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It’s Been a Quiet Book Release in Lake Woebegone

There are moments in the life of a writer that make it all worthwhile — moments when you discover that you’ve touched the life of another human being, that your writing has let someone know they’re not alone, their problems are neither unique nor intractable, and there really is hope for them. I could use one of those moments right now. This past week has been kind of rough. Okay, it wasn’t all bad. I got a mention in Renee Writes. I was also interviewed for Odyssey Online, and I’m told the article will see print at some point. As for sales, I sold four, count ‘em, four copies of Locksmith’s Journeys, and one of them was to myself. I bought it along with Kayla Howarth’s Losing Nuka in the hopes of getting the book on Amazon’s “also bought” list. This probably didn’t work. It was mostly my fault. I didn’t have time or money to arrange the kind of media blitz that I’ve done before. I also didn’t bother advertising with Amazon — they don’t let you mention the price of your book or any discounts you’re offering. Joining BookBub took longer than I thought it would, so I didn't have time to arrange an ad with them (assuming they'd accept it). Next time. And I learned some things. Tracking the sales figures with Kindle Direct Publishing confirmed something I’d suspected from the beginning — if you try to sell Book 2 of a series to an audience that didn’t know there was a Book 1, you’re more likely to boost the sales of Book 1 than Book 2. Especially if Book 1 happens to be available at a discount, which it was. (I do occasionally manage to do something right.) Other writers I’ve spoken to have said that yes, I should concentrate my advertising on Closet and let that one sell the others. I'm not sure whether I should recommend advertising on YouTube or not. On the one hand, nobody looked at my ad. On the other, because nobody looked at it, I didn't have to pay for it. I've had worse deals. Now I’ve moved on from an unhealthy obsession with sales figures to an unhealthy obsession with pages read. Yes, Kindle Direct Publishing lets me monitor how many pages of which book were read on any given day. It may seem kinda stalkerish for me to know this, but I have no way of knowing who did the reading. So this is Objectively Not Creepy, and if you feel at all creeped out, your feelings are wrong. And if 150 pages of Closet have been read in one day, I like to think it was one person really getting into it, not five people reading thirty pages and giving up. Anyway, at least one person has been binge-reading Closet while somebody else has been binge-reading Journeys. This is as close as I’ve come, lately, to see that I’m making a difference. The downside of all that is that soon, very soon now, somebody’s going to get to the last chapter of Journeys. I’m almost looking forward to the angry emails about that. Almost.

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