This is a post I’ve held off from making for almost a year now. But I’m at my wit’s end here, and I’m going to rip the band-aid off.
Blindspace, the second book in The Common Saga and the second book I’ve published, didn’t launch well.
Blindspace came out at the very end of the year, on Nov 29th, at the tail-end of COVID, before the Christmas shopping spree. COVID restrictions were back in Australia, and almost all of my events/signings got cancelled.
It’s been out since Nov 2021 and has less than 100 ratings on Goodreads (a fifth of what Stormblood has). On Amazon, it’s got 28 reviews compared to 186.
Book reviews are crucial for the algorithm, which in turn helps the book reach new readers. Without them, your book’s reach is limited.
The hardback Goldsboro edition of Stormblood sold out within a week. Blindspace has not.
I haven’t seen the sales figures for almost a year, and that was before the mass market paperback/American release happened. So, things could have improved. But the last time I checked, things were not great.
Reader drop-off is a thing for anyone who writes a series, and the second book in a series generally gets less attention from the publishers, booksellers, reviewers, and in general, than the first. I expected this.
But I was expecting, I don’t know, more.
And it’s making me feel drained and burnt out.
I don’t have a US-based publisher (yet!), so my reach to most of the reading population is limited.
I spent three years writing, rewriting, editing and polishing this book. I put all of my heart and soul into every page, every sentence. I did a slew of interviews and signings, as well as COVID restrictions allowed. And to see it release with a whimper hurts.
It hurts a lot.
I write for the sake of writing. But I also write to be read. I’m not satisfied by simply putting words down – I want people to read and enjoy those words. I want to feel rewarded for the work I’ve put in.
It feels like my series is invisible, especially when so many more people are reading fantasy. And I don’t know what to do to change that.
And it eats into my motivation to write the third book, where I know there’ll be even less readers.
As authors, I feel like we have to deal with a lot. Getting traditionally published by a Big Five publisher is a monumental achievement. Staying published can be even harder. So can having the motivation to continue publishing.
It’s not uncommon for a book series to be cancelled before completion because the publishers aren’t happy with the numbers. Even if those numbers appear good from the outside. Even if there’s a seemingly good readership.
Even if they don’t cancel it, you can enter the infamous “death spiral” where later books in a series get increasingly less support, coverage, marketing budget, which, of course, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
All that to say: it’s a very real fear for any author on the midlist. I want to finish this trilogy and I want to tell the story I’ve always wanted to tell. I also want to continue telling stories as long as I’m able to.
To do that, I’ll need some help.
If you haven’t picked up Blindspace, or Stormblood, all I can say is: please, please do.
The Kindle edition is on sale at Amazon for 99 cents/pence, which is 6.7 pages a cent. If you’re able to buy it in print, especially from an indie bookstore, even better. (I’ll leave some links at the bottom of this post)
Click here for Amazon US
And here for Amazon UK
And if you’ve already bought it, please drop a review for Blindspace on Goodreads/Amazon. Even if it’s just one sentence. It helps tremendously.
Telling your friends about it, asking your library to order it in (which is free for you!): all of those are good things that help midlist authors like me stay afloat.
I’d truly love to have sales that are so excellent that I can turn off social media, unplug the internet, do the minimal self-promotion, and just concern myself with telling my stories in peace.
But I can’t.
I don’t know what results I’ll reap by saying all this. I feel like I’m at my wit’s end, and I need an extra boost from the community. So, once again, if you’re able to help me out by buying, reviewing, suggesting, or borrowing my book, please do.
Help me continue to tell you stories.
Other online retailers:
Barnes and Nobles (US)
The Broken Binding (international – signed copies!)
I found this post through your recent Twitter thread. I hadn’t heard of your writing before but because I intimately understanding the struggles your post outlined – and I’m intrigued by Stormblood’s synopsis – I’ve already bumped up your books on my TBR. I plan to publish my thoughts on your books on my blog, Blake is Reading, once I’ve read them, though in the meantime I hope word gets out about what I can tell is a fascinating and original world you’ve written.
Stay strong; there’s so many of us rooting for you.
Thanks so much, Blake. It’d be so great if writers only had to write, and not worry about getting the word out by practically begging people to spend their time and money and attention on us. But, alas, that isn’t the world we live in, and we don’t get much back for our efforts, either.
So I’m very grateful that you’ve decided to take a chance on Stormblood. I hope the book continues to intrigue you, all the way to the end!
Hey Jeremy, I discovered you through your short fiction and I’ve loved everything I read so far, so it’s sad to hear things haven’t turned out the way you hoped for your recent release. I’m mad it took so long for me to finally get around to purchasing a copy of Stormblood and I deadass just put in a request for my local library to order a copies of the Common Saga books. I guess I’m just wondering how to help more, I feel like there are so many writers in a similar boat and I only have so much money and time to spend reading. I’m not the fastest reader and I feel like this hinders my ability to show more support to writers like you. Do you ever feel this way as someone who wants to support other writers without losing focus on your own endeavors?
Thanks mate, for buying it and putting in the request with the library. It all adds up, and us writers thrive on support of this kind.
And yeah, I feel that way frequently. I know almost all writers, at least by reputation. I buy a lot of books, but I don’t have the capacity to buy all the books by people I know, and I have even less time to read them. And there are some books that conflict with my own, and I can’t have my reading of it disturb my writing process, especially in the drafting stages.