Monthly Archives: March 2015


The Problem with Conviction

I've been having some trouble writing Conviction, the third Razia book. Now, nobody panic. It's not like I'm giving up or anything like that. But I wanted to be blog a little about the frustration with this damned book, more so I maybe can find a nugget of wisdom to keep me going. First, some background: The events that occur in Conviction were originally part of Double Life but removed because I thought it was too much plot after the third or fourth draft. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT is that, just like with Double Life, this particular sequence of events has been floating around my head for fifteen years. BUT UNLIKE DOUBLE LIFE, this hasn't actually been written (well). And so what happens, inevitably, is that when I start writing, I then switch to daydreaming and forget to write. Because I know what happens, so why write it down? = Suni!Logic That's one piece of the problem. The other is that I'm really worried that it (and also Book 4) veer off into the less action-y and more into the relationship-y territory. Which is strange, because both Double Life and Alliances were about relationships, too, so I don't know why this one, in particular, is coming off so weird to me. But people love Lizbeth, and they love Sage, and seeing them continue to care for Lyssa is warm and fuzzy. Another piece of the problem is that I keep writing scenes, then pulling them out, then putting them back, then pulling them out, then rewriting them. I have about 10,000 words in my "Cut scenes" folder, in addition to the nearly 50k in the book itself. I can't seem to get the sequence of events right, or get them to flow. I can't pinpoint motivations of my characters (specifically Lyssa and Jukin) and so I can't seem to get their dialogue right, either. The final piece of the problem - and here's the big fear (#SlayYourFears) - is I'm afraid I won't have enough plot to fill the novel. This is a fear I also have for Book 4, and I think part of it is bleeding into Conviction. I'm sitting close to 50k, as I said, with a lot of [add] and [more here], but I guess I'm still worried that I won't make it over 68 (which is my intended minimum word count). So the fear that [...]

By |2017-03-07T16:04:11+00:00March 19th, 2015|Razia, Writing Woes|Comments Off on The Problem with Conviction

Alliances Hotwash Part II

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the results of nine weeks' worth of content building up to Alliances. Today, I'm talking about the specific goals I set for myself for this quarter (technically, we're still in it, but I don't anticipate much change between now and the end of the month). My specific numbers are competition sensitive (that is, I don't feel like sharing them!) but what I did put was the % complete of the goal I set. As you'll see, sometimes I woefully underestimated myself, sometimes I woefully overestimated myself. But for the most part, I was pretty much right on the money. This speaks to the importance of creating goals for yourself. When you have something to work towards, you put in time and effort every day. And soon you'll find yourself much farther than you were before. PART II: Metrics   E-Book Sales / Preorders Total number of Alliances Preorders: 21% of goal Number of Double Lifes downloaded (Jan-March): 103% of goal Total number of Sage Teon Short Story Downloads: 78% of goal Truthfully, I way overestimated how many preorders I could conjure. Even over a 9 week period (longer, in fact, over 3 months), I only was able to get to 23% of my goal. I'm really not sure there's anything I could have done differently; this one is simply a lack of awareness for my series. Which, I still have to remind myself, I've been doing this for less than a year. And although I can't totally remember how many preorders Double Life had (since it was only available on Smashwords), if memory serves, I still had a % increase from first day sales. So it's a win. One of the things I did not do until recently was add a link in the back of the Amazon version of DL that went straight to Alliances. Once I did that, I saw an uptick in readers buying Alliances. But I wonder how many people read Double Life and just put it down, never to pick up Book 2? Lesson learned - put the link in the back of the book as soon as you have it. Am I doing preorders again? Absolutely. For one thing, I don't have to worry about uploading the book on the day it comes out. For another, as Empath is a stand-alone first book, there's a good chance [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:59:30+00:00March 12th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Alliances Hotwash Part II

Alliances Hotwash – Part I

Y'all know me and my hotwashes. I decided to write a full-up recap and analysis of the promotional period for Alliances, up until the release yesterday. There's some post-release promo going on in the form of a blog tour, which I may write up a quick one after that's over. Since it's a lot of stuff, I'm breaking it up into parts. Today's review focuses on just the content that was on the blog, since that was the center of the promotional universe. Tomorrow, I'll look at some of the specific metrics I was tracking. Although the "project" was supposed to start 1 Jan, I ended up putting up Alliances for preorder on 18 December. But the corresponding blog content didn't appear on the blog until 5 January, the first Monday of the new year. For most of all of the blog posts (except for Wednesdays), I added this graphic at the end of all the blog posts. It linked directly to the Amazon page. Did it work? I'm not sure. I don't know if people saw it and didn't realize to click on it. For Empath, I've decided to put the blurb and cover of the book at the end of every post (again, except for guest blog posts), with button-links to the ebook stores. That way people can make a decision within the post.  #MondayBlogs As always, Monday Blogs reigns supreme on all metrics. Alliances focused content on themes from the book, and some other content that I had on stand by (why yes, I have tons of stuff just waiting in the wings). The trend continues to be higher for content about me personally, indie publishing, or general non-book stuff, and lower when it comes to stuff about the book itself. For Empath #MondayBlogs, I've taken the seven things that scare me the most, and written about them. I think it'll not only be a big driver to the blog, but it'll be interesting to folks who've been following me for a while to see what truly scares me. #TeaserTuesday The Alliances Teaser Tuesdays were a bit of a dud. I tried to choose passages that were applicable to whatever I blogged about on Monday, which was fun, but it often felt like I was talking about something on Monday that I didn't show until Tuesday. Empath offers an opportunity to add in more of the "personal" [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:58:18+00:00March 11th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Alliances Hotwash – Part I

Living the Dream

As I've been saying for almost a year now, I'm quitting my day job as a consultant and going full-time into writing. I will be living the dream. Now, just as in Empath, Lauren begins to have second thoughts after making a brave, bold statement to face the Anghenfil, I'm faced with the thing I boldly stated I was going to do, and I am fucking terrified. But that's a different blog post for a different time. I wanted to shed a little light into my own situation, because so often I see other writers who do nothing but write and I feel very jealous. But also, their situation is much, much different than mine, and so just like the #1 Writing Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Compare Thy Numbers to Other Authors - well, you get the picture. My situation is pretty interesting, in that I've unknowingly put myself in a good spot to actually quit my job. I bought a house 3 years ago which increased in value so much that it will give me a huge payout when I sell it. Because I'm moving from one of the most expensive places to live to a relatively cheap place to live, the profit on the house sale should allow me to purchase a house outright. Yep, that means no more (or significantly less) mortgage for me. Similarly, I've been in the process of unburying myself from debt over the last 8 years. School loans, remodeling costs on the house, even my car - all should be paid off by the time I say goodbye to my company. That's huge you guys - not many people can say that they're completely debt-free. In addition, I'm single. I ain't got no man (thank God), and I don't have any human children. My dogs are getting up there in age, and so I anticipate higher medical bills coming soon, but other than that - I don't have to worry about anyone else but me. And I am not a real frilly person. Since my DC-level mortgage is so high, and I've been unburying myself from debt, I have been living within my small means for a long time now. I don't buy things, I don't go on trips, I don't do designer clothes. So basically - there's no change in my life if I suddenly don't make much money. So all of [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:57:04+00:00March 9th, 2015|Life and Love|Comments Off on Living the Dream

Pensacon Hotwash – Take 2

I realized today that the hotwash I posted yesterday wasn't really a hotwash. It was more a lovely picture-based summary. The hotwashes you crazy kids have come to expect should have lessons learned and all that fun stuff. So here's the real hotwash. Pensacon the Project encompassed more than just the three day event. It was a testing for media engagement, looking at the differences between selling one book versus two, and also learning to let other people sell my book. Bottom Line Up Front: Pensacon was successful in some ways, and not in others. But overall - I'm a happy camper. I had been planning this damned convention since August, when I put down the $483 for a table, electricity (YES, SO GLAD I DID THIS), and an extra badge. Total, I invested $2300 into this event between the table, my flight to Pensacola, books, advertising, and petty cash out to feed my two helpers. Yes, that's a lot - and more than I normally put up. But I also knew that if I was going to splurge, I would splurge on a release convention. Media Engagement I put together a press release for the event, focusing on my hometown girl nature and coming home to release the book. I sent it to every media outlet in Pensacola - and only one of them decided to follow up. First with an almost verbatim article and then with an honest-to-God interview article. One or two people mentioned that they saw the article and it got them interested enough to come find me - so definitely a good thing. The media team at Pensacon was also pretty supportive - sharing the article and whatnot. And the Pensacola Today article was also mentioned on the local radio station, so that was even better! I'd never worked with traditional media before (other than when I actually worked for them in my former life as a news producer freelancer), so it was good to get out of my comfort zone. The media is still one of the best ways to be noticed, and it's worth it to try and get their attention. Book Sales My total sales for the event were 104/200 copies of Double Life and 83/100 copies of Alliances - which is a split difference. Obviously the goal is always to sell out, but selling only half of my copies of Double [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:55:30+00:00March 6th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Pensacon Hotwash – Take 2

Pensacon Hotwash

If you missed the excitement this weekend, I went home to Pensacola to attend the second annual Pensacon and to release Alliances 10 days early. Best. Weekend. Ever. #pensacon #pensacon2015 @pensacolapensacon #RaziaAlliances A photo posted by S. Usher Evans (@susherevans) on Mar 1, 2015 at 6:17pm PST This weekend was quadruple-y awesome because not only was I releasing Alliances, but I got to go home and see my kiddos that I haven't seen since January 2nd. Best way to end a crazy con day. #mrbiscuit #homehomehome #petstagram A photo posted by S. Usher Evans (@susherevans) on Feb 27, 2015 at 6:48pm PST I had tons of help this weekend at my booth (for the first time, someone actually offered to work with me!). My baby cousin Cassondra (the drawer of the Empath cover dragon) got to nerd out with me all weekend. Love this girl A photo posted by S. Usher Evans (@susherevans) on Feb 27, 2015 at 10:35am PST And my best friend in the universe, baby bump and all, was such a trooper. My best friend is the best ever and I love her. #pensacon #RaziaAlliances #bffs A photo posted by S. Usher Evans (@susherevans) on Mar 1, 2015 at 6:16pm PST I can't even begin to think about how awesome and surreal it was to have other people selling my book. And sell they did - we kicked major ass. By the end of Saturday, I blew through all of my previous three-day-con sales records. By Sunday, I sold over 100 copies of Double Life and over 80 copies of Alliances. #pensacon2015 #raziaalliances #raziadoublelifeA photo posted by Valerie (@vem522) on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:04pm PST I was actually rather surprised at the number of folks who bought both Double Life and Alliances. All of the conventional wisdom says that you sell twice as many book 1s as 2s, but I ended up selling about the same number of both. My price point being what it was, an additional $5 plus the exclusivity was probably a big part of that. I did see a big spike in eBook downloads, and even got an Alliances preorder, which is fabulous. Another one from @pensacolapensacon... Hanging with the guys from @howitstacksA photo posted by S. Usher Evans (@susherevans) on Mar 2, 2015 at 4:41am PST But really, the best part of this (and any) convention is the moments where someone walks up [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:54:03+00:00March 2nd, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Pensacon Hotwash