Wren 6 @ 71k – Writing Wk20 2021

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

I’d hoped I might close out the whole of Wren book 6, Enemy of the People, this week, but in the last couple of days progress slowed a little as I chewed the great wodge of words I’d produced in the last week. I also spent some time fooling around with ads.

Wren 6 progress

Right now we’re at 71,000 words. Everything but the finale. This time last week I was at 57,000, so that’s 14,000 words this week. 2,000 a day, not bad. Is it all great? It may get trimmed on the edit, but I think it’s all solid. Action, revelations, clues, with more to come.

Now the finale!! It’s going to be epic. I will buckle down next week and get it done.

On a side note, this pace is pretty great. 15,000 per week, if I kept that up, I’d be producing a book every 2 months. Give me a month to edit, that’s 4 books a year. Totally do-able. I should do it!


The big change I made this week was to try and introduce some old images and get them pinging over to the books. the idea is to get cheaper clicks because the image is fresh. I have all these prior covers, which always did pretty well on Facebook. They just didn’t convert books.

So I made a bunch of ads, and started serving the red/black face cover as an ad. It served really well, was getting me much cheaper clicks, but almost immediately sales flat-lined. I tried it in multiple markets, to different audiences, and the result was the same.

People clicked that image happily. When they got to the book page, they just ran. Maybe the mismatch between the ad image and the book image on the sales page put them off. Maybe they’d already bought a Wren book but didn’t realize it because the image was so different. Maybe the face image set them up for a different kind of book, and the sales page didn’t deliver.

It’s a mystery. But it’s undeniable. So from now on I will aim to only use the book covers in my ads. Least cognitive dissonance between the ad and the sales page. Just means I need more book covers in the series, to use as more ads 😉

ALSO – I thought why not try to sell some zombie books, using this new knowledge? I’d tried a few times recently, but failed to shift copies. This time I tried again, pointing at the series page and the box set both. For the series page, I dropped the price of the first 4 books to 99c each, so the whole series can be one-clicked for less than $20.

Straight away, the series page started performing better. I guess it’s just more focused. There are way fewer ads for other books on that page. No other box sets priced at 99c, that make my $9.99 look terrible. And people are clicking the one-click buy all button. I get maybe $12 every time they do that, and way more visibility for all the titles in Amazon rank.

So I move all budget to the series page. Also I turned off the UK ads, which were barely paying for themselves. Would be great to scale this series back up and get it selling again. No reason why it shouldn’t – it’s very highly rated.

Next up, Facebook ads for Su’s book!

By next week

By next week this time Wren 6 should be finished. 80k or thereabouts. Ready for editing. Wow.

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