“Good things come to those who ram their heads into a wall of bricks as hard as they can until the mental trauma causes them to think up a better solution.” – Me
What a month. What an absolute month.
Prepare your bodies for a long, long post. In fact, I dare you to read it. There, now you have to finish, haha~
It’s been a lot of work, and for what looks like little reward (in which I’ll get into soon) but for now let’s start up with some refreshing tunes.
What’s on the menu? M o o n c h i l d~
Now for our second piece of business: I did an author swap this month, so behold!
Why would anyone try to murder a phoenix?
A corpse with no eyes bursts into flames before Toronto’s Special Crimes Detective Fairuz Arshad can investigate. Her superiors are ordering her to close the case before it’s even been opened, and it isn’t the only one. She tracks down a siren and a faerie, both missing organs and brushed off by the police. Fairuz and her dryad partner, Rowan, suspect there’s more to this mystery than it appears. The evidence points to a string of parahuman murders, with all the victims missing organs.
The police are covering up the crimes, and Fairuz realizes the killer may be one of their own. As Rowan joins the ranks of those keeping secrets from her, the list of people Fairuz trusts grows smaller. More bodies are uncovered, and she fears something far more sinister is at work than a simple serial killer.
With her own team turning against her, can Fairuz catch the killer before he strikes again?
Last piece of goodness here, Amir Lane has a free novella for you if you sign up for the newsletter: click here.
Now, onto the honored pains of the age:
Condemnation: the most successful unsuccessful launch in history
Please, don’t be alarmed.
Substation 7’s first book launch has gone wonderfully, but the likelihood of getting a bestseller tag is stupendously low at this point. Sales are better than any book I’ve released, however in comparison to the rock-solid juggernaut of publishing that has been slowly reinforcing itself over the past three to four years, breaking through is stupendously difficult for something so new, conceptually-speaking.
While it was doing great in its free week (as high as #5 in its subcategories) it was no where near prepared for the great dive into the unfeeling abyss of amazon’s flooded waters. It’s not such a surprise, though. The moment it went to paid, all of that momentum in the free promo plummeted down to roughly #450 in the subcategories, and with hardly any sales pressure to speak of, it’s unlikely that the book will even hold water at that rank.
Condemnation is truly unlike anything else being sold at the moment, so it had neither the “likeness/hot factor” nor the platform to push it forward. This is perfectly fine, because I have learned more in this launch than I have perhaps any other.
Sure, through the years I’d pick up one thing or another: usually small technical skills on how to maximize the waves a work would make then released, but this one was different.
It feels as though that after over ten years of warring against art, I have finally come to terms with it. I have lots of philosophical vibes on that in a moment, but let me get you the lessons learned.
What went well:
-Relatively-effective ad copy (Split testing ad copy via advertisements is genius)
-Supportive base of fans (love you guys)
-High quality story with effective cliffhanger (All reviews positive thus far, and I have little expectation that this’ll change any time soon.)
-Print and audio going smoothly (We should see them both out around this time next month)
-Awesome interior formatting
What could have been better:
-Could have been in a hotter market (Fantasy Thriller / Fantasy Dystopian isn’t very big at the moment)
-Could have been more relevant in tropes/genre overall. (So-and-So Academy! Featuring Clare studying up to become an engineer while also resisting the steamy-hot advances from kind childhood friend Wayne and bad-boy cop Oswald. Oh no! Carrie’s also a hot guy! ALL THE AUTOMATONS ARE NOW HOT GUYS.) This was actually the really big failure here. I’ve finally beaten it into me: people buy what is currently selling. There’s no need to cut my way through the jungle and unearth these awesome ancient ruins if no one’s willing to pay for a tour through it. Okay, that’s not to say I shouldn’t do my own thing, because I’m going to be doing my own thing weather I like it or not: I’m just coming to terms with the fact that my stuff isn’t going to sell like hotcakes right away. It only took me 10+ years to figure that out lol.
-Could have compiled promotions more tightly. They did what they were supposed to ( most of them, at least :^) ) however none of them by themselves were able to bag the win and get us the orange best-seller tag. With their help we moved OVER 1,000 free copies, which is truly excellent, however we have a good ways to go before we reach 1,000 true fans.
-Could have arrayed reviews to be posted sooner, got more reviews in general. This was probably the one thing I should have known better.
Lessons from this one (authors and dreamers take note):
-First one’s obvious but often bares restating: make your product as good as (if not better than) what’s on the bookshelves. I’m not talking about thematic or salability, oh no. I mean the quality of the product. Make sure it’s a wonderful story that people will love. Making art simply for making money is lame. I kid, there’s nothing truly bad about that, but I think we can generally agree that art for “meaning” is more important overall than art for “means”.
–Hit the target, even if it’s just for a second. I spent a stupid-huge amount on this launch in comparison to my usual, but even that wasn’t enough. Your launch has to hit amazon’s face with a baseball bat so hard that there is not question whatsoever that you have arrived. You want your book to stick so hard on that chart that not even Overlord Chaos could move it. This means hit your genre expectations in the packaging, this includes your cover, blurb, and all the bells and whistles that tell someone what they’re getting. Being like an author who’s doing it right is 90% of being that person. The other 10% is you and your thing; at least until you make a name for yourself. That SAID, you shouldn’t be so much of a trend writer if you want to be a lasting influence on the literary landscape; most of the folks who chase “what’s hot” are doing it specifically for the money. That’s not what you’re here for, and that’s not what I’m here for.
–Have the next one ready. People like knowing there’s no broken expectations when taking a risk on you. As of now I haven’t ever published any of my series in their complete forms, and that’s been a crimson mark on my forehead for years. You must not only finish what you start, but you must also publish it. I’ll be catching up to tie up all my lose ends for what might be years, because all of them are excellent stories and worthwhile reads, yet they’re just hanging there without readers appreciating them. Yes, that is my guarantee that you’ll be seeing the end of Courts Divided, Voidstar Empire, and of course my beloved Nocturna League. Do not panic.
The Great Conclusion
And here we are.
Looking at the launch, I learned a great deal, but what happened to me on the inside is far more profound.
It didn’t hurt, not one bit. This is a wonderful feeling.
I will analyze all that happened in the launch, improve on it, and then be far, far better for the next one. I can think clearly now, with a true air of analysis and a lack of fear. I have departed myself from my art on the emotional plane, and now all there is to do is spill as much of my spirit into it day by day, year by year, decade by decade.
Finally, I am truly free to write. The guise has been shorn, and I can now see past the veil.
It was Mark Twain that said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
I have now had that second day.
This was a passion for me, a great driving factor, and a love. I wanted to write for my entire life, and be known as one of the greatest writers of the twenty first century.
But now I will write for my entire life. Perhaps it is my greatest purpose.
Dear reader, in this post, with its failing words and pained phrasing you are witnessing the birth of Kell Inkston: the individual and the literary figure, all in one.
There is no longer any doubt about it. I will follow through.
I’m stupendously happy you all can share this moment with me, as this is what feels to be a turning point in my life.
Now that I’ve let go of the uncertainty, of the insidious maybe, I can now catch the updraft and fly out on my own. There’s no question about it, because I will persevere. The only requirement is my willpower, and I am now certain that will not ever run dry.
I haven’t been very vocal with you all about my greater plans, why I’m actually writing all these seemingly disconnected, wild narratives in the first place, but I feel as though I can be frank with you all.
Prepare yourself, for below are the egotistical ravings of an unhinged madman.
My ambitions are vast, actually, and I am motivated to change the physical world by using the fictional. It is the greatest honor and joy in a person’s life to project their philosophy out into the world, and over the years you will see mine on amazon, then in bookstores, then all over the internet and beyond. I want to change the world irrevocably without a single public soul knowing my true identity. I want to prove that a ghost can descend on the world and shift it by will and soul alone.
I want no one to ever find out who Kell is, and for Kell’s identity to forever be shrouded in mystery.
Good things have happened as of late, but they’re mostly internal. Despite getting slapped in the face by yet another book launch, I will stay the course. I haven’t been as consistent in finishing series as I should have, so I’ll have to fix that, step back, and tie up those loose ends. I have most of them written, I just need to actually sit down and finalize the details.
After all, the future is waiting for us, and we can’t stay on this level for too long.
Substation 7’s second book will come out, everyone will think it’s awesome, and I realize that that’s all that is needed. Together, reader, we’ll dig ourselves through the mountain and find the gems.
If we’re really fortunate, I’ll be able to make enough money to live off of the writing itself, which will in turn allow me to write The Great Work even faster.
Have I not mentioned it?
The Great Work is what I’ve been working on for now over a decade. It took that long to discover the story, and only name am I beginning to sneakily set the pieces in place.
Truly, it will be a literary accomplishment that will irreparably mark the twenty first century landscape of culture- bet on it.
But really: all drama and humor aside, expect great, great things in the future. I promise you it will be worth it.
Now that I had my moment, let’s get back to work, shall we?
Short story of the month: This Year’s GREAT OUTING
Hook yourself up with some quality minion-fiction right here. This is a halloween one that sheds some interesting light on a few of the Royal Knights, it also answers the time-old questions:
-Are Chaos’ minions fireproof?
-What kinds of underwear does Order sport?
-Chaos doesn’t actually have an overlord tower suspended in the planet’s orbit, right?
The answers might surprise you, but they probably won’t.
Wanna read? It’s all right here.
The Final Reflection of The Day: Earn your Keep
Chris Fox, in his myriad books for writing to market was quite correct. Starting out I thought my skill would get me all of the way, and that the quality of my writing would speak for itself.
It appears as though that is not the case.
I’m afraid that, with my small ( though loyal and supportive ❤ ) following and current level of capital, it’s only reasonable to change my direction to better-selling avenues.
I’m not selling out, so don’t worry; I’m just writing the pieces of the puzzle that will perform the best right away; as well as a few acts of passion I’ve been thinking about for a few years that I’m confident will do well in the present climate of ebooks.
All I’m doing is writing to secure the capital and time so that I may work on the primary body of work as fast as I can. If you don’t understand now, worry not, it should become very clear in time.
So that said. I’ll be playing the games of the others for a bit, but only out of necessity. Believe it or not, reader, in the next year you’re probably going to see at least one of the following from me:
-A LitRPG with heavy meta-elements (with some familiar faces)
-A Dark Fantasy with a screwed up populace and awesome edgy stuff (Recommended for Nocturna League fans in particular)
-An honest-to-God, 90% written-to-market reverse-harem thing with actual adult scenes and some good-lookin dudes and dudettes (Don’t worry, I promise it won’t be lame)
“Kell, you must be joking!”
Oh no, I’m quite serious. Believe it or not these are all very much “my style”.
Perhaps you don’t like one of those ideas, perhaps you won’t like any of those ideas, but do know they’ve been planned for a while. The Inkrealm is not a lowly “single genre” omniverse, oh no. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, comedy and thriller all takes place on this hollowed ground. I hope you’re looking forward to it, because it’s absolutely what’s on the menu for tonight.
Now then. I’m going to get back to work.
Thank you for all that you do, thank you for your support, thank you for the daily acts of kindness you and readers like you have delivered to me. It’s because of you that I continue to have the confidence and the strength to do this work.
You will never cease to have my heartfelt gratitude.
All the best,
(P.S. If you haven’t already, join me on facebook and let’s talk about evil schemes)