A List of Questions I’m Most Frequently Asked

Like most first-time self-published authors these days, I’m pretty active on social media – Twitter mainly. It’s such an amazing platform for connecting with new people and in some ways I prefer it to Facebook. I reckon I’ve had conversations with over a thousand people since the Solarversia project started last June, and something I noticed a while back was that the same questions kept cropping up. I thought I’d use that as an excuse to write a blog post. Any excuse, right? In no particular order, here goes:

1) Why Would You Give Me a Free Copy of Your Book?
Some people were skeptical about getting something for free. Maybe the book was so bad that I needed to give it away?! In each case I explained my reasoning as follows:

  • I’m a first-time author -nobody’s heard of me.
  • If people haven’t heard of me, they’re not going to buy the book.
  • If they don’t buy it, they can’t review it / tell their friends about it.
  • Without reviews, people don’t know whether it’s any good.
  • The whole thing’s a vicious cycle!

Giving away free promotional copies is therefore the best way – that I know of – to gain honest reviews and hopefully sell more copies. There’s nothing more to it than that.

2) When’s Does The Real World Game Come Out?
This is where I inform people that the real world game only gets created if the book is phenomenally successful. First I need to sign a traditional publishing deal, then I need to sell the movie rights. These two things will allow me to attract venture capital to start building the game for real – which I would want to launch on the 29th February 2020, just like in the book.

3) Do You Plan to Release an Audio Version of The Book?
I have to admit that I knew nothing about the world of audio books before starting this project. I was astounded at how popular they are. So many of the people who loved Ready Player One listened to it rather than read it. I plan to release an audio version of the book as soon as possible after the launch on the 31st August.

4) Will it be a Series?
Again, this depends on the book’s popularity. In the first instance I’d like to release a bunch of Kindle Singles: the other eight Earth Force Field quests, the International Space Station quest and the Moon Base quest. If the book’s a big success, I plan to write a sequel that would be published on the 1st March 2021, the day after the real world game finishes.

5) How is Solarversia Different to Ready Player One?
In a bunch of different ways! Here’s a useful guide to compare the two:

Year Story Takes Place
RPO: 2045
Solarversia: 2020

Target Audience
RPO: Young Adult
Solarversia: Young Adult

RPO: 1st person
Solarversia: 3rd person x 3 characters (and one scene each from two additional characters)

Name of Main Character
RPO: Wade Watts
Solarversia: Nova Negrahnu

Name of Virtual World
Solarversia: Solarversia

Aim of Game
RPO: First player to solve the challenge at the third gate
Solarversia: Last player standing

Type of Knowledge Needed to Progress in Game
RPO: Knowledge of the 1980s
Solarversia: The Science of Solarversia (Combat, Combinations, Knowledge and Puzzles)

Grand Prize
RPO: The entire estate of James Halliday, including management and control of the OASIS itself.
Solarversia: £10m and the chance to help design The Game that starts in 2024

Name Given to Fanatic Players
RPO: Gunters
Solarversia: Solos

Real World Marketing Strategy
RPO: Physical book contained an easter egg that led to the first of three real world video game challenges. Grand Prize was a DeLorean.
Solarversia: To make the game for real so that people can actually play it. The Golden Grid, a 10 x 10 section of the Player’s Grid.

Note: If you loved RPO, you might want to check out the blog post I wrote on it: The Ultimate Collection of Ready Player One Resources.

6) I’m writing my own book, what’s your advice?
Here’s a blog post that mentions the two books that most helped me. Something that almost all authors agree on is that having a deadline is essential. Mine was the release of the Oculus Rift headset. I originally wanted the book to be published on the same day, but when Facebook put off announcing a date I plumped for the 31st August and did everything I could to stick to it. Set a deadline for each scene, for each chapter, for each quarter, and for each draft of the book. I ended up writing five drafts. Yes, it was the most challenging thing ever I’ve done. Oh, and by the way, an editor is essential if you want the book to be any good.

You also want to be doing a ton of marketing regardless of whether you’re self-publishing. Here are some things you need to be doing:

  • Have your own website. Most authors advise that this should be an “author website” i.e. your own name, rather than a book-specific website (like this one) because books tend to be one-off events, while authors endure through time. I chose to break this rule for the specific reasons around the nature of the Solarverisa project. If you’re going to break a rule, have a good reason to do so.
  • Include a “landing page” that provides bullet points, explaining who you are and why visitors might be interested in your book(s). I send people to my About page.
  • Have a way to collect email addresses. MailChimp is simple to set up and use, and is free until you hit 2,000 subscribers.
  • Offer visitors to the website something of value in exchange for their email address. Until the 31st August I’m giving away digital copies of the book. After that date I’ll give away the first quarter of the book.
  • Target people who might be interested in your book. I target fans of Ready Player One. Here’s a podcast interview I did where I spoke about this subject in more detail. Learn where to find them (Twitter, Facebook, reddit etc.), reach out to them, offering them a free copy and sending them to your landing page.

7) I Love The Book. How Can I Help You?
Great question! Here’s a list of ways:

  • You can purchase a copy on Amazon (and even follow me on there)
  • You can review it on Amazon and Goodreads
  • You can recommend it to others (word of mouth is SO important)
  • Follow me on Twitter and use the #Solarversia hashtag to talk about the book
  • Like the Facebook page
  • You can vote for the book on this Goodreads list  (Books About Video Games and Virtual Reality)


If there’s anything else you want to know, leave a comment below, or contact me by email.


Solarversia is brought to you by Toby Downton