Kind of a weird month, was September, what with the whole Power Play fiasco. Actually ‘fiasco’ is the wrong word (although fun), but it’s certainly true that the whole thing left me at something of a loose end. I found it very difficult to move on to new things with a ‘published’ book just hanging like that. Still not resolved, as far as I know, but I’m trying not to think about it. I don’t even know how many emails I’ve sent to KDP, always with the same response; ‘it’s a priority, we’re working on it’. Let me tell you, a month of that gets kind of discouraging. In any case, let’s look at some numbers!
September 2011 Sales
Charlotte Powers: Power Down – 78
Charlotte Powers: Power Play – 7 (none too shabby considering it wasn’t available in the US)
The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud – 6
Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns – 3
Miya Black, Pirate Princess II: Freedom & Responsibility – 1
Miya Black, Pirate Princess III: Fractured Lives – 1
Resonance Book One: Birds Of Passage – 0
The Boy & Little Witch – 0
Total Sales For August: 96
So, the trend from the last few months continues strong, with Charlotte Powers leading the way and everything else doing fairly dismally. Still, at least one of my books is selling, I’m happy about that. Probably this goes to show that putting out a bunch of different books is a good way to do things. Spread the load, so to speak. Good thing my next two are standalones, eh?
Anyway, as usual I’m pleased with the month’s numbers (anything more than zero is fantastically wonderful) and kind of not even in a ‘but it’d be nice if they were higher’ way. Actually, getting a hundred sales in a month would be pretty neat. Maybe next month? From most accounts sales increase in the run-up to Christmas, so maybe! In any case, from October onwards I’m increasing the price of most of my novels as a six-month-or-so experiment–sales are so low anyway I don’t think it’ll make much difference, and sales of Power Down actually increased after a price increase, so … well, interesting to try, in any case. That’s part of the fun of being an indie author, you get to play with things like prices. So, everything’s going up to $2.99 and we’ll just see what happens.
Another milestone reached this month: over two hundred copies sold of Charlotte Powers: Power Down. Kind of blows my mind a little, actually. More than two hundred copies of my book are out there in the big wide world. Some of the people who bought the book will like it, some won’t, others may not even read it. But they’re out there, and that’s not nothing. That’s something. Seriously though, I’m happy that people are reading and enjoying my books.
But enough sentimental applesauce, what did I actually get done this month? Actually kind of a lot! Except spread out thinly over multiple projects so I don’t really have much specific to point at and say ‘I did that’. Mostly I wrote a whole heap of notes, I just did a rough wordcount and it’s like 50,000 words. That’s a NaNovel-worth of notes! I also wrote around 30,000 words on Against Darker Days. The continuing utter lack of sales on the first one (none at all for like two months now, and only fifteen in total before that) actually makes me kind of more relaxed about the whole thing–which is good, because the book as it stands has a lot of problems and needs a lot of work before it’s anywhere near ready for release. Even so, in my inexpert opinion, it’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever written. Aside from writing I finally made the leap from good ol’ reliable-but-slightly-crunky Paint Shop Pro 7 to Photoshop. It took a day or two to get used to things, but now I’m comfortable with it and happy to have such a powerful tool at my disposal. You really can do some neat tricks with it, I spent days making logos for the Tactics Heart teams, had a great time. Also, I’m currently ranked #4 in the world at Pac-Man S. I know that strictly speaking this isn’t very writing-related, but can you blame a proud gamer for wanting to share his accomplishments? (Yes, technically you can.)
But anyway, did I achieve my goals for this month? Actually no. (Because of too much Pac-Man S, probably.) I didn’t complete the first draft of Against Darker Days, which was my only real goal for September. Still, I don’t feel that’s such a bad thing. It’s not a book I can just power through, I need to take my time with it–some things I can push through even when I’m not feeling it, but with this one, no. It’s too big to brute force, I’ve got to finesse it. Anyway anyway, goals for next month:
October 2011 Goals
1 – Um …
2 – Ah …
3 – Well …
To be honest I’m deep in preparation space right now. NaNovember is right around the corner, which is very exciting, and almost all of my current projects either need further work before actual writing begins, or else they’ve been written and only require rewriting/editing/proofing. But I suppose I should set some goals, think about what I’d like to have achieved by month’s end and so forth. Let’s see now …
October 2011 Goals
1 – Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart – I’m not going to do this one for my NaNovel, so I could work on getting a preliminary outline written out.
2 – Time Is But The Stream – This one may be my NaNovel, so just basic notes for now.
3 – Charlotte Powers 3: Hidden Power – I’m actually quite keen to get started on this one, I have a bunch of notes already and the beginnings of an outline, and I know most of the major plot beats. Ideally I’d like to release it before the end of the year. Work on getting an outline done? Yes, let’s go for that.
4 – Try not to think too much about other new projects that are demanding attention.
Tactics Heart is the project I’m most into at the moment, I keep having ideas for it and writing dialogue in the shower, and I recently stumbled across a little plot thickener that’ll be fun to play with. I also made the firm decision to use ‘episodes’ as a structural device, as if the book is actually an anime or cartoon or TV series, so (for example) in the first episode the world and most of the main characters will be introduced and it’ll end with an intriguing development/revelation, and then the second episode will deal with the forming of The Team and introduce some rivalry and character subplots and the lead-up to the first match, then episode three will be the first match and the aftermath of that and so on, I think it’ll work really well and be a fun way to do things, I’m already having way too much fun making title cards to introduce the episodes and eyecatches to put in the middle. I know it’s a bit gimmicky and unnecessary but who cares, it’s super fun.
Anyway, the end of the year is coming up pretty fast, don’t you think? Three months left! I’m going to have to get cracking if I want to achieve my ‘Ten Books Before 2012’ goal. I could cheat and just put out Miya Black IV and V but naaaaah. Miya Black IV, yes, possibly. It really depends on how well my NaNovel goes, and on how clean a first draft of Tactics Heart I produce. Anyway, kind of exciting to have so many projects on the go. Thinking about what I’d like to achieve before the end of the year, publishing Tactics Heart would be great. Then depending on how cleanly Time Is But The Stream comes out maybe that too, and possibly even Charlotte Powers 3 … but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. For now I’ll focus on Tactics Heart and after that’s first drafted see where I am.
Going into October, my main hope is that Power Play gets sorted out. It’s not so much the missed sales, I just hate being in the position where I’m offering something that people can’t get (and I have been told ‘Do Not Unpublish’ so I can’t even remove it). I feel responsible–guilty, even–but I can’t do much to fix the situation. Just wait. And hope. And get on with other things.
Yes, that’s the important thing here; move on. I’ve done all I can, now I have to face forward and focus on what’s next. Just Keep Writing.