Being a Starving Author, and ripping that band-aid off.

This is a post I’ve held off from making for almost a year now. But I’m at my wit’s end here, and I’m going to rip the band-aid off.
Blindspace, the second book in The Common Saga and the second book I’ve published, didn’t launch well.
Blindspace came out at the very end of the year, on Nov 29th, at the tail-end of COVID, before the Christmas shopping spree. COVID restrictions were back in Australia, and almost all of my events/signings got cancelled.
It’s been out since Nov 2021 and has less than 100 ratings on Goodreads (a fifth of what Stormblood has). On Amazon, it’s got 28 reviews compared to 186.

Book reviews are crucial for the algorithm, which in turn helps the book reach new readers. Without them, your book’s reach is limited.
The hardback Goldsboro edition of Stormblood sold out within a week. Blindspace has not.
I haven’t seen the sales figures for almost a year, and that was before the mass market paperback/American release happened. So, things could have improved. But the last time I checked, things were not great.
Reader drop-off is a thing for anyone who writes a series, and the second book in a series generally gets less attention from the publishers, booksellers, reviewers, and in general, than the first. I expected this.

But I was expecting, I don’t know, more.

And it’s making me feel drained and burnt out.

I don’t have a US-based publisher (yet!), so my reach to most of the reading population is limited.

I spent three years writing, rewriting, editing and polishing this book. I put all of my heart and soul into every page, every sentence. I did a slew of interviews and signings, as well as COVID restrictions allowed. And to see it release with a whimper hurts.

It hurts a lot.

I write for the sake of writing. But I also write to be read. I’m not satisfied by simply putting words down – I want people to read and enjoy those words. I want to feel rewarded for the work I’ve put in.
It feels like my series is invisible, especially when so many more people are reading fantasy. And I don’t know what to do to change that.

And it eats into my motivation to write the third book, where I know there’ll be even less readers.

As authors, I feel like we have to deal with a lot. Getting traditionally published by a Big Five publisher is a monumental achievement. Staying published can be even harder. So can having the motivation to continue publishing.

It’s not uncommon for a book series to be cancelled before completion because the publishers aren’t happy with the numbers. Even if those numbers appear good from the outside. Even if there’s a seemingly good readership.

Even if they don’t cancel it, you can enter the infamous “death spiral” where later books in a series get increasingly less support, coverage, marketing budget, which, of course, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
All that to say: it’s a very real fear for any author on the midlist. I want to finish this trilogy and I want to tell the story I’ve always wanted to tell. I also want to continue telling stories as long as I’m able to.

To do that, I’ll need some help.

If you haven’t picked up Blindspace, or Stormblood, all I can say is: please, please do.

he Kindle edition is on sale at Amazon for 99 cents/pence, which is 6.7 pages a cent. If you’re able to buy it in print, especially from an indie bookstore, even better. (I’ll leave some links at the bottom of this post)

Click here for Amazon US

And here for Amazon UK

And if you’ve already bought it, please drop a review for Blindspace on Goodreads/Amazon. Even if it’s just one sentence. It helps tremendously.

Click here for Goodreads.

Telling your friends about it, asking your library to order it in (which is free for you!): all of those are good things that help midlist authors like me stay afloat.
I’d truly love to have sales that are so excellent that I can turn off social media, unplug the internet, do the minimal self-promotion, and just concern myself with telling my stories in peace.

But I can’t.

I don’t know what results I’ll reap by saying all this. I feel like I’m at my wit’s end, and I need an extra boost from the community. So, once again, if you’re able to help me out by buying, reviewing, suggesting, or borrowing my book, please do.

Help me continue to tell you stories.


Other online retailers:

Barnes and Nobles (US)

Indigo (Canada)

The Broken Binding (international – signed copies!)

Waterstones (UK)

Foyles (UK) (UK)

Blackwells (UK)

Ebook Sale: Scream in Blue

As some of you good people already know, I self-published a novella called Scream in Blue. It’s set in the world of The Common, but takes place before the events of Stormblood. It’s got a new cast of characters, a new setting, but the same old style and sense of adventure and danger.

For a limited time, the novella is now on sale for the low low price of $0.99 cents. Which means it’s virtually for free. So if you’re looking for a little dip back into the world of the Common, or want to try a little sample of Szal, you can do that for less than the price of a 7/11 slushie.

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link.

End of Year Wrap Up

Hey folks.
That’s it. Another year gone by! Slightly less crazy than the last two, but no less busy.
The Common Saga:

2022 was the first year for me not to have a novel published, since Stormblood debuted back in 2020. Blindspace was published on one of the last days of 2021, and due to all the delays with distribution and shipping it (sort of) is a 2022 release.

Blindspace released to solid praise, and the responses from readers have almost unanimously agreed it’s a superior book to Stormblood. It’s much more of a space opera, more diverse in set-piece and world-building, more focused on the whole cast of characters rather than just one. I’m still immensely pleased with it. It only released in the US a few weeks ago, so it’s still picking up readers.

But, for some reason, it’s had very, very few reviews and ratings on Goodreads/Amazon. So, please drop a little review, even if it’s just a sentence, that would be very appreciated. Books, unfortunately, depend on word of mouth (and algorithms, it seems, these days) for success, so every review helps.

And on that note, ordering books in for libraries are a fantastic way to support authors without actually spending any money. And in some countries, we even get paid everytime someone borrows our books. You don’t want me to starve, right?

The good folks over at Goldsboro books have informed me that there’s still some of the signed hardback, sprayed edges edition of Blindspace left available. There’s only 250 of them in existence, and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
You know you want it:

I spent the majority of 2022 focused on nailing down a draft of Wolfskin. It’s a rambling, bloated, monster of a draft, with a dozen missing scenes and a dozen other scenes that need to be gutted/rewritten/reworked, but it exists, and I’m very happy in the big picture.

I’m honestly not optimistic on a 2023 release date, as early 2024 seems more likely, but that’s all up in the air at the moment. My agent is having a look at the (very very) early draft over the holidays, so we’ll see what his thoughts are in January.

But I can promise you: I’ll be putting out all the stops to make sure Vakov’s last (?) adventure is as bad-ass, brutal, emotional, satisfying, intense, and insane as I can possibly make it.
Short Fiction/Anthologies

I only had two short stories published in 2022. The first is Mindstrings, published in the anthology Night, Rain, and Neon.

The second is The Black Horse, published in Grimdark Magazine’s stellar anthology The King Must Fall. The anthology has an insane line up of talented authors, and I’m stoked to be amoung them. My novelette is the longest short story I’ve ever written, and is also the first fantasy story I’ve written in almost five years. It also may be my personal favourite of all the short stories I’ve written.

Give the anthology a crack when it releases to the public in a few weeks.


I dived into the world of self-publishing by releasing Scream in Blue, a novelette set in the world of the Common. It was mainly meant for newsletter subscribers, but it’s been picking up a few sales on Amazon, too.

I’ll be self-publishing more of my work in the future (including, perhaps, a few of my trunk novels, if I have the time).

Scream in Blue link:


I attended Supanova Gold Coast and Melbourne in early 2022, which were both new conventions for me. I had a blast at both, and got the chance to meet readers and fans who were actually excited to meet me, which was a great experience (albeit a little intimidating).

I also got to hang out with a few of the actors and writers and artists there, including the wonderful Georgina Haig (who you may know as Elsa from Once Upon a Time, and other shows like Limitless, Archive 81, etc). She ended up grabbing both my books (signed to her, of course), which wasn’t nerve-wracking at all.

And then there’s this crazy photo we all did. We’re not usually allowed to share these, but this time we were. You’ll spot folks from *deep breath*  The Book of Boba Fett/Once Were Warriors, Lost/Once Upon A Time, The Lord of the Rings, Spartacus/The Vampire Diaries, Wolf Creek, Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers: Ninja Storm, The Amazing Spider-Man/The Sound of Music/Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.

Upcoming Appearances

  • I hope to be attending a Supanova convention sometime in 2023, down here in Australia.
  • I hope to attend a major convention, either in the UK or the US, sometime in 2023.
  • I may be attending WorldCon China in 2023.
  • I will be attending WorldCon Glasgow in 2024

Finally, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who bought Stormblood and Blindspace, and all the bloggers, book-Tubers, readers, fans, booksellers, and fellow writers, who make it possible for me to continue to do this. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a published writer and to have my books read by folks around the world. That’s now possible because of your support and help and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much for letting me do this crazy little thing, and for reading about the wild adventures of Vakov as he charges through his savage little world.
Have a safe holiday!
Jeremy Szal

Review – Blindspace by Jeremy Szal

thebookbeard's Blog

Big, brutal and bloody, Jeremy Szal’s sequel is a hefty chunk of sci-fi brimming with action. Fair warning, if you haven’t yet read Stormblood, there are spoilers ahead.

After surviving the House of Suns initial attack and having saved his brother’s life, Vakov Fukasawa is back hunting down drug dealers, leading his fire team on dangerous missions. Compass, home to all manner of human and alien life, is an asteroid of epic proportions; lavish and breath-taking one minute and deadly dangerous the next. It’s a place where the elite of the galaxy gather just as readily as the dregs – the dealers, smugglers and outlaws.

In amongst all this thronging madness, Vakov is searching for a way to free his brother from prison. But, the House of Suns is serious business and the cult has its claws in all manner of dirty business. Not least dealing the very stormtech…

View original post 219 more words

Virtual event: Blindspace US launch with Mysterious Galaxy

The good folks over at the excellent US-based bookstore Mysterious Galaxy are hosting a virtual event for the US launch of Blindspace. I’ll be chatting with my friend/nemesis Richard Swan, the author of The Justice of Kings. You can attend the event for free, but you have to register.

Come along and watch me and Richard duel verbally to the death. There will be scintillating questions and compelling responses on the subject of all things Stormblood, Blindspace, and science-fiction in general. And, of course, buy a book. All books by me will be signed, because I love you all that much.

Details and links below!

Click here for the event page and to register!

Publishing a free short story!

Surprise cover reveal! In early November, I’m publishing my novelette “Scream in Blue”, set in the world of The Common. It’s a standalone story, set on Earth, following a different cast of characters from my books.

I’ll be popping it up on Amazon as an eBook, but anyone who subscribes to my newsletter gets it for free. And we all like free stuff, right?

You can subscribe to my newsletter here.

And credit for this awesome cover goes to Mike Shackle, who blew my expectations out of the water!

Blindspace on sale, and US Book launch

So! BLINDSPACE is just $1.99 on eBook for today only! That’s 1 cent for every three pages. If you haven’t grabbed the book yet, now’s the perfect time, because the book has never been cheaper.

Click here, or on the book, to get it!

If you’re in the UK, it’s been discounted to 3.99 quid, which is still a damn good deal for a book that took me three years to write and edit.

Otherwise, the mass market paperback edition of Blindspace has dropped! So if you’ve got the paperback version of Stormblood and you’re wanting to make sure all the book sizes align on the shelf, you can now fulfill that one little desire.

I’m launching Blindspace in the US in late November, courtesy of the fabulous people of the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore.

Joining me to launch the book will be Richard Swan, the author of The Justice of Kings. Event page and details here.

Feel free to heckle us with awkward, tricky questions (although we’ll be free to ignore them or provide ridiculous answers.)

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