The Lies breakthrough & Wren comments – Writing Update 2019 Week 50

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The Lies – For 2 weeks I’ve been struggling with my zombie book 8, The Lies – trying to figure out how to cut it so it makes sense, goes faster and captures what I wanted to do originally. Challenges standing in the way are the usuals, but in complex ways – repetition of past material, proliferation of deep tech explanations – plus something less problematic in previous books: low-stakes but high energy conflict. The central story is Amo learning who he needs to kill, setting up book 9 and the climax. There’s a lot of backstory, told live in …

Wren Bookbub, audiobooks and too much gore – Writing Update 2019 Week 47, 48, 49

MJG Weekly Writing Update, Writing 1 Comment

On Thurs Nov 28 (Thanksgiving) I had the Bookbub for book one of the Chris Wren thriller series – Saint Justice. It was free in all markets, exclusive to KU. I never thought I’d get the BB without going wide, and was in fact planning on a wide run early in 2020, but applied while exclusive anyway on a whim. Well, they took it and ran it and now we have results – 24,000 free given away on the 28th, another 4,000 on the 29th, another 1,000 on the 30th. It held #1 position in Amazon free stores in UK, …

Edits on The Lash & lessons for Wren – Writing Update 2019 Week 46

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This week has been consumed by editing The Lash, my Last Mayor zombie book 9. There have been some real ups and downs, crises of confidence, which I didn’t get when editing the earlier books in the series. This one took one major unusual step – flipping Amo from the good guy to the bad guy – and addressing that was a challenge. Here’s what I did with them all: Cerulean dreams Naturally there were some interwoven, consistent Cerulean dreams throughout the novel, all in Amo’s POV. It happened in the Yangtze Darkness – some complex stuff about Amo getting …

Bookbub for Wren, The Lash edits & stellar email – Writing Update 2019 Week 45

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Lots of writerly action this week – with income contuining to hold at around $160 a day, 50% ACOS at around $80 a day on FB, AMS and BB ads. I have since squashed the BB ads (ineffective), trimmed the sails of the AMS ads (too expensive), and cut the Anna-image FB ads (they got very many cheap clicks due to the slight sexiness but very few sales). Indie Authors London I also had the Indie Authors London group Meetup which I run – we had some 14 people attend – including a big guy who looked like Idris Elba …

Brutality in my books, Massive Edits & Confirmatory Reviews – Writing Update 2019 Week 44

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It looks like I had a lot to say last week, as I wrote two extra blogs about the following topics: Massive edits to Last Mayor book 6 Confirmatory reviews approving my Last Mayor box set progress to date The upshot of both is that I finished editing book 6, The Laws, and moved on to Book 7, The Lash, where I faced the old challenges – simplifying complex technobabble, reducing repetition, speeding up action scenes – as well as a new one – losing sympathy for the main character when he goes too dark. I was aware when I …

Confirmatory reviews – Last Mayor is on the right track!

MJG Last Mayor, Writing 2 Comments

A month ago I received this review of the Last Mayor box set books 1-9 on Amazon US: Started off like a snowball down a mountain. By book 4 it slowed to a pebble rolling down a rocky slope. Well defined characters, interesting premise but some points go against all common sense. But still a good read. But cant bring my self to give a five. Oddly, I found this to be incredibly reassuring. This person had read an earlier version, where I’d edited books 1-3 but hadn’t yet touched books 4-6. So – what I’d done was working! The …

Massive edits to the Last Mayor 6: The Laws

MJG Last Mayor, Writing, Zombie Ocean 2 Comments

In the last couple of weeks I have been editing The Laws, Last Mayor book 6, and am almost at the final word count. It started off at 107,000 words. That’s a decent length book, bigger than an ‘average’ novel length of 80,000. It has great reviews on all vendors, basically a solid five stars. It may even be crazy to edit it at all – since something about it is working. And yet… I have now cut it down to 55,000 words. That’s basically chopping it in half. Here’s what I cut, and why: 13,000 words of Drake’s backstory. …

Adding Bookbub ads – Writing Update 2019 Week 43

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The stellar performance of my Last Mayor box set books 1-9 continues unabated. This remains something I am surprised by, don’t fully understand, and have no idea how long it will go on for – therefore I am enjoying it very much while it lasts! It is selling some 70 copies a day, with around 20,000 page reads. That’s around $100 gross a day. Of course I am paying around 40% for the privilege. On days when AMS spends my ad budget it does better. Likewise with FB ads – though somehow the FB ads have been cutting themselves out …

Sell the sizzle not the steak in book blurbs – Writing Update 2019 Week 42

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When I launched the Soul Jacker box set last week, I also took a hard look at the blurb I was using for Soul Jacker book 1. This blurb was only a few months old. It’s a book I’ve re-blurbed multiple times. But somehow, this time around I could see how little of the ‘sizzle’ was coming through. It was all steak. Descriptive. Interesting. Not exciting. David Gluckman Case Study Maybe it was doing a mentoring session with David Gluckman, inventor of Bailey’s Irish Cream, a few weeks back that helped me see this. In advance of our session I …

The astounding binge power of book box sets – Writing Update 2019 Week 41

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Some hard talk to start – and one possible reason I stopped the Weekly Writing Updates 24 weeks (half a year!) ago: My big Soul Jacker relaunch failed. No point beating around the bush. It hurt at the time – like any setback. I’d spent a lot of time rewriting this trilogy which I first wrote in 2014/15 – paid for developmental editing, got new covers, labored for the 5th year on the blurb. I got amazing testimonials from top authors in the game (Michael Marshall Smith!, Pat Mills!) built a hell of a promo stack around a Bookbub New …