Uncertainty

I got some words on the page this week, but not as many as I would have liked. I haven’t been feeling too great, and that’s part of it, but I don’t like making excuses. I need to put the old nose to the grindstone this next week and get a lot more done. I’ve written two novels in the past 60 days, and there’s definitely an impulse to want to just relax and take it easy for a little bit. But I think I need to get a steady workflow going and a stream of new titles into the market if I really want to succeed. So I can’t afford to take it easy.

I have conflicting ideas about how this next launch is supposed to go. Dragon Blue releases on Tuesday. It’s the first in a series, and I don’t know if that’s a slight knock against it, since people may not want to pick up the first book in a series if the others aren’t written yet. I have a substantially higher number of ARC readers this time around, and I’m really hoping that helps. I’ve read in various places that reviews don’t directly impact the Amazon ranking algorithm, that their primary use is quality validation. That hasn’t worked too well on Outlaw, which has above a 4.5 star rating, but isn’t seeing a lot of sales/borrows. There are only 14 reviews, and it’s possibly that there’s some threshold that really validates a book’s quality. I really don’t know.

I just read a report on a forum about an author making over $2K with their first romance book launch. They say they invested a significant amount of money in a cover and editing. I don’t feel like I can justify dropping $1K on such services until I’m seeing some kind of reasonable revenue on my books. I’ve done a solid amount of research on Amazon, and I continually see covers, blurbs, and writing that is, in my opinion, lower quality than what I’m producing. Are they just gaming the system? I feel like, when it comes to covers, mine are good. Not great, but good. I see very highly-ranked titles with abominations for covers. I don’t want to skimp on quality, but I really don’t see forking out hundreds of dollars on a cover until I reach a certain level of success. Maybe it’s one of those catch-22 things, but based on my research, books can do very well with much less quality than what I’m putting out.

Between the ARC service I’m using and my own efforts to build up an ARC team, I’m really hoping to get 25-50 reviews within the first week. I just listened to a podcast in which the author said that the best promo is your next book. I’m only doing a few promos, so we’ll see. I think I’m going to put a lot more resources into promoting the next book and see how that goes. I’m getting good early feedback on Dragon Blue, so I feel like I’m doing something right. We’ll just have to see how things go next week.

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