Writing Update 2019 week 1 (belated)

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

Actually we’re at the end of week 2 in 2019 now, but that is for another day (tomorrow!). This week has had lots of interesting bits: a shot of external editing for Mr. Ruin, my own editing of King Ruin, and the International Bookbub.

External editing

I wanted fresh eyes on Mr. Ruin, which I’ve been editing off and on for months (years). All the same plot movements are there, the same characters and concepts, but it took a lot of work to really bring them to the surface – cutting through purple patches, cutting repetition, explaining concepts the first time around, setting scenes better.

So had it worked? I went looking for an editor, though I’ve never had luck with paid editing. I found a guy on fiverr who would charge $40 to beta read the first 3 chapters, and went for it. In 3 days he came back to me with some really useful feedback, ie – the beginning is a little rough, some issues throughout, but generally very refined.

I agreed. In my editing efforts to better set the opening scene in time and place, I’d made the narrative quite choppy, with two paragraphs ‘live’, then a paragraph of tiny flashback to set that scene, and onward like that.

So I changed it. Now it runs straight through. Little things like this in the first few chapters really matter. So, big success! I doubt I’ll get the whole book read through, but maybe… the guy said only $100.

Editing King Ruin

I have edited about a quarter of book 2 so far. It’s good, but suffers from all my usual flaws – now what was a very dense and condensed 5 chapters of 4,000 words each has been aired out to 15 chapters at around 1,500 words.

So much better, way more hooky and breathable. It takes time to do this, but it’s worth it. I’m always learning.

International Bookbub

This was a big one – after spending maybe $100 on Facebook ads in the run-up, across three days (10-12th Jan) I sold 300 99p copies on Amazon (mostly UK), with another 140 on other vendors. 440 total.

That is almost exactly what I predicted/hoped for. 300 amazon, 200 elsewhere. It never ranked so highly in the charts, hitting maybe #350 in amazon uk, but copped a #1 bestseller tag in Metaphysical Fantasy.

Did I make money? Probably I recouped my costs by now. The price is back up, to the lower price of $3.99 (it was $5.99 for a year). Perhaps a little gravy will flow in.


My next release now will be the Mr. Ruin trilogy, aiming for March some time. Then the thrillers, if no agent has bitten by then – just need to write one more to release 3 at once.

Big things could happen for me in 2019. I’m very keen to find out.

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