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Progress Report 2024 Week 13

My latest marketing effort performed well — one of the better performers, in fact! Is it getting close to scalable? How’s the short story, Fallback Position, coming along? It’s going to be the lead magnet for the new series, The Sword of Sirius, so it needs to be done soon! And is it about time to do the pre-production work for The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak? We’ll get into those questions after the infographic!

Progress Report 2024 Week 13 By the Numbers

It’s called Book 8, but this week is mostly about The Sword of Sirius Short Story: Fallback Position. “Book 8” just fit a bit better on the graphic.

The short story’s coming together. I think I’ve finished about three-quarters of the first draft. The main character, Jackson Scott, is interacting well with the other characters. I have a feeling I need to drop some more hints about his mindset to strengthen the resolution, but I want to see the first draft in its entirety first.

I had a lot of fun researching the current USS Florida. That ship served as the model for the Colonial American Ship Florida. The fact it’s so much like its current day namesake, despite it being about 150 years in the future, makes a thematic point that I hope helps the story mesh into the rest of the world.

Next Steps for Evolution’s Hand

The proof read for Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis is on target to wrap up by the end of March. If it does, I still intend to incorporate the edits and create the ebook and paperback outputs in the first couple weeks of April. Ideally, I’ll reveal the cover in another week or two via my newsletter, then here. I hope to publish the book by mid April across all platforms.

I’m still planning for Unnatural Crypsis to be the last book in Evolution’s Hand. I might offer two new packages, one a compilation of the first three books and the other a compilation of the last three. It might make sense for me to package those before I release The Sword of Sirius, in case readers like that series so much they want to dive right into Evolution’s Hand. I’ll see what kind of bandwidth I have.

The short story, Fallback Position, is coming together. I intended to bring everything I’ve learned to the table. I don’t know if it’s good or not, but writing this felt good — not like a climatic one-off, but just another craft deliverable.

On the topic of Evolution’s Hand, I splurged for the Bargain Booksy Feature deal. I’ve had great luck with Bargain Booksy’s standard campaigns, so I wanted to see how their feature compared. I saw about twice the sales as a standard campaign. I’m not sure what role the new blurbs played, but I don’t think they hurt. At one point, Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action hit number 66 in Kindle Store’s ranking for Space Exploration Science Fiction eBooks. I was pleased with that.

Are the ads scalable? I need data from one or two months first. It’s close — closer than ever before. I’ll revisit the discussion in the June timeframe.

The Looming Specter of Firebreak

I like the first two books in The Sword of Sirius. I like how Red Flag Warning introduced the stakes, and I like how Collapse Zone brought the pain. Now, I have to finalize the plot for Firebreak and bring it all home. To be honest, I’m apprehensive.

Ira Malhotra is the main action-centric protagonist. She’s trying to change the nature of warfare. I want her to succeed in an unexpected and stunningly cool way. Unfortunately, I’m kinda freaked out trying to come up with how. If this were the me of twenty years ago, I would have given up. Now, I recognize these feelings of “I am completely screwed” as my subconscious telling me it’s working on the problem.

I’m still trying to teach my subconscious a more robust vocabulary.

My thematic protagonist, Owen Payne, is in a similar position. I want him to do something stupefyingly cool with the freed AI named Amaterasu. I’m closer to figuring this one out. For Malhotra, my brain has this box that reads “And then a miracle occurs.” Clearly, it needs work. But for Payne, I have much more concrete ideas. I’m still looking for a twist or something to make it distinct and memorable. Let’s see what I can figure out this week.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I did compared to last week’s goals:

  1. In Fallback Position, Complete Jackson Scott’s Plot Turn 1: Done!
  2. Complete Scott’s Pinch 1: Done!
  3. Complete Scott’s Midpoint; this might take a few chapters: Done! And as a bonus, I also finished his Pinch 2!
  4. Run a BookBub ad on Thursday: I had my weeks confused. BookBub will be for the coming week. I’ll call this Done! because I ran a Bargain Booksy Feature.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 13

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Jackson Scott’s Plot Turn 2
  2. Finish Jackson Scott’s Resolution
  3. Work on the plot for Firebreak
  4. Run a BookBub ad for Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action

What Do You Think?

Do you have any tricks to kick your creativity into high gear? Do you have any rituals or habits? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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