So it’s Tuesday, the traditional day for new releases in the publishing industry. Once upon a time, my plan was to release Spring today, the next installment of Seasons of Truth. But a funny thing happened over the last month, that made me take a hard look at the book and how to deal with it going forward.
Nobody read it. And without a groundswell of support, no one ever will.
I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to make a lot of money on the first installment of a serial novel, at least not right away. But I at least expected word to get out about what I was doing, and trade a bit on the existing readers for my other books. There was a grand plan to release the book in stages this Summer, creating a backlist of novellas leading up to the release of my full length novel (some might even say “jam-packed”) Homefront in the fall.
That plan now lies in pieces on the ground.
Now before people get concerned, there’s nothing wrong with Spring. In fact, the next installment turned out even better than I’d hoped. But it stands to reason that if people weren’t/aren’t buying the first part of the book, the second will encounter a similar reception. And I care about the work too much to see it wither on the vine.
You see, the publishing business is tougher than it looks on the outside, and everything an independent author does costs money. And when you don’t have any coming in, the things you need to do get even harder. Promotions take time and effort and sweat of the brow, and a lot of my efforts right now are devoted to securing another job and finding a new place to live.
One of the few pieces of data I do have on the book are the number of folks who’ve downloaded a free sample from Smashwords. This is an encouraging number, except for the part where it hasn’t translated into sales. A 20% extract of the first 25% of a book is barely a few chapters, and the downloads aren’t that well formatted. Over on the Amazon side of the fence, the free preview is set up in such a fashion that it cuts off just into the second chapter, almost in the middle of a thought.
That’s just not enough for me. So instead of spending money I don’t have, I’ve decided to advance my marketing plan by a few months. Starting today, I’m going to save everyone some cash and give Seasons of Truth: Winter away for free.
Technically, I’m selling it for $0.00, but the end result is the same. It’s what I wanted to do to drive series participation when I released Fall, so starting the ball rolling now isn’t too much of a hardship. Because I want people to read this book, and become engrossed in the lives of Carlos and his friends. I want you to enter the world of my imagination and stick there like a bug in a web, hoping with the rest of us for a red-headed monk to come and save the day.
Seasons of Truth will continue, have no fear. But the month of July will determine in what format. If enough people read and review Winter that continuing the serial format makes sense, Spring will release in the first part of August. If the numbers (and comments, let’s not forget online reviews) come in more like those of a full novel release, I’ll rework my cover concepts and move forward with the entire text.
Either way, more Carlos for everyone in 2014.
I’ve uploaded a reformatted .EPUB file to Smashwords, and sent a new .MOBI Amazon’s way last night. The price change should propagate pretty much everywhere over the next few days, but I have both files ready to go if folks would like to get a jumpstart on the reading and review phase of the master plan. Our writerly village is a strong one, and I’m sure we can build a better book this summer.
In fact, I’m counting on it.
So let’s get this party started!