Feb 27, 2014

A Little Research

With two books coming out this year, I have a lot of work to do for promotion. As you've seen, I have my new Facebook pages all set up, but I figured I'd do some market research and find out what kind of things people like to see when an author is promoting a book. What will grab your interest for a new series? As an existing reader, what extras and snippets do you like to see?

These are some of the options I'm considering as part of my promotion work this year:

  • Soundtracks (posting songs that inspired me, etc)
  • Excerpts (these would be mostly brief, 1-2 line snippets, possibly with longer previews closer to the launch)
  • Previews of future books (obviously this only relates to Lady Raven, and would be after the release of the first book)
  • Cast lists (as if I were casting a movie adaptation of Lady Raven, and a cast list competition for readers of the Locked Within Trilogy)
  • Goodreads giveaways
  • Discount bundles
  • Twitter accounts for Lady Raven and Locked Within
  • Street teams (groups of people who share links and info about the books to help promote them)
Let me know what you think, and feel free to make suggestions!

Feb 25, 2014

Facebook Pages

For the last while, I've had several Facebook pages sitting mostly unused. I've generally relied on my own personal profile for all my social media promotion, along with Twitter and Google+.

This year sees me take on the challenge of becoming a hybrid author. I'll be self-publishing books while still submitting others for traditional publication. My new series, Lady Raven, will be quite different from my urban fantasy work, and it'll be important to steer my marketing in different ways for each.

To that end, I have created two new Facebook pages:

The Locked Within Trilogy replaces the previous pages I made for Locked Within and Silent Oath, and will from now on be the primary place for all promotional information about the series. In particular, as the year goes on more information will be posted about Final Hope, including details of the launch, blog tour links, and short excerpts to give readers a hint at what's in store for Nathan and his friends.

Lady Raven is the all-new page for, you guess it, the Lady Raven series of books. Similar to the above, there's going to be lots of info and updates about the new books, and plenty of news about various promotions happening.

Feb 13, 2014

The Figures Are In

And I have a lot of work to do.

I got my royalty statement for the second half of 2013.

As far as Locked Within goes, ebook sales are up on the first half of the year, which is good. Hard copy sales through Amazon/bookshops are the same (literally, exactly the same - weird). I still made the vast bulk of my sales though, both directly and through Amazon/bookshops, in late 2012, just after the book was released. That said, earnings are down, suggesting that these sales took place during price promotions.

Silent Oath, taking into account both direct sales, Amazon/bookshop sales, and ebook sales, has performed worse in the same post-launch time period than Locked Within. Sales on Kindle are higher than they were for Locked Within at the time, but at a lower average price (due to price promotions), judging by the money earned.. And hard copy sales were about two-thirds that of Locked Within's sales.

I did a lot more work to promote Silent Oath than I did for Locked Within. I had an existing platform and knew who to go to for reviews, not to mention arranging a much larger blog tour. So between lower prices, and the extra promotion, for my sales to still be down, even taking into account that Silent Oath came out a month later in the year than Locked Within, is concerning.

In terms of overall sales between both books and the short story, I've sold more in the latter half of 2013 than I did in the latter half of 2012. But not by very much. And in terms of the money the books are earning, I'm looking at just over half what Locked Within earned on its own after it was released.

While tracking sales figures continually is an easy way to drive yourself crazy, it's important for an author to take a look at figures over regular periods like this. I won't be able to judge completely how I've done until my next royalty statement in a few months, but for now, I think I need to work out what I'm doing wrong, and fix it.

Feb 11, 2014

Superheroes Who Should Have Their Own Movies

I read this article yesterday, and thought I'd share it here.

I'm not one to shy away from a good superhero movie, and I'll never be sorry to see more Superman and Batman on the screen (even if I'm not a fan of more recent versions), but yeah, seriously.

That last entry says it all. Fact is, whether the Ant Man in the upcoming movie is Hank Pym or not, we're apparently more willing to see a movie about a character known for hitting women, than for being one.

It's tragic that Wonder Woman's first appearance on the big screen was in the Lego Movie.

Feb 6, 2014

Book Updates

I figured it was high time for an update to let people know how 2014 is going, writing-wise.

Carver and McCain
This book, working title Candlelight, is proving a fun project. I enjoy world-building and it feels good to be working on an investigative story again. Actual wordcount is slow going, but that's because I've not been getting much sleep, and it's difficult to keep up momentum when you'd rather take a nap ;-)

Overall, though, I'm feeling good about this new series. The more I work on it, the more I want to do.

Lady Raven
I haven't yet polished up the manuscript to get it ready for my editor, but it's getting a lot of interest locally. I don't have a firm release date yet, but I really need to start looking into venues for the launch...

Final Hope
The big one. :-D

My editor is moving into line edits, having been quite pleased with what I've done so far. There's still the possibility that a lot could change, but it's a fantastic boost to hear my editor say such positive things so early in the process.

As part of the promotion for Final Hope, WiDo will also be releasing another short story as a mini-prequel. Where the previous short story focused on Cynthia, and how she was dealing with the events of Locked Within, this story will focus on Nathan and Elena, and how they cope in the cold, potentially lonely Christmas between Silent Oath and Final Hope.

I hope everyone's as excited for these as I am!

Feb 4, 2014

Late With All The Things

Whether it's blog posts, preparing to run a tabletop RPG again, or working on one of my new books, it feels like I'm working several days behind on everything.

I should probably have expected this, given that the first couple of months after a new baby arrives are always the toughest on your routine. Also this time there are a whole load of other distractions, like marveling at the sheer ignorance of people who find it offensive that a song celebrating America would be sung in any language other than English, or how the Irish state broadcaster decided to protect the rights of people to have dissenting views... by censoring someone for having an opposing view and paying damages to members of the organisation he (extremely mildly) criticised.

Thankfully there have been good reasons to be distracted as well, like getting started on Arkham: Origins and watching my older daughters happily laugh their little heads off whenever they see their new little sister.

Normal service will resume... sometime. I promise.