Category Archives: Sales
So Shadow of the Swan is out there on all online markets, earning money and reviews, and I’m happy with that (as of this moment I’ve sold 143 copies on Amazon). I’ve even uploaded a free short story titled “A Gentle Fall of Show” about Henry and Louisa’s first Christmas at Bookfunnel (all subscribers to my newsletter got the link; if you want to subscribe, click here, enter your email address, and you can download “Snow” in MOBI, EPUB, or PDF format).
So what’s next, Nic? I’m glad you asked.
Since it looks like we’re going to be stuck in COVIDland for the foreseeable future, I am setting up some structure for myself for the rest of the year. And I know I’ve said that before, but this time I’m doing it partially for income and partially because I really need it to stay sane.
So — today, I am wrapping up the re-edit of Deep Water and uploading it to Amazon, B&N, et al. Tomorrow I go back to work on King of Blades (Two Thrones 4) with a goal of finishing it by Monday, October 5. If I do 3,265 words a day, I’ll make that easily. Moreover, I KNOW I can write that many words a day easily (I knew it before, but 2019 kinda shook my faith in myself). Even better, now that I’ve been testing my lavaliere mike, Scrivener’s dictation function, and Otter.ai (oh, Holy God, dictation is a fricking godsend to anyone who needs to write fast and can handle saying stuff out loud), I should be able to crank out that amount within two hours, then spend another couple of hours editing it into shape. The rest of the work hours will be taken up with promo, cover design, et al, and outlining the rest of the books I’ll be writing this year.
On October 6, I pivot from King and let it cool for a week while I fire up Cross Current (Olympic Cove 4). People have been waiting VERY patiently for this book for about five years, so now that I have the rights back for all of the Olympic Cove books I want to reward them for their patience. The goal is to finish Current on November 2. On October 12, in parallel with my work on Cross Current, I will start editing King with a goal of getting it out to my editor and the betas by October 16. After I incorporate their changes and do the final polishing stages, I’ll publish King on Tuesday, October 27.
On November 3 I let the completed Cross Current rest for a week while I go back to work on Uncertainty Principle (and by then I’ll actually have an outline, please God — this book has been frustrating me for the better part of two years) with a goal of finishing it on December 4. Once again, I’ll edit Cross Current in parallel with writing Uncertainty, with a goal of publishing Cross Current on November 24. Uncertainty Principle will be published on December 22, and I am taking the rest of December off to let my brain cool down and get in some well-deserved relaxation by that point.
IF I HAVE TIME AND INTESTINAL FORTITUDE, I will work on The Crimson and the Black in December once Uncertainty Principle is finished. I am not going to promise anything at this point because, quite frankly, I may need to collapse at that point. Much will hinge on how well the dictation goes, how quickly I can edit, and whether or not I still have extra processor cycles available. If I decide to put it off until 2021, it will be the first book of that year.
I’m not going to post my planned schedule for 2021 yet because it’s still kind of soft and I want to get some details firmed up. But my goal is to release at least four full-length books that year (I’m telling you right off the bat, two of them will be the final books in the Olympic Cove series), along with a handful of novellas and free short stories.
And yeah, I know it looks like I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew, but King, Current, and Uncertainty are all partials so it’s not like I’m starting from square one on any of them. If I can get all of them done and out the door, I will have cleared my backlog and can start 2021 with a clean conscience. Let’s see if I can get this done.
Just got word from Evernight that they’re buying my sexy hitman romance “Gentleman Jackson” for their Lawless anthology. Which may throw some readers because this story is going in the MF antho, not the MM antho. What can I say — I like mixing things up. Also, it means that if you read the snippet I posted on Wednesday and liked it, you can read the full story in a month or so. More on that as details emerge.
In other news, Lady of Thorns should be finished by next Wednesday, and I’m looking at a 10/17 release date (it’s two weeks later than I’d originally planned, but Real Life™ wound up turning into a timesink and I want to make sure Lady gets a thorough editing before she’s released into the wild). I’m concurrently working on Shifter Woods: Snarl, which should be released before Lady, and once those are out I put the finishing touches on Cross Current and get that off to Evernight. November and NaNoWriMo is going to be dedicated to Uncertainty Principle, I believe. Lord, if I get everything finished on time I’ll have written four full length books, four novellas that will be combined into a box set, and a novelette this year. Not too shabby if I say so myself.
Degree of Resistance has now been out for a shade over a week, and the bulk of my wonderful ARC readers have left reviews (thank you all, *mwah*). I have requests out to a slew of reviewers, advertising going on at various locations, and I’m in the process of getting my media pack out to various bloggers who are kind enough to host my stuff.
And so far … yeah, the sales are perhaps a touch disappointing. The folks who have read the book so far say it’s hella good (and these people have no reason to blow smoke up my ass. If I’d produced something crappy, they would’ve told me). So what that confirms is that my marketing plan is not optimal and I have to come up with a better method of getting Evie and Ben’s story out in front of readers who love smokin’ cyborg romance.
To that end, the lovely and talented Cecilia Tan (my first editor and now my cherished colleague) was kind enough to spend an hour on Skype with me on Thursday going over various battle plans and ways to promote DoR. Some of them, I must admit, had simply never occurred to me but seem obvious in retrospect (e.g. find ways to write blogs posts that will appeal to girl geek-slanted publications such as The Daily Dot and io9, since a significant proportion of my SFR-loving readers will be found there). Others will require careful use of SEO terms to boost exposure, creative use of graphics, or just plain throwing money at the problem. As I am a poor but honest writer who is still paying off the costs of Wild Wicked Weekend (Tl;dr I had a frigging ball and sold more books than last year) I’m hoping to keep this last method down to a minimum, at least until the end of the month. I still want to try submitting Empress of Storms to BookBub, but I need to save up for that as well, plus I have to wait until I’m past the 90 day limit on sales prices (since it was on sale along with Palace of Scoundrels in December, that should take effect later this month).
So goes the life of a modern hybrid author. Still the best job I’ve ever had, though.
Which has much less Darren McGavin than A Christmas Story, but bear with me. In the spirit of the year (and because all of us need a bit of a lift right now) I’m putting both Two Thrones books on sale for 99¢ until New Year’s Eve. So if you’re new to the joint kingdoms of Hellas and Ypres, this is the perfect chance to check them out.
*takes deep breath, lets it out through nose*
So yesterday I launched a rant about a certain site that was promoting illegal downloads of Empress of Storms. Pretty much everyone who read it and left a comment on social media sympathized with me, reassured me that a lot of pirate sites exist to get credit card information and thus karma would visit those who didn’t know how to use a library, and generally tried to make me feel better.
I appreciate them all. And I should admit that part of my rage was brought on by the fact that Ramón was laid off on October 31 and we are both scrambling for work and trying to figure out how we’ll be paying the December mortgage (Christmas isn’t even an option this year. Paying bills comes first). But the karma bit stuck in my head. See, I used to have a blog waaaaay back in 2001, long before WordPress or Blogger or even LiveJournal were on the scene. Had to hand-code each entry, change the previous entry so that it linked to the new one, and create/update the archive pages. You kids don’t know how lucky you are, with your social media crosslinking and your SEO tags. Now get off my lawn.
Anyhoo, since I knew that big block of uninterrupted text tended to turn readers off I had a habit of trolling the net for appropriate images, downloading them, and using them in my blog entries. I did not buy these. Back then, you didn’t even think twice about it. You found a picture on the net and you just used it. There was no question about reimbursing the artist who took the photograph or created the artwork. If it was on the net, it was free for use, QED.
So, if I am brutally honest with myself this may be karma doing a little bitchslapping of its own for using creative material that I didn’t pay for. And now that my blood pressure has settled, I do have to admit that having 612 downloads and 41 four- and five-star reviews is actually kind of flattering. At least 612 people liked my story enough to grab it from a torrent site and read it. 41 of them liked it enough to leave good reviews.
(I still wish they’d left those reviews on Amazon, but whatever.)
Seriously, though, if you can’t afford a copy and will frigging explode if you can’t read about Matthias and Danaë, don’t go through a torrent site. Email me and I will send you a copy for free. All I ask is that you leave a honest review somewhere, ideally Amazon but I’ll take Goodreads/B&N/iBooks/whatever. That way, karma blesses us both.
(ATTENTION: There will be a great deal of profanity in this post. You have been warned.)
Well, fuck me. I did my usual check for reviews this morning and stumbled across a pirate site called readpremiumbooks dot com that has Empress of Storms.
612 downloads. Allow me to repeat that — SIX HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOWNLOADS. And that’s just from this one site. That’s $1,709.32 that I lost, assuming that people would have bought it through Amazon. That would’ve been enough to pay our bills this month and have cash left over for Christmas presents (and things are really goddamned tight around Castle Cameron right now).
And you wonder why I despise pirates. Not all of us are bestselling authors who can blow off piracy as a left-handed form of promotion. For some of us that income means paying the bills, or the mortgage, or picking up necessary medicine. But apparently people think I don’t need that money — hey, I’m a writer, I must be rolling in it, I won’t notice one pirated copy.
Surprise, motherfucker. I notice. So do my creditors. And I can’t even send these RPE fuckers a DMCA takedown because they advertise themselves as an “external affiliate” who cannot guarantee the presence of a particular file because they draw from third-party sites.
But losing income actually isn’t the most irritating thing about this. Want to know what’s really chapping my ‘nads? EoS has 41 fucking reviews on this site, all of which appear to be five stars. I can’t get people to leave me reviews on Amazon, but pirate sites? No problem. Goddamn it, I offered the book FOR FREE if people would just leave an honest review in return. Not one nibble did I get. But they’ll go to a pirate site that could be loading their ereaders with Cthulhu knows what sort of malware to get reading material AND LEAVE REVIEWS THERE.
And people wonder why I drink.
So I’ve been checking my Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, as you do when you’re a nervous self-pubbing author. While I was there I noticed an upwards swing in sales for Empress of Storms today, which is awesome because money around the holidays is always a good thing.
And then I dug into the stats a bit deeper. It seems that the bulk of the recent sales have come from amazon.co.uk. This pleases me as Ramón is in fact an Englishman and it’s nice to know that some of his countrymen (or women, as the case may be) are digging my work. So if any of you lovely British bookbuyers are reading this, thank you and please spread the word to your friends. I wouldn’t mind becoming a smash hit in the UK at all, especially if I could whomp up the funding for a book tour.
Keep all sharp objects away from my reality bubble. I’m allowed to dream.
Meanwhile, NovelRank is reporting that I have sold absolutely nothing in December and my only sales have been within the US. So bugger to you and your bizarre sales determining algorithm, NovelRank.
I’m still running that 25% off sale on Empress of Storms at All Romance eBooks, so if you haven’t picked up a copy yet you should go and do it now! For everyone who has already purchased a copy, thank you SO much. Your interest in my first foray into high fantasy erotic romance is truly appreciated.
Now that the holidays are winding down, however, could I ask you a huge favor? I really, really, REALLY need reviews for the book, ideally on Amazon but I won’t say no to Goodreads, B&N, or any other online retailers. I’ve reached the point where my social media self-promo is getting a little redundant and I don’t want to annoy people with repeated ads. I’ve purchased advertising on various sites, but right now reviews are desperately needed to promote the book, bump it up in Amazon rankings and pull in new sales.
Also, as I’ve mentioned before if you’re stony broke and just can’t afford an ebook right now, contact me with your preferred ebook format and I’ll send you a copy. All I ask is that you leave an honest review for me — and yeah, if you read it and absolutely hate it, then go ahead and say that. I know Empress isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’d rather have someone saying, “Yeah, sorry, this bites” than someone blowing smoke up my ass.
Okay, back to work!
Namely, would any of you be interested in a VERY low-traffic newsletter from me where I ping you maybe once a month about new releases, progress reports on WIPs, teaser chapters, amusing pictures of my cats, etc. Please respond wherever you read this or in the comments on my blog — if there’s enough interest I’ll put it together.
Everyone who liked my Breaker Zone MWT snippets is about to be very happy because — ta-da — I signed the publishing contract with Evernight this morning! Breaker Zone should be coming out either in late November or early December, and I cannot wait to see the cover art and make the trailer for this one.
Of course, that also means that I need to get cracking on Olympic Cove 3 because waiting eighteen months between books is not fun (I mean, who do I think I am, George R.R. Martin?). Right now the working title is Deep Water, and this one will be a little different in that it’s going to be a MMF story.
MM lovers, come back! There’s going to be plenty of hot man-on-man action for you, I promise. The initial pairing will be Poseidon (I TOLD you he was going to get his own book) and a gruff British oceanographer named Griffin Parkes who wants to spend a peaceful week at Olympic Cove before going into hospice care for his terminal cancer. But the God of the Ocean isn’t giving up that easily, especially when he recognizes Griffin as the long-lost agapetos of himself and his consort Amphitrite. Now, Poseidon must seduce a quite straight Griffin in order to save his life, then figure out how to bring Amphitrite back into their triad.
Can a still-grieving Amphitrite forgive Poseidon for the ancient betrayal that destroyed their marriage? Will the blunt, pragmatic Griffin be able to accept not only a male lover, but the fact that he’s a mythological figure reborn? Will Poseidon be able to bring the two loves of his life back together, or is he destined to lose Griffin and Amphitrite yet again? And what plans does Thetis have for this triad? And gads, how are Bythos and Aphros going to react to the idea of their parents, you know, doing it?
Only time will tell, mwahahahahaha. (And I can see Ceit staring at the screen and screaming, “WHAT? You, I, buh, WHAT?” Don’t worry, sweetie, I already have you down as one of the betas.)