My co-writer and I were talking tonight about how we work better under pressure. When we entered a short story contest, we both cranked it out in a few days and then we ended up expanding and polishing those pieces into a much larger work. Under that same theory, we’d spent 4 weeks of actual writing time on our alien first contact story, The Needle.
But it wasn’t until I had a deadline for an Instafreebie cross promo that we actually hustled to learn how to format it. Not only that, it forced us to write our biographies (which we ordinarily would have agonized about) in about 30 seconds. Also, we wrote a little bit of back matter to lead folks here and invite them to join the mailing list.
And then, because I had an Instafreebie, I wrote 3 automated welcome messages for the subscribers. That was a fun and exhausting as I had to exercise my baby copywriting muscles.
The book blurb writing which I found incredibly difficult wasn’t any easier–I just got the pain over with sooner!
This forced me to finish reading Libbie Hawker’s Gotta Read It! – Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch That Sells in one DAY. Pretty sure that without the deadline it would have languished on my Kindle for another several weeks or so.
It also forced me to write the blurb for Alien Incursion without the benefit of reading Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good. Sorry Bryan! It’s not because I didn’t need to, but at a certain point, I intuitively sensed that Libbie’s book required me to do only ONE thing (blurbs) whereas, I had prior experience with Bryan’s thoughtful free videos, podcast interviews, and articles that he was going to teach me to be a better copyrighter in a series of helpful steps that I was too short on time to implement.
Here’s what I wrote on Alien Incursion in about 12 minutes after reading Libbie’s book:
“War with the Ringhead aliens has been raging across the northern reaches of Earth for the last two years. The aliens have one weakness–heat. Humans have made an exodus to the warmer regions of the world fleeing to safety.
Then Cam gets an assignment. She and her elite team of private soldiers must investigate a genocide of a small resort town in one of the warmest places in the Western United States. What she finds is chilling. Her team must withstand the newly fortified aliens who have found their way west. Outmatched and outnumbered, Cam’s squad of Union Wolves must rescue the survivors and survive the confrontation with the evolved aliens.
Cold War: Alien Incursion is a futuristic sci-fi action adventure that chronicles vast and bloody battles following humanity’s battle for survival and the planet Earth.”
We did all of this in a weekend. Pretty sure I would have ordinarily stretched out all this book marketing effort into a month if I hadn’t had the deadline of C.C. Ekeke’s timely cross-promo!
On our regular story craft discussion, Ken and I also mused on how writing this prequel novel really improved our story craft and world building.
I had taken a writing workshop with Dean Wesley Smith and he mentioned that his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch will write a bunch of short stories before she starts the main novel in a new world.
Having now sort of done it in a roundabout fashion, we now see how smart that is. (Not that we ever doubted her, the woman is a genius!)
So I have a 3k word short that I did for some world building, this 15k word prequel novella and we have brainstormed some shorts for weekly worldbuilding that we would like to give our readers as free weekly fiction as the series is ongoing. This has a strong win-win component because the more we write, the better we get. As for fans who want to read it, they get the bonus free fiction and the amount of work we put into the backstory and side stories really enhances our worldbuilding in the main novel.
NEWSLETTER CAMPAIGN BUILDING RESULTS:
As far as the Instafreebie promotion is going, it’s a nice steady ramp. From ZERO, the number as of writing this blog is 184 subscribers (net of 8 unsubscribes) in 3 days.
Also, the open rate is over 41% on the automated emails. I have one that greets them at after 1 day, and explains that they are receiving an email from me because they signed up through Instafreebie. Also, I have another message that goes out 3 days after they sign up that tells the subscriber more about the world the Cold War takes place in and a snippet about my co-writer and me. Lastly, I have an automated message one week after they sign up with a preview chapter of our first book Alien Incursion.
I haven’t written them yet, but I will be adding to the automation sequence to ask if any folks who have read it would like to join the street team. Will post results in a month. (See what I did there? I gave myself a deadline!)