As the end of the year rapidly approaches (why do the last few months seem to fly by?), I’m happy to report that I may actually meet the goals I wanted to!
One of those was to publish 4 new titles, and I have 3 published:
The Wolf Fount (WatchWeres Inc #1): Published Feb. 18th
Just Like Magic (Discord Jones #7): Published July 18th
Immortalis (TERRAN EXODUS: Eden V #1): Published Oct. 26th
My other goal involved word count, as it always does. However, this hasn’t been the best year ever when it came to writing because I seem to have suffered a burn out that just kept dragging and dragging on.
Because of that, I decided that from now on I’m setting a goal of just 150,000 words per year. I’ve set much higher goals in the past, didn’t quite meet them 2012 through 2014, and though I surpassed 2015’s word count goal by 7k-plus words, it was a struggle.
Maybe after a few years of meeting/exceeding the 150k word goal, I’ll set higher ones again.
Current word count for 2016 is 104,211 words. I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, first time since 2013, so should exceed the goal by the end of November.
Now for some potential changes happening.
When you’re a self-published indie author earning a living from writing, it can change things. For one, you’ve earned readers who want MOAR which is beyond awesome. Secondly, if you’re earning a living at writing, and it’s your sole job/source of income, you have to buckle down, keep writing and releasing new titles to keep it going.
It can be stressful, and if something changes (cough*Amazon*cough), that stress is multiplied by about a thousand times. Add in a persistent case of burn out, and well, either stark panic or creative paralysis sets in. Or a combination of both. It’s not fun.
One of the things I’ve learned the past couple years is that I have a difficult time going from one series title straight into the next for that series. I need both “simmer time” and a break between series books. < That’s the reason Discord #7 is novella length instead of novel length, and the reason I have yet to get a firm grip on what’s going to happen in Discord #8.
I have a lot of older, unfinished works hanging around that I’d love to bring up to snuff and finish. The longer I go without doing that, the more likely I’ll have to start them over from scratch when I finally get to them. I’d rather edit what’s done and finish than rewrite every single one of them because there’s about 150 or so of them.
Though I intend to use NaNoWriMo to work on both Discord #8 and Chimaera, the 2nd WatchWeres Inc title, I’m not positive both will be finished before the year ends. One will be, and it’ll be the one that flows the smoothest.
Related to that, I recently checked the percentage of drop off between Discord titles. Drop offs are normal between series titles, as people decide the first isn’t their cup o’ tea, or lose interest after a book or two. New readers come in as previous readers leave.
Between Arcane Solutions and Something to Curse About, there’s a 23% drop off.
From Something to Curse About to Save the Last Vamp, there’s a 13.5% drop off.
From Save the Last Vamp to Frost & Bothered, there’s a 4.3% drop off.
I’ll hazard a guess those numbers are pretty normal. But I’m not as certain about the rest:
From Frost & Bothered to Black Magic Shadows, there’s a 16.2% drop off.
From Black Magic Shadows to A Little Street Magic, the drop off is 16.5%.
I’m not going to toss the drop off between ALSM and Just Like Magic in yet, since the latter’s only been out a few months and ALSM has been out for almost a full year. I will say that Just Like Magic’s release was the first time a new Discord didn’t sell more copies than the previous Discord release did during the first 30 days out.
I can say it’s because Just Like Magic is novella length, and I’m certain that does have some bearing on it. I can say, maybe I’m just not able to keep readers’ attention well enough as a series progresses, and there’s likely some truth in that as well. But on the other hand, there seems to have been some changes at Amazon this year, and a number of indies are reporting weird fluctuations with both page reads and sales, some from as far back as the beginning of the year, others beginning with the summer months, and yet others beginning in September or this month. Amazon has agreed there’s an issue with Select/Kindle Unlimited and page reads, so I can’t be certain that there hasn’t been other changes that have something to do with Just Like Magic’s lower results.
Considering I was somehow selected for the Powered By Indies promo thingy Amazon’s running for October, I would’ve expected slightly better sales this month than I’m seeing. I’m even wondering if being specifically labeled “indie” has something to do with the lower sales, along with whatever else is going on at Amazon.
Ups and downs are normal. I expect them. But it was kind of a shock to see how much of a drop off is occurring between Discord titles after #4, especially with such a small drop off between #3 and #4.
Which makes me wonder if readers are tired of Discord? I’m not gonna lie: After 7 books, and nearly 3 years of mostly writing Discord, I’m getting kind of tired of working on that series. It’s not even the series itself exactly, but more that it’s consumed so much time and creative energy, leaving little left over to work on my other projects. I feel less than productive, if you can get where I’m coming from.
I’m able to write full-time (at least for now!). Writing is my only job, and sole source of income. We’re no longer homeschooling, and I don’t have a day job eating most of my week. I absolutely should be able to finish several projects a year, especially since I have loads in various stages, not just a bunch of ideas scribbled down. Actual words already written, from a few hundred to several thousand.
Regardless of the drop off between Discord titles, that series is and has been the workhorse in my available titles stable. I’ve worried about that from the beginning, and wanted to get my other series going to help shoulder some of the load if possible. There’s no guarantee other series will do as well as Discord has for me, but until I get them going and populated with more than a single title, I won’t know for certain.
Which all boils down to this: I am going to have spend more time working on my other writing projects. Some won’t sell, others will to some degree, and maybe, one series will do as well or almost as well as Discord has. If I want my writing career to continue, I have to diversify instead of focusing mostly on a single series that seems to be losing more readers after Book #4 than it’s gaining.
I’d originally planned 9 titles for Discord, with the ending left open enough to do a 2nd series arc. After writing Just Like Magic, I thought it would be an extra addition and there’d be 10 titles total for the first series arc. Now I’m thinking 2 more titles can end the series arc, and I’ll wait to see how well those last 2 titles do before committing to another series arc for Discord.
I haven’t made a final decision on that yet, and it’ll depend on how #8 goes before I do. But that’s where my head’s at for now, and an update on how things are going.