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Introducing The Goddess Daughter

October 5th, 2021 · No Comments · Danblog

Writing? Not so difficult. Writing well? OK, more difficult.

Convincing friends to give what you’ve written a free tryout on their Kindle? Not easy as you’d think.

Finding absolute strangers who like to read books like yours and then convincing them to buy Book One in an unknown series?

Now that’s the tricky part.

Fortunately, none of that is news around scenic Black Sheep Manor. We published four books to the Amazon Kindle Store in late 2013, thereby learning the true meaning of the term “profound indifference.” And it wasn’t that people disliked the books — most people who read them seemed to like them fine. The problem was steering strangers to books they’d never even heard of.

So when we abandoned all hope of cracking the literary-agent wall with Chene in late 2020, we had some idea of the challenge that lay ahead. We also had some lived experience in things that worked and more things that didn’t. This time our expectations were more aligned with the reality of selling indie novels on the Kindle Store, thanks in part to what we learned from other indies.

We even had a modest promotions budget this time. Our initial Chene ads were paid for out of previous Amazon revenues, and our current campaign is funded by revenues from Chene’s the first month revenues.

But here’s the biggest advantage that I had going into this series launch: Low Initial Expectations.

Yes, there are clearly people making a living off Kindle ebooks, including people who make a living writing Kindle ebooks about how to make a living selling ebooks on Kindle. But what isn’t always clear is just how long it takes to grow your audience beyond that first dozen committed readers. Hell, just finding a dozen readers who will want to read your trilogy to the end is a significant accomplishment.

So we didn’t begin The Darbas Cycle phase of our lives thinking a nice initial launch would put us over the top. In fact, we won’t even consider The Darbas Cycle truly launched until we’ve got all three Goddess Daughter novels published in paperback and ebook formats, with boxed sets for the entire trilogy available. Because some people won’t even read the first book in a trilogy until they can see that Book Three is safely available.

Call it the George R.R. Martin Effect.

Which makes this sort of a half-time report on The Goddess Daughter Launch. Two of the paperback editions are published, with one ebook live and the second taking reduced-price pre-orders. We’ll have all three novels available in both formats by the end of November.

And the numbers are encouraging. There are more than 400 copies of Chene (paperback and ebook, both purchased and free) in circulation less than three weeks after its ebook launch. Llyr, meanwhile, is generating sales and pre-orders despite practically no marketing push just yet.

Maybe the best news is that Chene already has more global ratings (10) than any of my previous books, plus six five-star reviews. Only Another Goddamn Novel About the Collapsing Quantum Multiverse has more (seven), and it needed eight years to accumulate them. Chene’s average rating (4.9 out of 5) so far is higher than either Another Goddamn Novel (4.6) or Bokur (4.7).

But we won’t really know how we’re doing until readers finish the complete trilogy. Did I do my job as a writer? Will the full arc of the story resonate with strangers? Who knows? And accumulating complete trilogy readers is a much slower process than the already slow process of waiting for people to finish Book One.

So we’re happy with our progress so far because we didn’t expect much. We’re happy because we went into launching The Goddess Daughter Trilogy and The Darbas Cycle with the expectation that we were in this for the long haul, not instant, breakout success.

The next step? Getting better at standard, full-price-book, paid advertising.

Call that a work in progress.


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