My writing process continues to change and it keeps me up at night… #ASMSG #amwriting

My writing process continues to change and it keeps me up at night… #ASMSG #amwriting

I used to laugh at some writers who’d never finish their work, but my own writing process is evolving in that direction, if unchecked…

I’ve been sick. In fact, I still am. I’m writing these words rather than editing my latest novel Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm. After first catching this season’s flu, I ended up with a sinus infection the likes even I hadn’t seen before with a ruptured eardrum as a souvenir. I’m seeing a specialist today to have a look at it. Lying around for almost two weeks, with no energy to write or edit, I’ve had plenty of time to think about my work, my writing and how (and what) I’d like to change, without actually being able to change any of it. As part of that, I realized just how my own writing process continually develops (?), evolves and changes.

Evolving or developing?

I have no final answer. I’m not sure if the changes are for the better. I recall talking to more than one of my fellow writers out there, people who had been working on one and the same story for years, some decades even, but they’d never published any of their work, constantly changing, editing, rewriting, adding, subtracting from their work. The fear of failure debilitating, or is it the strive for perfection? I’m not sure.

After having written Disease, I know I had done something special. The reviews were raving, and even though it’s not a continuous bestseller, the book has done well for its kind, and I am particularly happy with all the praise. Kirkus reviews even included their review of the book in last Friday’s bi-weekly magazine to libraries and other professionals, and I’ve already seen a spike in sales on Amazon.

All the while, my own writing is changing. I’m not sure if it’s a change for the better, an evolution, or if I’m starting to become obsessed with quality if the fear of following up a great story with something of lesser quality is scaring me? Debilitatingly so?

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is very different from Disease

The new story is very different from Disease. Where the latter was dark and hopeful, with an almost given ending, considering that Alzheimer’s only has one known outcome, it was difficult for Her Majesty to strike a balance and keep things hopeful. I think I managed, to the best of my ability.

The story about Martin is different. Very different. And as so often with my writing, I might mention The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, the initial story changed into something else. In this case, it was my research trip to Korea which pre-empted the changes. I’ve mentioned those before. Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a much more light-hearted story, full of love, friendship, romance and hope. It is that without shying away from difficult topics, such as gay darlings like “coming out”, homophobia, HIV, but also racial issues, #MeToo, love and relationships across time, cultures and generations.

There is so much I still want to tweak…

Here’s the thing though: while I’m generally happy with the story, and the way it’s developing, there are still a million things (or so it seems at night) I want to change. Tighten a screw here, change something here etc. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about the quality of the story if I’m doing the characters justice. Does Martin come across as the octogenarian he is? Is Ji-Hoon Korean enough? I currently have a friend in Korea reading the manuscript to make sure the Korean aspects are ‘real’ Korean. But it doesn’t just end there, and all of a sudden I find myself with a newfound understanding for those neverending writers out there, who keep polishing their manuscripts… Luckily, I have a deadline, so I know I’ll have to finish sooner rather than later.

A changing writing process is a good thing, isn’t it?

I comfort myself with the fact that it must be a good thing for my writing process to keep changing. It means I listen to my editors, take their advice to heart. It means I strive to better myself. Or am I simply paranoid? Or have I been “off” my game for too long and just worry, needlessly? One thing’s for sure: time will tell, and by May 21, when the new book is out, I’ll know if my stupid comparing of apples and pairs has resulted in anything…

Before I let you go, a quick question to my fellow authors: do you see your own writing process change or are you pretty much easy going? Curious to learn…

Finally…

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great week.

Hans

My new novel is on the home stretch and has a title #amwriting

My new novel is on the home stretch and has a title #amwriting

My new novel finally has a title, are you ready to know what it is?

These past few days have been a nightmare. After having watched my husband suddenly fall sick to this year’s flu, and when I say suddenly, it really felt as if he fell sick overnight, and then my son succumbed to the same virus. I held on to hope that maybe, just maybe, I had maybe had this strain before. I am, after all, a bit older. Alas, no such luck. Friday morning that thing hit me with brute force. Mind you, I had been sick for a while already, a cough and a cold which always seem to take root in my sinuses.

Friday was different. I had no voice, I was coughing and hurting, and suddenly my joints and muscles began to hurt, I had shivers and yeah, all those telltale signs of the flu. Trying to work on my new novel with a four-year-old impatiently wanting to play with me while battling the flu? Yeah, not the best way to end the week.

Still, work to be done on the manuscript

But I persisted, and I did finish the first read-through, to see how many big “plot holes” I’d catch. I’ve been working on Martin’s story for almost a year. It’s no surprise that the story had a few glitches here and there. I think I’ve caught most of them and I’ve also identified a few areas where I need to work some more on the manuscript. But to be perfectly honest, I didn’t get all that much work done. I wrote a chapter Saturday morning, after a night where I got up countless times to gargle salt water (to keep my throat moistened.) Somehow, when your head and lungs are filled with mucus and your dripping from every crevice, you just don’t feel like doing much of anything.

Last year, when I began to work out regularly, I also started to write down what I ate. My calorie intake in these past days was minimal. I’m feeling better now, although my upper respiratory tract seems in for another loop (that is the norm for my colds, which can last up to two months at a time going in circles, from my nose, to my sinuses, my throat and to my lungs and back.) Friday was worst. I think I ate about 12% of what I usually eat. If you’ve ever had the flu you know what it’s like.

One thing’s for sure: from now on, I’ll inoculate. It’s just not worth it. I may not be in the risk groups that get the shot for free, but I’d rather pay than having to go through this again. It’s just insane. Now if only there were a cure for the common cold, now that would really be worth a few Nobel Prizes!

A title for the new novel

When I began work on Martin’s story, it was meant to be a short story, named after the main character. Alas, as that changed, I felt the title needed to fit the work better. That eluded me for the longest time. Finally, at the end of last week, I had this idea, and I wrote both a blurb (easier now that the story is written) and a title I like (and that my publisher approved of.) So without further a due, here it is, the title and blurb of my new novel:

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm

Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff. In his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life. Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for his love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love, and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.

My new novel is scheduled for release on May 21, 2018, from Beaten Track Publishing. I think we’ll have a cover reveal in April. I can’t wait for it. What do you think? Interested in reading it?

Finally…

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great week.

Hans

What I personally learned from the #MeToo debate #SexualHarassment #MondayBlogs

What I personally learned from the #MeToo debate #SexualHarassment #MondayBlogs

Even as a man, I’ve had plenty to learn from the #MeToo debate

***PLEASE NOTE – THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC PORTRAYALS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL IMAGERY***

The #MeToo debate’s awoken some old memories: I was twenty-four years old when I was raped. I never reported him. What would’ve been the use of it? Who would’ve believed a young faggot? Who would’ve cared? The police would’ve sent me away, laughing at me. AIDS fucker!  got what I deserved. It was on Ibiza, and it had been consensual at first. But my nos to certain things were ignored, and in the end, I was tossed on the street like a rag doll that no one wanted to play with anymore. I returned to my hotel, showered, cried myself to sleep and spent the next three months in agony until the test results from my first ever HIV test had come back. Color me lucky, at least with regards to that lethal disease, so many others back then were not.

This was me, back then. Young, naïve, innocent. My heart broke for these innocent kids in a home in Romania. I grew up fast, after that rape.

This was me, back then. Young, naïve, innocent. My heart broke for these innocent kids in a home in Romania. I grew up fast, after that rape.

The gay #MeToo experience

As a gay man, I have many experiences I share with my sisters, women everywhere. Men taking chances, not taking no for an answer, or reinterpreting it into a “maybe, if I just keep going”. In the gay dating scene, sex, in one shape or form, has always been pre-understood in most interactions, be it when you meet people in parks, clubs, public restrooms or in recent years, online. It’s no surprise, shunned by society, reduced to sex monsters, predators, we had no other alternative. It’s all we had, and even the most fleeting touch by a complete stranger was like making love to someone you’d been with for years. Rare moments, cherished. It has always been an extremely tight rope to walk, a fine line. Many men crossed the lines repeatedly over the years, but there was no alternative, there was no other story, nothing really that could’ve shown us there was “another way”.

HIV/AIDS changed things…

HIV changed things, in many ways. I’ve always had this nagging thought that the only reason why we are allowed to get married, or “partnered” is because the powers to be wanted us to live safe, monogamous lives, as boring as the rest of them, not because we were like them. No, but to keep us out of the parks. And things did change, for the better, for many of us. I’ve lived in a very happy and stable relationship for many years now. Alex and I celebrate our seventeenth anniversary this year. We’ve also always kept our relationship open to meeting others. That was never a secret between us, nor to the outside. Many don’t get that. That is fine. I don’t understand cheating.

But when you’re out there, meeting people, as fleetingly (and rarely, I might add) as I do, you also submit to the rules of the game, and for gay men, the rules include sex talk very early on in the conversation. No surprise, it’s why you meet. People are very straightforward with their wishes, their dislikes and what not. They will also ask you for very intimate details as early as the first message you exchange. It’s part of the game. I never thought otherwise, until this year.

#MeToo opened my eyes

I’ve always had a lot of respect for my sisters and the shit they had to endure at the hands of (straight) men, and I’ve often felt sad when I was thrown under the bus as a “man”, even though I’d never even look at a woman “that way”… But while I was an ally, unequivocally so, I never felt I had meat in the game. Until the discussions started last spring about unsolicited dick pics being sent to women by men they barely knew. I talked to some close friends about that and joked, that “dick pics” where the calling card of most gay men, and had been, for as long as online dating was a thing.

I’ve sent them, I’ve received them. However, I never sent them unsolicited, that just was never my cup of tea. But as I began to think about it, and the countless shlongs I had to look at over the years, I began to realize that what I really wanted, was to see a man’s face, his eyes. That is what I’m interested in, not his dick. Why? It’s not what I will talk to, not what I will remember (most likely.)

And I began to feel grossed out, really disgusted when I thought back to the days in the past when that was a common occurrence.

An example: even in business…

The latest dick pic I've received, pixellated to keep your eyes safe. I never asked for it, and the man who sent it was obviously already 'done'...

The latest dick pic I’ve received, pixellated to keep your eyes safe. I never asked for it, and the man who sent it was obviously already ‘done’. Not sure what he wanted from me. To work with him?

A little over a year ago, I was sitting on a ferry, on my way to town. Suddenly I get an alert on Messenger. I use Facebook for work, a lot, and I had met this person through my writing. “Met” is probably an exaggeration. He had sent a friend request. He works as a supplier to us writers and publishers, so I accepted, just as I accept all friend requests. Could be a reader, right? It was 10:28 am my time, and I was on my way to town when I get his message. I look at it and instantly cringe, because, well, this (see left) is what he sent (pixellated to avoid you the worst). But you get the gist, right?

I have never used Facebook for dating, my profile is very non-sexual in nature, G-rated I’d say, with the exception of a four-letter word every now and then. No idea what gave him the impression that I would be impressed by that photo, or that I’d want it in the first place? It was confusing and I told him as much. There was talk about doing more when we’d meet in person. I’ll grant you that I didn’t tell him to take a hike in strong enough words. I did tell him though that it had been unsuitable given my situation (I had people sitting all around me.)

A realization of sorts…

It wasn’t until later when I compared notes with my friends that I realized that I had been forced into a discussion with a potential supplier (!) that I had no intention of ever having in real life. And that is the very hallmark of sexual harassment, isn’t it? You suddenly find yourself in a situation that you have to deal with, a situation you didn’t ask for, a situation you can’t help and where getting out of it can be a challenge. Impossible even. Much later, I met him in real life. It was a very awkward situation, because he never looked at me, didn’t even acknowledge me. All I kept seeing was the above image. I pity the women who have to do this every day.

What can we do about it all?

Don’t get me wrong, #MeToo is primarily about women’s plight, and that is as it should be. Gay men share similar experiences at the hands of other men, men who can be as powerful or feel as entitled as their straight counterparts. There are even Lesbian women acting that way, emulating the “male” way of doing things, and having gotten away with it for far too long. I’m glad that we have this conversation these days. I’m glad that women in more and more places find the strength to say #NoMore, #NoLonger.

Now that I’ve found the strength to say no more myself, not to acquiesce that sort of behavior anymore, I can more actively help my sisters and speak up about the grave injustice this afflicts on millions and millions of women every day. I intend to keep doing that. I’ve said it, time and time again: there can be no LGBT equality without equality of the sexes. I, too, stand to win from this.

Have I been a saint through all this?

We need to do this for our children, girls, boys and others, to provide them with a better future, free of unwanted sexual attention or harassments.

We need to do this for our children, girls, boys, and others, to provide them with a better future, free of unwanted sexual attention or harassments. My son Sascha. Photo: private

Gods no. I wish. Have I made mistakes? Have I misbehaved? Probably. I don’t remember. I am sincere in this. There are no recollections in my memory. Normally, I remember my mistakes more than the good deeds, simply because the pain lingers. Had I fucked up so royally, I have a hunch I’d remember. Should anyone I’ve treated badly read this, here’s my sincere apology: I most certainly didn’t mean to. I shall not even try to explain it or excuse it. First of all, it’s impossible to explain that which you don’t remember, on the other hand, it’s of no use.

Where do we go from here?

We need to keep talking about this. It is a vicious circle, and only the victims can break it. This also means forgiving those who have wronged us. For several reasons. First of all, it strengthens us, it removes the stain of being a victim. There is far greater strength in forgiving than in hatred or revenge. Second of all, even the worst of offenders have been raised by men and women, and many have learned that it’s “okay” to behave that way, from both their fathers and their mothers. Men and women alike keep perpetrating these myths of a weak and a strong sex, of how a “proper man” and a “proper woman” must behave.

Forgive and teach others, help others how to be human, just human. But most importantly, to make sure we do not raise another generation of predators. The cycle must be broken now.

Finally…

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great week and don’t be shy, chime in, share your experiences. Be respectful.

Hans

 

5/21 is the release date for my new book and I’m already marketing it… #asmsg #amwriting #amreading

5/21 is the release date for my new book and I’m already marketing it… #asmsg #amwriting #amreading

Note the date: 5/21, the release date for my coming novel

Being a writer is often less about writing than about marketing, as I’ve shown in two recent posts, here and here. In fact, writing is – at least for me – where I spent the least amount of my writer’s time. I spend most of my time doing marketing and PR. Today is such a post, you can call it a pre-marketing post, and it’s about my coming novel, which got a release date yesterday: 5/21.

Marketing, marketing and more marketing…

Writing books is mostly about marketing them. As a newbie you may spend years just finding a publisher, talking to agents and being rejected again and again. But even once you’ve found a publisher, you need to sell your idea or at least your book to the publisher. They’re busy people and have tons of books to publish. If your publisher is as popular as mine, and you actively promote them among your friends in an industry where publisher after publisher closes down, well, you increase competition for yourself. So far, I’ve contributed with at least four authors to my publisher, directly or indirectly, adding more great voices. However, squeezing into the publication calendar becomes increasingly difficult. Yesterday, my new book to a first vital step to publication. A publication date! 5/21.

A tiny, but important step in the process

5/21: remember this date!

This is of course not the real cover. But remember the date: 5/21 is the release date for my coming novel

The fact that the book is released 5/21 is a tiny step, but it’s an important one. It decides a lot of other things, e.g. when you can start to pre-order (90 days ahead of time on Amazon), you can plan your marketing around that date, and it also gives you a deadline, as the entire publishing process is calculated backward from the publication date. How many weeks it takes to proof a book, to edit it, to typeset it, publish it. Based on the publication date, my publisher provides me with certain deadlines when things need to be done, including submitting the final raw manuscript.

On the other hand, I begin to plan for the release: newsletter articles, blog tours, contacting review sites, conventions etc. Once you have a date, you’ll know what conventions you’ll “miss” and which ones you’ll “make”, and you can plan their marketing accordingly. Sometimes that also involves advertising, and your newest book might very well be an “old” one since the new one isn’t out yet.

5/21 is the date for my new novel

I’m really excited about this date. Apart from being my late grandfather’s birthday, it’s the day when readers will get to meet Martin and the story I’m currently writing. I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. The story is still in a lot of flux, despite it being at 44K, and I don’t like to say things I may have to eat up later. LOL, I have a very good idea how the novel ends, but the beginning is yet to be written and I have a hunch I may have to do a lot of editing once the first raw draft is done. My research trip to Seoul is to blame, in the best possible way, of course.

I can tell you this though: Martin is an octogenarian, a Korean War veteran, and he returns to Korea, looking for the love of his life, a love he lost when he returned to America at the end of his tour of duty in 1955. It’s a story of love (lost), friendship, and aging. Hopefully, one that is worth reading, one you’ll take to heart. It doesn’t have a title yet, I’m still working on that. And I don’t have a cover yet.

Cover in April

This is the first cover that Natasha designed for me, still a favorite of mine.

This is the first cover that Natasha designed for me, still a favorite of mine.

Natasha Snow, my amazing cover artist, has a spot to work on the cover in April. Natasha is so busy that it’s been getting more and more difficult to get her time. I take a sliver of credit for that, given the amazing work she’s done on my books since 2014. So we get a late cover reveal, which is new. But that’s fine. I’ll just have to be creative in my marketing up to that point… The mock cover above is one example. 5/21, mark your calendars, and if you’re a reviewer, feel free to reach out to me, and I’d be happy to jog you down for an ARC.

Finally…

I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing creating a Patreon account, primarily to help me finance more audiobooks. The creation of a high-quality audiobook is very expensive and I just don’t have that amount of money to front. It scares the hell out of me to think about what I’d “offer” to patrons. Because you have to put the work you put into in relation to what you get in return… And most of us are busy as we are… What would you like to see in order to pay a small/medium/larger monthly fee?

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great weekend and don’t be shy.

Hans

#Authors and #Marketing: putting yourself out there, but how (much)? #ASMSG #amwriting

#Authors and #Marketing: putting yourself out there, but how (much)? #ASMSG #amwriting

Putting yourself out there for your writing success: can it ever be too much?

I think the answer to the above (from me) is pretty given: yes, there are limits to putting yourself out there! It can definitely be too much. But what is too much and in the eyes of whom? I have a business acquaintance who once tried to cover up a major online fuck-up of sorts by posting suggestive imagery of himself on Facebook, with all the necessary pleasure trails and a sheet just barely covering the – as my Indian friends would say – needful. Did it help him? I don’t know. It certainly felt panicky to me. Others have chosen different strategies (or tactics rather), and have disappeared for a while, or simply rolled over and apologized profusely.

But screwing up online is one thing (and sadly can lead to loads of attention, particularly in a small industry) and doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, despite the original fuck-up. Alas, most of us try to stay clear of screw-ups. We just go about our days and wonder silently: how much of putting yourself out there is necessary for fans to like you? We watch others who put out nudes (or almost nudes), tons of pictures of themselves and their loved ones. People who complain openly about their families and struggles, others talk openly about medical procedures, their struggles at their day jobs etc.

Strategy, what strategy?

My social media strategy (if I have one) is relatively straightforward. I use Twitter to share my blog posts (little else, although it seems the odd Facebook post gets tweeted, too) and those of my Triberr friends. I use Instagram as a mostly personal thing to share – what I consider – beautiful pictures. I also primarily follow accounts of nature/architecture shots. My Facebook is split into an author page (which no one really seems to see things from) and my personal profile, where WYSIWYG. I have *real* friends there, family, and of course my followers/readers/fans. I also have a tiny YouTube channel, although I haven’t posted anything in a while.

It’s primarily my Facebook I will focus on, here on in. Because of its personal nature, it’s where most of the putting yourself out there happens as it is. I find it a difficult balance to strike. I don’t want to censor myself or deprive my friends and family of important moments. I also don’t want to censor myself for my political beliefs and convictions, despite the current climate. My writing is very political, me being who I am is highly political, it speaks to my core to be vocal about my convictions, so that’s rather important.

Putting yourself OUT there…

It gets more complex with regards to my family: “do I share this picture of my son or not?” Trust me, there are so many pictures I’ve NOT shared because of this thought process. Now you’ll say “but you can define your privacy settings” and “who gets to see what”. The problem with this (I find) is that you have to think about this, every time you post. And I have a policy of “what’s on the Internet is public” and rarely share stuff to just a circle of people. I did when our son was a newborn and I’ve found it doesn’t help. People will share anyway. Instead, I use specific, separate channels for some family concerned things (primarily because not all of my family is on Facebook.)

Here’s the other side of the medal: does it help you to share pictures of you in your doctor’s office? Kissing your partner? Posting half-naked pictures of yourself in all kinds of settings? I understand that loads of celebrities make millions just doing that (famous Hollywood Armenians for instance) and that vloggers thrive on that sort of stuff. I’m just not sure it is a road I even wish to entertain. Authentic is better, as well as being “me” as much as I possibly can. Having worked in what they call “corporate America” for a very long time, I kind of grew tired of having to check my person at the door. To become this corporate drone, void of emotion and convictions, spewing corporate speak all day. It’s the one thing I always despised in the corporate world.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the need for some of it, consistent communication etc. If you’ve just learned that e.g. (I’ve seen this IRL) the love of your life divorces you, you don’t need your manager to tell you to check your emotions at the door. Not THAT day. Maybe tomorrow, but that day, you need to be a hot mess. But that’s just me.

Finally…

I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing creating a Patreon account, primarily to help me finance more audiobooks. The creation of a high-quality audiobook is very expensive and I just don’t have that amount of money to front. It scares the hell out of me to think about what I’d “offer” to patrons. Because you have to put the work you put into in relation to what you get in return. . And most of us are busy as we are…

What’s your take? As authors? As readers? How do you draw the line? Is there a limit to putting yourself out there? I really look forward to your comments… If you DO follow me on social media, what’s your take on my approach? Too little? Too much? A tad personal? Not enough?

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great week and don’t be shy.

Hans

Authors and #Book #marketing in 2018: does @Bookbub still work? #ASMSG

Authors and #Book #marketing in 2018: does @Bookbub still work? #ASMSG

My second Bookbub experience: what’s new, what’s different?

A couple of years ago, I did my first Bookbub. My publisher and I did a weeklong giveaway of The Opera House. In hindsight, I’m still amazed that we got that thing in because actually ‘getting’ one of your books included in a coveted Bookbub newsletter is like winning the lottery: almost impossible. I’ve tried at least a dozen times since but never had any success. Part of the problem (I think) is that the Bookbub LGBT category is almost exclusively Romance, and yeah, my books, not so much. This time, I tried something else: a ninety-nine cent deal on my most recent novel in the literary fiction category.

First, let’s look at the results…

I didn’t expect it to get accepted and was pleasantly surprised when I won a runner-up prize of sorts: all countries except the U.S. Okay, I can roll with this. On Tuesday, it was time, and here’s what happened:

Bookbub results

Canada

Bookbub results

UK

Bookbub results

Australia

Theoretically, this qualifies me as a “bestselling author”, but yeah, who wants to add the caveat “for as long as it lasted in the tiny obscure category/country where you actually made it”, because by now, the book has slipped again in these highly coveted charts. It’s still too soon to see any long-term result because this is what you really want to see:

  • pick-up in sales of other titles over time
  • lasting sales increase on back-list

At this point, I can easily say this: I’ve barely broken even. For now. We don’t really know what the long-term impact is going to be. As an author who can’t live off of his writing, you need to find satisfaction elsewhere, and this image is one I’ll treasure for a long time:

Bookbub results.

The landing page of Amazon Canada, where, for a few hours, my book outsold the of the world’s most talked about book by Michael Wolff…

To see your book on Amazon’s first page? Priceless. Even if it’s only in Canada, eh? LOL I was really curious as to how many books it takes to land yourself there. Keep in mind that this is the Canadian Amazon page (.ca), not the .com one, the one that “really” matters. And yeah, Canadians don’t seem to read much: for less than two hundred copies a day, you end up where Disease ended up! Surprised? I was…

Is it worth it?

So how many books did I move? About five-hundred at this stage, and at 35 cents royalty, I’ve broken even, so I have to be satisfied. When we did the first Bookbub, for free, we moved over 13,000 copies. However, that was a global deal, and for free. I have a hunch that people mostly download all those free books never to really read them. It’s impossible to compare the two campaigns, no matter how much I’d want to.

Amazon provides us authors with interesting “statistical” tools, and I’m not ashamed to share my meager results with you. If you’re a budding author, this might just explain how difficult it is to make a living as a writer:

Bookbub effect

My author rank in the past weeks. Yes, the Bookbub makes a difference, but it’s not a lasting effect.

Bookbub blast results

The price reduction has given the book a significant bump in sales, even on the .com site, which was NOT included in the BookBub blast. Let’s see how long it lasts… As a comment, a few sold copies a day means millions of places on the bestseller list.

How to interpret all those numbers

Let me just add a word about the author rank. Back in the late summer of 2015, I hovered in a spot around 16K, but even then, there weren’t nearly enough sales to pay any bills. I have a hunch that only the top two- to three thousand authors on Amazon make a living. The rest of us, millions, do not. Take this for what it is, but if you dream of making millions with your debut book, consider this your wake-up call. LOL

Most of us are interested in long-term results, not quick fixes. At this stage, I can’t provide those. But if you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll try and write a follow-up in a few months. For now, the most burning question might be this one: was it worth it? Does Bookbub still work? Given what I and others experience, I’d say yes, even more so, if you get one in for a series. I wouldn’t do another free one because it did little to nothing for my sales. I did get a few extra reviews, but not much else. If you haven’t bought Disease yet, the discount lapses on Sunday, so get your copy today! 😉 Have you done a Bookbub? What are your experiences? I just noticed that Amazon offers a similar tool, called Kindle Daily Deals, but I can’t find any links on how to work with them (no matter how much I google…) If you have any information, feel free to comment below.

Finally…

As always, if you like my blog, my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading. Interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a great weekend and don’t be shy. Your experiences and comments are most welcome.

Hans