Christopher Wren boxset books 1-3 – 2020 Writing Week 14

Mike Grist Weekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

I’ve had the first 3 books in the Chris Wren series out for about 9 months now, but I’ve been holding back on launching it as a boxset because I wanted book 4 to be available before I did that.

But, um, why?

It’s an odd one, to be so worried about losing the follow on sales that I don’t get potential sales right now. To cut this Gordian knot, I looked at what Mark Dawson does and found an answer I kind of already knew.

Book 4 not written yet? Make it a pre-order. Not sure you can fit the timescale? Set it for a date far out, then you can bring it forward as required.

Pretty cool, right? It just means making the cover and blurb for book 4. Well, I work on the blurb first thing now, before I even write the book – it absolutely helps me figure out what the story is gonna be. If the story can’t express well as a blurb, well, then the story needs to shift.

I made the cover, as documented last week, put it up, sorted all my links, set the pre-order, then I was clear for the boxset!!

Next up was making the boxset cover. This was kind of fun to do. I thought about using a fiverr service for just $5, as I’ve done before, but I liked the idea of having different color spines for each book in the set, so I just went ahead and did it myself. Ta-da!

I love it – bright, eye-catching, fun. There’s a page on my site for it now. It costs $8.99, which is $2 less than if you buy all 3 books separately.

Next step will be to make the audio box set, but for that one I will wait a little – until I’m getting book 4 made in audio. Then there really is something to go onto – and I don’t want to steal the current audiobooks’ thunder, as they’ve just come out.

In other news

We had our first meeting of the London Indie Authors group via Zoom. I was hosting, but my computer chose that exact moment to crash, so I had to dial in on my phone and cede control to someone else. Then my Internet got spotty. Still, it was a good session. I talked a lot about my ads.

I’ve been spending more on ads this week, almost entirely on Facebook. I did a couple of things:

  • Expand spend to Canada and Australia – to pretty powerful effect. Australia in particular seems hungry for thrillers.
  • Make new lookalike audiences and narrow them only by Kindle. I tried this before when I was living off KU reads, and it was a big fail. Now it seems to be working well.
  • I changed audiences because I noticed my frequency creeping quite high on some audiences. The zombie + kindle audiences in both US and UK are kind of tapped out for me – I’ve reached 80,000 people to each of them and now I’ve shown the book to all those people an average of 3 or 4 times. That’s quite a lot. Correspondingly, they click through less. It’s not a big surprise.
  • I also am making dynamic ads. I’ve got lots of images, lots of blurb texts, and now FB can figure out which is best. It also has the benefit of pushing through high frequencies, when they come back around. The same audience will constantly see a different ad.

Broadly results are profitable. Wren is almost breaking even in the US and UK, and making money in Au and Ca. The zombie set does well everywhere, with a surprising number of full price sales. At some point I may take it wide and advertise to those audiences – a whole new batch of people who’ve never had a chance to read it.

Right now though it’s doing well in KU. I’m not ranking high, but money matters more.

Fresh words

With all this mad marketing going on, and all the editing before that, I haven’t written fresh words for ages, so it’s been really nice to settle down to a bit of writing.

Today I got 3,000 words on Wren book 4, after 2,000 yesterday. It’s pretty silly right now, in what feels a petty glorious way. I’m seeing reviews on these books that they’re not quite realistic, but I am right now cool with that.

The most fun action movies really strain credibility. People love Mission Impossible and John Wick and such, and those movies really push things to the max. Wren does similarly. He’s doing some crazy thigs with vehicles this time around.

WIP wordcount – 23,000 words, and speeding up. I can see a lot of what’s coming, probably up to the midpoint. I’ve already got the end. Just the final act really to break, and it’ll come when I get there, as these things tend to do.

If you build it, he will come.

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