Cool Hand is continuing to generate wonderful reviews and feedback.
There are 33 reviews just on US Amazon, along with 15 on Goodreads (mysteriously split between two ‘versions’ of the book). 7 reviews on the UK Amazon site, 4 in the rest of the world, and a couple on Kobo. Thanks to all of you again.
Raw Deal 20,187
Sleight of Hand 22,046
Hidden Trump 15,483
Wild Card 6,601
Cool Hand 2,101
Hidden in the raw numbers is a boost for the sales of all the books – they’re selling ten times better than they were last month. And Wild Card retention has jumped a couple of percentage points.
Hidden Trump is still my leading launch. In the same period that Cool Hand has just sold 2,101, Hidden Trump sold 3,596. Launching HT for the Christmas/New Year book-buying season while there was still a big buzz from the launch of Sleight of Hand had a dramatic effect.
Bite Back 5 progress
I have a few scenes already written. This always happens at the start of a book – there are scenes that are yelling at me and I have to write them. ‘Progress’ appears very quick at the start.
The first chapter is finished, because it’s really just a prologue, linking Cool Hand with BB5. From chapter 2 to about 6 covers the resolution of the cliffhanger, and I can see myself rewriting that a few times as it’s such a key to Amber’s life story.
Overall, I’ve spent more time plotting than writing. As mentioned before, the structure of the story will be a non-paranormal PI case, but the paranormal world goes on, with very important events happening (Basilikos, Were halfies, Empire of Heaven to name three), and I need to tie the two together neatly.
My son, his partner, and my daughter (Gideon, Sophie and Jessica) are doing these. They should appear in May, I estimate. I’ll reveal them here first.
Bian’s Tale – The Reach of Lies
I will be working on this as well, re-plotting and re-writing from section 2 onwards, but I’ve not spent any substantial time on it yet.
The Biting Cold II
This will be needed as part of the process of binding Manda and Scott into Amber’s story during BB5.
So Many Doors
Actually, not my book. My late mother wrote this book in 1964. It was never published. It’s a murder mystery set in the British colony of Northern Rhodesia (where I was born). I’ve long promised to tidy it up and publish it, and I guess now is as good a time as any! That won’t use the same part of the brain as writing, so it won’t interfere with BB5.
Undoubtedly the highlights of the week are the reviews and feedback that I’ve been getting for Cool Hand.
There are 33 reviews on Amazon now: 29×5-star, 3×4-star and 1×3-star. There are 13 reviews on Goodreads: 7×5-star, 5×4-star and 1×3-star (and a bunch of good ratings as well). It’s not so much the ratings as the words that have given me such a buzz, whether delivered on reviews, here on the blog, the Facebook pages or email. Thank you all. I love ya.
Cool Hand was in and out of the top 100 Urban Fantasy books, and averaged about 2,500 in all books over the last week (where 1 is the highest rating).
Cool Hand sales now stand at over 1,600, of which 550 were added in the last week. In that time, Sleight of Hand added 150, Hidden Trump 100 and Wild Card 130.
Audio book sales of Sleight of Hand topped 500 in total, but the last week was slow with only 28 sales.
Hidden Trump is still my leading launch. Both HT and CH took 9 days to reach 1,000 sales, but HT was launched into the January book sales and continued to sell very strongly. In the comparable week that CH has just sold 550, HT sold 1,300.
Some thoughts about Cool Hand
No book is ever just right, or exactly what the author wanted to say. Any author who tells you that is lying. Cool Hand was especially difficult for me because of the number of times I wrote and re-wrote the penultimate section (essentially what ended up as being chapters 47-55 – Santa Fe to the start of the Carson National Forest scenes).
When you rewrite that much, you lose a feel for the quality of readability of the work. I mean, each word is better selected, each sentence is better put, each plot strand better presented (otherwise what are you doing), but you lose a sense of how it feels as a reader.
The enthusiasm of the reviews vindicates Lauren’s insistence I could do better, and I hope justifies the delay in release.
And some thoughts about the next book
If you’ve caught your breath after the ending of Cool Hand…well, it could have been more complex and longer. Or shorter and simpler. And of course, there is that cliffhanger. Longer? Well, I could have resolved the cliffhanger, but the end of the book would have then become unwieldy and either the existing ending(s) or the resolution of the cliffhanger would have felt anti-climactic. Shorter? Well, one of the things that happened at the end, you’ve been waiting very patiently for, but I could have let it slide into the start of the next.
The point I’m trying to make is that there is some leeway in the scheduling of the resolution of ongoing threads. And I’m interested what you, the readers, absolutely have to have resolved sooner rather than later.
The core structure of Bite Back 5 is going to be provided by an ostensibly non-paranormal PI case, with threads for paranormal and relationship arcs woven in. What do you have to see progressed and/or resolved? Or, just who/what you have to see more of. Or less of! 🙂
I’m not promising to implement these!
(Progress on writing at the end of the month)
A final point
I never expected everyone to like my books, and frankly, scathing reviews of Sleight of Hand did little more than make me grin.
However…I do feel a responsibility to those of you who have come along for the ride and are unhappy about some direction developing in the books, or the balance of the story, or didn’t like Cool Hand, or parts of Cool Hand, or whatever.
I’d just like to say I’m happy to receive constructive negative feedback. By that I mean ‘I didn’t like this because…’ rather than ‘I didn’t like it.’ As with positive feedback, any route is fine – reviews, postings or emails to me at the contact address.
As with the last section, I can’t promise to change anything!
A week is a long time in publishing.
But not as long as the time since I last gave you the sales numbers.
- Raw Deal 20,000 (between 5,000 and 7,000 free downloads)
- Sleight of Hand 21,000 (+1,250 German translations and 460 audio books)
- Hidden Trump 15,000 (+500 German translations)
- Wild Card 6,250
- Cool Hand 850
Each book’s first week of sales
- SoH 20
- HT 700
- WC 660
So Cool Hand is way out in front. Thank you all for your continuing support.
The USA leads the way with 49,000 total sales to UK’s 9,000 and Germany’s 6,000.
With the USA leading the sales, all the rankings below are based on the USA Amazon site.
SoH went all the way up to about 1500th most popular book over the last week, but is back down at around 8,000-9,000 now. The others moved in a similar fashion, but are lower in the rankings. Cool Hand was ranked at 1,300 overall this morning, and at 65 in the Paranormal & Urban fantasy list.
I have 15 reviews for Cool Hand already on Amazon and GoodReads, and many very positive comments in posts and by email. Thank you all! This writer runs on that kinda fuel.
I am still delighted to be selling well, and remain puzzled at the cause of the drop after Hidden Trump.
Bite Back 5, as yet unnamed, is under way. The core of the book is a bit more like SoH – there is a non-paranormal investigation which determines the overall structure. I may link in Manda and Scott from The Biting Cold, which would mean a short story to bridge from where they are now to being part of the Bite Back series arc.
I’m also looking at re-starting Bian’s Tale.
As per my comments on earlier posts, I’m unhappy with predicting release dates after getting it wrong, but I’ll get back to end-of-month updates on writing progress.
Thank you all again.
Has been sent to the Amazon servers!
I will send it to Kobo soon, and I will post a link in a comment below as soon as I see it come up on either site.
Amazon say they take ‘up to 12 hours’, but it varies.
The last round of editing is still going on…
But I feel confident. Friday 6th March. (2015).
Here’s the temporary cover, and the first page. The book has grown another 3,000 words.
“Sometimes, nothing can be a real cool hand.”
Paul Newman as Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke.
“If you don’t believe your whole life has been a path leading to this one point, you’re not focused enough.”
That had been Top, while I was training in Ops 4-10.
But he’d also said: “You’re every second of training we’ve hardwired into you. Focus on the big picture and your instincts will handle the rest.”
What happened if my instincts led me down the wrong path?
It was just after midnight. I was burrowed into a thick layer of snow, peering through a gap in a field of winter wheat, scoping out the hideout of the last remaining Matlal Athanate in Denver. Or rather, an hour east of Denver in a remote location on the high plains—one reason why the place had been so tough to find.
In fact, I wasn’t the one who’d found it. It was Nick Gray, the skinwalker, who’d sent me the intel. I was grateful, but also wary. He’d already gone above and beyond the terms of his original contract in helping me rescue Emily Schumacher from Dr. Noble. In my current exhausted, foggy state, I couldn’t even remember what I’d promised him if he could hunt down the remaining Matlal. Anything he wanted, probably. With a bonus of extra ‘anything’ if we managed to rescue the toru—their blood slaves.