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Robert New

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Mug Punter

Milestones

Image from an early promotion

When I published Incite Insight roughly three and a half years ago, I said I wanted to sell a thousand copies. I was laughed at, more than once, right to my face. I was naïve about what it took to sell books, especially at that quantity, but that number wasn’t randomly chosen.

I wanted people to read the book, and thought that, with some luck, I could sell 200 paperbacks and 800 e-books. The e-book number came from what Bookbub indicated they’d be likely to sell if I landed a promotion with them, which I, once again naively, thought I could. I’ve applied to them a couple of times, without success. I also thought that since I had a distributor on board through Tale Pubishing, sales would just happen.

They didn’t.

So that meant using e-book promotion sites (which use email lists & social media to promote your book to readers), and I’ve used many of them with variable success. By stacking several promotional services together, in conjunction with a discount on the book to 99c, I’ve had campaigns sell between 37 and 92 books. My previous campaign (in Dec/Jan) sold 77 copies and I was sure that with the number of services I had stacked for a promotion last week, I’d reach the 55 sales I needed to break the 1000 barrier. I spent a lot more money than usual, and was hoping I’d not only break the 1000 mark, but maybe have my most successful promotion yet.

Unfortunately, after the sale finished on Friday, I was left on 999 sales (and with a couple of promotion services crossed off my recommended list).

I made an appeal on the final day of the promotion to my social media followers to buy the book while it was discounted, and be my thousandth sale. In exchange, I’d promote them in my blog (the version of this post I was intending to write).

Nothing.

Sunday was my birthday. Maybe someone would buy a copy?

Nope.

This morning I did my usual check and saw I’d made a new sale overnight (actually on my birthday. I’m Australian, so it whilst it was the 8th here, it was still the 7th in the US where the sale occurred). My thousandth sale. Goal achieved.

Big grin.

For what it’s worth that’s made up of 207 paperbacks and the rest as e-books; pretty much what I’d envisioned when I launched the book.

I’ll give a breakdown of sales/channels in a future post. I’ve also given away over 1600 e-books of Incite Insight during a ‘free’ promo. I know many authors would scoff at those numbers, but, to me, the thought that there are over two and a half thousand copies ‘out there’ is very satisfying.

Mug Punter has past 50 sales too. This was an experimental/promotional book (only 46 pages), and 50 was my target for it. Nearly all of those are paperbacks rather e-books, which shows the intent behind it was reasonable.

I also recently sold my 250th copy of Movemind. I’ve never set a sales goal for that title, but I’m really happy with that number. It’s also had nearly 700 free e-books given away too. So soon that will have a thousand copies in circulation.

In a ‘writers bucket list’ milestone, two people I’ve spoken to this year have said they’ve seen my books in their local bookshop and they were excited to make the connection between the books they’d seen and me. Still on my list is being recognised by a stranger as an author they’ve read (and, ideally, enjoyed). That will be quite a milestone.

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Much News Part 2

Library

This week a member of my writers group sent me an image of a display of my books that had been set up in her school’s library (where she works). It was really wonderful to think that my books will be appreciated by some new readers.

  • Next Novel

In February I repeated my trick from last year, which was to write 250 words a day on weekdays and 500 a day on weekends. Somehow, I averaged over 650 words a day and wound up writing about 18.5 thousand words of my next book. I’m hoping to repeat the performance in March, but even if I only hit my original target, I’ll still be 30,000 words into the novel when I start my long service leave. That sounds good to me, and means I may (just may) have time not only to complete my first draft of the novel, but also make significant progress on my non-fiction project which has currently stalled. Maybe, I’ll have two books ready for release in 2020. That would be amazing. I only have one novel and about four short stories that I have ideas for and particularly want to write after these current projects, but I’ve previously been in the situation of having written all the stories I’d wanted to write and still found new inspiration to write more. So, I’m not worried I’ll run out of ideas any time soon. I’m heading back to uni (degree number 6!) in July, so we’ll have to see how things go.

  • One last thing

I may be a little late, but I just found out that back in 2015 when I released Incite Insight, I made a bloggers list of notable Australian authored fiction for the year. Curiously, they had me in the horror section (it was a fantasy and horror list). Still chuffed to have been included.

Much News Part 1

 

  • First Lines

On the 20th of February it was my pleasure to launch the anthology, The First Line, which I wrote the foreword to, and contributed a short story, The Coat Hanger (also in Mug Punter). I chair the Monash Writers Group, whose anthology it was and helped publish it through Tale Publishing. The launch was well attended and it was great to get the 15 contributors together to celebrate having a story published. The launch was ably MC’d by Councillor Lynnette Saloumi from Monash City Council.

  • Mug Punter

In November my latest book, Mug Punter was released. This was an experimental project for me. The book is only 48 pages long and contains three short stories. It’s intended to be something I can just give away or use to promote sales (ie: buy two books and I’ll throw this in), but it seems to be gaining a bit of life of it’s own as online sales keep trickling in.

  • Colours of Death

In July my next full-length book, Colours of Death: Sergeant Thomas Casebook will be released. It’s a collection of nine short stories featuring the detective from Incite Insight, although, it should be stressed this is a stand-alone collection. The stories each feature a colour theme. I recently received the proof copy. It was great to finally hold the book in my hands. That feeling of having produced something never gets old.

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