Last Saturday I attended Hungerford, a town in Berkshire famous for a terrible event in the eighties. This was my first time in the town, both as a visitor and to the town hall for the market. The logistics of the place were very convenient, with a carpark just behind the building and with step-free doors right into the hall, it couldn’t have been easier.
The hall was spacious and nicely filled with other stalls and after setting up the promotors briefed us that the first hour would be slow but it would build from there. The town is famous for two large antique markets, so they expected many big spenders.
After three hours I’d sold a single copy of OPERATION DAWN WOLF and had reconciled myself to the first loss, and it was going to be big, of these markets. On the bright side, the bundles of short stories had gone down well.
In the afternoon things picked up and I swept to selling eight books and three short story bundles, giving me a very tiny profit! It was a win in my book after the disappointment of the morning. I will be at Hungerford again in a couple of months where I will see if this was a one off poor show.
I said I would try upselling for the first time, and despite only having limited opportunity, where I tried I was successful. Twice I also turned two people who were happy to chat but weren’t going to buy my books, into parting with two quid for a bundle each. You never know, they might turn into fans!
I have eleven events booked for the rest of the year, and I’m going to see if I can get more in the run up to Christmas as sales are always better closer to that time. The next event is in Witney, Oxfordshire on the 21st May.
MARKETING AND PROMOTION
I’m involved in two mailing list promotions this week, one for audiobook credits and the other for giving away apocalypse fiction, for which I entered BEGINNING OF THE END. Already new subscribers are coming in, although half of them are already on my list. With an opening rate of my newsletters at the industry standard (around 20%), I’m not surprised people have forgotten they have already been offered the book. If it helps to remind them then I’m all for it and because I’m now using bookfunnel to deliver the books, they can’t help but get the copy.
HARM’S WAY has had a few more reads on the free short story sites, at least across Wattpad and Booksie, but nothing too exciting.
Sales in general are still poor, but at least with no marketing outlay I get to keep all of the income.
By figuring out a bit of a postal hack, I’ve been able to reduce the postage cost to the US of my short story bundle from around £4.50 to about £3.20. Square lets me use custom delivery charges for items so I’ve made the adjustments and hope it will make them more attractive to the overseas market where many of my fans are.
Despite the Sunday rain, I managed a decent amount of work on the bench I’m making from the leftover railway sleepers (or railroad ties as they call them in the US). All of the visible surfaces have been sanded down and stained to bring out the wonderful wood colours and patterns. When I next get to work on it next I’ll be waxing the areas I’ve stained, filing down the threaded rod ends securing it all together, then upending it all and repeating the process on the underside. The cushions are due for delivery by the end of May which means it all should be ready in time to take advantage of any warm weather coming our way.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Scarlet Rain Series – Book 1 – I’m almost 30% through the current revision process I started a month ago. By that end I should be finished in July, then with another month for a final read before it goes off to beta read in August. By the end of September any re-writes should be completed, then it will be editing in October for six weeks so we’ll be looking at a December release date if all goes well. I think overall my target will be to have the book ready for March 2023 at the latest, which is the start of the 2023 events season.
This all means that in three months time I can start a new project, but which one? That is the big question.
James Fisher (Fate’s Ambition) – I have two books for the James Fisher series I really want to complete. The stories are written but need a lot of work, however the reach of the first book has been limited. The marketing difficulty I think will be pretty high for this series. (High interest factor, low commercial sense. 12 months work for 2 books). (Score of 4)
Agent Carrie Harris – Then we have a continuation of the Carrie Harris series. This is attractive if the screen adaption process becomes very promising. I haven’t heard anything for a couple of weeks about that. (High interest factor, low commercial sense because at the moment the CH books don’t sell that well, especially online. 12 months work). (Score of 4)
Agent Carrie Harris Undead Crossover – This book would be fun to write and I already have an outline. I know it will sell because of the reception of the short story STOPPING POWER which would form the prologue to the book. (High interest factor, medium commercial sense. 12 months work). (Score of 6)
In The End Book 4 – This book is already heavily outlined, but the excitement for me is not as high as for the other books. It will be easy to sell to the many fans who loved the series. (Medium interest factor, high commercial sense. 12 months work). (Score of 6)
Agent Carrie Harris Short Story Collection – Having already released works which are less than novel size, I already have 46,000 words, half of what I would need for the collection. That would equate to needing 5-7 new short stories. I’d love to write these. (High interest factor, low commercial sense. 6 months work). (Score of 4)
Scarlet Rain Series – Book 2 – Not knowing how well the first book will be received, I’m loathed to start the second book straight away despite knowing it makes sense to get it written. If the feedback is compelling from the beta readers then I can always drop my other plans. I envisage this being a five books series at least so I’m in for the long haul. (Medium interest factor, medium commercial sense). (Score of 4).
By assigning a number to each of the factors mentioned above, the analysis tells me I should either be writing the fourth book for the IN THE END series, or the full novel for the Carrie Harris Crossover. There is no standout winner here. The Carrie Harris short story collection does however have the advantage that it should only take six months to produce. This is all food for thought.
That’s it for this week, but if you have an opinion on what I should work on next, feel free to comment.