Over the course of the last seven-plus weeks, when I wasn't headed to Cape Cod or busting my rear end in our vast vegetable garden, I've been at my computer doing what I call "The Summer of Edit 2015." As it is a rather big deal, allow me a few moments of your time to explain.
Earlier this summer, I wrote about how I'm in the process of reviewing my business plan and, at the same time, altering it. Starting some time this fall, I'm going to take out Facebook ads and possibly even Twitter ads. When I wrote the business plan blog, I explained that I had given away upward of 103,000 copies or thereabouts of Model Agent, but when it came to selling through the rest of the Agent series, I had only sold about 7,000 copies of the others up through the end of June. Some of the newer books, which have great writing if I do say so myself, hardly sell save to my die-hards. I've come to the conclusion that either a. Some people didn't like the story and have since abandoned me (which is completely in their purview), b. Some read it and liked it, but didn't look for more books (which is, again, in their purview, but it may be my fault, too), or c. Some people read it, liked it, but are now in a different position in their lives and don't have the same amount of time with which to read like they did a few years ago. It's an either/or situation, I think. Who am I to truly say what the situation is?
The Facebook ads, I hope, will help build my mailing list as well as reclaim some Model Agent/Rogue Agent/Double Agent readers that had liked the story, but didn't know about the other books. The ads should point people in the direction of my bookstore, where readers will find that, indeed, I have plenty more books out there, and that I haven't gone away. Now...
Some of those books, as you'll know by the painstaking edit work that I did of The Obloeron Saga earlier in the year, were supposedly edited by a grad student prior to publishing a few years ago. As I've said, they weren't. And some of the other books that I had also released, such as Scollay Love and Zombie Showdown, were also supposedly edited by this particular person. Again, they weren't. Shame on me for not checking their work, and shame on them for screwing me over.
If I'm going to alter the business plan and reclaim readers, I had to make a hard choice: There are some who think I should just let the older work stay in its older form, letting the stories speak for themselves. I'm not doing that--and I haven't. This was something that I need to do if the readers are going to take this indie seriously as an author. I'm going to be here a long time, and there are plenty more stories in me. I just need readers, keeping my fastball tuned so the readers stick with me. That meant I had to go back into my files and do some revisions to these stories and bring them in line with my current skill level. It was time-consuming, but I stress that this was needed. I've improved as a writer to the point where passive voice no longer infiltrates my writing from the get-go. Meanwhile, the older stories, the supposedly edited ones that weren't, had tons of it.
That is no longer the case.
In the past few weeks, I've worked on cleaning up Zombie Showdown, Scollay Love (under my D.L. Boyd pen name), Cold Altar, and Voir Dire. I've cleaned them up--in the case of ZS and SL, I've re-written a few parts to improve on the story and have deleted some lines to tighten the story--re-formatted, and I've now re-uploaded them to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords (with the exception of Scollay Love), and now to Google Play. These were solid stories, but didn't really sell: that may be due to what I see as sloppy, amateurish writing/editing. And with me about to go back into the world of Alex Bourque--Cold Altar and Voir Dire are in his world--later this week, those two books needed to be sharp without any serious dilution to the story. The passive voice, which the editor should have taken out, is now gone.
The question, of course, is how much left is there to do? I will be re-reading The Obloeron Saga in October; I do not foresee any additional changes to that series, and it will be re-published on Nov. 2, 2015--two years to the day that I took it down. The Agent series continues as my best-selling series, and there are no changes to those existing books scheduled. The stories are solid, the writing crisp. The same with the recent stories of Redeemed, The Long Crimson Line, and The Lone Bostonian. Royal Switch, I may look into changing up a little (the opening is slow, but it serves a purpose), but probably not this go-around. The John Fitch V books of Turning Back The Clock, One Hero A Savior, and A Galaxy At War, no, I'm not going to change those.
It is my hope that if you do take a chance on me from this point forward, I will have gained a reader that appreciates my writing, one who knows that I have now put forth an impeccable effort--one better than I had before. I also hope that the reader will join the mailing list and keep picking up my new books.
And speaking of that, I must dash. I have a new book to write.