In my last post, I wrote of my tribulations regarding the release of Perfume Island, which effectively put a halt to the whole process, forcing me to come up with another strategy. (Writing that, I realize I’ve made progress: at least I had a strategy. With One Green Bottle there was none.) Having read of the pulling power of reader magnets, I thought, ‘Yep, that’s the way to go. Offer something free to draw readers in, so then they’ll buy the rest of the series. And while I’m at it, make it permanently free and run a few Facebook ads to promote it.’
I could do that with OGB, my publisher having kindly returned the rights to me. But hey, it was a lot of work, so while I’m happy enough with the idea of periodic giveaways, I balk a little at making it permafree. A novella, on the other hand, would be perfect. Less work, and people don’t need a full length book to see if they like your writing. 30,000 words is plenty.
So that’s my current, top priority WIP. Closed Circle, prequel to OGB. A 15-chapter murder mystery. Magali isn’t a detective yet, but she’s right there in the thick of it.
A novella, I’m discovering, isn’t easy. You’ve got to cram it all into half the space. In this case, a dozen characters of more or less equal importance, the usual twists and surprises, and above all an in-depth insight into Magali herself. After all, she’s the mainstay of the whole series, so the reader has to connect with her and like her enough to continue. Technically, all that is a challenge. My initial breezy assumption that I could dash it off in a month has been drastically revised.
Still, assuming I manage to sort it out more or less satisfactorily, it might be ready for release in January or February 2017. So my question is this: when do I release Perfume Island? I could do it tomorrow if I wish, but as things currently stand, it would go pretty much unnoticed. So I like the idea of having Closed Circle ready first. Is there a logic to that? Not really. But if I’m going to promote anything (and bearing in mind that Facebook ads cost money), it seems to make more sense to concentrate on promoting the free magnet.
Now, I could of course do that later, but do I want Perfume Island to be met with the resounding silence that greeted OGB? Obviously not.
So there you have it – my marketing dilemma in all its glorious confusion. Any advice will be welcome!