Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.

 

 

 

Rebranding as if I know what I’m doing

I write in a few series. I like the novels and have fun in the writing of them. I’ve attempted a few branding things, but like many aspects of this indie publishing business, I’ve got a lot to learn. A whole lot.

I got some feedback on my covers recently so my new publications are gaining a different look. I then had a go at updating some of my older covers. Specifically for my deep space pulp adventures in the Captain Arlon Stoddard series. There are just three books so far, with a fourth possibly out later this year.

I like the new look. Smaller author name, same layout, even a strip with the series name at the top. I’m sure that any professional (or even some amateur) designers could find a dozen or a hundred (or more) things I’ve done wrong.

I’ve also updated the blurbs. Aiming for more active language and hype. Funny thing, looking back on those now, I can already see some things that need to be changed. Ah well, I’m getting there.

Anyway, the series of three is out now as ebooks and in print. The latest one, Ship Tracers is hefty by my standards – most of my novels come in around 60,000 words, and this one’s 76,000.

cas screen grab

Another thing on the branding is pricing. I’ve pushed these to $3.99 for the ebooks, and kept the print book prices as low as I can manage (Asteroid Jumpers is $14.99, Ice Hunters is $10.99 [yes, it’s shorter than 60,000 words] and Ship Tracers is $18.99).

The fourth book in the series is Core Runners, and that’s about as kooky as the series gets. So far. I’m enjoying the characters, so chances are there will be a fifth, and maybe even a sixth book. Maybe even more. Next year and on.

Right now I need to go back and look at redoing the covers for my Karnish River Navigations series. When I did those, I thought they looked great. Now, not so much. That will keep me busy for the next little while.

(Cover images copyright by Luca Oleastri (Asteroid Jumpers), Algol (Ice Hunters) and Victor Habbick (Ship Tracers)

Series on Amazon – here

Series at Smashwords – here

And available at your favorite ebook retailer.

Three months down, three novels complete.

Ice Huntersglass baysmDeuterium shine small

I’ve done it! I’ve completed the challenge. Three months. Three novels.

I started in on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge on May 18th. Under the terms of the challenge, I could write up to half of a novel in the previous month (as in, write up to half of June’s novel in May, half of July’s novel in June, half of August’s novel in July). I finished up Deuterium Shine on August 22nd. Three months and four days.

Two science fiction. One thriller. Obvious from the covers, I hope.

Two from series. One stand alone (Deuterium Shine, though that might need a sequel).

Short novels, I’ll admit (41,000, 45,000 and 50,000 words respectively). Most of my previous novels run to about 60,000 words. One or two have crept up over 80,000 words. Still, it’s 136,000 words for the three months, only around 1400 words per day (though there were a few side tracks in the novels I cut out, so still closer to my usual 1500 words per day actual writing).

Now to get them tidied, copyedited and out into the world.

Writing these has been the: Best. Fun. Ever. Right now I’m working on a few short stories, but I’m thinking I’m going to continue with writing a novel a month for the rest of the year. Might as well, since it’s, you know, so much fun. Who knows, I might complete a few more novels by year’s end.

Onward.

Images by; Algol (Ice Hunters), Claudio Arnese (Glass Bay), Savagerus (Deuterium Shine), all Dreamstime.

Novel number 1 completed

Ice Hunters.jpgAs I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m taking on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge to complete three novels in three months. I’ve finished the first novel. 41,000 words.

A shorter novel for me (usually I hit around 60,000 words), but it’s still kept me busy. (Hence fewer posts).

The rules allow me to bank up to half the novel from the previous month (I wrote 12,500 words in May, so that was a good start). I’m now working on the second novel, banking words for July. It’s still fun, even if a bit intimidating.

The first novel turned out to be hard science fiction, a series book in the same universe as my book Asteroid Jumpers from earlier this year. The image is a draft cover for the new book – illustration by Algol | Dreamstime. I plan to have the book out later this year.

The second novel is looking like a thriller, in my Emily Jade series.