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.