Publishing Ritual Dreams

Confession: I needed to finish and publish Ritual Dreams more than my readers. As an independently published author, my income is variable. The last six months have been hard. My income hit the lowest monthly rates I’d seen since my second year of publishing.

My writing mentor has told me repeatedly that every time a Republican becomes president, his book sales have dropped significantly and the best way to combat it is to keep publishing. He is a horror writer with a couple of decades of traditional publishing experience. And gave me this long string of things that happen when there’s a Republican president and he had 4 presidents to draw from. I trust him to not lead me astray in that, that is his sole purpose in my life. Even with six months of crappy sales, I still made more than the average for a writer in 2018 and average is $31,000 a year. Which is why one of the writing associations I’m in hooked me up with a mentor.

My mentor tells me I’m successful because I fill a niche and write like a man. I’m not entirely sure those are both compliments, but from what I’ve can tell, my mentor isn’t all that interested in women writers. I think the association paired us a joke sometimes.

I do fill a niche and I know it. I wear that a bit like a badge of honor. “Here’s a female author that writes strong female characters that go out of their way to avoid romantic entanglements because it doesn’t further the plot of her books and series.” His words not mine. He and I almost never discuss books. He actually hates mine and I’m not a huge fan of his. But when I typed a sentence in a conversation in Ritual Dreams between Lucas and Aislinn (he has read 2 of them – Elysium and Fortified), I decided I wanted his opinion. Was it too girly? Too dramatic for the series? He liked the idea and so it lived. It might be the only time I ever take writing advice from him. He knows about my health problems. And he thinks writing is cathartic to them. His exact words were something like “just because the body is giving up doesn’t mean you should let your brain. Keep writing, keep publishing, you can do it.”

And that is the only time I have ever seen him play cheerleader. Normally, he’s lecturing me on what I’m doing wrong as an author. Which is fine, because normally I’m reminding him I think his ability to develop a character is seriously lacking and asking how he’s made it this far with the cardboard caricatures he creates. This doesn’t mean he isn’t a good writer, I just like books with good character development and he’s more of a plot driven writer.

However, as January and February passed I’ve had a bit of my self esteem return, because I’ve watched the Amazon pre-order numbers slowly tick up. This morning when I checked it, it had officially surpassed all my other pre-orders. I can only see pre-orders on Amazon, no one else reports them. But that’s fine. I can guess based on my sales of other books…

I’m still fulfilling that niche. Which is what my mentor tells me I need to do. And in my own opinion, Ritual Dreams is good. I know that doesn’t mean much from an author, but I’m one of the rare ones willing to admit that not all my books are up to snuff. There are 3 in D&R that I will never read, 3 that had good plots and I failed to execute. Ritual is not one of those. Ritual is like Fortified and Elysium, it is one of the best in the series.

And because I had a book in the series on pre-order BookBub accepted another ad request. For most independent authors, a BookBub advert is a godsend. But BookBub has serious requirements regarding the minimum number of total reviews and the star average and quality. I was surprised by my first accepted BookBub advert request, because the person that sent me the notification my book had been accepted had obviously read it. Most advert companies don’t pay any attention as long as you have some stars and your average is higher than .5 stars. But with millions of subscribers, BookBub adverts mean a major increase in free downloads and sales. It was Elysium Dreams that was accepted again. Last time, I had 18,000 downloads of the free book within the 2 days of the ad running. And for five months, I had sales from that massive surge of downloads, because while I write horror, I write hard core serial killer horror, I fulfill a niche. It runs March 19, 2019.

Between the BookBub advert and the release of Ritual Dreams on April 1, 2019, I suspect I’ll have several good months, good months that will allow me to catch up on bills and start rebuilding my savings, because having a chronic disease is hard on the checking account, even with private insurance.

More importantly, as my mentor put it. He believes me to be honest enough to admit if a book I put out is crap and since I said it was good, he said it must be and not releasing crap is always a positive. Although, he also admits every author does it and looking back they all have a few books they regret, even him. For me, it’s an emotional exorcism. Ritual Dreams is good. The Lyrica did not permanently damage me beyond repair. I can still write even with this disease. I can even write good {poor grammar intended}. Of course, it helps that I received “It didn’t suck” messages from my editor and 2 alpha readers. I’ll be on pins and needles until all the betas check in and it releases.

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