I released a book this week. I had intended to release it in June, but it was ready, so I figured, why wait? that’s a positive development. But while writing Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities, I ran into an old challenge that cost me at least a day — but gave me a chance to field test a new theory. And finally, I tried my hand at marketing. Again. How’d that go? Let’s look at the numbers first.
Progress Report 2023 Week 16 By the Numbers
It was a tough week — but I still got some writing done. So, it wasn’t all bad!
If I think back to reaching the Pinch 2 point while writing the previous couple of books, I remember that I’d have to take a step back and realign some of the arcs. I like to plot in advance so I have an idea where I’m going, but I leave myself room to let the characters and events breath. For me, it’s normal to have to take the time to adjust.
I ran into that for Matsushita Sachi’s and Mariam Al Khatib’s arcs in Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities. I had a feeling that Matsushita’s arc wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and I need to learn to listen more carefully to that feeling. I’ll talk a little more about how I sorted it out. The bottom line is that it took a day away from actual writing, and that accounts for why my output fell below 10,000 words this week.
News: Evolution’s Hand Book 3 Primary Target Is Now Available!
It went live last week! You can buy it from these links:
If the Barnes & Noble link doesn’t show up (sometimes there’s a lag), you can go directly to it here.
You can buy Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target now!
It’s a little hard to believe that the first three books are available. Do you want to know a little secret? It’s easier to write 4 2/3 books than it is to market one of them. More on that in a moment. Still, I’m resolved to learn all aspects of this business. I’d hate for readers to miss out because I couldn’t figure out how to let them know the books are out there!
Rediscovering the Human APIs
“Rediscovering Human APIs” sounds so much better than “Crow Remembers Proverbs,” doesn’t it? It does to me at least. I had to demolish an old wood fence beside my house. My wife wanted to use the wood in our fire pit, so I set the sections aside. I wanted to use them for an experiment.
When I ran into the Post Midpoint Blues, which is to say, when I realized I needed to just Al Khatib and Matsushita’s arcs, I tried to live the old Chinese proverb:
Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.
As I listened to the playlist I created to spark creativity, I disassembled the fence and cut it up into firepit-sized portions. The goal was to do basic physical labor to free my mind to do its plotting thing. Guess what? It worked.
By the time I was done, I knew how I wanted both Al Khatib’s and Matsushita’s arcs to intertwine and wrap up.
You might not be able to tell, but this represents a major resequencing of the beats for Conrad, Matsushita, and Al Khatib. All because of literally chopping wood!
I think I might have to go through a similar exercise for Atticus Porter’s final chapters. That could be a problem — I’m out of fence! I’ll have to figure out something else to do outside.
I Fought Marketing, and Marketing Won
Well, it wasn’t quite that melodramatic as me fighting “marketing.” My goal is to make sure all the marketing links that I control are solid for Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action. That is to say:
- The book cover are solid
- The blurb is solid
- The first chapters, which Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others let readers preview, are solid
- The marketing copy (for example, what shows on the link for Bookbub’s e-mails) is attractive
I’m not marketing Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target directly. I’m focused on getting people into the series with Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action, so that’s where my marketing efforts are right now. I’m shooting for a 5% click-to-purchase ratio on any ads I run. I was surprised that I got it with my BookBub Partners. That suggests my links are working relatively well.
This Bookbub Partners ad has performed consistently for me over several campaigns.
I’m not confident in my marketing blurb (the one that you can see at the Amazon link). I worked with a Fiverr editor to rewrite it. The result gave me something to think about. I’m not sure I prefer it or mine, especially since I’m converting at my target of about 5%. But seeing the copy from a different perspective helped broaden my understanding of what was possible. So it was well worth the investment, even if I don’t use it as it.
Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:
- Finish Mariam Al Khatib’s Pinch 2: Done!
- Write Janczak’s chapter that spans her Midpoint and Pinch 2: Done!
- Write Conrad’s chapter that spans Midpoint and Pinch 2: Done!
- Write Matsushita Sachi’s Midpoint: Deferred!
I pushed Matsushita’s Midpoint and Pinch 2 so they came after Al Khatib’s Plot Turn 2. Basically, I overachieved against Al Khatib’s goals and under-achieved against Matsushita’s.
Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 16
This week, I intend to:
- Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Mid Point
- Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Pinch 2
- Finish Melchizedek Conrad’s Pinch 2
- Finish Leon Weber’s Pinch 2
- Give consideration to Atticus Porter’s final chapters
What Do You Think?
Does “carry water, chop wood” work for you? What techniques do you use to energize your creativity? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Progress Report 2023 Week 16”
Congratulations on another book release. You’re turning into quite the pro at this! Whereas, I’m still plotting…
I don’t think I’ve had a point where my creativity levels have dropped, but then I maximize my time. I’m constantly reading, watching, or listening to something. I do find walking helps with straightening things out in my head, especially if I have a podcast or some music going in the background. I’ll often have to relisten to a podcast because I’ve zoned out and have been working through scenes in my head and missed everything they said.
The marketing will come. Remember, the goal is twenty books. You’ll get there.
Walking sounds like a great idea if I run out of yard work. Since I live in suburbia, I don’t have a lot of yard!
You’re right about the goal. I need to force myself to slow down and learn what this stage is teaching me. For example, I just watched David Gaughran’s video about promo stacking:
Toward the end, he talked about running ads for series — which I really only have now. Before, I had a first book, or a first book and a sequel. Now I have a trilogy. So, it broadens my options in a way I didn’t think about before.
It also helps that he has a listing of what promo sites are worthwhile:
I’m going to try to learn the idiosyncrasies of those sites over the next year. Then, after I publish the sixth book, I’ll be ready for a horizontal stack promo.
Which sounds something I should disclose to my doctor!