october progress reportSo, as October draws to a close and Winter really begins to take a hold, bringing out the bulky coats everywhere, it’s that time of month where I deliver a good ol’ fashioned progress report.

This month, I’ll focus in particular on an October sales slump, a few little updates on the progress of my debut novel What We Saw, and the beauty of crowdfunding.

October Sales

October has been a slow month for sales all round. Like, really slow.

Both Silhouette and Something in the Cellar have had pretty dismal months. Silhouette wasn’t even particularly boosted by a rather successful free-run which saw it break into the Top 10 Short Story charts.

I guess I’ve seen both sides of the KDP Select coin now – on one hand, it can be an asset for boosting sales. Something in the Cellar had a brilliant September after a free run towards the end of August. However, at times, it simply doesn’t have much of an effect. It’s a gamble, and that’s why so many authors are still on the fence about it.

That said, it’s all just experimentation. I still have faith in the KDP Select model, and will be enrolling What We Saw in it for three months. I think short stories are a harder sell than novels as it is, so that will have played some part. The excellent David Gaughran recently wrote a great piece on why he’s a KDP Select convert, so that’s definitely one to check out.

Lesson learned here? Everyone suffers a sales slump from time to time. From my conversations with other authors, it seems several have had notably lower sales in October than previous months. Initially, I wondered whether Silhouette wasn’t performing that great because it’s part of a less popular genre, but the fall in Something in the Cellar sales makes this seem unlikely.

It’s not all about sales

Other than the sales slumps, I’ve had some very nice reviews for both short stories. Silhouette received a 5-star and 4-star review over at Amazon.com, while Something in the Cellar got a fantastic little write-up from fellow author, James Parsons, over at his website. It’s a great site by the way, so I highly recommend you check it out.

It’s also been a fantastic month for traffic. Since I switched from three posts per week to two, I’ve actually noticed a considerable boost in daily visits. What does this say about blogging? Well, work as many into your life as you can in the opening months, then gradually cut down. Quality, not quantity, right?

So, where’s What We Saw at?

Ah, What We Saw!

Basically, the book is undergoing its final, final, FINAL edit. I received the line edits and feedback from my editor, Brenda, and once again, her comments were simply fantastic. Brenda has helped me forge What We Saw into a stronger, more powerful beast, on both a content and quality level. Now, it’s my job to go through the whole manuscript backwards, sentence by sentence, and make each and every one as brilliant as I possibly can. It’s a slow, draining process, but one that’s well worth it.

I’m still on schedule to launch the book in the first week of December. The 6th is my target, but knowing Amazon and its eclectic uploading times, that could mean the 4th or it could mean the 8th. I’ll let you know, of course.

I’m really looking forward to sharing this book with you all. It’s been a long, stressful, exciting, confidence-boosting, soul-destroying, phenomenal journey that has tapped into literally every human emotion. Will I be writing another novel? Has the journey been worth it? Oh yes. I’m in this one for the long haul.

What We Saw crowdfunding pre-order – WOW!

If you follow my blog, you’ll be aware that I set up a crowdfunding initiative for What We Saw on Monday. I set a modest target of £150 in 21 days, in order to cover the last stage of the process. In return, all sorts of limited edition goodies are available.

To my utmost surprise, both the £30 packages sold out immediately, and the £150 minimum target was smashed after just 10 hours of pre-orders. I’d like to thank Callum Thomson, Tom Bray, Ian A. Chapman, Paul Whitley, Dan O’ Neill, Rick Chen, James Parsons, Alex Curran, Iain Forbes, and Toni Tesori for your pledges so far. I hope you enjoy your pre-orders – they’ll be with you in December.

Everyone else: you can still pre-order a limited edition copy of What We Saw if you’re interested. Details are over at my Pozible page, so do take a look.

I’ll be talking about crowdfunding in detail next Wednesday, but until then, a few words: if you’re contemplating it, do it. It’s one of the best gambles I’ve ever made.

What next?

November promises to be another busy month. I’m aiming to get my final edit of What We Saw off to my editor in ten days or so for the proofread, and after that, it’s full steam ahead with formatting. I followed Guido Henkel’s formatting guide for my short stories, so I’ll be taking that route again. For the paperback edition, I’m publishing through CreateSpace, so their formatting templates will be useful.

After that… well, it’ll be time to launch. It still feels strange saying those words. The thought that I’ll be holding a physical copy of my book in my hands in, what, four weeks? Crazy…

Oh, you want to know about after that? Well, I’ve got a few things planned. I can’t talk about those just yet, but rest assured – 2013 will be a busy year.



How has your October been? A good month for sales, or have you suffered the slump too? Any work-in-progress you’d like to share?

Image courtesy of Gerard Stolk via Flickr