Progress. Or not.

I’ve reached that point that I seem to hit in every book I start. 10 different drafts of overlapping material with slightly different sections. This. Is a problem. A big problem actually. Not only does it duplicate content, but it compounds on the effort and work required. It’s not that I didn’t learn the lesson originally. I need an outline. I work best with an outline. For the love of all things written I must go into writing with a fully developed outline. And yet here we are (again). Multiple drafts that must now be reconciled.

This is quite possibly my least favorite part. The repetition. I can barely stand it. Reading the same thing over and over again trying to remember exactly where it needs to go in the new(est) draft. It’s tedious. But it must be done. And if we are going to be completely fair it is a situation entirely of my own doing. To remedy this situation in the future I bought a bulk package of index cards. Because. Repeating this process again is not something I’m looking forward to. There will be other books (writing in a series and all) so I figure it is best to plan for the future.

In the meantime. I have a schedule. I plan to stick to it. And next time it will involve a lot of index cards. On the plus side however, going through this process forces me into a semi-editing state. I learn my plot better. I read through my dialogue again. I get to know my characters again. There is a significant upside to this otherwise annoying situation. Just not enough of an upside that I want it to happen again in the future.

Book #2 is on it’s way. Exactly date of publishing TBD.

Sara

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So. What is the plan?

Out of all of the reviews my book received… the ones that commented on the cliff hanger ending stayed with me the most.

Not that I considered the cliff hanger ending to be a bad thing. It wasn’t/isn’t. It was entirely planned.

But having a year long gap between books… that wasn’t planned #life.

A cliffhanger ending with another book being published or already published. Thats no big deal. But that’s not what happened… is it?

Nope. Not at all…

So life tip: When you start a series that follows a sitcom style/cliff hanger format. It’s important that your book releases follow a sitcom style/cliff hanger format.

Mine didn’t. They should have. But they didn’t. And a part of me is okay with that.

The other part of me knows I could have done better (sleep deprivation aside)

BUT I don’t like failure. So I’m going to hedge my future bets and promise a book a year  #justincase.

Really my goal moving forward is much closer together than every year but…. shoot high, aim low… or is it aim high… shoot low….. something like that. 🙂

Either way. Anticipate another book soon.

Sara

A HUGE Thank You.

A. This is way overdue.

B. This is a true story.

So. After I published my first “second” book The White House Files I experienced the normal anticipation, hope, excitement, etc… as everyone else.

Would it be a best seller? Would it make me a millionaire? Would I be able to quit my job and never have to work again? You get the idea (and spoiler alert… none of the above happened).

In fact. Sales were pretty slow. Trickling in, every so often there would be a sale here… a sale there… a page read or so… and then another…until nothing….

Enough to where one night… after a long (very long) day at work. I was sitting on the couch and the husband asked me… so how is the book going.

ME: ugh. not well.

Husband: Have you sold any?

Me: A few. But not as many as I would have liked.

Husband: Oh.

Me: Yeah. (*in a sad, slightly depressed tone*)

And that was pretty much my opinion of the whole thing. “Oh”… aka… why did I even bother. I probably would have been better off doing something else with my time. Anything else with my time. Other than writing.

But. To prove to my husband, just how much my book wasn’t selling I decided to log into my amazon publishing account (which I had finally stopped checking because you… it was depressing).

I’m not exaggerating on that point. It was seriously depressing. I had been checking it every day. Maybe every hour. You know…. just in case something happened. So just imagine how long it took me to hit the point where I had no hope.

A fairly long time.

So we are there… A fairly long time past when I had published my book. Little to no sales… and I’m having to admit that to my husband… My book…. wasn’t selling. In short. Things could be better.

And to prove the point. About how I wasn’t selling any books. I log into my Amazon author page….

The next words out of my mouth… Holy Shit.

I wish it hadn’t of been a cuss word. Because then I would have to be relaying it to you here…. but it was.

Mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

I had logged in expecting nothing. Zero sales. Zero page reads. Nothing.

But what I saw was a bar graph with a huge spike in the middle.

And by huge I mean 100x larger than usual.

Which. 100×0… I think you can figure it out.

So I involuntarily cried out. “Holy shit”.

Husband: what

Me: nothing (shocked silence)

Husband: (increasingly alarmed) WHAT?

Me: Hold on.

Husband: WHAT?!?

Me: I sold some books.

Husband: What?

Yeah.

I had sold some books. As in more books than I had sold in the entire time that the book had been published. Out of nowhere even. That morning in fact.

My book report page… which had been at a steady zero had all of a sudden started to resemble a normal graph. (If you can consider a huge spike in the middle of nothing to be a normal graph). Which was great. Awesome even. Except I had absolutely no idea why. None. It’s not as if I wasn’t curious. I mean who wouldn’t been if their book all of a sudden started selling significantly more than it ever had been before (aka more than none).

Nothing. I found nothing. In fact it took a couple of days before I finally found it. Ernest Dempsey.  Sure I had heard of him. I had seen his books in the same categories as the ones I was hoping to end up in. But I didn’t think he knew who I was. Apparently he did. Not only did he know who I was. But he had featured me on his blog.

I don’t even know how to describe how amazing this was/is. It is something that will stay with me forever. I had lost hope. I really thought that there wasn’t any point in writing or publishing anymore. I mean clearly I wasn’t getting anywhere. Until I was. And I was, because of Ernest Dempsey.

So, if you ever wonder why this series continues… it is because of this author. And if you ever wonder if other authors support other authors… they do.

*This Thank You and story is long overdue (kids/job/life/etc) but seriously thanks. And anyone reading this. I haven’t had the chance yet to read any of Ernest Dempsey’s books (not for lack of wanting but… sleep deprivation. I fall asleep every time I try to read anything)… but nevertheless I reccomend anything and everything he ever has or ever will write. 🙂

Sara

 

Welcome back?

It says something when even WordPress has a hard time letting you sign in…

It says you’ve been gone way too long.

And to that I say…. why yes… yes I have.

If you want to know how not to launch a new series keep reading….

Don’t….write a new series immediately after having a baby.

Don’t…. publish new series immediately after having a baby and going back to work.

Don’t…. only write the first book and think, you know what I’ll write the second book after I’ve gone back to work (cue maniacal laughter here).

And definitely don’t… do all of the above when you already have a toddler and a job that really sucks.

True story.

All of the above is true. But do you know what. I wouldn’t change any of it for a thing (except the crappy job part, that part sucked). So. In the meantime. I am back. With a slightly better job position and better sleeping kids in tow. Which, for everyone else equals more books, and more blog posts. YAYYYY. I think?

No really. More blog posts. The book part takes longer.

🙂

 

Sara

Publishing ain’t easy.

And neither is marketing. Actually, I think the problem is primarily with marketing. Marketing is hard. As much as you (or I) go into publishing thinking…. I’ve got a good cover, a decent blurb, amazing (if I do say so myself) content…. people will find me. And then those people will tell other people and then they will tell other people…. and yeah. That doesn’t happen. Or at least it hasn’t happened for me.

Publishing, and marketing, both to me are very much like screaming into a void. You spend days, months, years, whatever working on this book baby… finally get to the point where you release it into the world…. and nothing. And I don’t mean nothing by not getting any sales. It is getting read. I mean nothing by… no one says anything. Is it good? Bad? Is there a super embarrassing typo on page 198? I don’t know. I don’t think so?

Back to marketing. What I have found interesting so far is how time consuming marketing is. So far my (haphazard) marketing plan consists of this.

  1. Facebook groups
  2. Book bloggers/reviewers
  3. Amazon ads
  4. Instafreebie/bookfunnel groups

Facebook groups: I did these for awhile (read: about a week) and then stopped. I don’t think I will go back to them, at least not to any of the ones I have found so far. They can work. IF you find a super involved non-spamming group specific to your genre. Then they are great because you can talk directly to your market. Ask them what they like, think, want, whatever. Finding them though. That’s a whole different thing. Unfortunately most (book) groups seem to have devolved into promotion overload where I honestly think the entire group is just a bunch of authors promoting their books to each other. Not effective.

Book bloggers/reviewers. I have been doing this. I will keep doing this. Slowly. Very slowly. It is super time consuming. And it’s a lot of work for possibly very little return. Some respond, some don’t, some agree to read your book and never download the link, and if they do give you a review…. it might be awhile. I view these as an investment. It might not pay off right away, but it could. Actually that sounds more like a gamble. Either way. I like blogs. I like having people read my book. And it’s a bonus if they review it. I won’t spend a ton of time doing this, because you know I still need to actually write, but every so often I’ll throw an email or two out there.

Amazon ads: Now these…. are practically painless. Pretty easy to set up, pretty easy to get going…. the problem really lies in understanding them. There is a delay in reporting so it can be hard to correlate your ads to book sale results and while there is a lot of information out there on making your ads more effective… it’s seriously is like taking on a second job to figure it all out. Personally, I set a few up, have them running and will revisit the issue once I have a few more books out.

Instafreebie/Bookfunnel: Now these are my favorite. Super easy. Pretty successful…. and unfortunately super hard to find all of a sudden. Like anything good (or free) it wasn’t long before authors figured out that they could charge for setting up promos or events. Or they could start to become more selective about what they were willing to include. This made it a lot harder for me to find them. Sadly. Because otherwise they were working great.

So that’s my marketing run-down. It really does come with it’s own crazy learning curve. One I’m still working through. In the meantime. I primarily am focusing on getting the second book ready for release (started on the cover the other day). I don’t want this first book to drown… but at the same time this is a series. This isn’t the only launch I will have and not the only opportunity to market a new release.

In the meantime…. if you happen to know where there are a bunch of thriller readers hanging out who might be interested in a futuristic, historical, dystopian, political thriller…. let me know… or let them know I guess…..

Also…. if anyone reading this has read my book and liked it. I would be super appreciative if you could consider leaving a review (assuming you liked it. If you hated it, well, maybe an email? ;)) Apparently one of the biggest issues I have with sales right now is the lack of reviews. Which are apparently super hard to get. Who knew….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published.

 

Yeah. I did it.

Well. I guess it’s not really a secret considering the fact that I set up a pre-order…. but it’s never guaranteed until it’s actually done… if you know what I mean.

As far as random details go.

The book went live at 9PM PST on 7/26/2017. Which was earlier…. way earlier than I expected. What was expected though…was nothing happened. 🙂 To be fair the list of people that knew about the book was limited.

By mid-afternoon on 7/27/2017 I had 2 page reads. Now, thats not 2 full book page reads. Nope. just 2 pages. Which… is either the ugly page flip issue rearing it’s head or someone(s) downloaded the book, opened the first page and then went on their merry way. I’m hoping for the best (option 2) but expecting the worst (option 1).

Later, on 7/27/2017, I sent out a “hey I just released this book” email to my email list. So far it’s done well. My open rate is at 19.2% with zero unsubscribes or bounces…. hopefully that trend continues. I really have no interest in inundating people with emails. My email inboxes are sitting at 10,651. Yeah. Seriously. And yes I know it’s disgusting. I try to clean it out….obviously not successfully… but anyways I don’t want to flood someone else’s inbox. So limited emails.

As of now. 2 people have bought the book. Or 1 person bought the book twice. Who knows. And I actually have a ranking. I am way more excited and confident about this book than I was the last one. Which really helps. I don’t feel like I need to sell this book. I just need to make sure it gets enough exposure and the rest will fall into place. At least that is what I keep telling myself. At any rate it doesn’t really matter. Book one is out. Now I need to focus on finishing book 2 and getting that out… and then book 3…book 4….5…6….7. You get the idea.

At any rate. I am happy that it’s published. I realized in the process how much I don’t know about marketing… but it will get figured out. Half the fun in this process is the learning curve.

If you are interested in reading the book, you can buy it here 

 

Setting up a pre-order.

I did it. I set up a pre-order. In case you missed that from the title 🙂

Anyways. Here’s the why and how.

One. Why.

So my actual publication date is 7/27/2017. That is the date that the book will be live. It’s a short pre-order. Pretty much the shortest duration allowed. But by having this time period it allows me to set up things like amazon ads, set up promos, fix or set up my amazon author page. Basically house cleaning. If I don’t get any buys during this short pre-order (which I don’t expect to) it’s not that big of a deal. It won’t significantly impact my launch rank in 4-5 days. I think*.

Two. How.

This part was easy. It’s exactly like publishing the book, you just pick a future date.

I know that hitting that publish button is different for everyone. Some people feel excitement. Some people relief. For me it’s very anti climatic. Very hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait. #isitthursdayyet?

In the meantime. I’ve done a couple of things 1. second guessed myself a million times and 2. considered moving up the publication date. My willpower to wait is staying strong (barely). I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not about book 1. Not really anyways. It’s a great book (I think) and I am very proud of it. But it is not a stand alone book. It is meant to lead a series. And in that sense this is not a sprint, it is a very fast marathon. Fast, because of those 30,60, and 90 day cliffs. So in T-2ish days the first book goes live… and then…. then I try my very hardest to completely ignore it and focus on getting the next few books out. Wish me luck. I think I’ll need it (in more ways than one :)).

PS. You can check out the preorder here.