Wren 5 middle edits – 2020 Writing Week 47

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

This time last week I dreamed of finishing up Wren book 5 edits, but anticipated getting halfway, and that is exactly what has happened.

I’m currently sitting at chapter 27 in the edits – I probably could have done more but for whatever reason procrastinated instead. I think I’ll be done in a week.

It’s good, is my thinking so far. The engine looks tuned, and once that’s rolling in the background Wren gets to have some real fun.


Today I have two decent-sized promotional pushes going on. The boxset of books 1-3, which has never had any kind of push before, is currently featured in a Bookbub boxset 99c deal. Cheap for 3 books!

Of course that is true. It’s one of those things, though. If I can hook people, they’ll read 4, and 5 which is almost out, and that’s pretty great. I’ve seen no drop off in people reading the zombie books either, which has been amazing.

No ads spent on Amo et al, but they continue to earn and partly sponsor Wren. In fact, the box set on Amazon US just ticked over to a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, which allows for the 4.5 star image to show at the top.

That’s wonderful. Not only because reviews have been ticking up for some time, which means people are really enjoying it, but also because that 4.5 star image makes the books look much more competitive against competitors.

I need that now for Wren. He is holding steady at 4.1 on the US store though. I’ve only had a single new review in since I changed the covers several weeks back – I’m hopeful those new covers bring in the ‘right’ readers and that results in higher ratings.

The other promo I’m doing today is book 1 is free and getting pushed on some medium-level newsletter lists. I hope this push could lead to more reviews that’ll pull the average up.

Stats so far?

200 boxsets sold at 99p. That’s $60 back. The promotion cost $242, but the day’s not over yet, and that doesn’t include Kindle page reads, so I’d expect to at least break evenn.

170 copies of book 1 given away for free. That should climb daily for the next few days. I’ll keep an eye on it, but not all that closely. I don’t expect miracles from this, just hope for a nice boost in the long climb up the mountain.

By this time next week?

By this time next week I should have finished Wren 5 edits and be in the final polish, ready to send to ARC readers. I swear, these books take longer with each one I write. Twists and engines and human psychology take time to figure out.

It has felt revelatory at times, writing them. I learn a lot.

In other news

I’ve been gaming a fair bit recently. It’s funny, I bought a Playstation years ago along with Witcher 3, The Last of Us and a couple other games, then hardly ever played. No special reason.

Now it’s an every evening thing. Maybe there aren’t enough TV and movies to draw my attention – which is odd to say, because there’s so much, but not much of it grabs me.

I like to feel when I’m watching something that I’m learning something, whether it’s directly learning from a documentary or indirectly about story structure or possible world scenarios.

Not many shows give me that kind of buzz these days. Probably that’s because I’m 40 – I know what I like, I know what feels new to me, and there’s less of it. That’s fine.

Games are filling the hole. The storytelling in The Last of Us 1 and 2 was excellent. The fighting is fun and challenging. Now I’m onto the Witcher 3, and really enjoying the vibe.

I used to play World of Warcraft a modest amount. I got to level 40 or something, until the main plot ran out. Witcher is scratching that same itch, of course with much improved graphics on 15 years ago. Lots of fun little stories.

What am I learning? Hmm, not sure. The central story doesn’t grab me at all, but the mini ones are fun. It may also just be fun to kill monsters and romp around the countryside and find lots of free loot. The world is beautiful. The lore of the world is deep and immersive. It does feel a fair bit like adventuring. Perhaps a core draw of an RPG like this is the leveling up.

This happened only slightly in The Last of Us. I played for the story. In Witcher I am playing for the mini stories, with each quest episode being it’s own fun and funny mini-episode, strung along a necklace of planning to level Geralt up.

That’s fun.

After I play games for maybe an hour or so, I read a book until bed. Currently I’m on The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft, which is wildly inventive and surprising. I can learn something here, for sure.

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