Wren 5 early edits – 2020 Writing Week 46

Mike Grist Weekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

This last week has been consumed with editing Wren 5 Firestorm. In the first half of the week I worked on the final few chapters which I’d blitzed out in a rush. I had been worried they wouldn’t be so hot, would need a lot of reworking, but they were pretty solid.

The latter half of the week I started from the beginning. This is the heavy draft, for the deepest ‘ironing’ out of plot wrinkles.

One thing I’m finding with all these books, I hit tangles around chapter 8. It’s the point where the opening fight is over, and I need to transition into the hunt.

I call it the engine and sometimes the ‘theory’ of the book. It’s the way that Wren figures out where to go next, and what to do, based on some evidence from the opening fight. My explanation/uncovering of this theory tends to balloon and become repetitive on first draft, because in the moment I’m figuring out what it is. I tend to restate the same thing multiple times, from multiple viewpoints.

On redraft I have to cut through the thicket of repeat explanations to say it one time, with clarity. It’s exhausting, but by the end it’ll no longer look complex or confusing. It’ll be clean and easy to understand.

This is the swan looking graceful on the surface, with its feet paddling crazily underwater.


I also decided to buy the alternate cover that was made for me by Damonza and put it on books 4, 5 and 6, at least for now. Ideally I’ll buy some cheaper pre-made covers for books 2, 3 and 6, so every book is unique. There won’t be a super common image, but they’ll all have the same font, and the same black and white image. It should cohere.

Here’s book 4 and 5.

Wren 4
Wren 5


Facebook ad click costs continue to hold at 20c. Since I have them capped at this price, it means they’d not serving as much as I want them to. Instead of getting 300/400 clicks per day total, I’m getting about 100, with hardly any in the UK.

However, conversion remains solid on these few clicks, readthrough to book 2 seems to hold at 30%, which while not amazing is way better than 15% and allows for a profit – even as book 1 is only 99c.

I’ve got the 99c Bookbub coming up on the boxset books 1-3, the free promo on book 1, and Prime Reading at some point. All pretty exciting. Plus, since Facebook US and UK are not close to spending my budget, I loaded a few ads onto Australia and Canada today.

These markets were never profitable before. They probably won’t be now, but it’s good to try every now and then. It’s a new cover, after all. Going to these links also pointed out the unexpected – Saint Justice was #1 in Men’s Adventure Fiction on Amazon Canada this morning, which was pretty cool considering I’d done no Canada promo then.

By next week

By next week I’d love to have the whole of Firestorm edited and ready for ARC readers, but I’m not sure that’ll happen. It may take another two weeks – there’s a chapter or two yet to write, and more theory sections to smooth out, and they alwasy take the longest.

Hopefully I’ll be at the editing halfway mark by this time next week.

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