Another really busy month resulting in no monthly episode of Stand Up. My apologies. It’s been so busy, I’ve made no real progress on writing the book I’m supposed to be writing – Bian’s Tale 2. Even episode 8 for The Long Way Home was finished so late in the month it hasn’t been pass the editor. The Long Way Home is now up to 100,000 words by the way, which is around ‘novel length’ for SciFi.
What have I been doing?
A lot of it seems to be admin and advertising.
I’ve passed the first draft of the audio version of Queen of Diamonds. Just listening to the files took over 16 hours. Feedback, preparation and pronunciation probably took another 4 hours. Now I wait for the edits and final pass, and then in a couple of months time, Emily goes back into the studio to re-record Sleight of Hand, which isn’t up to the level of quality of the others.
I’ve spent literally days formatting books. I use Word for all writing and it’s fine for that. It’s familiar and reasonably intuitive. Formatting… not so much. I remain convinced there are bugs in Word’s formatting options. Either that, or someone has put a curse on me. The main project has been formatting print books for Germany, but it’s surprising how much work I needed to do for compiling box sets (also for Germany). I’m still not happy with the front and back sections of the books (in both languages).
I finalised book 7 of the Bite Back series in German – Karodame – and launched it.
Part of the rush on compiling German box sets was a need to use them as a platform for the release of Karodame. Bite Back sales and page reads in Germany were going very well in the middle of last year, but they’ve died down. To create some market noise, I released box set 1 at 0.99, followed a week later by box set 2 at 2.99 and then a week later Karodame at the normal price.
I also ran some promotions in the US and UK, box sets, The Harvest of Lies, A Name Among the Stars etc.
Why am I doing all the advertising?
Because even though my fans are good fans, they are literally swamped with books on Amazon. I’ve had feedback last year on the lines of “I didn’t realize Angel Stakes had been published”. It’s irritating. Amazon used to promote sequels to readers of a series. This was a good system, because it got them a lot of sales, and it got authors a lot of sales with only the effort to keep writing. That’s not what happens now. Amazon gets such a return from advertising books that it now requires authors to pay for a place in their advertising. I literally have to pay if I want my books to turn up in response to an Amazon search from a reader typing in ‘Bite Back Amber Farrell’. The indie market wouldn’t exist in the form it does if Amazon hadn’t encouraged it, but what used to be a good deal (70% royalties) looks a lot less good if you need to re-invest half of that back into telling existing readers that there’s another book available, and can only ever get through to about half of them anyway.
I’m still rated as a successful author, and it’s still a better deal than traditional publishing, but unless I get to a magical stage where the books become self-sustaining, I need to dedicate a disproportionate amount of non-writing time. And Amazon have it in their power to change the rules.
All of which is why I really want my readers’ email addresses, folks. Expect to see me put more effort into harvesting addresses in future.
What I’m really missing on the episode books is feedback. A couple of readers went so far as to put up Goodreads ‘books’ for epsiodes and comment on them. (Thank you!) Unfortunately, Goodreads decided in retrospect the book had to be for sale as a finished product before an entry could be made, so those were erased.
Please tell me what you like or don’t like about the episode novels. I’ll put this article up as a post on Facebook too. I would appreciate a comment, however brief, negative or positive, either as comments on the posts, or an email to email@example.com – TIA.
And if you are reading this and aren’t on the monthly newsletter, why not join? You get free novels in episode form…
(I will also sell the novels at some point, if you’re allergic to newsletters).
Or alternatively, get on my book alert list, which is a different mailing list and only ever used when I publish a book.
If you want in on either, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
EPISODES 1-8 of THE LONG WAY HOME (you need to be subscribed to the monthly newsletter):
Inside Straight will be appearing on Amazon sometime today for pre-orders.
Actual release is scheduled for 31st October.
I’m relaunching the series with new covers and advertising.
The full images which will be used for the print books:
And the eBook covers from these:
I’ll be making some merchandise items from these images – T shirts, mugs, etc.
I love these covers. 🙂
The first featured image is Andrew discussing handling weapons with Maria at White Box Studio.
I’ve completed my major edit pass and the text has gone to Lauren for the final checks on spelling and grammar. The book will be published on the 31st October, and I’ll put it up for pre-orders a week or so before. I’ll make sure you know it’s up on Amazon. 🙂
Relaunch of series
The pre-order of Inside Straight will be combined with a relaunch of the whole series with new covers. That means I have to reformat all the print books (previously printed by CreateSpace), change the audio covers, sharpen up the blurbs, and insert a brief (!) summary of previous books and cast list into books 2 – 6. I am so looking forward to that. Lol.
At the same time I’ll start releasing ‘bundles’. The first will be books 1-3 combined into one eBook, and sold at a discount. This is to capture those readers for whom one book at a time is not enough. Yes, this is a thing, and quite a large thing apparently. The second bundle of books 4-6 should go up sometime in December. These bundles will require their own eBook covers, which I will reveal here on the blog.
The relaunch will combine the new covers and bundles with an advertising campaign.
When I first published on Amazon, the only marketing tools under my control were covers, blurbs, newsletters, Bookbub (and similar), reviewers etc. With the possible exception of Bookbub, these tools have less and less direct, primary effect. Why? Because Amazon has changed. They used to have fairly neutral ranking and promotional algorithms. If you sold, and got good reviews, your ranking went up in a straightforward manner, and they promoted you in their newsletters. Now, to get the same effect, you have to reinvest part of your sales in the Amazon advertising machine. That’s what I’ll be doing, to the tune of approximately 20% of my target income. Gulp.
(This is not to say that reviews no longer work. I’m still very keen on reviews. Just a few words if you haven’t already. Please. 🙂 )
I may also try Bookbub and similar newsletters as well. And I’m considering building my own newsletter too. I have a current mailing list, but that is *strictly* for new book releases. The general newsletter will (among other things) explore the lore of the Athanate/Were/Adept world, especially those parts that don’t quite make it into the books. I may write some short stories which would go out in the newsletters.
I hear you. I’ll have some T shirts, coasters and stuff made from these covers and some photos that don’t make the covers. I have no schedule yet. 🙂
Angel Stakes cover
Books 1-4 have concentrated appropriately on Amber with weapons – the handgun, submachine gun and the shotgun. These demanded action poses to convey the best impact. However, although Amber uses weapons in Angel Stakes, there’s a different feel to the book. Amber rights old wrongs. Amber stalks her enemy almost as a personification of justice. The second werewolf ritual takes place in this book as well, and whereas Amber can almost convince herself that the first halfy ritual down in New Mexico (end of Cool Hand) was a fluke, the evidence that it’s an ability she has becomes overwhelming in Angel Stakes.
So I wanted something less to do with physical weapons, but more to do with a rather spooky, witchy Amber coming to get you.
I think Andrew and Maria hit this brief out of the park. What do you think?
Print book image
And the eBook cover
Cover reveal – books 3 and 4
I’m in the last few chapters of editing. Good news (I think): the book has got longer.
I’m a guest at a French convention in Lille, Les Halliénales, this weekend, so this week’s cover reveal is a short post concentrating on the images themselves. As I haven’t much to say, you get two for the price of one! Book 3 and book 4 covers!
Feedback always welcome: Do you like the images? Do they convey Bite Back well? Do they feel branded in the same way as books 1 and 2?
First, the full images which will be used for the print books.
And the eBook images.