What Should I Do Now?

Well, it’s been almost a year since I published the first volume of my Any Tomorrow Trilogy.  And I must say that the results have been remarkably unremarkable.  I made a decision to break up my 300K word novel into three parts, but my feeling is now that it just hasn’t worked.  Lots of potential readers have downloaded samples and a few took advantage when I offered Any Tomorrow: The Calling for free from Smashwords, but not enough have actually purchased my books for me to call it a success.

Breaking up a single story into three books also presents some problems besides sales, such as:

  • instead of one book I have three books to market simultaneously,
  • I have three book descriptions to write,
  • when I ask for a review, most reviewers want to review one book―not three,
  • and after long reflection, I don’t think each of the books stands independent of the others.

That last point is probably the most important.  For a good trilogy to work, each book has to tell a complete story but leave the reader yearning for more.  I don’t think mine hold up to that requirement.  So what do I do next?  I need a fairly quick solution since I’m in the middle of writing two other novels.

I am considering reconstituting the original version as a single volume, publishing it with the title of Any Tomorrow, and including some additional content.  I’m also considering publishing it exclusively on Amazon (at least at the beginning) since I really haven’t gained anything from publishing on Smashwords.   And if I do go that route, I’d probably take advantage of Amazon Select.

Reconstituting the original version also has another advantage.  If I were to try the traditional publishing route, I would definitely pitch it as a single volume.  I would now have that volume ready to go.

So what do you think?

As a reader, do you like a series of books where each installment leaves you hanging?  Or do you want the whole story at once?  I really value your opinion, so tell me about it.

And you writers, have you had luck with a trilogy?  Whether you have tips or horror stories, let me know.

Leave a comment here or you can find me on twitter, google+, facebook, gather, linkedin, or goodreads.

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About Kevin_Fraleigh

I am a novelist, and much of my writing is predicated on the concept that within each of us is a hole. For some of us, the hole is a divot, shallow and insignificant. But for many of us the hole is a cavern, deep and expansive. We try to fill it with sex or drugs or religion, but the cavern has an insatiable appetite. This is where the dark things live―the things that fill our nightmares. The things that claw at our minds. The things that inspire the stories of horror, madness, and twisted realities. From the depths of that cavern come the seeds of my stories. Won’t you join me in the dark edges of reality? Learn more about me from my blog at anytomorrow.wordpress.com. You can find my novels at amazon.com, smashwords.com, and most eBook retailers. You can also read some of my full length short stories at http://www.wattpad.com/user/Kevin_Fraleigh
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11 Responses to What Should I Do Now?

  1. Three parts, three AMAZING covers (pay a great cover artist) and release over the course of 1-1.5 years. The 1st one needs to go out with a bang. I would put 80% of my budget into that launch (since you asked:)

  2. A 300 K word novel might be able to be published. But the question is…will anyone buy it. Make it a trilogy.Take the time to break it up properly and,by all means,have it edited. Go to your local bookstore and look on the shelves. How many 300,000 word novels do you see? I bet only a handful. How many 100k word novels…slews of them. Why? Publishing,marketing and increased sales…that`s why. But perhaps I`m wrong?

    Dennis @ Moneysaver Editing

  3. THANKS KEVIN….I ASSUME YOU HAVE AN EDITOR?….DENNIS @ MONEYSAVER EDITING

    http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?id=150139

  4. Kevin,

    I went on to Amazon and checked out “Any Tomorrow – The Curse.”

    The Cover isn’t effective at all. It’s not Amateurish, but it also doesn’t have that “Big Publication house” look either. I would definitely address that situation.

    The description for the book is not effective as well. You want to play with maybe a couple of main character descriptions (three is pushing it), but more importantly – what is the concept – what is the story about… take the reader through the main through line of the story. I know you probably think you did that with your description “A common evil that longs for the destruction of everything binds the destiny of the three men. The challenge to defeat the evil before it can achieve its insidious ends fills this bracing tale with unexpected twists and turns that leave the reader wondering what will happen next.” But it’s too vague. What is the concept…? And don’t start the description of the book with a description of you – I get that your background is part of the reason people might be interested in your book… but either leave that for the end of the description or better, use the author bio section for that… and trust that potential buyers will check it out.

    Also, regarding Amazon, check out Shelfari (owned by Amazon) to bolster the mythology info of your book. Get some quotes up there. Get some sample “scenes,” etc.

    Next, from what I can discern from the description – you might also have a problem with — “tweening.” In other words, you’re in between genres. In other words who are you writing this book for – and I’m assuming it’s not for people just like you or you wouldn’t be fretting about getting it exposed. So then, who is your target audience? I can’t tell with the cover. I can’t tell with the description. And (potentially) worse, your target audience might have to like “ancient pervasive evil” (Horror?) / Nazism (historical fiction) / Serial killing… drug cartel (Crime drama) / Intelligence analyst (Espionage) / Common evil that that binds the three (Fastasy/horror)

    When you have that many genres, you’ve ended up whittling away any potential audience that is attracted to one of the genres (which is often the case when a reader takes a chance with a new writer, because they’ve read all the offerings from the usual suspects in Horror; Spy; Thriller; Romance; Crime drama)… You’ve written that your writing “transcends typical offerings in the horror/fantasy genre.” Okay, fine, but then that means either the writing has to be able to pull people interested in those individual genres and willing to take a chance on other genres being in the same book (a tall order indeed)… or you have to demonstrate to the readers of those genres that your book will appeal to (for instance) horror readers because they won’t be offended by the minimal use of the other genres in the same book.

    Whatever the case may be – promotion is very, very, important to sell and overcome his issue. Which means you need to work ten times as hard to reach out and address some of the issues above (whereas someone who has written, for example, a vampire story, has one major issue: selling the concept that their vampire story is better/fresh/original, but the author at least knows that the audience will come if they can prove the above points).

    My recent book “DEMON DAYS – Angel of Light” has some of the same issues… as your book, but to a much, much lesser degree because I made sure that as I dabbled in all the different genres (spy; horror; suspense; paranormal; crime drama; travel fiction; character drama) I was sure… a) never to let one genre overwhelm any of the others; and 2) I essentially kept in my mind who I was going after, my target audience – the reader of “Thrillers.”

    In the end… to sell your book… that’s what you need to do.

    Now, I disagree with the person who made a comment above about length and used a book store question to support their point (“Go to your local bookstore and look on the shelves. How many 300,000 word novels do you see? I bet only a handful. How many 100k word novels…slews of them. Why? Publishing,marketing and increased sales…that`s why. But perhaps I`m wrong?) To me it would be similar to being a salesman of the very first manufactured automobiles… and having difficulty making sales. Getting help from someone who points out that all around the street everyone is driving buggies drawn with horses would probably not be much help and that’s why his example is wrong. Now his point might be right (about extra long books hurting sales)… but his example is not strong.

    One of the points of digital publishing is to perhaps publish longer stuff, because so many factors (the cost of paper/shipping/ etc.) go away. But at the same time digital publishing is on the rise, attention spans of the general population is getting shorter. So what will out? Or neither may be important… perhaps hard core readers of books want longer fiction… but only time will tell.

    “DEMON DAYS – Angel of Light” is 800 or 900 pages (depending on the layout of the two versions of the book, with the exact same content) and I’ve had an amazing response from people who love the “immersive” experience of reading a long book… while at the same time hearing from readers how intimidated they are because of the page length.

    So take all of that in consideration… but at the end of the day your issues with length becomes a moot point if you can’t get people to read the book and pass along the good word.

    Lastly, I will confirm that the publishing company did have trouble with breaking up the book into four parts for the similar reason that you site. Readers just wanted to get on to the next part and couldn’t be bothered with writing a review of part one, etc. Additionally, even if they were so inclined… there would be the problem of “spoilers” as they related what they were feeling at different “stages” of the book.

    So I believe you should go the one volume route.

    If that’s what you end up deciding… then the issues I site above are even more paramount to your success.

    I hope this was of some help… my new google+ friend!

    • Richard- Your comments hit right at the heart of the problem. These are the same issues I’ve been wrestling with since I first decided to publish. Cover design, book description, and genre. No matter how many nay-sayers I hear from, I really believe that length is no longer relevant. If the story is good, and marketing done well, readers will follow. If the story sucks, it doesn’t matter whether the book is 50K or 300K. The cover design and book description- and the mythos that surround them -is what will draw in readership. Thanks for your insightful and well considered comments. They will help me to make my decision about my next step.

  5. I am a Book Blogger and I would NOT want such a ‘huge’ book to read all in one fell-sweep. GREAT advice from the others as well! Thanks everyone!
    I think, along with the others who have left comments, that it should be 3 book series as well, with the first book a BIG BANG, just like the other commenter stated! The middle/2nd book really has to be good, leave a great longing for the third one, with many unresolved conflicts etc., open ended. Then you have your last, 3rd book, which will have to be really great, too, as by this time you will have fans awaiting your next book or series of books!
    Also by doing it this way, you will have reviews on each and every book. I would expect you WOULD make MORE money this way as well, as each new book that comes out, more reviews will be written and people will want to get your first book before reading your second, and on and on.
    I would mention somewhere that this is a series so people know. That is our, (blogger’s) biggest pet peeve, as to when it sounds like the book is part of a series, but the author has not mentioned it IS part of a series, so we are left wondering. We even mention this in our reviews. We may say this ‘sounds like it is to be a series, but it does not state there ‘will’ be a series.
    I would release them over the course of a, in ‘my’ opinion, a 3-year in a row release. Or, you could go every 2 years, but that I believe is for more well-known authors that people don’t forget, such as Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, Alex Cross, etc.. No one will know you well enough ‘yet’ to be able to gauge how often your next book will be coming out. Plus, you want your name out there ALL the time! It’s imperative as a new author!
    By releasing the three books, one each year, and your persistence in getting reviews done on them (NOT waiting for Reader’s to just post them, but actually asking Book Bloggers to “do” reviews for you and providing the book or an ebook format), as the MORE reviews you get on each of your books, the better!
    Also, this way the books would be shorter, too, and not so overwhelming. As a 4th move, what you can do is put all three books into one AFTER each book releases individually! MORE SALES!!! 4th book! Woo-hoo!
    If you would like some help in getting noticed and known as an author, and in getting LOTS of reviews by readers, try out http://www.worldliterarycafe.com They are GREAT when it comes to getting your book out there! You will be VERY happy with them! They support the Indie Author and Published ones as well.
    I like the Self-Published route through Amazon, and their Select program. I wish you luck!
    Good Luck!
    Laurie Carlson
    http://www.lauriehere.blogspot.com

    • Laurie- Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate them. All the great feedback I’ve been getting from the social media communities has really been helpful.

  6. gjarok says:

    Hi Kevin, thanks for the great conversation about book development. The quick thought I will leave you with in regard to creating a trilogy – it’s all about the characters and your readers’ investment in the characters. If your characters are dynamic and properly developed your reader will stick with it through page 50, 100, volume 2, volume 10. Readers will complain when your characters get changed in the movie adaptation and cheer when you create the pre-quel. Any Tomorrow will sell units if you follow some of the tips above, but I feel like the chracters and th way you describe them will be the difference. Good luck.

    • I agree. Basically, at some point you have to trust the reader to decide whether the story is compelling enough and the characters are dynamic enough to carry the reader along with them. The judgement of the author can only take him so far. The readers will determine whether Any Tomorrow will be a success.

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