Hello, world! After taking some time to relax after the release of my comedic urban fantasy, Investigation, Mediation, Vindication, I’m back! I have status updates on sequels, thoughts on 2021 releases, and more, but the main thing I wanted to talk about is last month’s book release. How did it go? What was the response like? Have I replaced all of the toilets in my house with solid gold equivalents, or am I wisely choosing to swap them out on a floor-by-floor basis? All this and more in today’s release retrospective.
Success is Relative
It’s been just under a month since I released Investigation, Mediation, Vindication1, and the results have been… okay? I guess? Reviews have been quite positive (which is very nice), but not plentiful (which is slightly less nice). There are currently seven reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.8 stars. Goodreads has seen a little bit more activity, with 12 ratings and 9 reviews and a less spectacular 4.17 star average score. Those scores are mostly in line with my other books2. I’d love for there to be more reviews, but I definitely can’t complain about the ones I have.
In terms of sales, the book has done moderately well3, but its launch pales in comparison to that of See These Bones. In fact, despite the latter book being seven months old, it’s outselling IMV in June! On the one hand, I’m delighted to see a sales resurgence for See These Bones. On the other, you’d kind of hope a brand new book would be able to outsell its dusty predecessor.
I have to do more analysis to figure out why IMV’s performance hasn’t met expectations. It can’t be the price, considering it has a lower price point than See These Bones in both formats. Maybe it’s the non-genre-standard cover? Or the page count4? Maybe nobody’s looking for a comedy right now, or nobody thinks comedy works well when fused with urban fantasy, or maybe the general public just doesn’t care for my sense of humor? Anything’s possible at this point. But I’m not giving up on John, Juliette, and the rest of the motley crew. The adventures will continue until sales improve5!
The Silver Lining
The good news is that, despite a middling launch for my newest book, June is looking like a banner month for sales. Assuming current trends continue6, this will be my highest grossing month of the year. It’s not gold toilet money, but it’s a reasonable step above dollar-menu-at-Taco-Bell money.
See These Bones is on pace for its best month in Kindle Unlimited page-reads since January. If you don’t count promotional discounts, it’s also on pace for its best month of sales since November, its launch month. That’s incredible. And also… totally inexplicable. But I’ll take it!
The novelettes are doing about as well as ever, which is to say a few orders or full page-reads every month. I didn’t have sky-high expectations for either of the stories, but I’m glad people continue to find and (seemingly) enjoy them.
And Investigation, Mediation, Vindication… well, hopefully, more people will find it as time goes on. I have my Amazon ad campaign going but will look to see if there are any changes I can make to amp up my promotional efforts.
As far as the various formats go, this is how June is breaking down so far:
This chart is the first thing I’d show anyone who wants to know if the KDP Select program is worth it. Kindle Unlimited (which KDP select books are automatically enrolled in) is always a huge portion of my monthly sales. As a relatively new author, it’s also a huge plus to give people a free (provided they are KU subscribers, at least) way to check out my writing!
New Stuff? New Stuff!
After 2.5 and 2 months, respectively, the audiobook versions of The Storm in Her Smile and The Stars That Sing should go live this week! Audiobook approval is one of the many things that the pandemic put on the back burner, but Joe did a great job with both of them, and I’m glad they will finally see the light of day. With commutes slowly becoming a thing again, I’m hoping audiobook sales will see a corresponding rise.
Red Right Hand
I’m working on Red Right Hand, the sequel to See These Bones, but I am heroically (?) behind schedule. It’s now looking like an August finish date, which would still give me several months of revisions before the November release. There are an awful lot of plot threads to juggle in this book, and it’s been quite a task to chart Damian’s slow growth and maturation as he deals with the new wrinkles in his powers, the questions he was left with at the end of See These Bones, and the agonizing reality of being stuck on a second-year Academy team with Winter, Poltergeist, and Muse. Still, my angel-wife likes what she’s read so far, and that’s a good sign. I just need to keep pressing forward.
Blood Is Thicker Than Lots of Stuff
Slow launch notwithstanding, I will definitely continue with The Many Travails of John Smith. The next book is actually already written7, but I’ll need to run it through the same revisions and editing process that I did with IMV before it’s actually release-ready. Recent experience tells me that will take longer than anticipated. The goal remains to release Blood Is Thicker Than Lots of Stuff in the spring of 2021, and then pivot to writing the last book in The Murder of Crows; One Tin Soldier. We’ll see!
Stories From a Post-Break World
When Red Right Hand is released, I’ll work on another novelette set in that same world. I have three more short(ish) stories planned for individual digital release. Whether I’ll write Fire of Unknown Origin, as originally planned, or will instead jump to A Sure Thing or Tea Time with Grannypocalypse will entirely depend on how I feel in November.
To answer a question I’ve fielded a few times, yes; there will eventually be a paperback release that collects all five stories! It will be (creatively) titled Stories From a Post-Break World, and my hope is to release it concurrently with the final digital story. That would mean 2021-ish. Again: we’ll see!
As those who follow me on social media already know, I’ve been putting together a collection of my poetry. The end goal is to either submit it to a contest or just publish it under the Ghost Falls Press label. It’s been… an experience. Writing poetry is a lot more enjoyable than arranging it, but I’m glad I’m taking these steps. I’m not sure when or even if I’ll move ahead, but plans are forming!
So that’s a wrap on this month’s update! All data crunching, gnashing of teeth, and piteous cries aside, I’m honestly just thrilled that readers are continuing to discover my stories, and I am so grateful for the support I’ve gotten along the way. And the reviews. Especially the reviews8!
Until next time, keep reading, have fun, and stay safe!
- And three weeks since the delayed release of the paperback edition–thanks Amazon!
- Oddly, my novelettes are by far my highest rated stories on Goodreads but lack any reviews at all on Amazon
- For me, anyway. Established writers would have a good chuckle.
- IMV is considerably shorter than STB, which is supposed to be something today’s market prefers, but who knows?
- I think that’s how the saying goes?
- And that’s always a gamble with Amazon
- As are books 3 and 4!
- You could leave a review! Yes, you! Everyone’s doing it!