Joshua C Cook

Author, Husband, Father, IT Manager

Category: e-mail

Where have I been?

So where have I been? I’ve not updated the blog in over a month, Facebook as well. There’s been a couple of things going on, and though there’s not a lot of people who visit this tiny corner of the web, hey it’s my tiny corner, and I’ll share!

  1. Work – I currently have a great job, and I mean that. I work as one of two IT support people at a Tax/Bookkeeping/Auditing group here in Florida. However,  until last week it was ‘Tax Season’ which is usually the most busy part of the year.  I wanted to keep up with things, and I did at first. Tax season runs from January through to Mid April. Sadly for me, the closer we got to the tax deadline day, things got busier, so no blog updates, and very little social media items done.
  2. Allergies/illness – So as I mentioned I live in Florida. Seasonal allergies aren’t anything new here, but this year was a beast. Much worse than normal, and I spent two  plus weeks coughing up a lung and blowing my nose every 10 minutes to breathe. Not fun, not pleasant, and not overly conducive for writing, or again social media. All better now, thanks to the end of ‘Pollen Hell 2017’
  3. The Wall – This was the final reason. I hit a wall. Meaning a combination of poor book sales and writers block made me so profoundly unmotivated to do anything with my writing for a bit. I simply did not care, nor did I have the energy to move through it at the time. The good news is that I’m past that now. I had some sales (unexpected and happily.) and I got through my writers block.

 

Blood of a Fallen God is back on track, and I’m working to get this first draft done and put away. I’ve some cover stuff to look into, maps to finish off, and a few other things. I’ve also got Book THREE ( I like saying that, hence the caps) in the Echo Worlds series to finish, and then that stand alone book called ‘Timetable 93’

So I’m back, I’ll update the blog at least twice a month moving forward, and try to be more active on twitter and my Facebook page.

Here’s to taking that next step!

So that’s where I’ve been.

Dragonlance – Reading with a Writers eye.

Dragonlance. Good pulpy fantasy. And it is pulpy, as much as I like it. It’s a book series based off a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. There are formulaic parts, and early on, the characters aren’t super well defined. That being said, it’s just good solid fantasy. Now I’ve owned this ‘Annotated’ copy for years now. But it’s been more than a few since I read it. I recently came across it again in my books, and being in between series, decided to pick it up again. I’m very glad I did.

See, the annotations included with the book are by the authors. The last time I read this I hadn’t even begun to start writing, it was only a super vague idea and hint of a thought. Now, after pushing out 4-5 books, picking this up and reading the story AND the authors notes, has made for a very interesting read so far. One, the notes give a great deal of background information, why decisions were made, how the characters grew, and the thought process that went into making various plot points. In short, it’s a view into the two authors mind about the story. And some rather interesting take aways on back story, timelines, and giving the world your creating a history. Giving the readers a sense of time, that they aren’t just being thrown into a new world with no anchors to make it real.

Is Dragonlance great epic fantasy? I don’t know. It’s a little long in the tooth these days, and while some of the characters seem cliche now, I’m not sure how cliche they were at the time. But still, I’m finding this read through, reading with the eye of a writer, a very interesting, and rewarding experience.

 

In other news: Bridgebreaker, the second book is being released the 12th, so in a week. I have no idea how the pre-orders have gone, I’m not sure there is a way to even see that. I have lined up 5-6 release day reviews as well. I shot for ten, but doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So I’ll take 5.

E-mail list Marketing

E-Mail list Marketing seems to be the holy grail of the self published author marketing world. And I can understand why, a dedicated list of readers who sign up to find out when you have a new book out. That usually means they will at some point buy it. More sales lead to better rankings, better rankings lead to more people seeing it, which leads to more fans, more e-mail list sign ups and so on.

It’s a great and wonderful thing.. Assuming you can get it working right. I’ve talking about what a pain book marketing is in the past, and it is. I’ve tried review stuff, and tried the free book promo. I’ve tried twitter storms, and ads. Ads on Facebook, Ads on Amazon. None of it has been particularly effective. Now, there are services that use e-mail lists and send your book to their sign ups. The downside is of course that your book is competing with everyone else’s book on those email lists, which is one reason I’ve been a bit turned off from using those services.

But as I work on the last chapter or two of the sequel to Bridgefinders, I’ve decided to try things a bit differently.

The ‘best’ service for this kind of thing is Bookbub. The problem is of course, that Bookbub is both very pricey and VERY hard to get into. Yes, getting lots of sales or downloads is nice. Very nice. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. For a reduced price book (down to 0.99 cents.) I’ve read of authors making 300-400 even up over a thousand sales in a single day or two. That is crazy to think about. Free book promos do even better, sometimes cracking 30,000! Of course it costs the author over 400-500$ sometimes to run on Bookbub as well.

Based on the fact that Bookbub has turned me down (again.) I’ve gone instead for the following approach.

On August 8th-10th, I’ve got a book countdown deal running. For those two days, Bridgefinders will cost 0.99 cents, down from 2.99.

Bridgefinders will be featured in newsletters going on to e-mail lists from the following services:

Book Barbarian

Books Butterfly

Bargain Booksy

Book Goodies

Book Scream

Fussy Librarian

Yes, I’m using the shotgun approach. 🙂 About the only one missing from this list is Book Gorilla, who I wanted to use as well, but I miss clicked and selected a promo I didn’t want. By the time I got it fixed I couldn’t run with them in the time frame I wanted. So, not using them. I’m not going free for the simple reason that I’ve done free, and not seen free turn into a lot of sales at this point. As I come out with more books in the ‘Echo Worlds’ series, I think running a free book promo on the first book would be worth doing, but at this point, it doesn’t help.

I’ve been investigating creating my own E-Mail list, but haven’t really taken that step yet. But using all the above services, for a fraction of what it could cost to run this on Bookbub, I’m hoping will pay off. I’ll update after the promo has run!

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