Hope you’re well and getting back to normal or finding what the new normal is. Trialling this thing again. Feel free to unsubscribe or to join my full mailing list at https://www.subscribepage.com/edjamesauthor instead. No worries if you go.
Last thing I completed was on Wednesday of last week, where I nailed the revised draft of THE LAST DROP, the sixth book in the Cullen and Bain series. I started these kind of by accident last year, redrafting and revising my short story from the CWA Anthology in 2017 and turning it into a 25k novella. And then using another three to perfect writing at that length, though they soon grew to about 45-50k each, and as a pandemic coping strategy.
But the difficulty with series fiction is that, unless your name is Ian Rankin or Lee Child (and a couple of others), it’s the law of diminishing returns. Each book sells less than the last, so it dwindles away. And I’ve shot myself in the foot so many times with these books, with big gaps (Cullen 7 to 8 was 3 years, then roughly the same before Cullen & Bain 1, not to mention the AHEM six years between the first two Vicky Dodds books, including a rewrite of the first book when I got the rights back) and complicating things (there are two Craig Hunter books between Cullen 7 and 8, then another one between 8 and C&B 1, and I heavily edited the fifth Cullen and included Hunter in there).
THE LAST DROP is the sixth Cullen and Bain, after eight Cullen books, three Craig Hunter books and four Vicky Dodds books. All in the same continuity. When I first published GHOST IN THE MACHINE back in 2012, I had no idea they would sell over 600,000 copies (plus another 500k free). It’s insane.
So aye, a lot of mistakes made. But a lot learnt. While the sales haven’t been awesome for these, I have developed a few technical writing craft things and it’s been a good way to experiment with some marketing things and see what works and what doesn’t.
Current project is Fenchurch 8, A HILL TO DIE ON, due in December. Speaking of series that tail off in sales… But I’m committed to doing this and the next one, a year apart, so each year I’ll drop a 1st December Fenchurch book. I’ve hated writing these some of these books over the years, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I feel like I understand Fenchurch much more now and I can make things easier for him, in a challenging way. If that makes any sense.
I’ve done a lot of planning for what to do next year. I’ve got a lot of books I want to write, mostly standalones in a few different genres. Having tied off loose ends in existing series feels very good too, that weight of expectation is gone. I’ll cover more of these in a future mailout.
Something back to you. There’s a prequel Vicky Dodds novella, i.e. set before book 1, that’s permanently free on Amazon (and others):
(“Ingin ane an aw” is from a Tayside joke. Man walks into a baker’s and says, “Twa’ bridies. A plen en an’ an ingin ane an’ aw.” Which is “Two bridies. A plane one and an onion one as well”. So there you go. If you’ve never had a Forfar Bridie, well…)
If you want to ask me any questions, I’ll reply to them in the next missive.