The Journey to Making a Bestseller: One-third Done (Series #4)

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Sorry about the weekend everyone! I was out of town for the week in small town Oklahoma and I had no reception at all. It was awesome. Fishing, and four wheelers, and fireworks, and paddle boats, and zip lines, and swimming, and hard lemonade… aah.

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Anyway, back in the real world. I did take my laptop with me so I got a little done. My word count right now is: 31,386. For the non-writer folk, that puts me at about 115 pages. So the book is a little more than one-third done.

I was getting into my notes this week and I realized I hadn’t developed some of the plot enough in my outline, so I had to sit down with my note cards and plan out scenes for things I had been too vague about in my outline. Luckily, it breaks down to a lot of scenes, and my book will be the right length now.

I also discovered I needed to interject new characters for the extra scenes, develop the side characters better, and create a subplot to run alongside the story. It is going to be better than I thought it would be and I’m excited. The story is taking a darker tone, I’ve noticed. I didn’t mean it to be, but I’ll have to see if it works once I get it all out and read the whole story.

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At the same time I am already thinking about my next launch in the spring for The Final Rescue. I still need to do some heavy editing on it and have some betas take a look. I need to talk to my publisher and get the release date so I can work backward to know when to start working the steps.

That was super vague. Thanks, Jenn. Okay, what I mean is, if the publisher says, “Let’s publish it May 1st.” Then I say, “Okay.” And then I know that I need to be ready to start working on it in January. In the beginning, I will be getting to know which bloggers I want for editorial reviews, and writing the letters that I will need to send to request their review. And if you have a small press like me with covers not in your genre, make sure you have your cover artist lined up and started on.

Then, in February, I would start letting people know that my launch will be coming in three months. And at the end of March I will make my list of reviewers and send out email requesting reviewers. I’ll let people know it’s coming soon around the first of April. (Make sure you are spending some time before your launch really working on your blurb, also called sales copy. If it’s not engaging, no one will open it.)

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Read: How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen. I just did and I’m going to make some changes to my sales copy.

–FYI- In the book, he does use the terms summary, synopsis, and blurb interchangeably. If that confuses you- let me explain. A summary and a blurb are the same and they can be used as back cover material, your elevator pitch, and the meat of your query letter. It’s also what you’ll put on all your social media sites and websites you use for marketing. Very important. Hook the reader, don’t tell the ending. On the other hand, a synopsis is a list of scenes that happen in your book, including the ending. It is used to tell an agent what your story entails in a simple way.–

The second week of April I will send out my ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for reviews and post my cover design. The trick is to publish then, two weeks before launch. Send out reminders to my reviewers, unless I let them know to post their reply on May first, which I will probably do. If you self publish this works for you, too; after publishing silently, you can make your Amazon Author page, Goodreads page, and a Facebook Author page, Etc. Etc.

The following week, I’ll schedule my ads, collect my editorial reviews, and let my email followers and social media know the launch is coming. Then, hopefully, on launch day I will have reviewers leaving comments, I can enter the editorial reviews, and if I’ve chosen my categories correctly on Amazon I will launch on top.

My second book, The Queen’s Heart, launched as a #1 new release, but I didn’t have these things set in place. This is all stuff I just learned. So, if you want to know if it works, look for the launch of my next book!

Because I didn’t set this stuff up beforehand, I don’t have reviews coming in. I emailed my betas and asked for reviews, but I only got one at first and though the comments weren’t bad at all, the reviewer only left 3 stars. I was heartbroken because it was the only review. So I went on an email campaign trying to get a few more.

Because I didn’t buy ads to play the first week of my launch, I didn’t keep that number one position very long. That was hard to watch. I’m telling you. *sigh*

And on top of that… I am trying to really market my first book, The Key of F. I don’t remember if I said it before, but I feel silly promoting a sequel when I think not enough people have read the first book.

So what am I going to do about that one? I’m still trying to figure that out. I might try to re-do my sales copy and do what I would do for my next launch. That way I have some practice, I get a system, and templates, and maybe learn how to launch two books… or three. I could work out the kinks. I just don’t have the money for any ads right now. It all hinges on the Christmas bonus.

By the time the last book in my trilogy is launched, I should be ready to query my WIP (work in progress). The working title for this manuscript is: The Clockwork Pen. If we make it and it flies, I will be so happy. I have three more sequels planned for it. But I also plan to take some courses after Christmas in voice-over narration. I am going to read audio books in the future, starting with my own. I hope I have enough time for it all.

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I was thinking, taking everyone along this journey is risky. If it does well, it would make me more credible as a consultant. But, what if The Clockwork Pen isn’t a bestseller? This could be documentation of my literary demise. It could go to show you what a crap shoot publishing can be, even when you do everything right. But then I realized part of making a book you believe in, requires believing. I hope you are writing something you believe in, not just a story that you’re telling.

Well that’s all I have for today! Meet me back here on the weekend for an update. Keep writing!

~jenn

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