News Progress Post

Progress Report 2023 Week 49

Did I finally manage to hit my 10,000 word-a-week goal? Or did Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) and/or Real Life Work Events (RLWEs) strike again? I planned to evaluate the performance of two ads last week — how’d they do? And how about the characters — are they still on speaking terms with me? Let’s take a look at those questions after the infographic.

Progress Report 2023 Week 49 By the Numbers

Finally! A 10,000 word week!

This is the first week in a while where I broke 10,000 new words! The story is 40-50% done, so it makes sense that I would finally have a handle on the sets and characters. Not having to stop to build out the world helped quite a lot.

Speaking of characters, Owen Payne, one of the three Point of View (POV) characters, really surprised me this week. So did one of the other POV characters, Ira Malhotra. They did things I didn’t expect, but that were perfectly in line with who they are what what they perceive they need to do. That’s a good sign, based on what I think I know about my writing. When the characters take initiative, I can either say that they’re speaking to me, or that my imagination’s representation is sufficiently complex that it can project their actions.

Sounds a little cooler to say they’re speaking to me, doesn’t it?

I’ve got some tough scenes coming up. How our heroes take the fight to the villains is going to stretch me. I’m looking forward to it, truth be told. My biggest hope is that it delights the readers!

Ad Performance in November

November sales numbers for all my published books were roughly even with the month before. Ad expenditures were roughly the same, too. In November, I tested using the same version of the Facebook ads with the same ad spend against October to see if the numbers would remain constant. They did.

I ran two special promotions in November: BargainBooksy and Fussy Librarian. This time, BargainBooksy performed better than Fussy Librarian, but I’m happy with both. They seesaw in terms of sales when I run them.

The numbers are still below where I want them to be. From that, I draw two conclusions:

  1. I still don’t know enough to mount an effective marketing campaign
  2. The Facebook group 20BooksTo50K did not pick their name by accident

Regarding the first point, I’ve been able to incrementally improve my impression to click and my click to purchase rates. But not by leaps and bounds. Regarding the second, I’m seeing how more books helps previous books sell.

Marketing remains a huge mental stumbling block.

The Sword of Sirius and Titles

I’ve been thinking a lot about the new series I’m writing, The Sword of Sirius. I’m almost certain it’s going to be a trilogy, which will make marketing easier. I also have a feeling that I might have the wrong title for Book 1. Right now, it’s Firebreak, but the more I think about it, the more think that might be the title of books 3.

I’m brainstorming now. I’m leaning towards Collapse Zone as the title for Book 2, but the title for Book 1 still eludes me. I’ll let you know when I figure out more!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I did against my goals from last week:

  1. Finish Owen Payne’s Pinch 1: Done!
  2. Finish Malhotra’s Pinch 1: Done!
  3. Finish Owen Payne’s Midpoint: Done! But then it expanded, and I have another chapter on deck.
  4. Finish one other chapter — the plots are intertwining to the point I’m not sure which will happen next: Done! I wrote Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 1 part 3
  5. Evaluate the results of a BarginBooksy ad and a Fussy Librarian ad: Done!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 49

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Owen Payne’s Midpoint Part 2
  2. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Midpoint
  3. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2
  4. Start Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint
  5. Continue Brainstorming the new title of The Sword of Sirius Book 1

What Do You Think?

Do you talk about titles before you finish the book? Or do you just talk in generalities using a working title or description? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!