News Progress Post

Progress Report 2024 Week 23

It’s been a busy week. I mentioned last week that I’d gotten close to finishing The Sword of Sirius Book Three: Firebreak. Did I finally push it over the finish line? I had also hoped to launch a new lead magnet, as well as begin preparations for June 2024’s promotions. Did I step up to the marketing challenge? Or did I run away and hide? Let’s look at the infographic before answering those questions!

Last Week’s Progress By the Numbers

This was one of my most productive weeks ever, at least in terms of word count.

I know we’re just playing around, and no one’s waiting with bated breath to hear if I finished writing Firebreak, so I’ll just say it: it’s done! I wrapped up the first draft this morning. Here’re some of its key dates:

  • March 27, 2024: Began brainstorming and basic work.
  • April 12, 2024: Wrote the first 1,224 words
  • June 2, 2024: Finished the first draft

Looks like it took me about 67 days to write the first draft. Now I’ll let it sit idle while I prepare The Sword of Sirius Book One: Red Flag Warning for the proofreader and The Sword of Sirius Book Two: Collapse Zone for the beta reader.

I’m tweaking my post-production processes, so I can’t estimate when I’ll publish the trilogy. But it might be as early as late summer or as late as early fall. Well, it might be never if I get hit by a cement truck. But I’ll try to think positive!

My Ongoing Wrestling Match with Marketing

Sales for May, 2024 were higher than sales for April, 2024. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Facebook ad performance dropped a lot, May compared to April. I’m not sure why, though I’ve read that the running the same Facebook ad eventually grows stale, and the period depends wildly on a variety of factors that no one’s been able to quantify. At least, no one I can find.

I’ll let the ad run one more month, and then I’ll invigorate it.

I also launched The Sword of Sirius Prequel: Fallback Position as a lead magnet. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter, I’ll offer it to you in the next newletter. Not subscribed? You can subscribe here. If you want the story but don’t want to subscribe to the newsletter, just subscribe long enough to get the links, then unsubscribe. I won’t mind.

Here’s the cover for the prequel. I combined a pre-made cover with Photoshop. It came out better than I’d been afraid!

The ad’s been running two days, and so far, I’ve gotten two new subscribers. That’s performing way above my expectations. We’ll see if that trend lasts!

I’m beginning work on the ad campaign to launch The Sword of Sirius. I want to give this series every chance of success! Launching all three simultaneously is part of that strategy. Tentatively, I’m planning to price the books at $3.99 for the ebook. I’m considering a $0.99 sale on the first book for the first couple of weeks, then returning its price to $3.99. That’ll give me traction with some of the promo sites that cap their price at $0.99.

Right now, I don’t see myself doing permafree. I know a lot of writers have good luck with that, but my research suggests that tactic may have diminishing returns as the market becomes saturated. Plus, I have this terrible fear that the ghost of Harlan Ellison will haunt me. He was not a proponent of writers giving away their work! I’ll let you know more as we get closer.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

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

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  2. Finish Owen Payne’s Resolution: Done!
  3. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Resolution: Done!
  4. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Resolution: Done!
  5. Incorporate the proofread edits for The Sword of Sirius Short Story: Fallback Position: Done!
  6. Begin Marketing Fallback Position as the lead magnet for my newsletter (in preparation for launching The Sword of Sirius): Done!

I also launched the lead magnet promotion. It felt like a busy week, and looking back, I can see why!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 23

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  • Brainstorm ideas for the next book or series to write
  • Finish the ProWritingPass for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning
  • Solicit bids for the cover for The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
  • Begin the ProWritingAid pass for Collapse Zone (stretch goal)

What Do You Think?

How do you decide how to price your books? Do you use permafree, and if so, how’s that work for you? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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