On Tuesday, almost two years on since I released Idle Threats, I launched my third novel, Life In The Balance.
More accurately, I released it over a week ago but chose not to tell anybody. This may appear to be counterintuitive. Why wasn’t I shouting it from the rooftops?
The answer is simple, I wanted to take my time and I have done this throughout the creative process. The exception was probably writing the first draft where I gave myself strict daily targets but everything else from the initial outline, to designing the cover to the actual announcement of the launch was done with a little more caution than I have used in the past.
Despite what you may think of yourself as a writer, it is unlikely that your fans will be hanging on your every word waiting for news of your latest novel. They may be keen to read it but is a few extra weeks going to do any harm?
I would hope that the extra time taken has resulted in a much better product. You only need to look at the original Leg It cover to see what could go wrong when your proceed with haste.
Life In The Balance was essentially finished a year ago and I could have rushed it out then but it would have been a very different book, with a different cover and even a different name.
There are hundreds of benefits to this approach but here are just a few of the things I have been able to do to that I hope will enhance my chances of success.
- Redesign the covers of Leg It and Idle Threats so all three covers are a consistent style.
- Set up this website and blog and build my readership.
- Get advice from far more people on everything from the first readable draft to the cover and the title. (You’d be amazed how much discussion there was on the position of a cat.)
- Write the first draft of novel number four so the process will be a lot smoother next time around.
- Build my online presence and general networking so others were willing to help when I officially decided to launch.
- Allow myself time to think about the story and correct things I didn’t think were quite right.
- Update my website so I had a page dedicated to it and my cover photo included it.
- Numerous last minute edits even when I thought it was finished.
- Analyse Twitter Analytics to understand when best to post about the launch.
Changes I’ve made since the soft launch include:
- Amend line spacing in the paperback so there are fewer pages and therefore a lower production cost.
- Ensure the font used on the front cover is embedded into the manuscript so it matches on the inside cover.
- Tweak the Amazon description using HTML as line breaks weren’t showing in the paperback version.
A lot of these things are minor but first impressions count.
As I’ve written the first draft on my fourth novel (provisionally titled Troll Life) I believe I can use the same levels of caution but release it a year from now, the goal being to launch a book a year.
Early signs are positive. On the first day of the soft launch, without telling a soul, I sold copies in America and Australia as well as the UK. Someone downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited and read it in two days. That may be luck but it was nice to see markets I don’t usually see much movement in coming alive on day one.
Since the ‘official’ launch, Life In The Balance is doing better than Idle Threats did in the same period after release despite me going out all guns blazing then.
I’ve held back on a lot of things and I am drip feeding the promotion of it so I don’t annoy people by spamming them every day.
So far the approach seems to be working, hopefully it continues and I will keep you updated.
If you have any views on this approach or how you would do it differently, feel free to comment.
Most importantly, here is a little information about Life In The Balance.
How far would you go to make amends?
Manuel Frost is obsessed with right and wrong. Each day he logs good and bad deeds that he witnesses into a ledger that nobody is allowed to see. Each night, if the books don’t balance, he sets out to perform deeds of his own to even them up.
He interferes in events until they inevitably spiral out of control and he has to make the ultimate sacrifice to balance the books.
Life In The Balance is available on Kindle and paperback from Amazon using the following link.
It will be available for iBooks and various other outlets soon.