The first draft, at least. I typed out the last words of the epilogue yesterday afternoon. Now comes editing. I’m going to get some edits done this weekend and hopefully finish them up Monday so I can get the book out to my ARC time before Thanksgiving (and hopefully they won’t be too busy with holiday stuff to give it a read). So right now I’m looking at a release date of Nov. 28th if all goes as planned.
I’m happy with the way the book has turned out, though it may need more revisions than I think. I definitely need to flesh out Brynn a bit more. I also need to check for consistencies. I’ve never written a series before, and I’m finding that I have to go back and look at the previous books to make sure I don’t have continuity errors. But I feel like the framework of the book is very solid. I feel like plotting is one of my stronger suits. I also feel confident writing action and dialogue. But I think characterization is one of my weaker points. I try to bring out the characters not only through their actions, but also through meaningful internal and external dialogue, but I feel like I sometimes fall short. That’s something I’m trying to improve upon with every work.
With Dragon Green, there’s a brand new couple, as with each book. The first book, Dragon Blue, involved a woman from Earth and a Xandakarian dragonlord, but in the second book, I focused on two different shifters both from the same world. With Dragon Green, I’m returning to having an Earth woman and a Xandakarian dragonlord. But while Miranda was a relatively uneducated young woman who didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life, Brynn is a highly-educated, driven archaeologist. The one thing they do have in common is that they’re both strong, smart characters. I like writing strong female protagonists rather than damsels in distress. I hope it doesn’t come across as too repetitive, but in each book so far, the hero and heroine typically end up saving each other in some way. I like that balance, and I think it’s a good way to express a couple’s feelings for each other through action.
For the launch, I’m not going to focus as much on paid promos. I’ve done a lot of work since the launch of Dragon Red, concentrating on building up my ARC team and my newsletter. I have over 150 ARC readers now, while I had about 50 for Dragon Red. Dragon Blue is sitting at 57 reviews on Amazon, while Dragon Red has 40. Some of that has to do with the fact that it’s the second in the series, but I really didn’t do much to grow my review team for Dragon Red, and that’s also a big factor.
I’ve also managed to grow my newsletter to over 850 subscribers. I only had 16 people on my list in September, and about 400 last month for the launch of Dragon Red. I’ve managed to grow it with two main strategies: giving away a novella on Instafreebie with automatic newsletter sign-up and getting involved in cross-promotions. I was actually a little too aggressive with this last strategy, and I’m dialing it back. I had several unsubscribes with the last cross-promotion. Most of those didn’t give a reason, but several unsubscribers listed spam as a factor. I’m also a little leery about the effectiveness of the leads gained from cross-promos. My open and click rates are still respectable, and I expect them to be higher for the actual release newsletter for Dragon Green. But I think the leads from cross-promos are generally not super-effective. I’ll be interested to see how it goes for release.
I’m going to set Dragon Blue to free for the first few days of the Dragon Green release. So that will be Nov. 28th-30th, most likely I’m hoping readers will pick up the first book for free and go ahead and buy the other two books as well, but we’ll see. A lot of forums/blogs say that the 3rd book in the series is the charm. Some other say sales don’t really solidify until you finish a series. I guess I’ll find out by the end of the month.