humans who have fully surrendered to them. It's about faith and fate and all that lies in between. It's also about perhaps the greatest event in humanity's past: both how it might have been and how humanity remembered it through our faiths, legends and myths.
"Black Sea Gods" is the book I wanted to read but couldn't find, so I wrote it myself. To those readers who allowed me to share this epic with you and enjoyed it, you have my deepest thanks. I am the most blessed man in the world to have been able to take this journey. If you want to share this journey with me, I invite you to step into my world with either "Black Sea Gods" or the series prequel "The Golden Princess."
Back to writing.
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