February is always a weird month. Shorter than every other month, colder than most, with Valentine’s Day and (in the USA) Presidents Day thrown in just to keep everything confusing. Historically, it’s been a month where I get almost nothing done.
This year’s February has been different. Even more hectic than usual–from a Vancouver trip to house guests to a parade of home warranty excitement–but also more productive. And we’re only halfway through the month? Strange things are afoot, indeed!
“[Vancouver] is the Place to Be…”
Last week, my wife and I took our first trip to Canada, heading up to Vancouver to watch a play and attend a meet-up with one of the members from my favorite hopepunk band, Stars. The city was beautiful and eclectic; a mixture of old and new, with the ocean providing a stunning and omnipresent backdrop. Whoever said ‘never meet your heroes’ clearly wasn’t talking about Torq, who was as charming, open, and compassionate as we could have hoped. It was great to meet with him and other Stars fans, discussing everything from Vancouver politics to science fiction to the power of community. The whole trip was a delight. We’ll definitely be coming back in the future… preferably during the spring or summer when the temperatures are closer to what we’re used to.
See These Bones Sales Update
In the first week of February, sales1 for See These Bones tanked for no apparent reason. The house was filled with the sound of wailing and many teeth were, in fact, gnashed. Since then, sales have ticked back up… again without any action on my part. Go figure. It’s now looking like February will end up potentially exceeding January when all is said and done. The book is still doing well on the review/ratings front too. The Amazon listing has 21 ratings and 19 reviews, with a 4.7 average score. The book’s Goodreads page has 23 ratings and 9 reviews, with a 4.39 average score. I’d love to quintuple those review numbers, but it’s great that new readers continue to find the title and seem to be enjoying it.
To help keep the party going, I’ll be doing an email blast for See These Bones via a book promotion service at the end of February. In conjunction, I’ll also lower the sales price of the digital version to $0.99 for a single week. I’m curious to see how/if both things impact the purchase rate, considering that the book has been free on Kindle Unlimited since its launch last November. Look for the sale to begin Wednesday, February 26th!
Come for the Mozarella Sticks, Stay for the Chicken Parm
One of the issues I face as a new author is that I only have a single book on Amazon. When someone finishes See These Bones, they can’t just click to another title in my library to keep the good vibes rolling. It’s a problem that will take care of itself with additional books, but in the meantime, I’ve been looking for ways to lure in new readers. Some of that includes promotional campaigns like the email blast I mentioned above. But in the end, it seems to me that the best way to attract readers is with… you know… writing.
A popular indie publishing strategy is to release books in bite-sized chunks at lower price points. When you total those chunks up, the book actually ends up costing more than full novels, but the barrier to entry is lower. The author is also then able to release something new at a monthly or even weekly cadence2, which can help keep a reader’s attention. Unfortunately3, I don’t really want to do that. When someone buys one of my novels, I want them to always get a full and complete story.
However, I do have two short stories set in the same world as See These Bones. I’ve had them shared here for the past year, but those stories would be far more useful on Amazon, where they could serve as introductions to my world and writing style. With that in mind, I’ll be taking both The Stars That Sing and The Storm in her Smile offline shortly. I’ll polish them up, commission covers for them, format them for digital delivery, and release them on Amazon. They will never be priced higher than $0.99, and will hopefully serve as little appetizers for my actual books.
Investigation, Mediation, Vindication
I saved perhaps the biggest news for last: the initial rewrite of Investigation, Mediation, Vindication is finally done! I’m even slightly ahead of schedule, if you conveniently ignore that I’d originally planned to be done with it in 2019. I finished the rough draft last week, and my angel-wife gave her seal of approval on Monday. Now, it’s on its way out to my saintly beta readers. And Shawn.
Once they’re done, I’ll incorporate their feedback, do yet another personal polish pass, and then get the ball rolling on the release. I’m currently aiming for a late April/early May launch date. That will give me 1-2 months for cover design, formatting, advance reviews, and promotion. We’re about to find out how much a familiarity with the publishing process actually helps!
Aren’t You Forgetting Something?
I know, I know. Everyone is still waiting for Red Right Hand, See These Bones‘ sequel.
The good news is that I was 10k+ words into my first draft when I stopped late last year. The better news is that I plan to return to working on it full-time4 even before Investigation, Mediation, Vindication is launched. The goal remains to finish that draft by the end of July. That would give me several months for revisions before the 1-2 month release process. Cross your fingers for me!
Actually… cross your toes too, please. I’ll take whatever help I can get.
All the News that’s Fit to
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