January Review 2020

The January review has shown me this month has been my most successful month ever for sales.   I have to credit Mark Dawson and his ideas for this improvement, which has meant I’ve been a lot more focused on marketing. This improved approach is quite exciting as more of my books are getting out in front of a greater number of people.

With the new higher targets or the New Year, I’ve been able to increase the amount I’m writing every day. I ambitiously increased my daily writing goal from 300 to 410 words per day. In total, I’m aiming for 150,000 words this year. In any one train journey, this daily total is all I can manage on the journey into work in the morning. Of course, some mornings, the average is a bit higher, especially when I get stuck into a scene. I only nearly missed my station once in January, looking up at the last minute, to see the sign on the platform outside the window. Most of my writing is done during this time as I rarely have the energy in the evening. This heavy workload is one of the side-effects of being a teacher at this time of year.  Yes, there’s the holidays, but the term time workload more than balances out that advantage. At this time of year, there’s a lot of focus on underperforming pupils, data and reporting.  So, unfortunately, the writing suffers.

So how did I get on with the word counts?

January Review – word counts

I averaged 411 words a day across January with a total of 12,742. There were eight days in the month I failed to write anything. I’m surprised I made the target. Over February I’ll try to write more consistently, as eight days off is quite a few more than I intended. However, to hit such a reasonable total, outside of my holidays, is satisfying.

Editing during January utterly stalled. It’s another thing I need to prioritise as I’ve got some releases queued up and I don’t want them delaying due to this.

January Review – writing projects underway

  • ‘Dead Handler’, Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series still needs editing and proof-reading. I have the initial cover concepts from the cover artist, and they are good
  • The relaunch of the cover for Blood, Mud and Corpses is imminent. The initial concepts are in, and with a few minor changes, the new cover should be ready very soon. I have also been delighted with the progress of the book since it has taken off permafree. It appears it is being read much more often, even if fewer people are downloading it
  • Book 2 of the Butcher’s Funeral is still awaiting editing
  • Book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, is almost complete. I had hoped to finish it early in January, but have about 1,000 words left to write. The first draft will be in the region of 43,000 words. I’m not quite sure what to call this story, but ‘War’s End’ is an idea I’m playing with
  • Tigers on the Western Front work on the final proof-reading has stalled this month, but it’s still the top one to get done. I’d love to get this finished by the end of February

January Review – other projects

I’ve not messaged the Readers’ Club in January. I’ve been holding off so I can announce the new cover to Blood, Mud and Corpses. I’ve also not engaged in any significant campaign to add to the Readers’ Club in January. I had initially intended to, but this got swept away with all the other non-creative work.

I’ve spent a little of my limited non-creative time on marketing via Amazon. This marketing has been quite effective and is something I want to move forward with over the next few weeks. The effort has had a noticeable impact on my sales figures, and I nearly achieved my aspirational monthly sales level, for 2020, in the first month.

Due to the success of the new covers, Stuart Bache has been making for me, I’ve booked another few slots. I will probably use one of them for a new cover for an older book and then two more for new books.

Publishing schedule

  • February 2020 – the new cover for Blood, Mud and Corpses will be released. I’ll also be releasing a paperback version of this book for the first time
  • March 2020 – ‘Dead Handler’, book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series. The date is provisional as I may want to give the ARC team a little more time to get through this book
  • Spring 2020 2nd edition of Tigers on the Western Front, with the old cover for now
  • March/April/May 2020 – Butcher’s Funeral book two titled ‘Butcher’s Fire’. Again, I may roll this date back as I start working with the ARC team
  • May/June 2020 – Butcher’s Funeral new cover and 2nd edition
  • May/June 2020 – book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, also rolled back to ensure the ARC team get a good look

Plans for February

  • Continue to maintain the daily writing average of at least 410 words
  • Release the new cover for Blood, Mud and Corpses 
  • Develop research for the new series I’m hoping to write
  • Write a couple of short stories to refresh me before moving on to a third Butcher’s Funeral book
  • Try to spend more time on the non-creative side of the business, especially editing and proof-reading
  • Set up an ARC team
  • Continue to learn about publishing and writing, specifically working through one of the Mark Dawson SPF courses
  • Continue to develop the AMS marketing campaign

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