Woke up this morning to discover that my first Charlotte Anthony mystery, An Uncollected Death, made the Amateur Sleuth best seller list on Amazon. That was several hours ago, and I’ve still got a stupid grin on my face. It means that everything’s coming together and looking good–it might not be the the stuff of those Best Seller lists in the New York Times or even of a site-wide general list on Amazon, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction: upwards.
I love the writing process. I get up every day, usually between five and six in the morning, actually wanting to make my coffee, get dressed, and sit down at the keyboard. It’s the most tangible evidence that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, no matter the results. Which is good, because the results tend to be incremental: half a chapter at a time, a plot point at a time, a book at a time, readers finding your book in the great Sea of Amazon one at a time.
There are other processes involved than just the writing, course, such as the feedback and the editing. But there’s also the whole marketing process–the things that are done to get a book in front of the right audience. By the time I was in the middle of the third book, I had a better idea of what kind of mystery I was writing, as well as a better idea of what kind of reader would like them. I also knew that readers tend to like series, and are more likely to bother with the first book if there are at least two more ready to read after it–and that point was quickly approaching.
All of this gave me the confidence to work with a marketer. The first thing he did was to create new covers that would appeal to those who like traditional mystery and suspense. I’m very happy with the results, and I think a reader looking for something with a bit of depth but not a lot of blood will get that signal from these covers. He also tweaked the books themselves to link to one another, making it easier for the reader to go on and pick up the next one.
In the meantime, I finished writing and editing the third book, and was about to simply publish it last weekend, when Marketing Guy said, whoa, why not have an actual launch? Give it three weeks, he said, to build up some momentum and give out Advance Review Copies so that the new book won’t languish for weeks on a page without any reviews. Thus he did a well-targeted Facebook ad campaign that shot up the rankings of both of the first two books and even sent the first one into that aforementioned best seller list.
The official publication date for An Undisclosed Vocation is December 11th, and I’m really excited about it. Early reader responses for the book are positive, and nearly everyone thinks that it’s the best one yet. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you’ll already know that I’ve created the Big Red Mug Club for those who have pledged to post an honest review on the day of publication in exchange for an Advance Reader Copy. (If you’d like to join the Big Red Mug Club, just sign up to the mailing list and send me an email before the end of this week, so as to allow yourself enough time to read the book and prepare the review.)
So, yeah, everything is coming together and looking good. It feels cohesive, from the finished books to the design of this website and blog. There will be ups and downs, as there is in everything, and the work never really stops–I’ve already got a novella for the series on the go and will start plotting the fourth book next month. But for this moment in time, I’m really happy that things have gotten to this point, and am ever so grateful for all of my readers and all of your help.