May 292013

Ashes of Alour-Tan has now been out for just over six months. When I launched the book, I made the decision to pay little-to-no attention to my sales figures for that span of time, at which point I would look at the numbers and decide what they might indicate for future strategy.

A couple of notes before we dig in:

1. I am very happy with Ashes’ performance. As a debut, self-published novel my expectations for sales were quite low and it exceeded them handily. I would have been happy with one sale and made substantially more than that.

2. Ashes’ performance to date means little in the grand scheme of my long-term writing goals. Every self-publishing success story has the common thread of an author with many titles for their readers and I am not aware of any success story that centers on a single breakout title. Until I have at least five titles out and available, I don’t anticipate significantly better sales figures than Ashes garnered, and I am quite content with that. Of course, I do hope that each subsequent release will show progress.

3. I did very little in the way of promotion for Ashes. I announced it here on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Tumblr, on a handful of non-writing forums where I also added a link to the book to my forum signature, created author pages on Amazon and Goodreads, and…that’s it. I did not submit it to any book blogs, writing/author/self-publishing communities, or any other major venue for promotion. This minimal promotion decision was deliberate.

Right, let’s get to the numbers.
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Counting down

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Oct 152012

We are now halfway through October. The day after Halloween, I begin the final draft of the book, with an eye to publishing by Thanksgiving. My book will be in the wild, available for purchase during the holidays. I am excited and terrified by this.

I’m looking forward to my beta readers’ feedback. I don’t entirely know what to expect. I’ve received some really heartwarming praise and some curiously intimidating intimations about criticism yet-to-come, which I suppose spans an appropriately wide gamut.

Meanwhile, I’m knee-deep in worldbuilding my next book. Rather than the second book in the fantasy trilogy, this will be the start of a science fiction series. I’m having a great deal of fun with the worldbuilding, which I take as a good sign for my level of engagement with the story-to-be. If nothing else, I’m two for two on crafting worlds that I’m excited about. Whether or not the world at large feels the same remains to be seen, but if I’m not writing something I’m excited about, no reader is going to enjoy it.

Once the fantasy book is in the wild, I’m going to dive head-long into the writing of the sci-fi book. The goal, other than writing and publishing another book, is to take everything I learned writing the first book and use it to write this book faster. The goal, ultimately, is to be able to publish 4-5 good titles each year, representing a release cycle of three months or less. We’ll see if I can hit that or not. At the very least, spending the time on a solid outline should preclude the need to do a “second” draft akin to the fantasy book’s second draft, which was really a complete overhaul of the seat-of-the-pants NaNoWriMo story. Outlines are our friends.

I’m toying with the idea of releasing at least the first chapter of the book for free, right here, once the final draft is done. I’ll be making a great deal of noise on Facebook and Twitter, too, which I’m sure will be a joy to all the people who follow me. I apologize in advance and hope that you will endure the shameless self-promotion. Hell, I hope you’ll help spread the word!