It all started with an initial wave of increasing sales every month. Upon a Wake of Flame was released as a test in the fall, and Sand was released just before the beginning of December. I watched the KDP sales reports like a maniac. By February, I was closing in on 100 copies sold. Then things slowed, and I realized I had probably run out of friends who bought my writing out of support. I watched this thing return to a state of rational conduct.
But, something silly had happened. I stopped Writing, and started Marketing.
I had let something happen that I had promised not to; I had fallen for it. I had let myself enjoy the film. Suspended my disbelief, and let myself buy in. I’d grown accustomed to the 4 months of increasing sales, and the little rush of beating last month’s numbers.
But, as it inevitably had to, things calmed down, and, in February, To Drown in Sand was raised from its comfortable sit, propped up by its little arms, and set free. No more Facebook sales drives. No more Pinterest jamming. I want to see what it can do; what happens when someone doesn’t just BUY my writing, but READS my writing, and tells someone else about it. So, now, the book is up on its own legs, and is taking its staggering, uncertain steps forward on its own.
Hard to watch. The coffee tables around here have very sharp corners. I’m holding my breath.
Since the beginning of March, sales have continued in the UK, which is great, because word is getting around over there. And that’s a huge surprise. In the US and Canada, each month brings someone new to Alseiry Beach, Shastre, and the Boddies, so I’m more than cool with that.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
An Ebook is NEVER finished.
Endless tweaks. Endless. Each new upload of even the smallest change results in catastrophic changes in page breaks, margin changes, and even accusations of disorganized formatting in reviews. Such things are taken, considered a part of the exercise in education and live formatting, and fixed.
Speaking of which;
If I read my reviews, I pretend I’m someone else. As in, a potential reader. And then I forget about it. Back to the keyboard.
Pinterest is fun; a great, free, promotional tool, and a substantial time-sink.
I spent a LOT of time fishing on Pinterest. Which was fun, but killed my writing time. And, while I did see direct sales from it, I had much more enjoyment discovering new writers like A.J. Wilson, Brian Parker, Terry C. Simpson, and Holly m. Kothe, and promoting them on my Pinterest boards.
Facebook is a sticky, ego minefield.
Facebook groups became a bit of a mire; free advertising that resulted in direct sales, but it taught me a lot about the demographics of Indie writers that spend time there. Some people don’t really want advice when they ask for it. They want you to tell them how awesome they are. They want to smack you in the face with their books. IF they’ve really published one. There are a lot of writers who haven’t actually published anything, which shocked me. And a lot who probably shouldn’t have published what they did. A quick glance at a free sample of their writing shows which writers think their story is too precious for an editor, and which editors weren’t real editors, and which writers really, really want their work to be good.
Others, though, are incredible folks who want to accomplish what you want to. They want to be Writers. Find those, and you have comrades.
Overall, no big loss of time. I learned volumes from the exploration. Biggest take-away? Just like my heroes say.
Get back to writing.
It’s true, you know. The only thing that will sell your last book is your next book.
Thus, I dove back into the fray. That awesome, loving, splashy, ridiculous fray. On went the headphones and the Steve Jablonsky music. And man, it was good to go back.
Thus, Juris Lunence was born.
I’ve just finished the latest draft of the new back-story for one of my favourite characters from the 10th Regiment. Even got a new editor to take a look at it, and rip into it with his red pen. (More on that next time).
Great fun was had by all. My awesome graphics designer Dylan Edwards is hard at work on a cover, and the final draft will be ready for release soon.
I don’t have any free stuff. Everyone says “You gotta have free stuff.”
So, we’ll go with that for this release. It’s about 25 pages, but they are 25 Very Good Pages. Juris Lunence was a great deal of fun to write, and will go in the stack that will eventually create a short-story anthology; a complete prequel-set for the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy.
Here’s a glimpse of the (very) rough draft of one cover concept; Dylan is drafting a few more that I’ll be too excited to contain, and therefore will pop up here for perusal.
More updates on its release as things unfold.