Bestseller’s List

The day Elysium Dreams went to the top of the Amazon rankings, I checked out the rankings for the Kindle ebooks overall. And saw something interesting, but not surprising. 8 of the top 10 free ebooks in the overall Kindle Store were romance novels. Elysium Dreams eventually ranked 18th overall.

14 of the 17 books in front of it were romance novels, of some sort. Of the three that weren’t romance novels, 2 were written by men and the 3rd… well the 3rd is a series that I have tried to read because someone told me I would like them, they were like the Cain series, but with a male lead. I did try. But even though the romance is light in the series (the male is married), there is still more romance than what you’d find in the Dysfunctional Chronicles or Nephilim Narratives.

After those first 2 paragraphs, I have no doubt everyone now thinks this is a post dedicated to being annoyed by romance novels. But it isn’t. By 1:15 central time, I had 5,000+ downloads of Elysium Dreams. Enough to get me to 18th place in the Kindle Store overall and first in handful of genre categories, specifically crime fiction. Those 17 books ahead of me therefore by 1:15 central time, had more downloads than me. Possibly they were in the 10,000+ downloads for the day.

Now, those are some good numbers and by the end of the day, I myself would be in the 10,000+ downloads for the day. This means that all of 18 books (all by different authors) had great download days and we all ranked on Amazon. Not a single one of us will rank on any published bestseller list. Because the NY Times bestseller list as well as the big one in the UK, still only count physical book sales. To make the NY Times bestseller list, an author pretty much has to sell 5,000 physical books in a week. Which is practically impossible for an indy. The most physical books I’ve sold in a week is 34.

Now, I had 15,000 downloads of Elysium Dreams at the end of the day and it was only a Tuesday. Wednesday, I’ll continue to have downloads of both it and Tortured as well as all my other free books. This will publish before the end of the week, but I can estimate that this week alone, I will have more than 50,000 total downloads. And remember, I’m working solely with Amazon sales, because they are the only ones that report in “real time” everyone else reports on a daily or every other day basis.

I understand this is a free book, but free books lead to sales and the day Elysium Dreams hit 18, I sold (as in received royalties for non-freebies) nearly as many books that single day as I had all of the first 18 days of March across all retailers.

I’m sure the other 17 authors on that list can say the same thing (when I got my BookBub email, the other 3 non-romance novels were in my recommendations email, along with my own book).

Interestingly, while the NY Times still only uses physical books to count bestsellers, the USA today has begun using digital as well as physical sales. Meaning the USA Today is probably a more accurate bestseller list. Since I have 3 large bookshelves full of books and 1 half case full of books, I have been banned from buying physical books. Meaning nearly every book I buy is digital anymore… thereby not helping Clive Barker get to the top of the NY Times bestseller list when he releases a book.

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Analytics

My best friend is finishing a second master’s degree in something technology related. One of her classes was big data analytics. She made the decision to analyze the D&R series. There were some interesting things discovered. However, the project isn’t due until today, so I won’t be releasing her findings until later this week.

However, I will go ahead and say she did find significant differences between D&R books written under the influence of Gabapentin and Lyrica and the others in the series. Not just in length or quickness of publishing, but in word choices and things.

Today, though, I have an advert for Elysium Dreams running on BookBub. And Ritual Dreams remains on pre-order for just a couple more days. Just as a reminder, I moved the publishing date from April 1 to March 22nd. So you only have 3 more days to wait.

I also have a much better idea of how this year is going to go (as far as writing is concerned) and can give better estimates on release dates for a couple of books. Avenging Reality will publish at Halloween. Anonymous Dreams will come out in December. Goddess Investigations in July and Oh My Wizard in September. And Dysfunctional Expansion in November.

This does mean a heavy end of the year publishing schedule, but as I am cranking out books pretty easily right now, I realized there was going to end up being a cluster somewhere, might as well have it at the end of the year to kick 2020 off in a good way (November and December royalties won’t pay out until January and February).

PS: I have 3 books that are still marked as WiP that will probably get put out in 2020. All of them are stand-alone novels. Throughout the day, I’ll be checking my Amazon rankings with the BookBub advert running. Tomorrow, I’ll post how it went. Currently, Tortured and Elysium Dreams are ranked #35 and #36 in crime fiction > serial killers on Amazon. I think they will both hit 1 in a couple of categories today. And the rankings on some of the other books in the series will also rise quite a bit. More on that later this week though.

Ritual Dreams Releasing Early

Ritual Dreams was formatted and ready to go in record time. And after sitting on it for a day or two, I realized it was a problem. I hate sitting on books. Sometimes, I think I have impulse control issues. After a day of not making progress on any of my works in progress, I realized it was because I was anxiously anticipating the release of Ritual Dreams…

So, I moved up the release date. Instead of releasing on Malachi’s Birthday (April 1), it will release March 22. That is all. Back to work.

Anonymous Dreams Update

On February 26, 2019, my writing program decided that no matter how good a writer I was, I wasn’t finishing Anonymous Dreams by the end of the month and it was correct! I didn’t. I’m about 10,000 words from “finishing.” It’s been a slower paced book. There are 63,000 words on it.

My new completion date is set for March 9th. Good chance I won’t make that one either. Not because I occasionally delete lots of words, but because it has been a stressful and crazy month. February did not go well for my husband’s family. J fell and broke his right arm (his dominant arm and hand) and it wasn’t set for 6 days which was brutally awful. My FIL had to be hospitalized for a couple of weeks. My MIL’s mom had some health problems and spent time in the hospital.

So February was rough on everyone and while I had a lot of really productive days, I had some days when it was a struggle just getting motivated to get out of bed.

A more accurate finish date for Anonymous Dreams is the end of March. I have a couple of doctor’s appointments in early March that are going to suck my will to live, so I’ll lose productivity those days.

Anonymous Dreams Update

As of 9 pm on 2/19/2019 the total word count on Anonymous Dreams was 44,534 words. I had a “delete” day on it. Where I deleted more words than I added, because I decided a few plot lines weren’t going to work.

And after discussing plot points and devices with my internet security goddess/consultant, I went through and changed a few things to make it more seamless, which resulted in a few more deletions. However, I’m happy to report that the route I was going with that, was correct enough for her.

What does that mean? It means I knew and understood more than I thought I did. Oh and yes, the title has been changed. I decided I wanted something more computerish/dark net accurate than Innocent Dreams, plus I still think Innocent Dreams will go a different direction. Hence the title Anonymous Dreams.

I don’t know what my publication plan for it is. My editor is working hard on Ritual Dreams, she says she’s had to look up a ton of stuff which has really slowed down the process. Tomorrow, I will make forward progress.

Off Lyrica

I went off Lyrica in December. After which I finished writing Ritual Dreams. The two Alpha Readers loved the book. I sent it to the editor and then plunged into a different book, that didn’t hold my interest. I was still in Cain mode, so I started work on Innocent Dreams…

And in just 2 weeks, it had 30,000 words. I have been trying to find the words to explain what it felt like to take Lyrica every day. I have failed so far.

I can tell you I had aphasia (forgetting words, occasionally inserting the wrong one) and I can tell you it had a huge negative impact on my memory, but neither of those things do it justice. It literally changed the way I thought.

Often, my own thoughts felt alien to me. I felt like an interloper. It wasn’t just that I felt disconnected from the world around me, I felt disconnected from my own brain. I would do or think things and wonder why. And because of the disconnect, I always felt on the verge of a breakdown. More than once, I thought “this is what it feels like to go crazy.”

I wasn’t suicidal and I didn’t cry all the time with Lyrica like I did gabapentin, but I still didn’t feel like me. Someone recently told me they were glad I was feeling better. But am I?

The short answer is no. I’m still in pain all the time. I still have to drug myself into a near catatonic state to be able to sleep through the pain. And I have more days when my brain is so preoccupied with the pain that it’s hard to think of anything else.

But do I feel more like me? That is a yes. I’m back to retaining knowledge I gather, which was a problem on Lyrica. I’m back to feeling like my thoughts belong to me. I’m back to being able to push myself to focus and write. Sometimes, even when it’s the last thing I want to do.

Ritual Dreams will join Fortified Dreams and Elysium Dreams as among my favorite books of the D&R series. Demonic will join Tortured among the least liked. And so will Flawless. But as I type away on Innocent, I believe it may join Ritual as one of my favorites.

If you’ve suffered through all 13 D&R books, hang with it a little longer and don’t judge the series using Demonic or Flawless. They get better. It just required a serious medication change. I didn’t talk about it a lot, but I was on Gabapentin for the majority of Flawless Dreams. I look at it and Demonic and scratch my head. I had big ideas for both books, big ideas that I failed in executing because of medications. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are the two shortest in the series.

But I love Ritual Dreams. I love what it became and I love all the work I had to put into it to make it happen and be as good as it is. Even though I had to leave some things on the cutting room floor, because it was just too much for one single book.

I have no release date for Innocent Dreams. I just know I’ll finish it rather quickly. My bestie is going to have to go through at least some parts of it, so there’s that to consider as well.. her schedule is packed as she gets a second master’s degree.

Ritual Dreams Update

I finished writing <em>Ritual Dreams</em>on 1/18/2019.  It is being prepped to go to the editor in February.  Pre-orders are available at nearly all major ebook retailers. 

I’d like to get back to having 2 or 3 months between finishing writing a book and its release, which I’ve managed with <em>Ritual Dreams</em>.  I’d also like to get back to releasing 4 books a year.  I will be taking the next 2 1/2 months to finish either <em>Goddess Investigations</em> or <em>Oh My Wizard </em>(working title for Nephilim Narrative #2).  I think Avenging Reality (working title) will be my October release.  Also, I need to get <em>The Dysfunctional expansion</em> written. 

I actually finished <em>Ritual Dreams</em> earlier than I expected once January rolled around.  Just to help understand some of the delay, it wasn’t all pain or emotional distress that caused the delay.  I had to do a ton of research for it and then I had to double check nearly every killer chapter multiple times.  The serial killer in Ritual has a serious mental illness and I wanted to make it as authentic as possible as well as discovering I didn’t know as much about the condition as I thought I did before I got started. 

Also, there were huge patches X’d out as I went along.  I was going to get into cult deprogramming as well as the mental illness the serial killer suffered from, but all of that made it entirely too involved and I eventually decided against deprogramming being a theme of the book.  I can only force feed a reader so much information.

Onwards with the next book…

Ritual Dreams

Ritual Dreams will be written by the end of January as long as I can write 400 words a day. So far so good on it. I put 2,000 on it Monday night. It is scheduled to go to the editor in mid-February and release on April 1, 2019.

Pre-Orders are available (links below).

A few things to know about Ritual Dreams. It does involve ritualized sexual abuse, nothing that I get into details about though. Even I have my limits and severe mental illnesses beyond ASPD and BPD.

That paragraph above is part of the reason it has taken a year to write. I realized I needed to learn more about cults and broke out the research, even interviewing one of my readers who grew up in a cult (turns out I have 5 readers that were raised in cults, which is kind of unsettling).

The mental illness I picked was incredibly complicated to write, both from the perspective of the person that has it and as someone who didn’t have a ton of experience with it in real life. And since I did pick a mental illness as a complication of my killer, I had to get those parts right. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t given the mental illness every bit of authenticity I could muster.

Every time I wrote one of the Killer’s Chapters, I had read and scrutinize it and then do it again a few days later. And then I had to find ways to discuss the illness without info dumping, which was exceptionally hard as there was a lot of information that needed to be included.

Of all the killers I have created, this one is the scariest and most sympathetic in my opinion. As Ace dealt with her own existential crisis of not being able to just label the killer a “bad guy,” I had to overcome some of my own demons. And I had to struggle to make Ace not feel sympathy towards the killer, since she is supposed to be incapable of such a complex emotion.

There were nights I went to bed and dreamed of the killer. There were days I stared at a killer’s chapter I had just written and agonized over whether it was “accurate enough.” Then there were other times, I just stared at the blinking cursor and wondered “what the hell was I thinking to tackle this?!”

But once the Lyrica was out of my system, the writing was so much easier. And so much more concise or as concise as any Cain novel ever is, she is rather wordy even in her thoughts.

A Look Ahead

It’s officially 2019 which means time to start thinking about all the things I would like to do in 2019, but probably won’t. I didn’t make any resolutions for this year, simply because I’m not a fan of resolutions I feel they set you up to fail before you even really get started because resolutions require dedication and motivation, neither of which are my strong points.

Publishing plans for 2019:

Ritual Dreams

Avenging Reality

The Dysfunctional Expansion

Oh My Wizard (the working title for Nephilim Narrative 2)

Goddess Investigations

I’m terrified of setting a date for publication on any of them, I just know they are my goal publications for the year. I don’t even know which order I’ll publish them in, although I think I may attempt to make Avenging Reality an October release.

And I may open up who I will content edit for. I don’t know that for sure yet, but maybe.

Offering Audio

I am researching how to offer audio, not through one of the audiobook distributors; Audible, iTunes, etc.  It would be me reading my own books, which may or may not be appealing.

I have audio editing software that I never use.  I’ve never had a use for it, but I have played around with it a bit.  Especially since I can make audio clips and save them as ringtones for my iPhone.  

I try to keep chapters in my books around 2,500 words.  Which seems to be a good length for an audio bit.  So I would release them a week at a time, if I go forward.

The problem is, I don’t know diddly squat about offering audio or HTML.  Part of the reason I don’t have a website is I can’t figure out how to do it myself and I’m not sure it’s worth paying someone to do it for me.  

I will admit the idea is not original to me.  An author I know, just finished doing a reading of one of her books on a YouTube channel she created, but I have no desire to be in front of the camera reading from a book.  I think that would be stressful.  

Unfortunately, my research makes it sound really easy, but I don’t believe it would be.  My most recent research on it, focuses on Podcasts, but I’m not sure that’s the answer either. 

If anyone has thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, I’m open to hearing them.  Unfortunately, I’ve been taking a break from social media beyond my blog.  Sometimes, I just have to disconnect from it to recharge my sanity.  I will be making a return in time for Christmas well wishes.  And would value any input you could give or your thoughts on listening to me ramble out a book I wrote (this would force me to read all the D&R novels..).

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