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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Progress Report

Half the year is over and it’s time for a progress report.

The Temptation of John Haynes debuted to some of the best reviews of my career. Along with those strong reviews, it’s gotten pretty decent sales in print. Not Marilyn sales numbers, but it’s doing about as well as Isis did when it first came out. Strangely, it’s sold more copies as an eBook than as a paperback.

On another note, the cross-continuity I used in Temptation seems to have been a success as well. I think Isis saw a sale as a result of it.

All About Marilyn has a price cut this summer to spur some interest among the beach readers. Currently, it’s down to $12.80 at all online retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Marilyn is a great book and I want to get more people reading it.

The Cassandra Cookbook... Three years in print with no sales and, no interest. It’s official, Cassandra is a flop. :( It’s unfortunate because that book meant a lot to me; writing it uplifted my spirits during one of the darkest times of my life. I hated to see it do so poorly in the marketplace. But African-American readers don’t seem to like quirky whimsical stories. Time to take it out of print and move on.

To mark the end of The Cassandra Cookbook in print I’m offering it as an August Free eBook on Smashwords with a new generic cover. It’ll also be revised to be free of the word “digress” that annoyed so many readers and I’ll try to fix some of the grammatical and spelling errors people complained about.

To coincide with the free Cassandra Cookbook swan song eBook there will be an Easter Egg blog.

To my surprise the free YA e-book exclusives have been a tremendous success. People asked for YA books at the Harlem Book fair last year and it seems like readers are responding to my YA offerings. Ebooks like The Sneakers, Trial of the Goddess and All About Nikki actually have more readers than my print books! Both currently have more likes on Facebook than my print titles!

A strong positive of the YA eBook campaign is that people are buying books. I’ve had 10 eBook sales in June at the various eBook retailers. Those are some of the best sales I’ve had in my career.

Another strong positive of the YA campaign is that people who read one eBook actually come back and download the others. Others buy the books for their Nooks and Kindles. I’m really glad to see my YA campaign is getting people reading. I’m just hoping that it’s reaching tweens and teens; I made them free to get younger brothers and sisters reading. Literacy in the African-American community is so poor these days; I feel everything we can do to encourage reading will make a difference.

The success of the All About Nikki sneak preview eBook has really encouraged me. I delayed production of the print version of Nikki for fear the book wouldn’t find an audience, but the response to the three-episode sneak preview makes me think that the thirteen-episode full season paperback will have no problem getting readers.

The paperback version of All About Nikki-The Fabulous First Season will be out soon; I’m shooting for a September or November release. I’m working out the final bugs with page layouts. The final book will be like a DVD boxset with pages. It’ll feature 13 episodes plus bonus material at a price competitive with most DVD boxsets.

I did a few commissions for other authors. A print project for an upcoming author and page layout work on a pair of eBooks for a national bestselling author. The work went with the national bestselling author’s books went smoothly, but I had to be very patient working with a new author; they wanted to do things that would have left a poor first impression on readers. I did my best to make sure that the finished final product was top quality and met industry standards.

I’m still trying to get them to understand how the publishing game works, and that an author needs a plan when they’re promoting a book. Readers not only need to know why the author wrote the book but also what they’re going to get out of reading the story.

So far I’ve met a couple of the goals I’ve set for 2011. These include:

Publishing more than one title. I’ve published multiple titles in eBook and paperback over the course of the first six months of the year.

Increased sales. The eBook campaign has led to more readers buying and trying my titles. I’m hoping long-term it helps towards me building an audience.

Expanded the formats my titles are in. With the exception of The Cassandra Cookbook, all my titles are now in paperback and eBook formats.

Expanded my audience. All About Nikki and many of my eBooks actually have found an audience in foreign markets. With the All About Nikki sneak preview, I’ve gotten sales in the UK, Germany and Australia for the first time since 2004.

From the way the YA eBook campaign is going I’m thinking the readers are enjoying the titles. The All About Nikki sneak preview on Smashwords got 15 likes on Facebook and The Sneakers got 7 likes there.

I’m working towards improving quality control on my titles and I’m trying to expand my public presence. Also starting a new project. It’s rough, something to get me warmed up and work out the kinks. I haven’t done a new fiction piece in a year, So I’m not expecting to do a great job first time out.

Looking at the list of goals for 2011 I’m pleased to see I’ve achieved a lot of what I planned to do. I’m hoping that I’m able to build on this momentum for the rest of the year. Now if I can only get a few more paperback sales…

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