1000 reviews, Prime & Wren 6 first lock – Writing Wk24 2021

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

The big news today, as of 30 minutes ago, is I put the first lock on Wren book 6, Enemy of the People. This week I hit 1000 reviews on a single book on Amazon for the first time in my author career. I also have Saint Justice in Prime Reading in both the UK and US stores at the same time, which could offer unprecedented visibility!

First lock

I just finished the ironing draft of Wren 6, converted it to epub, pdf and mobi, and fired it off to my beta readers. That’s 40 people with only a week’s notice – so here’s hoping they will have time to read it and report back before the second lock goes on June 25, and I can make no further changes in avdance of the pre-order delivery.

Currently there are 427 copies on pre-order. A number 3x bigger than any pre-order I’ve run before. It’s pretty amazing. Here’s to 10x-ing that for book 7!!

I feel weird right now, with the lock on. I’ve had this deadline hanging over me for months, been thinking about it pretty constantly one way or another, so to have it done? Out there for it’s first audience reception? It’s wilder than previous launches, because I’ve never had this many people waiting for a release before.

But for now, my role goes kind of quiet. At some point I start writing book 7 and the wheel turns around. For now I’ll just chill, though, and wait for beta readers to share their thoughts. Hopefully there are no typos, but if there are, hopefully they catch them all!

1000 reviews for Saint Justice

This is a pretty big deal. On one level it means nothing, but on another it’s a kind of proof of popularity. The book has sold quite a lot, and holds a 4.1 star rating on Amazon Us, 3.9 in the UK. Why the disparity? Don’t know. 4.1 is great, though.

Here’s what that looks like in the US:

And in the UK:

It’s really excellent. I checked these reviews way too often in recent days, waiting for the numbers to tick over. Now here we are 🙂

Prime Reading

Prime Reading is a program where anyone in Prime can read books for free. Saint Justice is enrolled for the next 3 months in both the US and UK. Any copies that go through Prime, I don’t get paid for, but they do raise my rank, and hopefully those readers will roll through to the sequels.

My rank is pretty high in both stores right now. Around 1500 in US and around 300 in the UK. It’s been holding there for a few months now. It’s be great to get higher, and maybe Prime will give it a boost to get there.

Beta reader for W1

I had a few reviews recently about Saint Justice, where people were saying it was unbelievable, as well as difficult to follow. Now, I didn’t know what they were talking about, so I hired a couple of beta-readers off fiverr to do a readthrough and tell me what they meant.

The first one came back in a few days, and said he found no issues with ease to read, but had a couple of comments on believability:

  • Wren managing 300 people in the Foundation on his own was a crazy notion. OK. This is a really easy one to fix. When I first wrote it I put 100. I bumped that to 300 to make it sound more impressive, but yeah, maybe that’s a lot for one guy with no management infrastructure to manage. So now it’s 300 🙂
  • There’s an awful lot of people breathing black smoke at the end of the book. Fair point. I pumped it up here, but perhaps realistically, you can’t breathe black smoke at all. If that’s all there is, you’re dead in seconds I guess. This is another easy fix – I just change the smoke from black to gray. Reduce the fire intensity a little, and only amp it up right at the end. Should help.

I have another beta reader reading it too. We’ll see if they come up with anything else.

By this time next week

I don’t have any hard work to do by next week, other than launch the book, but that’s easy really. Make changes as beta reader reports come in. Prep a mailing list announcement for the launch. Maybe make a FB ad to engaged fans.

I also want to explore if I have a non-fic book in me on writing a book to genre. I’ll try to lay the learnings down in the simplest format possible. when I’ve done this before, I just tend to ramble and go on and on. Better to make it a short book with concrete actions. So maybe some progress on this.

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