The Corvette 3 manuscript is being scrutinized by Beta Readers at the moment, so I have some time to prep the starship models I built for the cover shoot. This began by using canned air to blow the dust off of both the pirate ship and the new corvette. More time was taken on the Kootenai to ensure dust and hairs were removed as it would probably be in the foreground. I had to glue a piece back on that the air can blew off, but other than that, they were good to go.
I still don’t have an exact idea how the ships will be positioned on the cover. I’ll try and replicate a scene from the novella and make it look visually interesting. But the end cover will come alive after a decent Photoshop session from Byron, my cover artist. The color scheme will include mostly blues and oranges. No more black and white covers like Corvette 2.
The title will be orange and the nebula and twin black holes in the background will be blue. I’m going to rely on Byron to make all that. I think the end product will be engaging and fit with the previous covers of the series. Since this is a trilogy and the next books will be called Destroyer, I’ll probably combine three novellas into a single book and charge $1.99 for it. That cover might be just a collage of the other covers.
The ebook should be out at the start of this summer with the paperback version probably coming out in the fall.
Eight months after my Corvette novella launched, I’m releasing the sequel – Seer of the Black Star. That’s the fastest turn around for a book I’ve ever managed and it happened for one reason only. Corvette got fans! The little novella about the littlest ship in the Fleet took off and became a best seller in it’s first month. I’ve sold 7,268 copies so far this year and what’s better than that? It’s lit a fire on my back list and led to eleven thousand sales total on the year so far. Not too shabby.
The best way to ensure I write a sequel is to buy my books, not just one, but all of them. Fans have done just that and this book is their reward. If you enjoyed Corvette and then went on to read a few of my other books, I thank you! This book’s for you!
Seer is the second book of a planned trilogy and I’m writing the next book as I launch this one. With any luck, book 3 will be out next Spring and the trilogy will be complete. If sales continue to climb for this series, I can assure you there will be more. I have another trilogy planned with Vance and his crew that will be called Destroyer. In the meantime, I’m back to the Star Saga next year, writing Book 5, XiniX.
Busy weekend. I’ve uploaded a stub for the next Corvette book and it’s now up for Pre-Sale on Amazon. So far, five eager readers have ordered it. Many thanks! It’s already done better in pre-sale than three of my back list books! The actual release date is this coming Tuesday, 14 November 2017. So it won’t have but a long weekend to gather pre-sales.
In preparation for the release I’ve also spent some time updating this website with a new page for the book and adding it to the front page. The cover I’m using is not quite final yet but it’s close enough. We’re going to add that it’s book 2 of the Corvette Trilogy and then alter the old book 1 cover to match. Details, details.
In the meantime, I’m still pounding on the Corvette 3 first draft. I’ve realized that I might actually need an outline for this one and so will take some time to organize it before continuing on. I have plans to do another trilogy following the career of Armon Vance, so I have to make sure the final Corvette book sets up the story arch for that trilogy. If it gets written, and that depends on sales and sales alone, that series will be called the Destroyer Trilogy. I think you can guess he’ll be captaining a destroyer starship.
Next year will be dominated by finishing the third Corvette book and working on the fifth Star Saga novel – XiniX. Can’t wait to get back to those characters again and see what the Silicants have been up to for the past five hundred years. Sometime in the next two months I will do a post on how my book sales have done this year. Thanks to the first Corvette novella, it’s been a pretty damn good year.
I’ve been pretty scarce around here and on my mailing list for the past month or two and for that I apologize. I have a fairly decent excuse – been nose to the grindstone on Corvette 2. The ebook is finished and proofed and it’s now awaiting cover art. This one is proving to be difficult to create a cover for. The ships are long and narrow and the cover is vertical so that limits how much of the ship we can show and how to place it in the frame. I’m not really sure we have it figured out yet, but we’re trying. Provided we get something decent, the ebook should be out this month.
I’ll be getting back to the first draft of Corvette 3 next week, as I await a final cover for Corvette 2. There will be just three books in the Corvette trilogy. If fans clamor for more, I’m prepared to do another three books after that. But in the meantime, I need to do a short story or two in preparation for working on XiniX, Book 5 of the Star Saga. That novel will be my primary focus for 2018. So next year you’ll get Corvette 3 in the Spring and possibly a few short stories and then perhaps XiniX by Christmas.
I have all the models I need for the next couple of books, so for 2018 my modeling hobby will focus on WWII aircraft.
Corvette 2 is in the hands of beta readers and hopefully, by the end of the week will be in final edits. At that time I’ll format the paperback and ebook. In the meantime, the models used for the cover are being photographed. Here are some shots from the first attempt by me to capture the Black Star and the Weippe.
The above shots were taken with my phone while I waited fro the sun to clear clouds. Meanwhile, the shots I took during the clouds are probably more interesting to look at. Glad I have a few of both. I played for a little over an hour with ship and camera positioning. Hopefully my brother can use something to create a dynamic cover.
Above is an example of one of the shots we may use taken with the good camera. The models are the same scale, 1/350, so you can see the size disparity between them.
I’m still aiming for a Halloween-ish release date, fingers crossed.
Fans of the Corvette novella will be pleased to know that the first draft is complete and in the hands of a few select beta readers. A second draft or pass at the manuscript will occur after I get some comments from the betas. Then it’s off to the editor and copy editor and finally, it will get released. When will that last part happen, you ask? Probably in late October.
In the meantime, I’ve already started writing book 3 and the final Corvette novella. If I finish it before winter you can look for that one to be released late winter or early next year. By that time I will be well engaged in writing Book 5 of the Star Saga – XiniX.
The only book on the schedule for next year is XiniX but that could change. If the Corvette trilogy continues to sell well and the demand is there, I could do the first book of a second trilogy in that series probably called Destroyer. As you can guess, Captain Vance progresses to a bigger ship in that trilogy.
Corvette sales have slumped in the last month but sales of the other Star Saga books are steady as new fans make their way through the back list. I average about two thousand US dollars per month which is not too shabby for no advertising and no big publisher backing. Last month I did a reading at one of my local libraries and enjoyed hearing what other local writers were doing and meeting them to talk shop.
On the modeling side of the house or more appropriately the garage, I’m trying to finish detailing the Black Star pirate ship for the Corvette 2 and 3 covers. Another week or so of fiddling with greeblies and then I can get her primer coat applied. From there it’s a base coat of flat black and then a bit of weathering and battle damage to finish her off.
I have drawn up plans for a second corvette model, this one a bit newer in design that will be featured on the third Corvette book cover. I probably won’t light it and will knock it out as soon as the pirate ship is finished and photographed.
LIFE IN GENERAL
Summer is another scorcher here in Idaho and now the area forest fires are making the air hard to breathe. It’s my least favorite time of year in the western US. The temperatures are hovering in the high nineties and hundreds Fahrenheit. Which means I have to do my model building in the mornings and writing in the afternoons when I’m confined to the air conditioning.
We did a short family vacation last week in McCall Idaho and had a blast. Hiking, boating and canoeing were some of the fun things we did in the local resort community.
Hope you summer is going well and I’ll check in again when I have some updates.
Corvette – Seer of the Black Star is progressing this week. I’m currently in the middle of chapter 3 as the above image shows. That white paperback is the plain cover ARC of Corvette that I use for reference. The computer is new, a System76 Galago Pro for fans of Linux.
She may not look like much, but she’s going to eventually be the Black Star pirate starship. Right now it’s little more than a mount point and some HP computer scrap. Going to be pretty cool though, stay tuned. Eventually this will grace the cover of the book I’m currently writing. I keep a photo bucket on my model builds, so if you like to follow such craftiness, please check in as you can to follow my progress.
Yours truly after a lunchtime writing sprint this week. I listen to play lists on Spotify while I write. Currently the list I’m using is called Corvette 2. If you enjoy pirate music give it a spin. Some songs in the list are not safe for work, wear headphones.
What you see above, is the end of chapter two of the next Corvette novel. Being written on a shiny new System76 laptop purchased with money I earned from selling the first Corvette novella. You gotta love that. I’m writing two more Corvette books this year to satisfy the demands of readers. That’s a perfect storm for a writer. Having fans that buy your novels and want more, ASAP.
The first sequel is called, Corvette – Seer of the Black Star and will take place about a year after Corvette. Then I will write another one called, Corvette – Pirate’s Lair. As you can guess by those titles, the crew of the Weippe are back to escorting transports and defending them from shipping pirates.
In the meantime, later this summer I’ll be releasing another Star Saga book, K’nat Trap. So be on the lookout for that one. If you follow me on Twitter, GooglePlus or FB, you will probably get regular pictures like the one above as I write. Hey, I see you enlarging that image to read the page. I’m careful not to show any spoilers for those who do that. ;-)
The success of my novella, Corvette has caused me to alter my writing plans this summer and possibly this fall. The book was a hit and it has sold quite well for a month and a half now. Sales numbers are finally coming down now for that book but people are taking a chance on my Star Saga as a result. This was the whole point of writing Corvette, to act as a gateway to the already established universe. As anyone who has read Corvette knows, it is set up beautifully for sequels. I only had a vague idea of where to take the crew next at the time I wrote Corvette, last year. I really wanted people to just read Starforgers and work their way through the Star Saga series.
But many readers have expressed enthusiasm for more adventures of the crew of the Weippe, so I’ve had to consider doing more books and what that would entail. After a some thought I have settled on simply referring to them as Corvette books and instead of numbering them, just give them subtitles as I write them. This way I could make a trilogy by writing two more and then if there is still sufficient interest, I could back fill with adventures in between those books and all I’d have to do is note the read order. This is pretty flexible and lets me space out the next two books over two or more years. The biggest reason for doing that is to follow the career of Captain Vance.
So my challenge now is to crank out two more Corvette books before the end of this year and then get back to the Star Saga next year by writing XiniX, Book Five of the Star Saga. I was going to write a Mystery novel this summer as my pen name of Johnny Batch. I still very much want to write that novel, but the sad fact is that there is no market for it. The first Mystery novel, Null Pointer is not selling at all right now. The only way that series could take off is to write another five books using the same amateur detective character. I actually do have a six book arc for that series, I just don’t have the time to write them. I have a day job and a family and other hobbies to attend to. So time is pretty limited for writing. If it were my full time job to write novels I could be gainfully employed for the rest of my life. But unless my writing takes off much better than it has, I need to keep the day job.
I was approached by a audio book publisher in regards to producing Corvette but because the book was so short they decided not to produce it. Audio books prefer longer titles that give the listeners plenty of value for their dollars. They didn’t feel the Star Saga was popular enough to warrant producing at this time so no deal was offered. If I manage to finish two more Corvette novels and they continue to bounce up the charts, I’m sure they would be interested at that point. Which is a big motivation for doing a few more Corvette titles. Besides, they are damn fun to write.
We’re at the month mark after the release of my novel, Corvette. The book debuted on 21 March but didn’t really take off until April. What I’ll be looking at today are April’s numbers.
This chart is from my KDP dashboard and shows the sales of just Corvette. Getting to 50 on the third day was key to kickstarting the whole climb. After that it was the jump to just under 100 that put me on some Best Seller lists and from then on the climb was pretty steady. Getting over the 100 a day peak resulted in a big boost in sales that lasted until the 150 a day period which is still off and on until the end of the month.
The blue line graph is how many page reads the book is getting in the Kindle Select program. Much of the time I make more money off of those page reads than I do by actually selling a copy of the ebook. Amazon pays you for a “sale” after a reader completes 60% of your book. This is why it’s essential for your book to be in Kindle Select.
This chart shows how Corvette’s sales are boosting the sales of my other Star Saga books. About two weeks into the month I slid three more of my lower priced books into Kindle Select to boost readers. It’s only just starting to help towards the end of April. This means I had to take the books off sale at Kobo and Nook but that was not a problem since sales on those platforms were non-existent.
I decided to pay for a better graphing tool for my Amazon numbers and here is a late April screenshot of sales using Book Report.
I like this tool because it has graphs and a pie chart and book covers with links to the books. Laying the Kindle Select reads on top of the sales numbers really shows you how they correlate. Select are in blue and sales royalties are in red. I told you being in Select pays!
Also of note here is the widening slice of pie that is Book One of my Star Saga – Starforgers. The thing I want to see is if all those Corvette readers start making their way through the series. This should drive sales more and more as Corvette fades from the bestseller lists.
Here is a breakdown of the earning per book for April. Keep in mind that Devon’s Blade, Ocherva and Blood Empress have only been in Select for a few weeks. Their numbers should grow next month.
This is a fun graph from Amazon’s back end that shows my Author Ranking which is a Beta program that compares your sales to others in your genre. It changes hourly. I like it because it shows the rise from obscurity to hit in one month.
The last time my sales took off like this I only had one book out and the whole thing folded in about two months. Now that I have close to a dozen books in the same universe, it will be interesting to see if I can gain a following. Once again, spending a decade writing as many novels might finally bear some fruit.