Dave Dobson

Author

Category: Blog

Revisions!

I’m in the middle of my first revision pass for my second novel, which I finished last weekend. Here’s my revision command central. The list of chapter numbers, working titles, and revised titles is the left three columns. The next three are elapsed time and start and end dates, so I’m consistent with timing as the story progresses and know how much time is passing for the characters.

The yellow boxes to the right are issues in some chapters that I want to check or correct or do better. Some of them are really minor, while others are things I blew it on the first time through that will take some work to fix.

The gray box on the far right is a screencap of my writing software showing the original descriptive chapter names so I can keep them straight as I rename them to stupid puns.

The colored column in the middle is whether I think the chapter is funny or not – red and yellow less funny, blue and green more. At least to me. I don’t know if there’s anything to be learned there, but I figured I’d note it for pacing and revisions. The dark blue line shall remain mysterious for now. I’ve done 31 of 63 chapters so far, and I’m shooting to have this first pass through it done before classes start on Monday.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I can’t help but use spreadsheets for stuff. Not sure if this is interesting to anybody, but I thought it might be. Blurred to hide spoilers.

NaNoWriMo

In order to get the sequel to Flames Over Frosthelm going in a big way, I’ve been doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge this November. I started the month just under 21,000 words, and now I’m up to about 41,500, so it’s going pretty well. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a month, and I’m ahead of that pace by a little bit, as the graph below shows.

I’m obviously more concerned that the words be good than that they be plentiful. I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far – I think the story is fun, and I’m having fun with it. For the sequel, I decided to keep the storytelling in first person but to shift the narrator, so that’s been a bit of a challenge writing with a new voice.

A full novel in fantasy is usually between 80,000 and 120,000 words, and I should be near the lower end of that range by the end of November if all keeps going well. The first book came in at about 122,000, so it was a little long. We’ll see how this one does. I’m not ready to share it with anybody yet, but if you’d like to be a beta reader, let me know! Write to dave@davedobsonbooks.com.

Free promotion

I’m in the middle of a free promotion for Flames Over Frosthelm, running September 5th to 9th. It’s been a success so far, if giving away thousands of copies of your book free is successful. I ran a number of announcements on free book sites on Thursday when it started, and I ran a Freebooksy announcement today. Both of those seemed to produce a bigger response than Friday, when I had no announcements. Here’s how it looked:

That’s a total of 3172 copies downloaded so far. This was enough to get me well up into the rankings on Amazon for free books:

I actually hit #1 in Sword and Sorcery on Thursday. I’m sure this is completely ephemeral, and it will fade as soon as the free promotion ends, so it doesn’t really have any meaning, although it’s fun to ride this roller coaster for a while. What I’ve read is that

  • this kind of thing doesn’t do much for sales after it’s done
  • many of the free downloaders never read the book
  • you don’t see many new reviews after one of these
  • you do have the potential to see more Kindle Unlimited activity after this kind of promotion

One other immediate effect is that I had 13 people add the book as “reading” or “to read” on Goodreads in the past three days, so there’s a chance that I’ll get some more ratings from people there.

One of my goals since the release has been to increase my exposure and introduce the book to a bunch of new folks, and this seems to be working as a route toward that end. I’ll see if it has any lasting effects after another couple of weeks, but it’s been interesting and fun.

First sale from Amazon ads

So, I’ve been playing around with advertising on several platforms. I’ve figured I probably need some more reviews and buzz before this will work, but I figured it was fine to experiment. Although I’m reported to be generating clicks on Facebook, Google, and Amazon, I have not yet generated a confirmed sale.

Until today!

Yes, as of today I have officially paid $25 to Amazon to sell $5 worth of books, for which I’ll receive $3 and they’ll receive $2. Clearly, this business model is not yet working, but this is the first inkling that it might work eventually. Pretty cool.

The Binge

This showed up on my Kindle Unlimited feed today. The Unlimited version of the book has exactly 587 pages, so it looks like somebody just destroyed the book in one sitting. Even funnier, this showed up a little after noon, so it must have been an all-morning kind of thing.

Working on release…

I’m working on getting my book ready for release on Amazon. Reading up on some technical information and some advice from other authors. I’m also trying to get settled on a cover. I’ve had some trouble settling on a title and a cover image, but hopefully I can get to something I like soon. I’ve got my author account set up on GoodReads, so I hope that will be a place where I can connect with potential readers (and, once the book has been out for a while, talk to readers about the book and other projects). All this is complex, with many moving parts, but it’s exciting, too.

Is this thing on?

Starting up the author website. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Let’s hope it all works.

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