Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Wrap Up

Well, I suppose there are a few hours left for me to make a post in December, so I'm going for it. Although, to be honest I'm still in a holiday daze and I don't even really know what to write about, but I can't very well let December go by without a single blog post. Can I? Well, maybe I could, but it feels wrong.

So here I am. To tell you, what, precisely? Well, I can report that I finished the first draft of Victoria Marmot book 4 back in November, but I've stalled out on the revision because I need to figure out a couple of series-wide plot points in more detail than I had previously bothered with in order to make sure I get the pacing and flow of the last 2 to 3 books right. Right now, I'm not even sure if there are going to be a total of 5 or 6 books (though I had originally planned for nine, then revised down to six) just because everything keeps happening so quickly. Anyway, I need to do some serious thinking and note taking in order to fix things and I haven't had the headspace for it over the holidays (and with all the unpacking in our new house). Oh yeah. We bought a house. Did I mention that back in November? I'm not sure if I did.

All of that means that I'm still technically on track to release book four in January, but I need to get my revising butt in gear if I want to actually meet that deadline.

Meanwhile, 2018... on a personal level it has been a pretty good year, but on a world wide level it has been a complete dumpster fire so... call it a wash?

I'm very proud of the Victoria Marmot books that are currently out in the world. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet and you enjoy reading fast-paced, somewhat-humorous, urban fantasy, you should check them out: 

They are really quite different from my Chronicles of Gensokai series, so you won't necessarily enjoy them just because you enjoyed Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope, but I really enjoyed writing them, and a number of reviewers over on Goodreads have referred to them as "brain candy" so if you need something that fits that description, they might be worth a try.

If you're wondering, I felt the need to give the new series another mention here, because, well, you know, my whole year has kind of revolved around getting those books written, revised, published and selling, and then getting to work on book four. So far, it has worked relatively well. My launch for the new series was more organic than my previous launches, I spent way less money and time focusing on paid advertising and instead have worked on being more active on social media, just interacting with folks as myself instead of blasting "buy my book" posts everywhere, and hoping that people check out my profile to find links to my books and buy a copy of their own accord. It seems to be working fairly well. Oh, and I've done a ton of Newsletter swaps with other authors, which has been very instrumental in generating sales.

Looking back on 2018 in terms of sales the biggest thing that happened was clearly the BookBub I got for Blade's Edge in June. It was huge for both sales of Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope. The effects of that sale have finally worn off, but I am hopeful of getting another one in 2019, preferably for Victoria Marmot Book One, once I have books four and five out. For that to work though, I will likely need quite a few more reviews on Amazon, so if you do happen to pick up a copy of the books and feel like reading a review after you've read them it would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, another big highlight of 2018 for me was going to Seattle for GeekGirlCon. I was honored to be accepted as both an artist and panelist at GeekGirlCon in 2018 and had a great experience there over the course of the weekend. If you ever have a chance to check out GeekGirlCon I can't recommend it enough. I, for one, will doing everything in my power to make it back there in 2019.

In a way, I accomplished everything I set out to do in 2018 professionally. Yet, at the end of the year, it falls flat somehow. I'm not sure if it's imposter syndrome, all the successes feel like they're just random happenstance and not actually due to any talent or hard work on my part, or if it's just that while everything is moving along as hoped, nothing has pushed me into the realm of "all my books just sell without me doing anything to promote them," and that is my secret ultimate goal. Of course, that's a ridiculous goal, as no one's books sell without any promotion at all, and that's not my actual goal, but it's more that I want my books to sell enough from me announcing them to my newsletter to make my money back on covers and editing etc. without me having to push them much otherwise. Regardless, at the moment that goal feels lightyears away, even though I'm much closer to it than I've ever been before.

I suppose part of the feeling of frustration comes from feeling like I'm trying all the tips and tricks that I've read from successful indie authors and it still hasn't pushed me into successful mid-list author territory. But thats a silly way to think, as I've always known this would be a long haul, and I'm definitely making progress. Every launch is more successful than the last, the books meet with pretty good reviews (although the Victoria Marmot books are running into more criticism than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope ever have, but I expected that, as the books are cast at a decidedly narrower audience than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope), and I've gotten much better at a number of the pieces of publishing over the past five years, so each launch is a bit less stressful than the previous ones.

I guess all of this is to say that 2018 has been a successful year, but feels like it fell short of where I'd hoped it would go. Still, 2019 has the potential to be a breakthrough year if I stick with my publishing schedule. My publishing goals for 2019 are as follows: release Victoria Marmot book four in January, Book Five in April and Book Six--if it exists--in July, and then write Chronicles of Gensokai Book Three in the fall with a plan to publish it in the middle of 2020. The crazy thing (for me, who is terrible at planning things) is that this has been my plan since the beginning of 2018 and so far I've actually stuck to it. If all goes well, I'd love to be at GeekGirlCon 2019 with a completed Victoria Marmot series, and at least a basic outline of Chronicles of Gensokai book three.

On a more personal level, my goals for 2019 are to be more active (I did not get out as much this fall as I'd hoped, and my running and climbing both took a backseat while I focused on releasing the first three Victoria Marmot books and then got caught up with moving into a new house and writing book four). I want to prioritize my overall health (both mental and physical) next year by making exercise a priority. I always feel happier and healthier when I make time to run or go climbing, and I need to remember that I'm way more productive creatively when I make the time to exercise regularly than when I don't. I also want to make more time for reading. I only read around 40 books this year, when my goal was 52 and I'd like to do even better next year. Before I had my daughter I used to read around 100 books a year, and I wouldn't mind getting closer to that total if I can. I also would like to make better use of my local library as I pursue that goal.

Ok. For a post that started with me not being sure what I wanted to say, I sure have said a lot. I hope it didn't bore the pants off of anyone. Thanks for reading this far, and I wish you a fun, adventure filled, healthy, and happy New Year! See you in 2019!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Behind the scenes of the latest launch...

All five of my books! Aren't they pretty? (Some holiday promos are happening right now, so if you've been meaning to read them or buy them for friends now is a good time to buy/gift the ebooks.)

If you're on my mailing list, you've probably already read this. If so, feel free to skip this one. It's all about how this book launch has gone so far.

So, whether you're on my mailling list or not, you probably noticed that I released a brand new series about three weeks ago. I released all three books at once for various reasons, some of which were for marketing purposes, some of which were just out of personal preference.

I started writing the Victoria Marmot series as a web serial originally, because it seemed to fit the story. To me it has always struck me as something to be written and published quickly, almost as though Vic were trying to document the whole thing while it happened and let people know about it in close to real time.

For those wondering (it comes up from time to time) the idea that originally sparked the whole series was a single scene, in which Vic confronts a vampire who is creepily trying to watch her sleep. Many of you will be familiar with this scene from the very famous Twilight series. It's a scene that has always bothered me, because when I think of a guy showing up uninvited in my room to watch me sleep, my mind turns towards messed up psychological thriller not towards romance. Indeed, it was reimagining this scene with the reaction that Iwould have (calling the cops, and beating the guy up if he got too close) that led me to write the Victoria Marmot series. Vic came to me as a character who could and would react that same way, and a number of other scenes, characters, and tropes that I wanted to twist, bend, or outright break came to mind at the same time. And thus the series was born.

But instead of publishing it as a web-serial as I originally envisioned (and briefly explored--I did publish the first 15 chapters or so on my Patreon) I decided that the books would do better as bingeable fiction and decided to write out the first three books of a six to nine book series (it's looking more like six these days) and release the first three all at once.

Publishing the first three at once is a tactic that isn't used that often, because authors like to make use of the amazon algorithms that give each book a bit of a boost for the first 90 days after publication. So, folks like to maximize that effect on each book by stacking them within that time period. I chose not to launch them one at a time for two reasons. One - the first two books end on cliff hangers and I hate reading those unless the next book is already out. Assuming my readers would feel the same way, I wanted enough books to be released to minimize this effect (and have book 3 wrap up enough plot threads to not anger anyone). Two - sell through. I wanted people to be able to buy book two as soon as they finished book one before they forgot about it. We all only have so much bandwidth, and trying to remember a book you read six weeks ago and enjoyed by an author you've never heard of before is a recipe for, "oh well, guess I'm not going to read that next one." I figured that was less likely to happen if folks have already read three books by the same author before there is a gap of a few weeks.

So, now you're probably wondering if that worked... well, it's a bit soon to say if it "worked" or else it might just take a few hours and pages of text to define what "worked" means in this context, but so far it's looking good. Keep in mind I spent way less time and money on this book launch than any of my previous launches. Of course, the reason that I was able to spend less time and money on it was thanks to the build up of results from my previous launches, so take that with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, Victoria Marmot Book 1 has sold almost as many copies in less than a month as Traitor's Hope has sold in an entire year. Which is fabulous and very heartening. Now I need to expand on that. Also, read through from book 2 to book 3 is at 100% and read through for print copies of the books is 100% from book 1 through book 3. Of course, with the digital copy of book one priced at $0.99 the read through from book 1 to book 2 is a lot lower (currently at just over 10% on amazon but higher on most other retailers). This isn't surprising since many 0.99 books tend to sit on people's devices for ages before they actually read them. (I am guilty of this myself, so I take no offense.)

Which is to say, the launch has gone well so far, and if you've read this far you must be very interested in indie publishing. Thanks for being here, and let me know if you have any questions!

Meanwhile, I'm working away on book 4 and still planning to release it in January. I am considering releasing a few exclusive snippets over on my newsletter (and on my Patreon first and foremost) so if that interests go ahead and sign up for either one of those. The newsletter is completely free and I use it to share my own announcements free writing snippets and short stories, and the occasional deal from fellow science fiction and fantasy authors. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Victoria Marmot is live everywhere books are sold!



It has been a long road, and there were stretches where it felt like I would never have everything ready in time. I need to get back to posting YouTube videos in the near future so I can talk about how much more I've learned from releasing three books at once (despite already having released two other books--three years apart) or at the very least write up a regular old blog post about it. Both are on my to-do list, I guess we'll just see which one I get to first.

Anyway, if you want to check out the Victoria Marmot books, you can start with book one, or order the first three books all at once, whatever you prefer. Both print and digital versions are ready to order, and I'm very pleased with how the print books turned out, so don't hesitate to pick those up as well.

Here are the official links for various retailers, and then below this box you can find tons of other SFF book deals, many of which are priced at $0.99, so be sure to check those out as well. I'm going to go collapse in a tired heap with a few of those books myself, and maybe a celebratory cup of hot cocoa as well (probably some wine later too, let's be honest).

Victoria Marmot links:


Book One (Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess):

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home and may or may not have magical abilities.

When Vic discovers her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, what little remains of her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts to find the truth save the world or take the whole universe down with her?

Book Two (Victoria Marmot and the Inconvenient Prophecy):

When Victoria Marmot helps rescue her brother from a corrupt magical government she also unleashes a cadre unsavory characters, a handful of helpless children, and a dragon. Now, with the Ministry of Magical Entities and an obsessed vampire ambushing them at every turn, Vic will have to call on all of her newfound powers—and enlist the help of all of her new friends—to solve the mystery of what really happened to her parents before MOME can silence her and everyone she holds dear.

Book Three (Victoria Marmot and the Shadow of Death):

Vic is about to die. At best, she’ll die when the Ministry of Magical Entities finally puts on their sham of a trial and convicts her of a crime she only sort-of committed… but most likely she’ll die in the next flash flood here in this hellhole they’re using as a prison, or maybe whenever that shrieking squirrel demon comes back. Then again, maybe she’ll live just long enough to find out what MOME is really up to, and die along with everyone else if she fails to stop them.

Also, for those who are interested in having nice books on their shelves, I'm releasing hardcover versions of Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope to help celebrate the release of the Victoria Marmot books, so feel free to check those out.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pre-orders available for ebook AND print!

My new Victoria Marmot urban-fantasy-with-a-hint-of-parody series is launching in just four more days and I am so very excited to announce that not only can you pre-order the ebooks everywhere that ebooks are sold, but you can even pre-order the paperbacks at your favorite online retailer. (Like, seriously, even my local indie has the pre-order link on their website, how cool is that?)

So, links? Covers? Here we go. Have a banner.... umm... I'm writing this on my phone so I think the banner is at the top. Meanwhile.... links!

Amazon: print and ebook
B&N: print and ebook
McNally Robinson: print
Everywhere else: ebook (search for Victoria Marmot on your preferred site for print if it's not one of the above; luckily, she has a unique name).

Other than that... well, life has been rather crazy actually... some good, some bad. I'll tell you more later, but be sure to come see me at GeekGirlCon if you're anywhere near Seattle on the 27th and 28th! I'll be at booth #814 all weekend as well as running a panel on Sunday at 4pm called Moms Who Geek! (Or How to Pursue Your Passions Even After You Procreate) Please, come say hi!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Cover Reveal for Victoria Marmot Book One

Sorry I disappeared in July and for most of August. July was a month full of memorizing lines, rehearsing, and then putting on a two week run of a play. It was stressful, but also fun, and kind of wonderful. August, in turn, was full of catching up on writing and traveling to celebrate with family.

I have been working away on the Victoria Marmot series. The first three books from this series (which will be at least six books long) will be published in October of this year. And now it's time to share the cover of Book 1 along with the pre-order links! This cover (and all three covers for the series so far) were designed by Natasha Snow and I love them.

I'll be back in September with even more information about all three Victoria Marmot books! For now, get your pre-order on! :-)

Here's a reminder about what the series is all about:

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home may or may not have magical abilities.

When Vic is told her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts save the world or take the whole universe down with her?

Monday, July 2, 2018

See you at GeekGirlCon in October!

I am very excited to announce that I will be attending GeekGirlCon in Seattle, WA this October (27th & 28th). I will be at a vendor's table all weekend, with both of my Chronicles of Gensokai books as well as (hopefully) all THREE new Victoria Marmot books. I will also be heading up an awesome panel called Mom's Who Geek: or How to Pursue Your Passions Even After You Procreate, which I will talk more about once I'm sure I've got the green light from GGC (the panel is definitely happening, but I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about who all will be on it etc. just yet).

I've already booked my flight, and I have made arrangements to stay with a friend, so this is all really happening. I'm so thrilled!

For those unfamiliar with GeekGirlCon I recommend clicking on the link provided and reading up on it, but basically, if you're a feminist nerd, it's paradise. So, please come see me there! It will be a ton of fun, in addition to possibly being the only physical launch of the Victoria Marmot books (though I might do a physical launch in Winnipeg afterwards, I haven't decided yet).

I'm off to get back to writing the Victoria Marmot books to make sure that they are all ready for October! See you in Seattle!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

BookBub roundup (in which I squee about being next to JK Rowling)!

Well, folks, it was a beautiful thing while it lasted, but BookBub* week is finally over.
*If you don't know what I'm talking about please click here to find out more from a previous blog post of mine.

"But wait, Virginia, why is it BookBub week? I thought BookBub featured deals were just a single e-mail sent out on a single day," you say, not unreasonably.

And you're not wrong. The actual BookBub featured deal is just a single e-mail sent out to a giant mailing list on one single day. However, BookBub is kind enough to feature your promotional price on their website for as long as it will last, so one can experience a nice increase in sales numbers for as long as one is inclined to keep the promotional price in place. Accordingly, I decided to keep Blade's Edge at 0.99 across all retailers until June 9th. I have since raised the price (or at least tried to, but Amazon has yet to bring the US price up even though all other retailers have done it) and sales have slowed, but I am pleased to report that sales have not stopped all together. Indeed, they seem to have leveled out a bit at a level that is quite a bit higher than the 0 copies per day that I was selling right after I took my books out of Kindle Unlimited and indeed it's even better than the average of two copies per day I was selling prior to that.

Indeed I've sold an average of 16 copies a day from the 10th to today. Of course, part of that is affected by the fact that Blade's Edge is still 0.99 on Amazon, so we shall see how it changes when the price finally adjusts, but I'm heartened to see that Traitor's Hope has been making up a larger and larger portion of my daily sales each day. It makes me think that a. people are willing to pay "full price" for my books and b. that people have actually been reading Blade's Edge and enjoying it enough to buy the second book.

Anyway, I'm sort of starting at the end here. Most of you probably haven't been following my stats posts on KBoards, so you have no idea how the BookBub itself went. If you'd like to read that stats post, you can find it here. That post details how many sales I made per day, per retailer, from June 4th to June 9th and also mentions the rankings that Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope both had over the course of the week.

For the link averse, here's a brief summary:

On June 4th Blade's Edge sold 976 copies across all retailers and Traitor's Hope sold 33 copies across all retailers.

Between June 4th and June 9th (the dates that Blade's Edge was listed on the BookBub website as a 0.99 deal) Blade's Edge sold a total of 1464 copies across all retailers and Traitor's Hope sold 70 copies.

On Amazon Blade's Edge's highest ranking was #1 in the category of Children's Sword & Sorcery Fantasy Books (which is a weird category for it to be under at all, but hey what can I say, Amazon is weird sometimes). That meant it had the awesome orange bestseller tag on it for most of June 4th and June 5th. Of course, I took a screen shot:

And you may not find that particularly impressive, but check out the company that Blade's Edge was keeping that day:

I almost pooped myself when I saw Blade's Edge ahead of both A Wrinkle in Time AND Harry Potter...

Its highest overall ranking was #312 in the entire store, which is, of course, the highest it has ever been.

But it also kicked butt on other retailer sites! Blade's Edge was #29 in the entire iBooks store! And it was #1 in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Seriously, no other sub category. Just Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Number 1. Boom. Don't believe me? Check the screen shot.

And on Barnes&Noble it was #5 in Sci-Fi &Fantasy

(Yep, that's Blade's Edge outranking The Handmaid's Tale... Appropriate company, too.)

Those were some of the most exciting moments in Blade's Edge's life to date, and I feel like an obnoxious parent showing off pictures of my child doing something only I find impressive, but there you have it. June 4th was an amazing day, and the past week has been excellent as well.

So far, the effects of the BookBub have been even better than I expected, and I am very curious to see their long term ramifications. The BookBub has more than paid for itself, and the number of people who have paid for a copy of Blade's Edge has increased manyfold. 

If you want more details with exact numbers, I really do recommend the KBoards stats post I made. For now, I am off to get back to writing Victoria Marmot, which I have sorely neglected for a few weeks out of excitement and nerves for Blade's Edge's performance in this promotion. Meanwhile, the time tested truth for authors remains, nothing sells a book like writing more books. So, off I go! To write three more books to release this year. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Magic of Cross-Promotion

Dear readers,

The following blog post is entirely about the back end of publishing and marketing. If that's not your bag, take a pass on this one. If you do publish or you're considering publishing in the future, then you might find this interesting.

Still here? Ok. You've been warned. Let's do this!

Since the release of Traitor's Hope in October I have averaged (between page reads in Kindle Unlimited and actual unit sales) just over one sale per day across both books (Blade's Edge & Traitor's Hope). This is, if you are keeping tabs on this kind of thing, NOT how you get rich. However, that is such a massive improvement to how sales were prior to publishing Traitor's Hope, that I have been extremely happy with it.

Yet, as I saw my page reads and sales both start to dwindle around February, and I began to hear more and more of my fellow authors complain that Amazon was culling their page reads, or stripping their rank, or doing some other confounding thing that made the rest of us all cringe, I decided it was time to take my books out of the Amazon-only scheme and publish them through as many retailers as would have me.

'Tis a risky business.

Why, you ask? Well, only because even when one is spread out through the entire ocean, Amazon is still the biggest fish out there. Most authors are unlikely to sell more through any single other retailer, and some not even with all other retailers combined. And Amazon has quite intentionally set things up to give preferential treatment to the books that are listed exclusively with them.

I was not surprised therefore when, the moment that I took my books out of the program that readers know as Kindle Unlimited and publishers know as Kindle Select, my sales plummeted. Not just my pages read (which only makes sense because the book is no longer in the program that provides pages read) but my normal sales as well. I don't think this is necessarily anything underhanded on Amazon's part. They simply give added visibility to the titles that are in KU and once you take a title out that visibility drops away, so unless you are generating your own visibility (which I wasn't really) ranking slips, and consequently organic sales slip. Fair enough. I was sad to see the drop happen but, as I mentioned earlier, not entirely surprised.

Now, if you read my last blog post, in which I squee like a small child who just got a pony as a present, you'll know that Blade's Edge was recently accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal. (If you have no idea what that is, but would like some context for the rest of this post, go ahead and click on that link and read the aforementioned post.) Having Blade's Edge selected for a BookBub alleviated many of my fears about going wide. Indeed, it made the sudden drop in sales seem almost inconsequential (despite the fact that I'd gone from one sale per day to one sale in two weeks).

Yet, everything I'd read told me that BookBubs are most effective when you support them with additional promotions. The theory (posited by far more experienced authors than I) is that Amazon's ranking algorithms respond best to a steady rise in sales (instead of a sudden spike) and that the higher your rank is before said spike, the higher the spike will take it. So, in preparation for my BookBub Featured Deal (henceforth to be known as BookBub, or even just BB) I have been trying to line up whatever additional promos I can find for Blade's Edge's.

I have therefore agreed to over twenty different cross-promotions with fellow indie authors for the weeks leading up to and away from the BookBub (which is on June 4th). The idea of promotions after the BookBub is that they help to keep up the BookBub's momentum, which will again please the algorithms (we hope) of the mighty Zon.

And the cross-promotion has been going quite well.

Indeed, through the power of newsletter swaps* and group promotions** alone, in the nine days since the cross-promotions have started, I've sold twenty-nine copies of Blade's Edge without spending a single dime on advertising. So, for that short period of time we're talking an average of three units per day, which sure beats the zero units per day I was averaging for the rest of May. Again, none of this is making bank (indeed, since the book is currently discounted to 0.99 in all regions I'm barely making any money at all) but it's a nice gentle slope out of the complete flat line in sales and ranking that had been achieved after going wide, and as it hasn't cost me anything more than time and agreeing to promote other indie authors' works with my readers, I am VERY pleased with the results.

(Some terminology help here: *Newsletter swaps are, as the name suggests, when you send an email to your own mailing list promoting another author's work and in return they send an e-mail to their own list promoting your work. **Group Promotions are, as the name suggests, when a group of authors set a specific time frame to discount their books and then during that time period all promote the discounted books (usually contained on a single sales page on someone's website) to all of their various social media and newsletters.)

So, if you are reading this, and you are an author yourself (indie or not), you are probably wondering where you can find all of these delightful free resources that will help you sell your books.

The answer lies with you. This is all about collaboration. Make author friends (I recommend sites like KBoards or some of the Goodreads author support groups) and then cross promote with them. You can find cross-promotion groups on Facebook too. But always remember that cross-promotion is a two way street. You must be prepared to share other authors' work with your own readers. If you don't have your own readers yet, there are many folks who are willing to help out if you ask (we all started from zero readers and worked our way up, after all), but don't expect people to help you out for nothing. Also, if you don't have a mailing list of your own, then group promotions like Patty Jansen's and other group promos are a great idea (see more examples below), as long as you have some social media accounts you can use to promote with.

I am curious to see how much momentum I can build with newsletter swaps and group promos alone before the BookBub. After the BookBub there will be more NL swaps, but I also managed to snag an ENT spot (that's another e-mail promotion like BookBub only much smaller) for June 7th to help with the tail. I will start a whole thread on KBoards to talk about the stats from before, during, and after the promo, and I may do a recap blog post here. But at any rate, you now know 110% of what I know about cross promotion. Go forth, and sell books!

Below are some examples of group promos I've used for Blade's Edge recently (warning--some of the promos are expired so the books may be over 0.99 now):

Wednesday, May 9, 2018



Ok folks. This is major. If you work in publishing you probably already understand why I'm so excited. If not, you are probably wondering why I'm all caps screaming at you across the internet. Assuming that most of my readers don't know why this is a big deal, I will explain.

BookBub is something you may or may not have heard of before as a reader. If you read ebooks, you really should subscribe to BookBub (it's free for readers) as they will send you a curated list of fantastic ebook deals (between free and 2.99, generally) for books that meet their rather rigorous quality standards and also happen to be heavily discounted for a limited period of time. They send those e-mails daily, and they don't repeat the same book in a six month span. Also, each e-mail only contains between 5 and 10 books. Not overwhelming at all, and generally full of good, cheap reads. Plus you can choose which genres you want to hear about and skip all the genres you're not interested in. I am subscribed to BookBub to make my reading habit more affordable. I buy (or download for free) a few books a week from their emails. As an avid reader it's a pleasurable experience, and I'm not alone in enjoying it. Millions (yes, literally, with no exaggeration at all) of readers are signed up for their mailing list.

Ok. So, that's my plug for BookBub, and no, I'm not affiliated with them. They don't pay me anything. Instead they just took a large sum of money from me.


So that I can get Blade's Edge in front of the 1.9 million readers that are subscribed to the "fantasy" category for BookBub's mailing list.

But this isn't just a pay to play thing. It's a submit and get rejected a bajillion times and then maybe eventually get accepted thing (like much of the publishing industry). And I kind of never really thought I would get a BookBub, because it is, as I mentioned earlier, heavily curated. As in a bunch of traditionally published books get rejected by BookBub, along with the majority of indies who apply. But they DO pick indies occasionally, and they TOTALLY PICKED BLADE'S EDGE AND HOLY CRAP I AM FREAKING OUT!


I mean...

No big deal.

Except it's totally a big deal.

Ok. Deep breath. It isn't a guarantee of anything. The average number of sales for a 0.99 fantasy featured deal are around 1,900. It could be way more than that, it could be way less. That's the thing about averages. But if it's around that number, it will be a huge boosts to Blade's Edge overall sales numbers, its ranking during that week, and hopefully provide a boost to sell through for Traitor's Hope as well.

A number of authors I'm acquainted with online have found BookBubs to be hugely helpful in pushing their writing careers forward. A small handful have found them to be a breakeven endeavor. There is no way to know which mine will be, but I am extremely hopeful and currently looking into all the ways to maximize my experience.

In the meantime, I still feel like I'm dreaming because getting a BookBub is kind of a big deal for a book. It's a stamp of approval that comes from outside of me. It is, believe it or not, more exciting to me than Blade's Edge being a finalist for the Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

Ok. I feel like I'm rambling now, but I was too excited not share this news with folks. The deal will go out on June 4th. I will let folks know about it again around then. And also, both Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope are now available from every major ebook retailer. For Blade's Edge: click here, and for Traitor's Hope: click here.

Those links will let you choose your favorite retailer and direct you accordingly. :-)

I'm going to stop babbling now and go bask in the warmth of this small accomplishment.

PS. I think it's worth mentioning that while anyone who manages to get a BookBub should feel proud of their book, that does not mean that the reverse is true. There are many mysterious factors in why they choose certain books and not others, and Blade's Edge was rejected 4 times (while it was only available through Amazon) and then accepted on the 5th try (as soon as it was available through multiple retailers). In short, getting rejected by BookBub is not a reason to feel bad about your book. BookBub is merely one tool in the box, and their reasons for rejecting your book could be as simple as, "not available on enough channels," or "not what we need to go with these five other books," or what have you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Inside Scoop

Well, folks, I am happy to announce that Victoria Marmot: Average Teenager (Dark Matters: Book One) is officially off to my editor for a first pass! Yay! In addition, I am now 1/10th of the way through the rewrite of Book Two, so all is on target for an October release of books 1-3 as things stand currently (fingers crossed--there's plenty that could go wrong between now and then).

Meanwhile, after much hemming and hawing, I have finally decided to hire someone else to design the covers for the Victoria Marmot series, even though I am a professional cover designer myself. The reason? Well, I gave it a shot (quite a few shots, actually) and I am just too close to the story to be able to do the design justice. My brain keeps getting sidetracked by infinite tiny details, or inside jokes that are funny only to me and really don't need to be on the cover, or what have you, and even if I do manage to design something appropriate in the end it will have taken 10 times the length of time that it should have. Assuming that I am turning down other work in order to get my own design done, or even just taking longer to write the books, it's far more economical to hire someone else to do it. So, that's what I've done. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing what someone else comes up with for these books.

In addition, we now have the fun anticipation here on the blog of waiting for cover art, which is always a favorite pastime of mine.

Getting three books (even short ones) ready for publication inside of a year, is time consuming, and I need to get back to it, so this blog post will be rather short, as will the next few in all likelihood. Coming up soon, however, are some in-person appearances at the end of May. In addition, Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope are both going be available on all major ebook retailers in short order, so if you don't have a kindle, but have been waiting to buy them digitally, you will be in luck in the next couple of weeks.

I will post here again with more details on both of those things, and will include links to everything!

I hope this finds you all well. The snow here is finally melting and I wore sandals the other day, so I'm officially calling it spring. Yay!

Coming soon...