BTS032, Publishing a Second Edition of a Mystery Novel and Using Book Blogging Tours as a New Author | May Author Diary Update
BTS032, Publishing a Second Edition of a Mystery Novel and Using Book Blogging Tours as a New Author
I hope you are all well and are staying safe.
Now that the rewrites of the second edition Missing are finished, during May I prepared the new edition for publication. And in this episode, I’m going to share the exact steps I took to go from revised draft to pressing the publish button. While I’m on the topic of Missing, I’m going to discuss the results of my book blogging tour, that’s everything; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know that sounds overdramatic, but there were some hairy moments in that book blogging tour. Naturally, none of this is a reflection upon the organiser of the tour. But I don’t believe in just sharing the shiny PR version of things. I think it’s important, to be honest. As always, I will also share a writing update, book promotional efforts, and self-publishing tasks.
So, stay tuned for all of this and much more.
About the Episode
So, I’m sorry for the lack of video this week.
Publishing the Second Edition of Missing
During May, I unpublished the first edition paperbacks for Missing in KDP and Ingram Spark. To cancel a title with Ingram spark, I had to send them an email. The company responded to the email quickly, and the title was cancelled. I guess the unfortunate thing about this is I cannot use that ISBN again.
At the beginning of the month, I sent the second edition of Missing to line editor I commissioned in April. There was a two week turn around for the line-edits for the second edition of Missing. Because I purchased a one pass line edit, I used Grammarly and ProWriting Aid to correct any potential mistakes I made to passages added as a result of the edit. After that, I made a few minor additions to the Thank You section at the back of the book, to acknowledge people who helped make the second edition possible.
Book Formatting and MetaData Prep
Next, I uploaded the second edition to Vellum and formatted the ebook. I ended up chose to create a new Vellum file because I wanted to avoid mixing up the chapters between the first and second editions of Missing. While I was completing these tasks, I realised that I needed to update the keywords for Missing; this led me to open publisher rocket and search for popular but non-competitive keywords that were right for my book. Before I uploaded the ebook, I decided to make a few minor changes to book description. The biggest change I made was to the opening hook of the description.
Pressing the Publish Button
After all of those tasks, I pressed the publish button on the second edition ebook on the 23rd of May. I know I said that I wanted to keep this episode to tasks performed in May. Nevertheless, I want to close the discussion about the second edition here. On the 1st of June, I published the second edition paperback with Ingram Spark. And on the 8th of June, I published the 2nd edition paperback with KDP Print. For the sake of clarity, I used new ISBN’s for the second edition paperbacks because I made minor changes to the plot, even though the word count of the story increased by 2,000 words.
Writing a Cozy Mystery
During May, I started to research the story structure of cozy mysteries then I added notes to the plot points in my excel spreadsheet outline. I ended up deciding to use a four-act structure where the second act is broken up into two parts. After this, I created a list of scenes leading up to the first murder, and to the end of act one. Next, I added a few scenes in act two leading up to the midpoint. These scenes were events that I know need to happen at this point. While I was crafting the outline, I started to added beats within the scenes in my outline as the ideas came to me.
Progress with James Lalonde, Book Two
In May, I came to the realisation that I why I was experiencing writer’s block with the reunion dinner scenes. It was simple, I needed more information to start writing. I ended up blocking the scene and the characters movements using Canva. To be honest, it’s a crude illustration but I know where each character is in relation to the others. And more specifically, I know who can see certain interactions.
After that, I spent a day researching Trinity College and Oxford in order to check the events could have taken place in real life. Because of the realisation I had earlier in the month, I wrote scene blocking notes for the first two scenes in the second act. Next, I rewrote the first scene in act two and revised the if after listening to the computer read back. The next step in my scene revision process is to perform line edits with the help of Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid. On the same day, I started to write the first two paragraphs for scene 014, which is the next scene in act two.
As I was rewriting book two, I slowly started to realise that I might need to change the name of the university because In the first draft I was using the name of a real-life college in Oxford University. I changed the name of the college from Trinity to All Saints. To be frank, this isn’t going to happen, but I was worried so I changed the name. The college is now fictional, but the architecture of the buildings is inspired by Trinity College.
Insecurity Set In
At this point, I started to get blocked with rewriting this book. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to write the reunion dinner scene or finish scene 014. Looking back I was losing interest in rewriting the book, on top of that I was riddled with writers insecurity. But, I’m still putting stickers on my calendar when I’m writing. And, you can see in the picture over on the blog post how much I struggled to consistently work on one project.
Writing a Mystery Short Story
As I was listening to a podcast, I Got an idea for a series of James Lalonde mystery short stories. My idea was to publish one between Missing and Book two. I’m also considering giving it away at the back of the book as a reader magnet. The series will consist of twelve short stories, starting with James Lalonde’s first assignment as a journalist. Before I started planning, I created a timeline for this series, so there is a short story every month in a year of James’s life; the year these stories take place is 2010. Eventually, once all of the stories are published, I will create an omnibus editor and paperback box set.
Fleshing Out the Idea
Each short story will feature characters that already exist in the first book in the James Lalonde series (e.g. James Lalonde, DCI Anwar Khan, and occasionally PC David Chan). In 2019, I purchased Rory’s story cubes which led to an idea I had for the first scene or the results of a crime. While I was crafting the timeline for the twelve books, I was reminded of the vlog where I featured the cubes, and I decided that this scene idea would be the first crime jams investigates. Next, I brainstormed ideas, locations, and I cast the characters using images of actors. The reason I cast using actors is to help me visualise the character, so I can describe the features that stand out, instead of describing everything about a character. After that, I fleshed out the crime, created a timeline for the events leading up to the crime.
Focus on Characters
Because mystery stories are character-based, I create character profiles for the main characters, supporting cast, and the characters mentioned by name but are not present. Due to the nature of the crime and its aftermath, I did a lot of research into figuring out whether certain events could take place. I need to research medical issues, travel, and distances between the locations. The last task I performed for this story was to create an outline in excel using a three-act story structure then started to fill in what I already knew about the story
My writing progress for May.
The Results of My Blog Tour
I know I mentioned this in the last episode but, it’s worth mentioning again, all the reviews were positive or at least spun that way. Due to the pandemic and the lockdown, two book bloggers pulled out at the last minute, which is fine, so I got thirteen book blogger reviews. One book blogger shared an extract with a mostly positive review on her website but went on to publish a two-star rating and review on Amazon in the US, UK, and India stores and on Goodreads; That’s a lot of effort over a free book. At the end of May, the India store has only one two-star rating. And one of the bloggers who pulled out had previously left a two-star rating on Goodreads and shared it with her Twitter audience. I think it’s an automated tweet sent by Goodreads. But, that’s the risk you take.
My Book Review Stats
By the end of the tour, I ended up with five reviews on Amazon UK, giving the book a 3.8-star average. That’s one five-star, three four-star, and one two-star review on the Amazon UK store. On Goodreads, I have fifteen ratings and nine reviews, three of which have no rating. I have three five-star, five four-star, three three-star, and four two-star ratings of the first edition. In terms of the no rating reviews, one is positive, one is negative, and the last is a DNF. Coincidentally the DNF review appeared at the same time I received the feedback from the Reedsy Discovery service. The average rating for my book on Goodreads as of the time of recording was 3.47. On Amazon US I have one five-star rating and four reviews giving the book at 3.3-star average. Over on the US Amazon store, I had one four-star, one three-star, and two two-star.
My overall, the experience with the tour was great, despite a couple of awkward experiences. If it weren’t for this tour, I would have no reviews on Amazon. I would use this service again, but for a first book in a series.
My Book Doggy Free Promo
In April, I lined up a Book Doggy promotion in time for the launch of the second edition of Missing and around my birthday on the 29th of May. The ebook was still enrolled in KDP Select or Kindle Unlimited, so I used the five free days promotion option. From the 28th of May to the 30th of May, I had 684 downloads of Missing.
Boosting a Facebook Post
To promote the free sales of the second edition of Missing during the same time as the BookDoggy Promotion, I decided to boost a Facebook post, for one day only. The total budget for the day was £15.00. In terms of eyes on the post, I received 2,690 impressions. During the advertisement period, the post got 125 clicks including two shares. Breaking down the overall post per click, the advertisement costed me 12 pence per engagement. That’s a 4.6% engagement rate. I have no idea whether that rate is good or not.
The learn more button on the post was linked back to my BookFunnel buy-page, where the reader could get the book for free on Amazon. A few minutes after the approval of the advertisement, I turned off Instagram ads and all I received was likes on the image. On top of that, the shop button or link button isn’t always available which defeats the purpose of the promotion. By the way, this is just me playing around with FB boosted posts. It’s not advice on what you should do.
Creating the Ad Image
Because I own the rights to use the stock images, I created the advertisement image on Canva. I used Canva because it’s quicker than using photoshop. If you’re not sure how to create an advertisement image, I highly recommend you watch David Gaurghan’s video on creating images for BookBub ads. The video is about BookBub advertisements but the principles apply to Facebook ads as well.
On my birthday (the 29th of May), Missing has reached the 7th position on the Top 100 Free list in Private Investigator Mysteries chart and the International Mystery & Crime chart on Amazon’s US kindle store. Yay! Once again, there are screenshots of my book on the charts over on the blog post. This was the first time I made it onto the free charts, so I’m super excited by this news.
My New Goodreads Profile
For some reason, all of the Goodreads help tells you that you can’t have more than one author profile, which I know no to be ludicrous. When I first published, I added Missing to the author profile that I published a self-help book under. I created a new log in and author profile for fiction and requested the books to be moved. It was a two-click process. While I was setting up y Goodreads profile, I moved my reading goal over to my fiction author profile because it was attached to my self-help profile. At the same time, I linked my Twitter and Amazon accounts.
So, that’s all of the tasks I completed in terms of writing, book marketing, and email marketing. During the next month, I want to direct my focus back to rewriting book two, announcing its new title and cover to my email list. The next episode will be another diary episode, where I will continue to discuss my writing and book marketing endeavours.
If you have any questions or have tips on book marketing that you would love to share with me, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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