authors

A Productive Hubris Towers Work Day

Last Thursday Bill and I took most of the day to work on a couple upcoming projects, including planning the overview of Hubris Towers Season 2. It was absolutely delightful – just the sort of day I hope will one day constitute my actual full-time job.

We spent the morning embroiled in a proof-of-concept of a project about which I am not yet able to say much, except that:

  1. The proof of concept definitely proved the concept. This project has legs. At this point I’m pretty confident that it will happen, and if/when it does, it’s going to be great.
  2. We had 2 nice-ish microphones and 3 computers of varying age and no combination of computer and mic worked. Tech. Fail. But the show must go on, and we found a way to do a thing anyway.

After that fiasco-slash-smashing-success, we went out and got yummy shawarma from a food cart and took a walk around a grassy park in the sun–a rather surprising amount of sun for a February day, really–and talked about our production schedule for Season 2.

Season 1 was eight episodes varying in length from about 12,500 words to over 20,000–I forget the exact numbers. We’ve decided to make Season 2 six episodes of roughly 20k each. That gives us room to develop a full story in each episode and keeps the production schedule from stretching out too long.

We talked about a couple refinements to our process, too: mainly getting me a full clean outline before I start writing (instead of overlapping Bill’s outlining and my writing, as we often did in Season 1) and alerting Bill sooner when I start to diverge from his outline (as will happen from time to time) so that he can account for the changes as he continues to plot.

In the afternoon we retired to my basement headquarters to schedule details and talk plot in broad strokes. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so without going into too much detail I’ll just say that the compact high-rise golf course mentioned late in Season 1 makes a reappearance, we have some great character arcs in store, and both of us laughed and laughed as we talked it out.

Advertisements

May in Review + June Goals

Hi friends! May completely snuck up on me. Between a series launch, a string of family visits, and a heavy workload at the day job, I seriously didn’t even notice we were in a new month until about the 10th. It was, frankly, unsettling. Nevertheless, May was full of exciting developments. Let’s take a look.

May Accomplishments

1. Hubris Towers series launch!

Hubris Towers

Seriously! Go check it out!

Bill and I published Episode 1 of our new comedy series. It’s so good! You should totally read it!

  • Reader response has been phenomenal, with almost unanimous 5-star reviews to date. Brilliant!
  • First-month ebook sales were a little lower than I expected, but should pick up as we release new episodes.
  • The paperback Pocket Edition was surprisingly popular. I expected to sell a few to die-hard fans, but we sold dozens of them. Maybe because it comes with a free Kindle copy on Amazon. (Boom! Marketed.)

2. My first free promo I made The Stone & the Song free for two weekends in May, and—wow! Suddenly I understand why people use free promos!

  • My book hit #1 Free in Fairy Tales on the first day of the promo and stayed there for the rest of the weekend!
  • Downloads in the first day more than doubled my first month’s sales, and over the course of the two weekends I ended up with hundreds of downloads.
  • This is the first time I’ve definitively broken out of the friends-of-friends sphere of readers, and also resulted in my first (5-star!) review from a total stranger.
  • The first weekend did about four times as well as the second, and I have no idea why. Let me know if you have any theories or have seen similar results.

3. First multi-platform release The Stone & the Song is my KDP Select guinea pig, but long-term I definitely want to build up a robust cross-platform audience. Hubris Towers was my first multi-platform release.

  • So far, Hubris Towers is available on Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Amazon.
  • So far no real traction on the non-Amazon platforms. I’m curious to see how this develops as the series matures and gains momentum. Still pretty sure it’s worth it long-term.

4. Released 2 more sections of the Dream World Collective

5. Wrote about 8,000 words of Hubris Towers Episode 2. (Now with Russians!)

  • Planned release date is June 13. That’s so soon!
  • This is by far the fastest-paced large-scale project I’ve attempted to date, and I’m really excited to see how that helps us build momentum.
  • Sign up here to get a reminder when it comes out

6. The Clickworks Press catalog is expanding! I can’t say too much yet, but I’m getting ready to release the first Clickworks Press book I didn’t write.

  • This is a game-changer. My plan from the beginning has been to make Clickworks Press bigger than me. Bringing in new authors makes it a fundamentally different kind of endeavor, and I’m so excited to be bringing in brilliant talent this early on.
  • Short-term, this helps authors streamline their publishing experience, cross-promote, and get more exposure. It points readers to great new reading experiences. It helps Clickworks Press develop legitimacy, flexibility, and a robust catalog. Long-term, just wait and see. We’ve got some incredibly cool ideas in the pipeline.
  • I’m still thinking through the details of the business model and I’d love to hear what you would find cool and useful. Drop me a line at byfaroe@gmail.com if you’re interested in brainstorming or have some ideas for me.

June Goals

That was long, so I’m going to keep this quick.

  1. Release Hubris Towers Season 1, Episode 2.
  2. Write 1/4 to 1/2+ of Hubris Towers Episode 3.
  3. Release more sections of The Dream World Collective.
  4. [Stretch] Set up a weekly auto-delivery system that will give people happy stories in their inbox.
  5. Iron out the first-phase Clickworks Press model.
  6. Investigate the costs and mechanisms of a Clickworks Press website that can support my super-cool ideas.
  7. [Possibly] Write more of The Unaccountable Death of Derelict Frobisher. Frobisher is the crème de la crème of my writing endeavors (which is saying something). It will not do to neglect it much longer.

What’s new with all of you? Anything I can get excited about with you? Tell me!

Cheers! —Ben

11 Tips for Promoting your Book

Here’s some practical insight from the Kobo Writing Life blog about how to get the word out about your book. I’m only just breaking into the world of Kobo, but finding their site and devices refreshingly elegant. I can’t wait to build up a Kobo following – diversify, diversify, diversify!

Kobo Writing Life

Written by Tim Inman 

# An essential to-do-list for independent authors

from whitefox #

whitefox_slide9

There’s more to self publishing than just writing the book. Promotion is almost as important as putting pen to paper, but many authors don’t know where to start. Luckily there are a few relatively simple tricks you can employ to give your book a better shot at commercial success.

  1. PICK THE RIGHT PRICE POINT 

If you try to flog your book too cheap, readers will assume that it isn’t very good. Set the price too high and they won’t be willing to take a punt on you, an unknown author. According to Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre (here) , $0.99 for an ebook is so low that readers can’t resist, $2.99 tends to perform even better, but $1.99 is an awkward middle ground; it is cheap enough to suggest a lack of professionalism, but not cheap…

View original post 949 more words

You Can Help Unleash Two Great Minds Upon the World!

Hi friends!

My friend Kate‘s husband Daniel just got accepted in to Yale Divinity School. Which is awesome! And really expensive. Please join me in helping them out at gofundme.com/helpdng. Even if you can’t give, sharing this message to help spread the word is huge help.

They’re a very promising young author and a very promising young theologian, respectively, and every dollar we can give now is multiple dollars of loans + interest they don’t have to pay back later, meaning we will have unleashed two great talents upon the artistic and intellectual world that much sooner.

I want skillful writers and thinkers to be able to do what they do in the world without having to be held back by massive debts and financial obstacles. If you agree, please join me in giving at gofundme.com/helpdng.

For great justice!
—Ben

Building Your Author Mailing List From Scratch

In all my research about how to market your books, the consensus I keep finding is that the real foundation for an effective strategy comes down to two things: your next book and your mailing list.

This makes sense. Each book boosts all the rest, and there’s no point in finding ways to drive traffic if there’s no high-quality catalog of books for people to find. And for all the social media and book promotions and algorithm hacking, I can’t imagine a more stable and consistent way to make sales than to have a list of people who like what you do and have asked you to contact them directly when you have new work available. So while I’m constantly experimenting and researching to find and harness good ways to get the word out, my fundamental strategy rests on writing more books and maintaining a strong mailing list.

Except I don’t have a mailing list yet.

This sets up an interesting situation. I’ve already been a bit noisy about my book launch (speaking of which – get your copy before the price goes up on Saturday!) And while I don’t mind a bit of justifiable self-promotion, I really don’t want to be that friend who’s constantly trying to get you to buy my book, so I’m not going to just put all my friends on my mailing list (which is poor practice and borderline unethical anyway), and I’m a little hesitant to even broadcast a lot of invites.

But I also have some amazing friends who will do everything in their power to help me get the word out, who eagerly want updates, and who will be all the more effective if I can give some clear goals and unified direction. I want them on my list. And across years, cities, and continents, I’ve built up wonderful circles of friends and acquaintances who, though we may have fallen out of touch, might be very excited to read my books and get in on the fun.

Or possibly some of them have forgotten who I am.

So how do you start a list that has everyone who should be on it but nobody who shouldn’t?

Here’s the solution I’ve come up with. I’d love to hear what you guys have done. I’ve gone through my entire contact list (including some very old and diverse acquaintances) and narrowed it to just the people I remember and I think might remember me and be interested in the fact that I’m publishing books now.

I’m getting set up with a mailing list service—still testing things out, but probably MailChimp—and I’m going to make a burner list out of those contacts. I’ll send out one email letting them know about the launch and upcoming cool stuff and give them a link to sign up if they want updates. I’ll probably send a reminder or two in a few days, just because sometimes people miss emails. And then I’ll delete that list. Anyone who signs up for more will get it, and I won’t bother the others any further.

The fun thing is that since I’m a geek and game-obsessed and process-oriented and (let’s admit it) unnecessarily complicated about stuff, I’m already finding some really fun possibilities for segmenting the lists. I’m playing with interesting sign-up forms that will help me find which of my people are big readers or aspiring writers, who’s a socialite and who’s an enigma, who wants to spread the word and who likes missions and experiments.

But more on that later. Or you can sign up here and get in on the ground floor. I’ll warn you now, it’s all experimental and subject to change. But I think it’s going to get pretty sweet.