Category Archives: administrata

a secret project

Back in October, I started writing a Secret Project, and today I passed the 50% mark on that project.

Actually, why be secret about it? It’s a series of science fiction novels, and once I have four of them, I will release them all at once. That probably won’t be until the end of the summer, though.

Meanwhile, tune in at this space tomorrow for some exciting news about the FROSTBORN series!

-JM

assimilate

Apropos of a discussion in the CLOAK GAMES thread, I should mention that I liked to think of my writing career as being like the Borg from STAR TREK.

I am always trying to learn new things and adapt new techniques and new technologies.

Of course, if one day you look up and the see the sun blocked out by a Giant Space Cube, you’ll know I’ve taken the metaphor too far. 🙂

-JM

ebook sales 2016, all other series

Here’s some more details about ebook sales for 2016.

FROSTBORN was my bestselling series at 66% of the total, with THE GHOSTS/GHOST EXILE coming in at 12.2%. In a close third was the DEMONSOULED/MASK OF THE DEMONSOULED series at 11.7% of the total. Let’s look at my remaining series now:

Technical Nonfiction Books: 2.8%

CLOAK GAMES: 2.3%

THE THIRD SOUL: 1%

THE TOWER OF ENDLESS WORLDS: 0.05%

That’s actually pretty cool about THE TOWER OF ENDLESS WORLDS. I started working on what would become that series in 2002, and fifteen years later it is still selling copies. Can’t complain about that!

I’m also pleased THE THIRD SOUL is still selling. I suppose it was sheer luck that I started writing more in THE GHOSTS series instead of THE THIRD SOUL. When I discovered the Kindle in 2011, I had three GHOSTS novels ready to go, so I published those and wound up writing way more in the series.

I think the CLOAK GAMES percentage will go up in 2017, partly because I’m writing more CLOAK GAMES books in 2017, and partly because the first book is now free on all platforms. For example in November of 2016, CLOAK GAMES was 1.6% of the month’s book sales. After the 1st book went free in December, the total in December rose to 6.4%.

I have to admit that while I like doing technical nonfiction books, I don’t think I’m going to do any in 2017. For one, they’re a lot more work than novels, since they need to be researched and tested. For another, novels sell better (and therefore pay better). Six years on, and that STILL boggles my mind. When I started self-publishing in 2011, I thought there would be more money writing about Linux and computers than writing novels. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong!

(Which is kind of funny, because I never talk about my writing in Real Life since it takes too long to explain the truth. If people figure out that I’m a writer, I usually tell them I’m a technical writer. Since I’ve written nine technical books, this is technically (heh) true, and it has the additional advantage of avoiding social awkwardness since no one wants to listen to me talk about Linux. 🙂 )

So instead of writing a technical nonfiction book, I think I’ll use that space in my schedule instead to work on a different series of novels. Hopefully I can have those out later this year!

I was going to say that I’m looking forward to publishing new books in 2017, but since I wrote this back in January I’ve published two new books and two new short stories, so instead I’ll say I’m looking forward to continuing to publish new books in 2017!

And thanks for reading (and buying copies)!

-JM

The Grand Tour

Finished watching the last episode of the first season of THE GRAND TOUR on Amazon.

I have to admit I really enjoyed the show. I think my favorite parts were the Car Battleship game, the Eco-Car Challenge, and the Namibia episodes.

Anyway, if you happen to get the chance, watch the show. The highest compliment I can give it is that I actually put away my laptop and my Kindle to pay attention, which hardly ever happens when I watch TV or streaming video!

-JM

FROSTBORN: THE DRAGON KNIGHT progress update

Now on Chapter 9 of 26 of FROSTBORN: THE DRAGON KNIGHT!

I limited all previous FROSTBORN books to 24 chapters, because one of the dangers when writing a really long epic fantasy is the temptation to meander into endless sideplots. I do think storytelling is like passing semis on the freeway – best to to it as quickly as possible without any dawdling! So keeping the books at 24 chapters helped keep the focus on the essential story and prevent digressions.

That said, I think the most important part of the story is the ending. It’s like the punchline of a joke in that it validates everything that came before, so it’s really important to get the ending right. So the last two books in the FROSTBORN series will be as long as they need to be, however long that happens to be.

I did that for the GHOST EXILE series, and it worked out pretty well. I kept the first 6 books between 22 and 24 chapters each. GHOST IN THE THRONE (#7) jumped up to 26 chapters,  GHOST IN THE PACT (#8) did 25 chapters, and the ninth and final book GHOST IN THE WINDS weighed in at 33 chapters. It was also the longest book I had written in three years, but that was okay, because it was the end of the series, and it is extremely important to get the ending right!

-JM

more on ebook sales 2016, DEMONSOULED

Some more about ebook sales for 2016.

FROSTBORN was my bestselling series at 66% of the total, with THE GHOSTS/GHOST EXILE coming in at 12.2%. In a close third was the DEMONSOULED/MASK OF THE DEMONSOULED series at 11.7% of the total.

DEMONSOULED OMNIBUS ONE was the bestselling book out of the entire series, since it was on sale earlier in the summer.

SOUL OF DRAGONS the bestselling individual book, and MASK OF DRAGONS was the bestselling book of the MASK OF THE DEMONSOULED trilogy.

(I’m detecting a theme. I should write more about dragons!)

It’s been 16 years since I first wrote DEMONSOULED, so it’s very gratifying that it’s still selling after all these years. Thanks everyone!

-JM

 

more on ebook sales 2016, THE GHOSTS

More data from 2016’s ebook sales.

FROSTBORN was my bestselling series at 66% of my sales, but THE GHOSTS and GHOST EXILE came in second with 12.2% of the total.

The bestselling GHOSTS book was GHOST EXILE OMNIBUS ONE, since it was on sale for a while this summer. The bestselling individual GHOSTS book was GHOST IN THE PACT. I did like that it was the bestselling one, since the scene in the middle of book when Caina and Callatas have their argument was one of my favorite ones to write in 2016.

The bestselling book from the original THE GHOSTS series was, oddly enough, GHOST IN THE ASHES. At least, I though it was odd because GHOST IN THE ASHES is Book 7 of 9, right in the middle of the series. Usually it’s the earlier books or the later ones that sell the best.

It’s exciting to review this data as I plan for GHOST IN THE RING later this year. 🙂

-JM

 

The James Bond Song

Watching some Sean Connery James Bond movies.

It’s interesting how in the modern James Bond movies, the theme music only plays when Bond does something really dramatic, like defeating one of the villains or engaging in a car chase.

But in the classic movies it sometimes plays when he does something innocuous, like checking his baggage for the plane or walking into the hotel lobby. Films really did have different pacing back then! 🙂

-JM

more on ebook sales for 2016, the FROSTBORN series.

Here’s some more about my ebook sales in 2016.

My bestselling book far and away was FROSTBORN OMNIBUS ONE. That book alone was just over 20 percent of my ebook sales for 2016. (Which isn’t surprising, since it was the bestselling self-published SF/F book in Canada for 2016.)

In fact, the FROSTBORN series was exactly two-thirds of my total book sales for 2016.

The bestselling FROSTBORN book (not counting FROSTBORN OMNIBUS ONE) was FROSTBORN: THE MASTER THIEF, with FROSTBORN: THE IRON TOWER coming in a close second.

Of the three FROSTBORN books published in 2016, FROSTBORN: THE HIGH LORDS was the bestselling, probably because it was published in February and had the entire year to build up steam. I think there is a good lesson in that for indie writers. Traditional publishing always worried about how a book did on its first month of sales. The first month will probably be the book’s strongest, of course, but indie writers should look at how a book does over its lifetime rather than just its first month. The nice thing about ebooks and POD paperbacks is that they don’t go out of print.

I have to admit that I find this all exceptionally satisfying, since when DEMONSOULED was published for the first time way back in 2005, the book got this lecturing review saying that traditional fantasy with elves and orcs and suchlike was dead and writers ought to focus on more literary and postmodern types of fantasy.

Well, he who laughs last laughs best! Thank you all for reading so many copies of the FROSTBORN series!

-JM

behold the power of permafree!

A common argument among indie writers is whether or not “permafree” is still a good tactic. The idea is that once you have a series of books, you make the first book free in hopes that people will read the book, like it, and then move on to read the rest of the books in the series.

As it happens, I was recently able to put the idea to the test. On December 1st, CLOAK GAMES: THIEF TRAP, the first book in my CLOAK GAMES series, went permafree. That provided an excellent testing ground for examining the results of making the first book free.

Let’s see how we did!

The 2nd book, CLOAK GAMES: FROST FEVER, sold 6 times as many copies in December as it did in November.

The 3rd book, CLOAK GAMES: REBEL FIST, sold 6 times as many copies in December as it did in November.

The 4th book, CLOAK GAMES: SHADOW JUMP, sold about two and a half times as many copies in December as it did in November.

The 5th book, CLOAK GAMES: SHATTER STONE, came out on December 1st, so it really wasn’t useful for the test. That said, it did have the strongest opening month of any CLOAK GAMES book to date.

So in the right circumstances, it seems like permafree is still a useful marketing tactic.

-JM