Writing Update 2019 week 7&8

Mike Grist Facebook Ads, Marketing, Weekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

Somehow I always let these weekly updates slip for a week – I think it’s down to these days having just too much to say! I want to get it all into its own separate post, on separate days, and thus I over-run.

So this update will combo multiple major developments, starting with:


In December I had an International Bookbub for the Saint’s Rise, yah boo who cares right? I sold some 400 at 99c internationally, but because there is no tail in any of these countries, there is no ongoing cashstream or much more than breaking even.

Maybe it leads to some reviews on international sites. Maybe? But anyway, I applied twice since then for a Us Bookbub (the Holy Grail) and this time got it. The Bookbub fantasy list is 1.2 million strong. For a 99-cent novel it costs $500, and they average 1700 copies sold.

That would instantly double the number of sales I’ve achieved in the whole past year for this book! It’s a helluva rain bomb. To help out, I’ll crank up various promo sites and pay-per-click ads in the run-up, to try and relaly make a day of it. Maybe after all the dust settles, it’ll seem more than ever like time to write book 3 in the series – delayed for many years!

I have had a US Bookbub once before, but that was for a free book – books 1-3 in the Last Mayor series. I gave away maybe 30,000 copies, but that was a different time. These days I only care about selling, because selling equates directly to rank, and rank is what means sales in the long tail.

A final point to make here – I think in part I got this Bookbub because of the Facebook ads I’ve been running, which have kept sales figures up. It would make total sense for Bookbub to look at rank and sales stats for any book that gets submitted to them. If a book is already selling some, they’re far more likely to select it than a book that is beyodn 100,000 in the ranking.

Something to remember for the next time I apply for a Bookbub run a week or so of ads in advance.

Editor feedback on thriller 1

I paid $350 to an agent/editor to run a manuscript assessment of my thriller book 1, and they came back with results the other day that were incredibly useful and insightful. My book deals with race issues, and they recommended a sensitivity read, plus some major changes to the endgame. Also deep structural change, and character shifts, and lots of little bits to up the pace.

I can’t argue with any of it. They are bang on the money. This is why a major publisher wouldn’t want to take on this book. Even after I fix these issues they still might not want to take it on, because the issues will still be so fraught.

Pretty much all the issues raised I’d had suspicions about myself, or other readers had raised, but I wasn’t sure they were deal-breakers. The endgame twist seemed impossible to change, but also deeply problematic. Now that the editor pointed these same things out, they are undeniably problems. Immediately I started thinking of ways to sidestep and solve the twist problem another way.

And came up with it. Ultimately, it’ll be better. The twist may be less shocking, but it’ll work, and it’ll have the right message. I’m psyched to dig in and make these changes. first though I gotta get the editor’s take on book 2, then I have to write book 3, then they can all be released.

A famous author replied!

After my last failure at reaching out to a famous author in hopes of getting a blurb, I took another shot at it and maybe have some success in sight. I won’t name any names, but this particular author said they had a ban on reading to blurb, but my book description (so painstakingly labored over!) had sounded good and they were willing to give it a try.

Yes! If nothing else, I hooked with the blurb! I sent a copy and fingers crossed they will read it, and like it, and blurb it!

This author is someone I’ve been reading since I was 18, so 20 years ago. Lots of genres over the years, lots of great books. I rebought an old book from those days, as well as their latest book to get up to speed again. Exciting.

Endless editing on Mr. Ruin rewrites

The Mr. Ruin rewrites (Soul Jacker!) are now all up on pre-order on amazon, and I am still making changes!

This is impossible. I’ve been through them all twice over now, and still keep finding things I have to change. Quite big things. As ever, it is interest over excitement. The trick is, once I’ve tightened up early sections, it only becomes incredibly obvious how slack later sections appear. Like tightening a piece of rope in sections, it becomes apparent which section is not tight.

I don’t know why I wrote with tension and excitement so far from my mind. An hour passes. Four hours pass. A lot of slow pauses happen. People do things idly. There are sections with no chasing, no worry, nothing but absent musing.

Oh my God. These now stick out like a sore thumb. As I read them, I’m wondering why I’m reading them. They’re so dull! If there’s nothing happening, why is it in there?

Tightening these sections up takes ages. They are immeasurably better (I think) once I get done, but taking out the slack is exhausting. I have to go through all three books again doing this. I have a month on pre-order ahead of me for book 1, so it should be fine, but yes. On it!

And now

Here are highlight posts from the last two weeks:

It’s been a lot of narrative tightening, editor feedback and Facebook ads. A lot of money spent! Probably around $1000. Damn. $1500 if you include the Bookbub payment I already made.

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