Wren sales boost & Bookbub – 2020 Writing Week 18

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

Week in summary:

  • I hit the promised goal of 55,000 words on Wren book 4 by Friday. Great!
  • I got a Bookbub on The Last Mayor box set. Great!
  • I actually made some decent sales of Saint Justice. Great!

There was a nice chunk of good news this week. The biggest would probably appear to be the Bookbub – but I’m feeling the strong day of sales for Saint Justice more closely. More on each of these:


Bookbub are the #1 email newsletter promotion tool for authors. They have millions of readers on their newsletter lists, divided by genre. The last Bookbub I had (I’ve had 3 in total over the years) was on Saint Justice, discounted to free, and it was not great.

It lumbered me with some awful upvotes on negative reviews. It did not lead to great readthrough across the series. It barely made its substantial cost (around $800) back – if at all.

So I turned away from Bookbub and other similar promo sites. But, as with swings and roundabouts, I’ve come back around to it now. I figured – why not apply with both the zombie books and Wren.

Well – they took the zombie book within hours. Snapped my hand off, really. The 9-book box set will be reduced for 7 days from 27 May to 99c. It was 99c recently anyway, so this is no big thing. Except Bookbub will shift a large amount in a day.

I hate to predict numbers. I’d hope over 500. It should lead to loads of page reads.

That’s the cool thing. This box set is in Kindle Unlimited – Amazon’s reader subscription service. I get paid per pages read, and it’s a long series. Additionally in KU I get to run Countdown deals – I can reduce the price to 99c for a limited period, and Amazon will still pay me 70% royalty plus potentially push the book themselves a little during that time.

Oh, but quandary! The Bookbub deal was for 5 Amazon regions – US, UK, India, Canada and Australia. But I can’t run a Countdown in those regions. So I’d be left to reduce the price to 99c myself, take the 30% royalty, and get no extra promo push.

Except. I asked Bookbub if they would limit my deal to only US and UK – the only Countdown-enabled markets. This will reduce my total sales – none in the other markets, as no promo there – but should increase my punching power and profits in the US and UK, the 2 markets that matter the most.

This could be big. It’s exciting. So why am I more excited about a minor day of good sales for Wren?

Wren good sales day

Yesterday I sold 12 copies of Saint Justice, 5 of Monsters and 3 of Reparation. A few audiobooks were mixed in there. This is probably a record sales day – and one of the few days that this book has actually made a profit since release.

Wow, right? So what happened? Did I do some big promo push?

No. Nothing special. The same $25 worth of ads I’ve been doing every day for ages. What I did change though was the blurb. I way simplified. I added the new tagline ‘Justice will be done’. I made it punchy. Here:

A terror conspiracy like nothing in history. A man with nothing to lose. Justice will be done.

When rogue DELTA operator Christopher Wren uncovers a vast warehouse crammed with human cages in the deserts of Utah, the payback will be swift and righteous.

But Wren soon learns there’s more than caged humans at stake – there’s a terror conspiracy threatening to destroy the very idea of the United States.

And Wren will never let that happen. Not on his watch.

It has less interest, less intrigue, and more excitement. It promises ass-kicking. With one day’s worth of reporting, it is doing better than any previous blurb. Today is also looking good.

So why am I so excited about this?

Well – I love that the zombie series makes money. But it’s in the past, and it’s future profits are limited. The audience is smaller. The story is done.

Christopher Wren on the other hand has such huge potential. I’m still writing more books in the series, for one. It could go on forever, theoretically. The thriller audience is big. I also have audiobooks for all the Wren books – they can lead to big profits, if I can get people hooked on them.

One day in the black, finally, is pretty exciting. It’s what I want to see. People reading book 1 and 2 and 3 – they’re reading through. That is excellent. Let’s get some more.

55,000 words done

On the question of getting some more, I’m two thirds done with book 4. It was going to be called Release Christopher Wren, but now I’m thinking it’ll be called GHOSTS. One big reason for this is kind of silly – Release Christopher Wren was too long to fit neatly on the book cover.


Sort of really. But also – each book to date takes its title from the names of he villains. Well, not book 2 exactly – though MONSTERS is what Wren and the others call them. The BLUE FAIRY or PINOCCHIOS might even be better. Anyway, the rule holds.

So call book 4 GHOSTS means that’s the name of the villains – at least how Wren et al refer to them.

I just hit a big flip at 55,000 words as well. I thought the story was going one way, and now it looks to be going another. It should be better. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do it, but I’ll probably manage, and it’ll be cool. Unexpected.

The story is going big.

Movie review

This’ll be a fly-by movie reviee – I finally saw Star Wars 9, and really disliked it. Though dislike is too strong a word. My feeling was an aggressive ‘blah’.

What is the point of that movie, I guess I was thinking. What is the point of any of this? It doesn’t matter how badass the baddies are, how many millions of death star-type ships they have, there is always a Rebel Alliance, always hidden on a whole plaent, with tons of ships and fighters and resources and…

Haven’t we seen this movie before? Oh yes, we have. We’ve seen this EXACT same bad guy before. Palpatine was a major, major misstep. I really don’t care about this joke old guy. He already got beat once. He’s a retread. Plus he doesn’t even do anything all that villainous in this movie. We’re just supposed to remember he’s evil.


It all felt empty to me. Contrast that with LAST JEDI, which I rather liked. Not wholly, but it was interesting. Luke’s character development was fascinating. Nothing was so simple as he thought. This was made even more interesting by Kylo Ren’s descent into darkness.

Of course – after Snoke died, Ren is the big bad. We have to come to grips with that. He is evil like we’ve never seen before.

Except, not. He is emo evil. there is no clear reason why he’s doing any of his evil stuff, except he really thinks his granddad had a cool hat. He wants a hat like that so much he gets his old hat remade. I mean, what? Who cares? This is not cosmic. This is just nothing. It doesn’t matter. What’s at stake, other than the usual BS?

It should be his soul. Oh, but it is! He’s redeemed at the end!! Leia dies to redeem him with love!

What? Nonsense. Like Anakin, this guy is too far gone. He needs to be killed, by Rey, with prejudice, because he’s insane. Not play-acting insane, but actually insane.

And Rey? Don’t even get me started on her being a damn princess. I hate that. So much better that she be a ‘common person’.

So, blah. Glad it’s over. I won’t be tuning into anything Star Wars for a good long while, I expect. They don’t know what they’re doing.

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