Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lycentia: Harrak's Scrolls -- the Process

A few months ago I thought I would have Lycentia: Harrak's Scrolls to the point where I could kick it out the door and feel that I had done a good job with it. Three days ago, I realized that there was only one more chapter/scene to flesh out before the novel was ready for publication. Yesterday morning, even though the temperature was a balmy 57 degrees, I forced myself to grab the keyboard and hammer away on that one persnickity chapter. By 1PM, it was done which includes formatting it for both Kindle and Createspace (paperback). The last steps, uploading them to the respective servers, was a fairly-simple process (since I've had lots of practice uploading refinements of Betrovia!).

Lycentia: Harrak's Scrolls is the second book in The Land of Betrovia trilogy. Last July, after publishing the first book of the trilogy, most of book two was already outlined. But instead of jumping right into drafting book two, I spent the next 4 months refining Betrovia, creating a "book trailer" for Betrovia, creating a map for the book, as well as writing and publishing a few short stories. Around Christmastime last year, I got to work on drafing Lycentia. By the end of February, the book totalled 4 chapters. The plan at that time was to have at least 14 chapters, and around 70K words, by Labor Day. Yesterday, as I finished that last chapter (chapter 13 was the one that needed more "detail"), I realized that the novel was going to have nearly 75K instead of just 70K. Now, 5000 words is not that much (about one more chapter), and I've been "researching" that for a novel to be labeled a "novel" it should be at least 60K words long. Lycentia is definitely not a novella (the supposed-correct label for something less than 60K).

Somebody commented a few weeks ago that he was amazed that Lycentia's cover was already finalized; this is something I learned through trial-and-error with Betrovia. Since publishing as an "indie" writer, I need to get images as well as blurbs/excerpts of the novel onto the Interwebz months before the novel is released. This time, I used Facebook primarily to accomplish this; when Betrovia was done, there wasn't even a Land of Betrovia FB page! I was so naive this time last year.

I've enrolled Lycentia in Amazon's Select program (the Kindle program that allows me 5 "freebie" days in a 90-day period to promote the novel) like I did with Betrovia and the short stories. A major stipulation with Select is I have to agree to not sell the ebook version of the novel(s) through any other venue. One of Lycentia's beta-readers today told me to reserve a Lycentia paperback for him since he owns a Nook (which is unfortunately chained to Barnes and Noble). So, when do I plan to "promote" Lycentia with a few free days? My research of the last year dictates that the novel should have at least 5 4-star or better reviews before setting it "free." Betrovia sold fairly well last March and April after a few free days even though it only had 3 total reviews (averaging 4.5 stars). But no reviews came from those free days or the subsequent sales which was a bit disheartening. But, as someone wrote: "Sales lead to reviews and not the other way around." So, even though I feel the Betrovia Kindle sales were respectable, not enough copies were sold to garner reviews.

So, to answer the question: I haven't decided yet. Right now, I'm lising Betrovia at $2.99 instead of its regular $3.99 price while Lyceentia is listed at $3.99. I suppose I could lower Betrovia to $.99 and keep Lycentia where it is and then get the word out about the "great deal" for both books. Still, the idea of how to get "good reviews" lingers in the shadowy realms of my brain. Two of Lycentia's beta-readers asked for copies of Betrovia, so they could read what happened in the major plotlines before reading Lycentia. I could ask them to review Lycentia. I suppose I could...

Now onto book three: Ahnak: Edelin's Revelation (which is still a working title). I do not plan to create any book trailers, nor a map, for Lycentia. I want to "beat" my deadline of publishing Ahnak by June. A few months last spring, I averaged close to 15K per month. So, if my goal once again is to have a total of 70K for Ahnak, and I can crank out that many words per month between now and , let's say February, there should be at least 70K on the hard-drive. So I suppose that is my goal: 70K words by the end of February.

As a side note, Ethan, our oldest son, is heading for the agrarian community of Guangfu located on the eastern side of Taiwan. The interesting thing about this move is that he will be less than an hour's trainride from where he was born! He will be working with the OneHope organization. Here's their website if more info is needed: OneHope. He will be flying out of Kansas City this Tuesday. He has a six-month "contract" with the organization but hopes that it will be extended this winter.

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