1. The subtitle of the book series is "The Terran Fleet Command Saga." What's a "saga?" Do you mean a trilogy?
The original Terran Fleet Command Saga is five books long, but the story doesn't end there! I expect to continue writing books in the "TFC universe" after TFS Guardian, but some of them may end up being stand-alone books rather than part of another series.
2. How can I keep track of progress on your current work and be notified of new releases?
Here are couple of options:
1. You can keep an eye on http://authortoriharris.com/updates/, where I regularly update my best guess for the next release date.
2. You can subscribe to my newsletter at http://authortoriharris.com/newsletter/ for updates. I don't send out very many of these each year, but I do tend to publish a couple of updates leading up to a new book release.
3. Why end each book in the middle of the story?
First and foremost, the story was far too long for a single, standalone book (see question 4). The points at which the story was divided into books were primarily determined by the speed with which I was able to write, edit, and publish. So far, at least, 80k - 100k words is the most I can do in six months. I spend approximately two full months of that time on the editing process -- using a professional editor as well as multiple beta readers in an effort to deliver as close to an error-free product as possible (although reaching the goal of 100% error-free will probably never happen -- see question 5). 85k - 100k words seems like a reasonable target for this type of book at this price point. Many popular self-published authors are now charging significantly more for books that are only slightly longer, but I plan to keep my new books in the $3.99 - $4.99 range and decrease their price as new books are added to the series.
4. The books are too short ... why can't they be longer?
The short answer (no pun intended) is that they really aren't that short. Like many authors' first books, TFS Ingenuity (at just under 70k words) was the shortest book in the TFC series, but all subsequent books are in the 85k-100k word range. I also think the style the books are written in tends to make for a "quick read." While 120k+ word tomes are not uncommon in the science fiction/fantasy genre, 85k-100k compares pretty favorably to many popular works of fiction. Here are a few examples (for length comparisons only, I am in no way comparing the quality of my work to that of these legendary authors):
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone – 77,325 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 84,799 words
TFS Theseus - 84,920 words
TFS Fugitive - 90,538 words
The Last Flamecaller - 90,584 words
TFS Navajo - 94,994 words
The Hobbit - 95,022 words
TFS Guardian - 100,080 words
As I mentioned above, the TFC saga books are as long as I can make them without a significantly longer delay between books -- which tends to make readers more likely to lose interest in a series. Finally, from a business standpoint, publishing any less often just isn't financially viable. There are certainly plenty of folks who write because they enjoy the creative process, which is great, but those of us trying to make a living by writing books must strive for a balance between providing a good value for our readers while earning enough to allow us to write that next book.
Producing error-free books is always my goal, but I also recognize that it's one that's largely unattainable. I find typos in just about every book I read -- even those written by tier-one authors and published many years ago by the largest publishing houses. These authors have tremendous resources at their disposal that we self-published authors cannot hope to duplicate, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that an occasional error will sneak through the most thorough editing process. Because of the way I write, my first drafts tend to be pretty "clean" (which is probably one of the reasons I write more slowly than some authors). I typically spend about a month editing my first draft, then send it out for professional editing followed shortly thereafter by a cadre of beta readers. The entire process takes about two months and generally results in a very clean manuscript. Unfortunately, achieving perfection is one of those things where the law of diminishing returns applies! At some point, you have to call it "good enough" and hit the publish button.
Having said all that, I'm always interested in correcting typos or other problems my readers find. If you would like to help, please take a look at your book's copyright page and see if there is a version number listed (if not, you probably have version 1.0). Then, just shoot me an e-mail with this information and any specific errors you found at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Typically, I publish an update or two shortly after the initial release and will continue to update the books going forward if anything else comes up. If you have an older version and would like an update, you can go to your "Manage My Kindle" page (http://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/manage) and click the "Update Available" button next to the book's title.
6. Will the books ever be published on other platforms (Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, etc.)?
Originally, I had planned to do so and even tried it on a limited basis a few years ago. Frankly, Amazon now completely dominates the e-book market, and the other marketplaces are so small that they are barely worth the significant hassle required to publish on their platforms. Furthermore, enrollment in Amazon's KDP Select program requires authors to keep their works exclusive to Amazon, and the corresponding Kindle Unlimited program provides a significant source of revenue for self-published authors. The bottom line is that unless we see a significant shift in the market, I will remain an "Amazon-only" author.
Have a question you'd like to see answered here? E-mail me at email@example.com.