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Progress Report 2023 Week 44

I tried to tweak my workflow this week, and the changes put three drafts in simultaneous motion. Is that really a good idea? I ran my second Book Barbarian ad — how’d it do? Finally, I’ve been plotting the new book, The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak for several weeks now. How close am I to starting to write it? Let’s take a look at the infographic first!

Progress Report 2023 Week 44 By the Numbers

Well, I gave away the answer to one question straight away!

I’m calling Firebreak book 7, since Evolution’s Hand had 6 books, and I don’t have a lot of space on the infographic. As you can see, I’ve started writing! You may correctly infer from that that I have completed plotting, at least to a point. There are some details I need to refine, but I’m leaving them to runtime. The characters will let me know what I need to do.

Also, I’m working on the second draft of Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities. I had hoped to finish a lot of chapters this week, but I emphasized writing Firebreak instead. My goal had been to complete the second draft of twenty more chapters. I only completed six. I’ll see what I can do about better balancing this week.

Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action’s New Edition

I finished incorporating the proofreader’s feedback into Executive Action. I also touched up the first chapter. The Amazon and Draft2Digital ebooks are updated with the updated text, and so is Amazon’s paperback. That book is as good as it’s going to get. I am not George Lucas — if my original series doesn’t hold its own now, it never will.

And Han shot first, damnit!

My Book Barbarian ad last week performed well. Not as well as my first Book Barbarian ad back in June, but I expected that. A number of writers have said that sales are depressed this fall. Though sales weren’t as high as the first ad, it still ranked 4th out of 13 campaigns I’ve run. I’m very happy with its performance.

I think I have enough data from my Facebook ad to suggested my blurb is underperforming. The cover is part of the Facebook ad, and it’s been part of the other campaigns I’ve run. It seems to attract attention. I’m getting the clicks. I’m just not closing the sale. I think the evidence implicates either the blurb or the first few pages, which Amazon lets a potential buyer see. I just touched up that first chapter, so it’s as good as it’s going to get. I still hope to tweak the blurb.

The blurb is clearly a work in progress.

I’m almost done with the Writing Wives’ course on tropes and blurbs. I’m still working on Chris Fox’s book on writing to market. I am also about half way through Jennifer Hilt’s book on tropes. If I can understand what those sources are telling me, I should be able to write a better blurb. If I can move the conversation rate high enough, even a $0.99 book can generate income — especially if I can encourage enough read-through to the next books in the series.

I won’t bore you with me continuing to bemoan how much time marketing takes. I opted for indie publishing, so I opted for marketing myself. One thing I will complain about, though, is how long it takes to get good data. Sales vary by season and other factors I haven’t quantified yet. It’s hard to know when a change to any portion of my sales chain results in better or worse sales, amid the factors outside my control and knowledge. But that’s part of the process, too, isn’t it?

How Much Juggling is Too Much?

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned I have three manuscripts in motion: Firebreak, Executive Action, and Split Infinities. It’s actually four, because Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis is in first draft. It’s going to site there for a little while longer, though — probably until I finish writing Firebreak.

Working on three simultaneously was a challenge. What helped me in this case is that a lot of the action in Split Infinities sets the stage for Firebreak. It helped me remember some details that should flesh out Firebreak. But as a matter of course, I think two is my practical limit.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I performed against last week’s goals:

  1. Prepare a new ebook and paperback edition of Executive Action, including updated back matter material to point to my website’s book listing page: Done!
  2. Continue working on the plot for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak: Done! I even began writing it.
  3. Evaluate the results of a Book Barbarian promotion: Done!
  4. Read at least 20 more chapters aloud for Executive Action Book 5: Split Infinities: Not Done! I under-performed here.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 44

Here are my goals for the upcoming week:

  1. Read at least 20 more chapters aloud for Executive Action Book 5: Split Infinities
  2. Write Ira Malhotra’s Hook
  3. Write Luisa Brunner’s Hook
  4. Write Owen Payne’s Hook
  5. Stretch Objective: Write Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 1

Goal number 5 is a stretch because it’s typical for me to have to invest more time in casting and set construction during the first several chapters. In fact, having to build some of sets and cast for Malhotra’s Hook prevented me from writing it last week.

What Do You Think?

Do you have any rules of thumb for gauging the effectiveness of any given ad? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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