Three Deaths

There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

– David Eagleman

This quote has always both depressed and inspired me. It also adds further credence to the notion that maybe the only thing resembling immortality is the work we leave behind.

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Quick Update on KDP Select

I opted in my Badlands books to Select on September 25th. I opted in the rest of my books less than a week before that. I wanted to answer some questions as to how effective Select might be for me again (I spent all of 2012 in it before opting out at the end of that year.)

Here’s the first update.

I ran a free promo on my short story, giving away around 100 copies. Day one it moved around 85 units before dropping off a cliff the second day (it probably got picked up on one of those free book sites the first day). Combined, the remaining four days moved around 15 units.

The results are negligible. No noticeable increase in sales of my other titles and not a single copy of the free short story sold.

Free is still something that’s never really worked for me. Others swear by it. Others do not. I’m not sure I’ll ever run a free promo again. The only reason I did it this time was because it was my $.99 short story. I’m giving up little by making it free.

One of the questions I asked was whether or not simply being opted in to Select sells more books because of increased visibility. So far after two weeks in I’m seeing nothing to indicate this is true. Sales are dismal. In fact, without my Kobo, B&N and Apple sales, I’m not earning shit.

I still have another two and a half months for things to turn around. During that time I’m going to be running Kindle Countdown deals on all my titles. We’ll see if those have any effect on sales.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m not running any Bookbub ads or anything like that. The experiment is to prove whether or not Select alone will help me move more books, using only Amazon promo tools.

Time will tell, but right now my decision to opt in seems like a bad idea. I only hope that I don’t lose the velocity I was gaining on Kobo. That would be a real shame. It was a risk I was willing to take, but it would still be a shame.

Badlands Series Update

So now that “The Crossover Gene” has been uploaded to Amazon, I’m ready to get back to work on my Badlands series. As you may or may not know, I wrote 42k words for book #3 earlier this year before focusing my attention on “The Crossover Gene”.

I should have cranked out another thousand words on that book yesterday, but I didn’t. Instead I ended up spending all my time thinking. I realized something’s not right with it. Something just wasn’t working. This is pretty common with all my books. I work and massage them, mull them over and then it comes to me. Eventually the book just “feels” right and I know it’s done. Book #3 just didn’t do that for me.

As I thought about it late last night, it started to make sense. Book #3 isn’t book #3. It should be a novella set in the Badlands universe, but not a third novel. Here’s why:

Book #1 follows Ed and his two sons across the country. Book #2 continues that journey.

Book #3 needs to conclude it. Beginning, middle, end. The three act story.

So today I made the decision to put “Vengeance In the Badlands” on hold (currently book #3). In the meantime, I’ll finish “Out of the Badlands”, what will become book #3. The series will become a trilogy, which is probably more appropriate.

“Out of the Badlands” take me most of next year to complete. I really hate this because readers had to wait two years for book #2. Now they’re going to have to do it again. But the alternative is to release something half-baked, something my heart’s not into.

Something that doesn’t feel right.

I’ve been wanting to write some stories in the Badlands universe. Smaller stuff, short stories and novellas. “Vengeance” needs to be the first of those books. It could stand to lose 10k words before it’s finished, but it’s perfect as a companion book in the series. I won’t lose most of the work I’ve already put into it.

I’m also considering another novella starring Pastor Dan, a prequel to the series and maybe, just maybe, a shorter book starring Ryder. Point is, Dave’s story in “Vengeance” just doesn’t fit right in the timeline as a novel. It needs to be its own stand-alone companion story.

I have a lot of great ideas for “Out of the Badlands” (what will become book #3) and I’m going to do my best to make it as epic as possible. I want this to be a fitting end to a series that literally changed my life.

In the meantime, “The Crossover Gene” is available for preorder now at a reduced price. It goes live on October 10th at full price. Consider giving that one a chance…I think you might like it. I’m also going to try to put out a shorter work before book #3 is released, but we’ll see how that goes.

So, if you’re a reader I apologize for the wait. Just think though, you’ll be getting a better book for the experience. And to those writers out there, remember that an indie can pivot quickly and rethink everything if it’s the right thing to do. In the end both the reader and the writer benefit from it.