News Progress Post

Progress Report 2024 Week 09

The new blurbs are in place. I ran a Robin Reads ad. Did the new blurbs help? Now that Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities has been published, what’s the news on Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis? And how did the Facebook ad advocating signups to my newsletter work? Let’s dive into those questions after we look at the infographic for the week!

Progress Report 2024 Week 09 By the Numbers

The plot of The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone seems to be flowing well. It helped me break the 10,000 word barrier again this week!

The words continued to flow this week. I’m not sure why that surprises me, but it does. Terribly so. I wish I could find the reference, but I saw an interview with Neil Gaiman where someone asked him where ideas came from. He laughed and said something to the effect that he really didn’t know, and he’s afraid to ask too many questions for fear the ideas will dry up.

That’s a fear I share. It’s irrational, because in many ways, we can say what actions generate ideas. I should be more scientific about it. But if I’m honest, I took some comfort that even a writer of Neil Gaiman’s stature can worry about things like that.

Ad Performance with New Blurbs

The Facebook group 20BooksTo50K is filled with stories about how ads of various sorts have become less effective over time. The group Wide for the Win has the same kind of thing. It’s not that ads are reaching fewer people, or that the readers are changing tastes. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly what the reason is, but many writers have reported that ads are less effective. My suspicion is that the effect is related to two factors:

  1. An ever-increasing number of ebooks
  2. Traditional publishers adjusting to the new marketing methods

Against that backdrop, my Robin Reads ad performed about as well as the Robin Reads ad from mid-August, 2023. What does that mean? I’m not sure, honestly. I know that ad responses differ by month and based on myriad factors. What I take away from it is that if I keep even with previous performance, I might be ahead of the game. In other words, my new blurbs might be working.

I have a Fussy Librarian ad running later this week. I’m looking to seeing how it performs!

Next Book to be Published: Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis

I contracted with miblart for Unnatural Crypsis’s cover. I really liked their first draft. They’re working on the final package now, and that’ll take book six one step closer to publication. Two steps remain.

First, the book needs to be proofread. My proofreader has it now and has promised delivery by the end of March. It’s a busy time of the year! Second, I’ll need to package and format it. I used to just gloss over that step, but the last couple of books reminded me just what a chore that can be.

I’ll reveal the full cover on my mailing list first. Until then, here’s a sneak peak! The watermark’s still there because this is the proof miblart sent me. I’ve since paid for the package, so I think it’s okay to use it.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how it works out), this might be the last time I create three formats. I’m planning to enroll The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning in KDP Select, so I’ll be Amazon-only. I’ll still need to format the ebook and paperback (the latter because I market the paperback using Amazon), but I won’t go through Draft2Digital at all. That step has taken longer than the other two combined. It’s because of Microsoft Word, so I don’t blame Draft2Digital. Regardless, I like the idea of saving time.

I’m considering not using Draft2Digital in the future. Of all the outlets I’m distributing through them, only two produce sales worth mentioning: Apple and Barnes & Noble. I might go direct with those two. Maybe. It might be a hassle that costs more time. Plus, I might do well enough in KDP Select that I say Amazon-only for a while. We’ll see.

Ad-Driven Mailing List Signups

I wanted to build my mailing list, so I ran a Facebook ad in the first three weeks of February. I didn’t spend very much, so I kept my expectations low. That said, I increased the size by between five and ten percent. Given my low spend, I’m happy with the results.

There’re more good news. My open rate was up for the first mailing after that ad. Given that more stringent demands Google and other providers have placed on e-mail vendors, I’m pleased with how it’s playing out.

I plan to write a new short story that’ll give readers a bridge from Evolution’s Hand to The Sword of Sirius. I’ll use it as the magnet for another mailing list campaign. More on that as it gets closer to being ready.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’re the goals I had last week:

  1. Finish part 3 of Owen Payne’s Midpoint: Done!
  2. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Midpoint: Done!
  3. Finish Payne’s Pinch 2 (unless I need to split Malhotra’s Midpoint into more than one chapter): Done! Turns out I did need to have two chapters to finish his Pinch 2, so that took time away from Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2.
  4. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2: Not done! See the notes in Payne’s Pinch 2.
  5. Begin outlining the short story for Jackson Scott: Done! I’ve cast the captain of the Colonial States Ship Florida (a modified version of the US submarine of the same name, in service now) and the main antagonist, Olivia McCarthy, who’s the Naval Forces Sales Manager for the Colonial American Branch of Advanced Defense Solutions (ADS). ADS plays a big role in Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 09

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Write Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2
  2. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 (it might need split into two chapters)
  3. Write Owen Payne’s Pinch 2 (it might need split into two chapters)
  4. Write Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2
  5. Continue plotting the short story/lead magnet staring Jackson Scott

What Do You Think?

Do you think it’s getting harder to market ebooks? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!