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Monday, September 21, 2015

Progress Report

Summer 2015 has been a busy one for me on the publishing side. While I’ve been publishing and promoting titles for the summer reading season, I’ve also been doing final revisions for books like Spinsterella for Fall 2015 and writing books like John Haynes: The Man Who Rules The World and Isis: Imitation of Life for Summer 2016. Still trying to make progress.

Thanks to donors I was able to get the Isis/E'steem Kickstarter launched for the Isis/E’steem Crossover this April. And the covers produced by Hero Busine$$ artist Bill Walko really were just AWESOME! Both covers were strong and got a lot of attention from new readrs and helped to give them that strong first impression.

Thanks in part to those great covers, The Isis/E’steem Crossover featuring Isis: Night of the Vampires and E’steem Undercover did a lot better sales wise in the eBook market than last year’s Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess which struggled to find an audience last summer.

After reading Isis: Night of the Vampires and E’steem: Undercover readers have been coming back for other titles in the Isis series. And a few have been coming back for The Temptation of John Haynes and the original Isis. So the crossover has been very successful in getting readers to search the backlist for titles and learn more about the SJS DIRECT Universe.

Isis: Imitation of Life is coming along. This Fantasy Flashback story set in 1937 has been a challenge to write. I’m doing my best to pay homage to the classic 1934 movie Imitiation of Life, and the pulp fiction like Doc Savage that were the precursors to comic books and superheroes in this story all while trying to make the details of 1930s Black life fit into a fantasy story. Getting near the end of the first draft of this one, but it’s so rough I’m not going to really set a release date for it. It needs a lot of work until I believe it’s ready for publication. I’m really passionate about this one because its one where I get to teach Black history and present our past from a Black perspective.

Because I struggled with Isis: Imitaiton of Life I had to make a change to my plans. My original plan was to start the story after Isis: Night of the Vampires and segue into the flashback story set in 1937, but now I’m gonna write it as a standalone like Isis: Death of a Theta. I’d love to do another Golden Age/Pulp type story set in the 1930s or 1940s with Isis and her Terrific Three, taking on mobsters or but I’d need to see a positive response sales wise to this one.

Thanks to that readjustment there may be two Isis series books next year along with the E’steem series book I planned and John Haynes: The Man Who Rules the World. I still need to finish this John Haynes arc that started in Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess with a conclusion and I’m pondering bringing in a new punk styled villain to finish it up.

The Second Edition of Stop Simpin-Why Men Don’t Need Finance to Get Romance also performed exceptionally well on Smashwords and Kindle this Summer. I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses to the Second Edition of Stop Simpin all over the world, and men and women are learning why boys and men shouldn’t be submissive to women.

Thanks to the launch of the second edition of Stop Simpin people are coming back for the other books in the Simp Trilogy as well such as Manginas- They Think Like Men but Act Like Ladies and The Misadventures of Captain-Save-A-Hoe.

To my surprise people are now starting to find Why 70 Percent of Black women are Single. This was a book that I thought was dead due to poor sales in 2014. But the eBook has started to find some traction a year later.

While my men’s issues eBooks are finding an audience I’m surprised to see both men and women are finding the titles and both men and women are enjoying them.

The Atonement by Lawrence Cherry did exceptionally well this year on its launch. This sequel to his Commemcement not only got sales but led to sales of other titiles in the series such as School of Hard Knocks: The Re-education of Jim Reid and the original Commencement.

After a two-year slump I actually had some paperback sales this year. Books like All About Marilyn and The Temptation of John Haynes got some sales. I’m pondering a relaunch of the Cassandra Cookbook as A Recipe For $ucce$$ in Paperback and possibly launching a Why 70 Percent of Black Women are Single Paperback for next year.

I’ve been experimenting with other promotional areas. This year I did several commercials for books on YouTube and teased Spinsterella on there as well. I’ve been using my YouTube channel to let readers know there’s a person behind the paperbacks and I’ve been building an audience there.

Most of my summer was spent promoting old titles, writing new titles and editing on my sixth novel Spinsterella. This one is a sexy spooky romantic comedy featuring a Goth heroine. I spent over a year researching Goths and the Goth subculture to write this one and I’m so hoping I got this one right because I don’t want to offend any Goths out there. I love the Goth subculture and I want to make every effort to present it in a positive and humanized light.

Spinsterella’s going to be the first R-Rated novel I’ve produced since The Cassandra Cookbok in 2008. So there’s going to be nudity, strong language, and steamy sex scenes. Just want to give readers who are used to PG and PG-13 books like I produce in the Isis series a heads up if they’re not used to that kind of content. I had planned to launch this one for Christmas, but I found out that the big Goth Holiday is Halloween. So Spinsterella’s release is going to be October 31.

In August I got a breakthrough on The Temptation of John Haynes sequel John Haynes: The Man Who Rules The World. I had been planning this book since 2010 and could not get any traction. But I got inspired and wrote the entire book in a week!  With the first draft complete I’m planning to launch it in summer of 2016 if I can get the Kickstarter for it funded.

For next year’s Kickstarter, I’m planning on doing something different. I’m contacting comic artists and I’m hoping I can secure someone to design the covers before I launch the project. I believe with an artist attached to the Kickstarter and cross-promotion between us I’ll be able to get more donors and meet the benchmark earlier. If that’s possible I can see about adding some other extras or benchmark rewards such as eBooks, sketches, or an exclusive story. I’m just waiting to hear back from the artist I contacted so I can factor their price into the overall cost of the project.

I want comic artist covers like those on the last two Isis series books to be the standard for my fantasy novels on the regular. And until I can find a day job to pay for them myself the only way I can pay for them is through crowdfunding. So every dollar that’s donated to the Kickstarters or though PayPal is critical.  

Made a little progress this summer in my struggles. Still working hard to get more people to know about the SJS DIRECT imprint and the books I produce. Taking more steps to the next level.

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