Wren words, renaming, promo & autumn clean – 2020 Writing Week 42

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

This has been a good week for getting back on the writing horse – averaging around 2,000 words a day, taking the count up to 56,000. That’s about 10,000 for the week, which is great.


A lot of big stuff. Deep backstory that has underpinned the whole series, kind of the ‘mythology’ if you will, coming to the fore. It’s exciting for me. For a long time I’ve known the Apex had an incredible hold over his followers.

I hadn’t broken out how. Now I’m doing that. It’s pretty cool how tech is playing into it. I’m psyched to get this book out there.


I know, I just renamed!! I had titles like Monsters, Reparation, and Ghost War, which I switched to No Mercy, Make Them Pay and False Flag. Now I am switching them again!


Because I feel the new cover, vibe and genre home allows it. I got a comment on an ad from someone saying – “Don’t mention Jack Reacher in your comparisons – it puts off people who don’t like Jack Reacher!”

Touche. It was turning on JR fans – but my series is way darker, subversive and political than Jack Reacher. It’s hurting me to make those comparisons. It’s hurting me to have that JR cover.

Well, the cover has changed, the blurb has changed, and so can the titles. Here they are in pictorial form:

Of course book 5 remains named Firestorm. It looks a bit cheap to have the same image on all covers, but I’m not worried about that right now. If people like book 1, I don’t think the repetition on book 2 is going to put them off.

Book 2 was never called Blue Fairy before. I tried it on the old cover style and it looked kind of silly. Here I feel it looks menacing. It’s a much better fit. It’s the name of the enemy, tagged at the end of book 1. It’s a natural movement over.

Book 4, this was my original title, and the one I liked best. It didn’t fit well on the old cover style. Here I think it looks great.


I just heard a neat FB ad trick about where to send your traffic – David Gaughran says send people to the series page on Amazon, primarily because there are no ads for other books at all on that page.

That’s great. Like a splash page. So I have now done that. I also applied for a Bookbub 99c for book 1 and got rejected, like I have been every time. This could be for 2 main reasons – 1. Because the last (first) time I did a Bookbub for book 1 it was at free, and they don’t feature a book a 2nd time at a higher price. 2. I’m in KU.

Well, I was in KU last time too. I’ve resisted going free again because when I did the first free run, the most negative 2 reviews got dozens of upvotes on that day on both US and UK sites. Clearly vindictive. I still have one of those at the top of the Us reviews. Ugh.

But, whatever. I applied again just now for a freebie. David Gaughran talked about a powerful Freebooksy series page promo which I’ll try out. Book 1 free, book 2 99c, try and get the funnel flowing.

The cover and blurb are dark now. the signaling is accurate. Whatever genre that is, I’m hitting it. To boot – no author comps on the book page anymore. I feel they were more likely to be turning people off than turning them on. If I say Lisbeth Salander, I’ll turn off curious JR readers. If I say Jack Reacher, I’ll turn off anyone looking for something darker.

So nothing. Let them discover for themselves. If they like the blurb, they’ll like the book.

What else?

Not much else going on. Did some ‘spring’ cleaning today to make the dining room feel more like a cofee shop. Basically de-cluttered. This work can continue tomorrow – loads of stuff to take to the dump, it seems. Emptying out 5-year-old stuff from the attic to make room for new old stuff we’re not sure if we want. I mean, just throw it away, right?

I still have all my old diaries, dating back 22 years. I wrote them for maybe 8 years on and off. Made a lot of effort, keepingthem like scrapbooks, filled with old travel stuff, photos, letters. Toss them? I sometimes think about going back and re-reading them, reflect on human nature and such, but I already reflected when I wrote them, so I defer. Seems a little too navel-gazing. Maybe the executors of my future author library will find some use for them 😉

But lots of other stuff can go. For some reason I shipped all my old Business English textbooks over from Japan with me, and they’ve been mildewing nicely in the attic. Absolutely no need for them now. Probably more savings in similar areas.

Lots of old board games and books to take to the charity shop. Su and I are also thinking to cut giving each other Xmas stuff, or at least cut the novelty junk that ends up cluttering the place. I’ve bought her a number of silly books on cats that are fit for a cursory scan then head to the charity shop. I like trimmer, more minimal looking house. Everything in its right place.

Autumn cleaning!!

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