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Monday, February 5, 2018

Progress Report

The last few months have been filled with a lot of heartbreak and loss. I released two great books that died on arrival.

After a major advertising blitz on YouTube and social media, I released The Legendary Mad Matilda. This was a book some readers asked me to write, a book that filled in many of the gaps of the story between Spellbound and Spinsterella. A book that I dedicated to the memory of my late father.

A book that has only sold three copies so far. Compared to Spellbound’s strong sales last year and Spinsterella’s over 1000 sales on Smashwords, Legendary Mad Matilda was a major disappointment.

I thought Legendary would do better in sales than it did with major audience support and the miracle God worked out for me to pay Mike Williams to get the cover on the book. Mike did an amazing job on that cover, and I got positive feedback on the sample chapters.

Unfortunately there were few buyers. In spite of the setback on Legendary Mad Matilda, I did get some sales on the other two books in the Spinsterella Trilogy, Spinsterella and Spellbound. So maybe people just want to get caught up before picking up the third book.

Looking at the stats on Smashwords, Spellbound seems to have a following in Australia and Canada, perhaps the Goth community abroad likes the story of Matilda Crowley’s babybat days.

I’d love to do more Black Goth fiction. But I need to see the sales before I write another book. I’ve got ideas for a couple of Black Goth stories and I’d love to write them. But after spending six months writing Legendary and seeing it die at retail I’m hesitant to put fingers to the keyboard and take six months of my life writing and editing it. I put a lot into that book and it hurts to watch another great story die due to poor sales.

In November I released E’steem: Ascension, a powerful story that concluded the first overreaching arc in the E’steem series. Thanks to a donation by a YouTuber, I was able to pay Bill Walko to design the cover for another major event in the SJS DIRECT Universe.

That book also struggled to get readers in paperback and Kindle. In spite of another heavy ad campaign on YouTube there weren’t that many readers for the book.

Sadly this happens all the time in the publishing business. Good books wind up getting no sales in spite of a publisher’s best promotional efforts. Sometimes they bounce back like Why 70 Percent of Black Women are Single and find an audience. Or they struggle for years like Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess, another great story many readers missed. Time will only tell how Legendary Mad Matilda and E’steem Ascension perform. I’m just gonna put a period on things and move on to next year’s books.

To my surprise I had several foreign sales on Isis and E’steem series backlist books. People in countries like the UK, Denmark, Mexico, and New Zealand picked up Isis and E’steem series books on Smashwords. Isis and E’steem do well outside of the U.S and does well with nonblack audiences. So that proves to me that there’s a growing foreign audience for Black characters outside of the US.   

And I picked up a Thetas sale.

There’s been a major resurgence in interest in John Haynes. I had several sales of The Temptation of John Haynes and The Man Who Rules TheWorld over the last few months, and I had a YouTube viewer send me a letter telling me how much he liked Isis: Bride of Dracula after he bought it.

Every time I post up a John Haynes blog it gets lots of hits. Currently I’m working on the first stories in a John Haynes series. The first story A Conversation With Death is finished and I’m working on Taking Care of Business and Dark Succubus.

Until those stories get released, readers can catch John’s appearance in the upcoming Isis: Escape From Transylvania. The only thing holding that book up is the cover. I’m hoping to find a way to pay for it so I can get it out for the summer reading season. This one reads like a movie, and is one of the most action packed Isis series stories so far!

John will also be featured in the upcoming E’steem: The Sands of Time as well. So if you want to read about John Haynes these are the books to pick up!

On the SJS DIRECT Universe front I’ve got several Isis stories finished that are waiting for release.

Isis: Escape From Transylvania is uploaded on CreateSpace and Kindle,

Isis: Imitation of Life has been uploaded to CreateSpace and Kindle for over two years now,

Isis: House of Isis is uploaded to CreateSpace and the eBook is formatted for Kindle, 

E’steem Goddess of? Is Uploaded to CreateSpace and the eBook is formatted for Kindle,

Isis: All That Glitters is Uploaded to CreateSpace,

John Haynes: A Conversation With Death is formatted and nearly ready for release,

 And E’steem: The Sands of Time is past the second draft.  That’s a book I really want to get to the market sooner rather than later. With action, adventure and romance set in Ancient Egypt I think this one would be a big hit with readers.

I’m hoping to get some titles out this year. If worse comes to worse, I’ll release something with a Blackout cover like Little Girl Lost. While my funds are still limited I want to publish something this year.

On the nonfiction side STOP SIMPIN in the Workplace has sold strongly in eBook and the paperback versions of both STOP SIMPIN and STOP SIMPIN in the workplace sold very well. To my surprise The Simp Series has consistently performed well throughout the year in the U.S. and foreign markets. People have bought STOP SIMPIN in The UK, Germany, India, Mexico and Canada, Chile, and STOP SIMPIN counts for a good chunk of the eBook sales I get.

To my surprise I got some sales of Why 70 Percent of Blackwomen are Single in Switzerland of all places. Who knew the Swiss wanted to know why American Black women were single?

My YouTube Channel passed the 5,000 subscriber mark in January. After four years I think I’m building a web presence with Men, comic fans, Sci-Fi fans, fantasy fans, and Goths online. Many of my videos are breaking 1,000 views these days and some have broken 2,000. That’s come a long way from my early days when I had videos that barely got only 100 views. I’m working towards the 10K mark and I hope I can meet that goal this year!

And the blog passed its two millionth hit! After ten years, my audience is still growing. Recent blogs I did roasting Marvel’s Inhumans and Reviewing Dan Mendoza’s Zombie Tramp got a record 600 views in one day!

Sadly, my 2011 Macbook Pro is starting to show its age. The headphone jack broke in December, and I had the SuperDrive break this month. Lucky for me I have A+ Certification. After buying a refurbished SuperDrive on eBay for $10, I managed to replace it in 45 minutes. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do with the headphone jack. That’s soldered to the logic board and that costs more than the computer is probably worth to fix. So for now I’m using a Turtle Beach USB stick I used to use with my Latitude when that headphone jack broke. Hoping I can find some work soon so I can buy a new one because this is the laptop I make my videos and write my books on.

I had some setbacks in late 2017 and In spite of them I’m still trying to make progress. Working hard to get out this year’s books and working on next year’s. Building a YouTube Channel and a blog. I’ve got a lot of great stories I want to share with readers, and I want to expand my audience to reach more new readers. Still don’t have that full time job, but I’m still working towards the next level.

1 comment:

  1. Congrat Shawn,

    Remember,the key is to enjoy the journey and keep putting out the work while fine tuning what your audiences seems to like.

    No guarantees.....but you will hit sooner or later