It’s that time again. With slightly less than two months left before the release of Silenced, I’m gathering up a list of people who are willing to read and review.
It’s always been a bit difficult to find people who will commit to jumping into the current book of a series when it’s already well on its way to completion. Though the last two books that were released were technically able to be read as stand alones, it’s always been my opinion that the best experience comes from reading the series in order, from start to finish. With this release, I’m requiring that those that receive an ARC do just that.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that the first book was released with a whimper. No build up, no marketing whatsoever until it had already gone live. And the promotion that I got once it was already for sale was minimal at best, though I did pay for advertising. Books two through four were handled by another promotional company, and the results were slightly better. But after a harrowing roll out for Changed which cost me hundreds of dollars and left me in tears, seriously considering deleting a manuscript that most of my readers ended up loving, I knew I could do better.
My answer? Like it is with most everything on this crazy self-publishing journey, I’m doing it all my own damn self. I’m not paying a tour company this time. I have done some advertising, shelling out a minimal amount to promote the special preorder price for Silenced during a group Facebook event. I’ve done my own giveaway. I’ve guest hosted a few takeover slots. And yes, I have directly contacted bloggers – some old standbys who it was really a formality to ask them – as well as some new faces that I’m excited about teaming up with. Once I have the paperback version ready, I’ll also do a Goodreads giveaway too.
The fact of the matter is that by driving my own train, I’m in total control. And as such, I’ve seen marked improvement over the results that I got when I let someone else take the wheel. Right now, I’m sitting on over twice as many Amazon preorders of Silenced (with nearly two months to go before release) than I had of Changed total. And the numbers at the other retailers are just as strong.
No, I’m nowhere near the point of ever reaching a bestseller list, but it’s convincing enough data to wonder why I didn’t decide to do this my own way ages ago.
Which leads to this. I want you – yes, you – to read and review Silenced. Haven’t started the series yet? No problem. There’s plenty of time to catch up and read the new book before February. I’ll even send them direct to your Kindle email address one at a time. All you have to do is promise to read the first four books in order from beginning to end, answer one trivia question per novel to confirm that you did, and you’re golden. All ready to get your ARC and post an honest review to Amazon and Goodreads.
Ready to sign up? Click the link below for more details and to get started.
Tonight I finished writing Silenced .
As with any of my previous four books, coming to the end of a novel is always a double-edged sword. A feeling of accomplishment mixed with a bit of sadness that this story is over and these characters that have grown throughout the course of the book are sailing off into the sunset one last time.
As most of you know, this is the fifth and final installment of The Intoxicated Books, so for me this is a big deal. Most of these characters have been a figment of my imagination for about twenty years, and however silly it sounds, I’ll kind of miss writing for them.
My goal was to finish writing the book sometime in November. I’d say that wrapping things up on the first of the month pretty much shattered that goal. I wanted to have a finished – but not perfect – manuscript when I uploaded the preorder to Amazon. And to be honest with you, I wouldn’t be embarrassed if this version I just finished went live. I’m a pretty clean writer, and my final copy never looks that different from the rough draft.
Admittedly, I have an unorthodox approach to publishing. I’m of the rare breed that likes to finish very early, read it once, then set it aside for a while and start writing on the next book. About a month after the first read through, I go back and read again to make any other changes. My sideloaded mobi copy gets highlighted and notated, then I go back to the Word doc and change the real thing.
I usually have ARCs ready well in advance. Not that many people care about them, but I do have four or so people in my back pocket who will read and review for me. Once that’s done, I focus my attention on formatting the print copy and of course, writing the next book.
This time will be different. I’ve already decided that I won’t be doing a massive release day rollout, or a preorder event, or a blog tour, because I don’t really feel like I’ve benefited from them in the past. In fact, my paid marketing tactics for book four left me so upset that I seriously thought about erasing the entire novel (which I loved), cancelling the preorder and never releasing it to the public. With that horrible aftertaste in my mouth, I can’t treat any future books in that same manner. I have a couple marketing ideas that I’m tossing around, but nothing set in stone. Whatever I do end up doing will be controlled entirely by me and distributed by me, because I’ve learned it’s a good idea to trust only myself.
And in addition to me embarking on writing completely different characters, I’m doing something else unprecedented shortly.
I’m taking a break from writing romance.
Chasing Echo is by no means a romance book, but it’s definitely a love story of sorts. However, I’m categorizing it as Contemporary Literary Fiction. I can’t even realistically call it Women’s Fiction, because it will be told entirely from the viewpoint of the male character.
Because I think ahead, the next two books on my plate after that will more than likely be Women’s Fiction, and that will mean that I won’t be writing anything of the Romance genre for at least a good two years. Maybe longer, because I have some pretty decent concepts for Chick Lit tales as well.
Why? I’m tired of sex.
I’ve always been an outsider in the Romance genre, because my series has been notoriously difficult to categorize. People looking for an alpha male, mommy porn novel are bored to death. People looking for a clean romance are turned off by my foul language. And The Intoxicated Books are probably the closest things to romance that I’ll ever write. I do have a very loose concept for a new romance series, but that will be very, very far off, if in fact it develops into something more.
I’m having so much fun coming up with ideas for standalones that the thought of being bogged down in another series doesn’t appeal to me at this point. I’ve blown my series wad with these characters, and I can’t imagine anyone else taking their place.
Like I’ve said many times before, I write for selfish reasons. I don’t write what sells, but some people end up buying it anyway. I write stories that I want to read, tales that I don’t feel have been done before in the way that I can do them. And true to life, most of what I write does have romantic elements. Relationships permeate your entire life – for good or bad. And I think that comes across in what I create.
But the idea of writing full on romance, or even masquerading like I do, feels like a lie. And the only thing I’ve wanted to do during this journey is be true to myself.