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This feels like it could be my last chance...

6063 Views 49 Replies 42 Participants Last post by  rachelmedhurst
Recently, I made a post about how I'm still earning a really low income even with 20 books out. So far, none of my series have hit. I know I've made mistakes and see them clearly. I'm about to read Write to Market by Chris Fox as well as other books in the genre I'm aiming for.

So...I'm ready to start a new series. I'm going for a Witch Urban Fantasy, using a character from my newer UF series. She's a strong side character in the series, so I'm looking forward to writing her story.

This time, I want to do it right. And, I need your help to do that. If I can't get this series to work, I'll have to go back to full time work. This feels like my last chance.

I've not started writing the series yet, but here's some details.

Titles:

Magically Bound (Book 1)
Magically Bonded (Book 2)
Magically Breakable (Book 3)

Series Name: Hunted Witch Agency

Very Rough Synopsis:
Devon is a witch who has inherited the wizard leadership role, but she’s too busy building her hunting agency. A rouge coven have declared war, naming themselves as head witches to rule all of England. The new wizard leader is a strong witch, one that has a lot invested in her coven running the London branch. Her agency is pushed to the limit to find the deserters and make them pay for destroying an ancient ritual that will no longer provide London with the power it needs.

Cover: Done by Lou Harper

I'm planning on writing the first two books before I release them around November/December time.

Can you see anything missing? Do you know of any good blurb writers I could hire to get the best description? I've never been able to maintain book 1 sales. They start really well for a couple of days, then go down. How can I prevent this?

I know some of this is luck as well as pre-planning, but I thought I'd throw it out there for your advice. I've been publishing for three years, and for once, I would love to write a series that gets some traction.

Thanks in advance!
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Thank you so much for all your feedback, I really appreciate it. You've all really encouraged me. My new series covers are going to be done by Lou Harper who is really great at the misty/magical UF covers, so I'm excited about that.

Desmond X. Torres said:
I wish you the best, but really; this is a great job, but it is a job, OK? It's what we do that's pretty rewarding, yeah; but life occurs away from the computer and outside your office.
Thank you, Desmond, I appreciate you taking the time to look at my Look Inside and feel encouraged.. And, it's also a good reminder about the job because I don't really have a life outside of this right now.

Anarchist said:
OP, what is your launch plan? And how do you intend to market and promote your books going forward?
My launch plan is to promote it to my mailing list, which is fairly large to get them excited. I'll then get some ARC reviewers. I'll launch book 1 and 2 close together just before xmas. I'm going to get some newsletter swaps and use some promo sites once the first book is released. I tend to have fairly good launches, it's just usually the traction doesn't stick.

Thank you all so much again for your feedback!
Series name - Hunted Witch Agency... I would try to name it something more snappy so it sticks in readers' minds.

Synopsis was confusing - Devon vs usurper wizard? Who is finding the deserters? Sounds like the rogue coven in which case they sound more like the good guys than Devon who is too busy to be a leader. Are these deserters still stirring up trouble in the city? If so, that could be fun!

Good luck and hope it works out for you. Like others said, you have a good backlog, maybe you can get something going back to them from the new series.

I'm rooting for Devon for the obvious reasons ;) That said, whenever you're ready to launch let me know and I'll share your book with my newsletter subscribers. Send an email to fantasyandmagicbooks AT gmail DOT com ;D I really like the premise and think it can work as long as you set a plan. Wish you the best!
Devyn Jayse said:
I'm rooting for Devon for the obvious reasons ;) That said, whenever you're ready to launch let me know and I'll share your book with my newsletter subscribers. Send an email to fantasyandmagicbooks AT gmail DOT com ;D I really like the premise and think it can work as long as you set a plan. Wish you the best!
Thank you so much, Devyn, I'll take you up on your offer nearer the time. It's much appreciated! :D
IMO (and supported by long-established conventional wisdom within tradpub circles) you should never put unfamiliar human faces on book covers, especially if they are clearly seen and in close. That is, unless the face is iconic and instantly recognizable (Harry Potter, Spock), faces drive readers away by subliminally communicating an avoidance reaction. You may notice that on many covers, faces are turned partly or fully away--the woman's face buried in Fabio's chest, say--or cut off. In fact, the faceless chesty is an example of this principle--simplify the message to one visceral urge, rather than trying to engage the complex emotions faces engender.

Of course, exceptions abound, such as when the face is attached to a figure that is itself iconic (a Jedi dressed in traditional Jedi dress with a burning lightsaber, for example). But, on balance, faces are not your best bet. Yet, your covers all feature faces. Reader first impression is "I don't know these people." If somehow you can get them to subconsciously say "I know these people" or "I know this genre" or "I know this situation," you will be ahead.

An example from my own journey: Look at my sig, the book titled "Loose Ends." Face, right? Partially obscured, with gun, but still a face, and (OMG) Asian. (Making it explicitly Asian may turn off some people who won't identify with my protagonist--better to leave it to the imagination).

It's actually an old cover. The new Loose Ends cover can be seen here:

http://www.davidvandykeauthor.com/cal-corwin-p-i-mystery-series

It's permafree, and when I put that new cover on, my downloads more than doubled overnight, with no promos. Part of it was simply a better cover, but part, I believe, was getting rid of the face.

***

Going back to work is not necessarily an either-or. I wrote 14 books in less than three years while working full-time, because that's pretty much all I did with my free time. I know your situation may make that difficult, but most people can prioritize their passion and do what they believe they need to do. It may be a matter of sacrifice, but it's certainly possible, and there's no reason to arbitrarily call it your last chance. I know a guy who wrote for 25 years before having any commercial success, Today, he's a 7-figure indie.
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David VanDyke said:
IMO (and supported by long-established conventional wisdom within tradpub circles) you should never put unfamiliar human faces on book covers, especially if they are clearly seen and in close. [...] Of course, exceptions abound...
Exceptions? I guess so! Even a casual glance for a few minutes at, for example, the Historical Romance genre shows bunches of open, unhidden, unfamiliar human faces, of both men and women.

David VanDyke said:
An example from my own journey

http://www.davidvandykeauthor.com/cal-corwin-p-i-mystery-series

It's permafree, and when I put that new cover on, my downloads more than doubled overnight, with no promos. Part of it was simply a better cover, but part, I believe, was getting rid of the face.
Beliefs are fine, but beliefs don't sell fiction books. Beliefs lead desperate people down the path of: "This is the way you should do it because I believe it worked for me." (That's how a lot of "how-to" writing books are sold.) And when that doesn't work they rush to something else, and something else, and something else.


edited for tone -- Ann
David VanDyke said:
IMO (and supported by long-established conventional wisdom within tradpub circles) you should never put unfamiliar human faces on book covers, especially if they are clearly seen and in close. That is, unless the face is iconic and instantly recognizable (Harry Potter, Spock), faces drive readers away by subliminally communicating an avoidance reaction. You may notice that on many covers, faces are turned partly or fully away--the woman's face buried in Fabio's chest, say--or cut off. In fact, the faceless chesty is an example of this principle--simplify the message to one visceral urge, rather than trying to engage the complex emotions faces engender.
Hmm, I'm not sure about this advice. In romance, the trend is going towards faces and away from headless torsos (well, slightly), as more and more authors are using custom stocks vs standard ones. This may be more or less true in certain genres
I think there's plenty of low-hanging fruit here to fix before giving up.

> current organization of series are confusing. I'm assuming some of these are serials. I think you'd be better off branding the Avoidables volumes as novels, rather than episodes. You're cutting out a huge swath of the market just by having 1 - 3, 10 - 12 etc. in there. If they can't stand alone, I'd consider taking them down - they just clutter the author page - and put them into a complete series box. Keep the permafree volume 1, put it out on all sites (including Instafreebie) and then have the combined full series available.

> maximize your permafrees. Make sure you have the free Book 1s out on Instafreebie, as part of a starter library for download on your website and so forth. More people tend to read these freebies (e.g. I just gave away 667 copies of my UF novel via Facebook in exchange for email addresses - this cost $500, which sounds terrible - and no, it wasn't the best optimized ad campaign I've ever run - but probably 10 - 15%+ of people actually read it, compared to 2% from a promo site. Plus, I have their email to tell them about Book 2/3).

> Box up The Avoidables, Deadliners, Viking Souls and Zodiac Twins all in complete series sets - and advertise them as such (the word complete is very important - have it in the title instead of 1 - 3 or 1 - 6). If the Viking Soul series isn't complete, consider writing a few more chapters or an extended epilogue or a novella, include that in Book 3 (and with the set) and then call it the complete series (rather than write more books in a series that isn't selling). Same with the Avoidables. Then try to get a BookBub on these complete series sets. BookBub loves those; even if you can't get a BookBub, these sets tend to perform well on other promo sites, too, and sell well via Facebook/AMS ads.

> Get select new covers. The current covers - well, they aren't great. Not bad, but you can kind of see the seams where they were Photoshopped together, and they're a little grainy, to my eye. Instead of redoing them all, which would be expensive, I would work on getting new boxed set covers. From where I sit, you need four: one for Viking Souls 1 - 3, one for Avoidables 1 - 12 (I would change the series name and serial branding, too; those are turning people away, I think), one for Deadliners 1 - 3 (also needs a new title, I think; doesn't convey UF) and one for Zodiac Twins 1 - 6. Market them all as complete series (tying up loose ends as needed with aforementioned epilogues).

>> brand these new covers tightly together; the current covers are all over the place and don't nail any of the sub-genres. Get the same designer to do all four, and make sure the author name is in the same location/same font. Then distinguish the series through different art/typography. But make sure there's a subtle thread running through them, and make sure the UF ones say UF.

>> relaunch one of these sets per month, up until the release of your new series. Small launches - $100 or $200 in promo etc. - but try to get some copies out there and test for your big "final" launch. Also helps you build a fanbase.

>> run cheap AMS ads to the sets. $2, $3 a day. This can be profitable if the price is $6.99 or $7.99.

>> didn't read all of the blurbs, but not a fan of the tagline or blurb for the Avoidables. Doesn't make me want to root for the hero. One-armed MC is an interesting hook, but the way it's framed doesn't sound uplifting/heroic (the tagline is "even freaks fall in love"), and it gives me no idea of the stakes - or why I should root for her. She just sounds bitter and the world sounds dark, which is not compelling to read about for 250 pages. It's placed in NA, so I'd assume it has more of a Hunger Games or Divergent style arc, where even if the world is gray-ish, the character is strong and inspires hope in the reader. Focus on that stuff, and give the reader incentive to root for her.

> kind of covered already, but to go a little deeper - covers and series aren't well-branded. It's hard to get the branding consistent from one series to another or at least semi-congruent. Some of the books appear to be UF, judging from the series names, but the covers don't suggest that at all (Deadliners). The Avoidables is apparently a dystopian novel, but I can't tell what it is from the cover. None of that is conducive to maximizing sales or backlist sell-through.

Pen name branding is a secondary issue, and one that's harder to fix. You can see that I have a similar congruence problem here. All the covers are pro, and most of them were expensive, but there's no consistent author brand. That's symbolic of a bigger problem: tonal shifts. I would suspect that might be a problem with your books, too - a wide variance in style and tones, even in similar genres. My covers accurately reflect the differences in sub-genre/style, but that's not great for sell-through or building a brand. Something to consider. OTOH, you can see my UF covers are far more consistent in tone, even though they're done by three different designers. Less jarring, although the author branding as a whole could still be tighter.

On the human faces debate:

> I can see where David is coming from. It's an interesting hypothesis. From my testing on Facebook, human faces - particularly eyes staring at the browser - perform well. They're very good at demanding attention in a maelstrom of content. This is because of evolutionary wiring - we're hard-coded to notice when someone is staring at us, since it indicates either interest or a threat. Most UF covers have the protag staring out at the viewer, or in a side profile where part of their face is visible - fairly standard trope. Of course, this means the same models are used over and over again, which can lead to image fatigue. YMMV.

I think the quality of the current covers is more of a problem than the design. The composition seems familiar/in the right ballpark on the Vikings Souls covers; I just don't think the quality is high enough to compete in a crowded genre.

A general comment:

> a full-time job can actually reduce your stress and make it easier to write. You won't have to constantly think about making money, which frees your brain from chasing its own tail. Sometimes you get stuck in a Mobius strip of stress, fear and chasing tactics, like this fog that just won't part. Suddenly, when you're not worried about bouncing your Netflix payment, the fog parts, and you can see exactly where the next milestone is. So I wouldn't view this as a last chance.

For the series, if this is really your absolute last chance, I'd be aggressive and go all out. It doesn't sound like you have substantial newsletter/platform firepower, so this is what I'd do:

> Since it sounds like you're going to write all three books, anyway, I would release them all at once. That way, if Book 1 hits big, the effect is magnified 3x - and that bleeds back to your UF backlist, too, provided you make the cover/series structural changes outlined above. I would wait until after Christmas, as that tends to be a trad-pub bloodbath; harder to get visibility and climb the charts. Maybe aim for January, when people are spending gift cards. That's all anecdotal; not sure the timing matters a ton. But all three books on one day maximizes your firepower.

> launch the new series in KU. UF in KU is really competitive these days, but most of the recent chart-toppers/breakouts have been powered by KU reads. If you can get a little tailwind from Amazon KU, it does wonders - and there are a lot of UF readers in KU. Get it visible, hit the cover tropes, and you have a good chance of snagging some of that market.

> this gives you two options: launch book 1 at $0.99 or free. If you have $1k+, then $0.99 is gonna be your best option. You can storm the top 1000 with a combination of promo sites, mailing list and PPC. You're going to have to put Book 1 up on pre-order for about a month, since most of the best promo sites are booked pretty far out. I think that's worth it. If you have less than $1k, I'd do a 2 - 3 free promo with the best, heavy-hittingest sites you can afford, with all of them backloaded. Aim for 3k+ downloads on the last day. You can probably achieve that for $500. Have the book come off the promo at $0.99 if you want to max the tail or $2.99/$3.99 if you want to max revenue.

> option three: launch book 1 at $0.99 with a nice blitz. See what the reaction is; if sell-through and initial sales are weak, you can pull this out of your back pocket - the full trilogy release 1 month later. Release the full trilogy for this new series at $0.99 with ad support, while doing a simultaneous all-out free blitz on Book 1. Obviously this is a very aggressive move, since it cannibalizes all your sales for Books 2 & 3 immediately, but if things really aren't moving, and you're intent on this being the last stand, it gives you one additional high-powered round in the promo chamber.

Nick
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Word Fan said:
Beliefs are fine, but beliefs don't sell fiction books. Beliefs lead desperate people down the path of: "This is the way you should do it because I believe it worked for me." (That's how a lot of "how-to" writing books are sold.) And when that doesn't work they rush to something else, and something else, and something else.

Your comment is just another one if those, despite whatever "conventional wisdom" you claim to possess.
Sure, just an opinion--but an informed, educated opinion based on actually making a living doing this, and I give workshops on how to become a commercially successful indie. That's why I repeatedly said "IMO" and "in my experience."

But, for the same reason I give Stephen King's or Hugh Howie's informed opinion more weight than, say, a random indie who's not making a full-time living, I think it's an informed opinion worth considering. She's looking for feedback. I gave feedback. There it is. Attacking feedback, and at the same time insulting the OP by characterizing her as "desperate," isn't helpful. Neither is immediately going ad hominem, attacking me personally rather than debating the merits of what I've said, as others have done.
After skimming through them, there seems to be no solid consensus. I've got my own viewpoint, others have theirs.

Here's my reasoning, though: faces hurt you more than they help you.

They might establish an emotional connection to get someone to read the book, but let's say they are equally likely to make someone decide against it. This argues that they are strong, not weak, determinants of who moves past to the buying stage.

This is part of the eternal debate about strong style statements. For example, most real estate agents and house stagers recommend neutral colors and no strong style statements, so the buyer can easily imagine themselves in that space.

It may be that, if your niche market is more narrowly bounded than a perfect human cross-section (e.g., the YA demographic tends toward young and female), then putting faces that identify with that demographic might bring more sales than it drives away. But the author must ask herself, could the same effect be achieved with figures and genre-appropriate graphics, but smaller or no faces, in order to cast a wider net?

After reading these articles, my considered opinion hasn't changed. For me, I want to cast the widest net with the longest tail that has the highest degree of inclusiveness of all types of reader. I want to let them get into the story before they encounter some element of the story or protagonists that might make them believe they can't identify with the protagonist.

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rachelmedhurst said:
Series Name: Hunted Witch Agency

Very Rough Synopsis:
Devon is a witch who has inherited the wizard leadership role, but she's too busy building her hunting agency. A rouge coven have declared war, naming themselves as head witches to rule all of England. The new wizard leader is a strong witch, one that has a lot invested in her coven running the London branch. Her agency is pushed to the limit to find the deserters and make them pay for destroying an ancient ritual that will no longer provide London with the power it needs.
Hey, Rachel!

You mentioned reading Chris's book, so you might want to finish before you commit fully to this, if it's really necessary that you put out a trilogy or series that sells. Sure, people do really well in urban fantasy, and it's possible to break in, but you're setting yourself up for a challenge. It's a very competitive genre, probably THE most competitive of the fantasy subgenres.

Chris talks about finding subgenres that are less competitive (a lot of the ones that Amazon has created more recently fall into this category), since it's a lot easier to make a Top 100 list and get that extra visibility.

Also, I'm not an urban fantasy expert or even a reader of much of it, but you may want to skim through the descriptions for the Top 100 and see if your story idea seems like it would fit in. We've interviewed successful urban fantasy authors, and I don't remember many witch stories, so I find myself wondering if witches in London are going to touch on enough popular tropes to take off and stick.

Since it sounds like you're in a do-or-die situation, it wouldn't be a bad idea to try the Write to Market advice and stick quite close to it.

Either way, good luck!
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As someone who's written urban fantasy, I'd say witches have been very good to me. There's nothing wrong with focusing on that subgenre of UF. As for the covers, listen to Lou Harper. She definitely knows UF covers. I would second Nick's vote for starting in KU. About 80% of my earnings come from KU, so the readers are there and they're hungry.

I think your general story plan is fine. I would suggest making sure your protagonist is likable and in a heap of trouble right away. The suggestion to look closely at Domino Finn's tough guy UF series is also good. A lot of successful UF writers are on Kboards, like JA Cipriano, Conner Kressley, Barbara Kingsolver, Percival Constantine, and Pippa DaCosta. The voice in this subgenre tends to be snarky, and the action is nonstop. Good luck.
Rachel, I wanted to wish you good luck and cheer you on. I think it's great that you've kept at it and not lose hope. If you love writing, which is clear that you do, let that be what drive you above all else. And about the job, I'll be joining you soon as our big move is over. Honestly, I agree with a poster above about having a job making it less stressful. For a while, I tried ghostwriting but wasn't able to produce my own work. We decided to move to an area with greater job opportunities and I'm looking forward to getting work outside the home again so I can write for fun instead of work. I feel ya. Anyway, I wish you much success with your plan!
Hello~

I thought I'd step in and give what advice I can. I launched an urban fantasy series in January of this year as a brand spanking new author with no presence to my name.

First thing I'd recommend: go longer than a trilogy. UF readers tend to like things between 5-7 books. Personally, I just released book 6 in my UF series just a few days ago and it topped 1k in ranking, and in a mixture of awesome/annoying, I've already got people demanding book 7.

Launch hard. Launch like there's no tomorrow. Everyone will say it, so I will too: UF is a saturated genre. That does not mean you cannot break out. We have plenty of readers to go around! But, it does mean that you need to thrust yourself in as many faces as possible as quickly as possible, trip the Amazon algos, and get them pushing your book. I've noticed a trend of only planning a 1 week, or 5 day, launch. I recommend a 2 week launch. I launched Grave Mistake for 2 weeks and I stayed in the top 1k for...60 days? I think. I can't remember, that was several months ago now. Spreading your promos out over 2 weeks means you're showing Amazon that heck yeah, people are buying my book soooo many days in a row, look how good I'm doing. And then Amazon will be all "oh crap, this book is doing well, let's keep it going" and push your book in the form of also boughts or, if you're lucky, putting it in one of their genre newsletters.

Read all of Chris's books. Then go through the top books in Mysteries, Thrillers, & Suspense > Suspense > Ghosts, Psychics, Vampires, Werewolves & Shifters, and Witches & Wizards, and read them. Devour them. Map them out. Go through their reviews and take note of what people did and didn't like. While you're at it, take a look at their covers. What do you see as a common theme? Write that down. You'll want that in mind when you talk to Lou about what you want. Actually, go back and create a pinterest board of some of those covers, so you can point Lou to it.

It's 1 AM here, so I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's all my brain is coming up with right now. I do a lot better with answering specific questions rather than throwing out whatever I happen to think I know. If you want to chat about it, lemme know.
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Thank yo so much, all, some amazing tips for me to really get my teeth into. I'm going to be using this post as a reference point as I do my research and implement different things to help boost everything! I really appreciate all your comments. I'm going to take August to really get a good idea of what I'm going to do and try to get the new series right. :)
Personally, and this is just a personal opinion but I’d change the name of the series....Then just really work on the blurbs! I’ve had a quick look on your website and none of the blurbs excited me…. But as I said it’s totally just my opinion. I love urban fantasy books, I write it and read it so I’m going to pick up one of your books!
Hey Rachel.

Yah know what, it's tough out there but the great thing about being indie is that there doesn't have to be a "last chance". WE EVOLVE. If something doesn't work, it can be fixed. If you can't fix the old, start afresh. You've got this.  ;)

First and foremost, write what you want to write. Because you do not want to be burned out and stuck with a series that you can't sell. If you enjoy writing it, not only do the readers pick up on it, it keeps you motivated when bad times hit (it happens. We've all been there).

Now, clearly keep an eye on what UF readers want. You don't have to tick all the boxes, but you do have to understand UF expectations. That doesn't mean writing the same UF tropes over and over. Don't do that, because you won't stand out from what is increasingly a saturated market. I'm sure you're already well ahead of me on this, but read widely, get a feel for what makes a rollicking good UF and then make it yours by throwing your own spin on it. You do not want to be a flash in the pan. You want to garner genuine Rachel Medhurst fans who come back for more book after book after book. Give them something only you can do. That generally means giving them your own unique voice.

Launch in KU and launch at 99c. Book 1 isn't about profit. It's about getting as visible as possible. You want to throw everything at book 1's launch. As others have said, NL swaps work well, but you can also book genre specific promos with BookBarbarian etc (email them, explaining it's a new launch and that it WILL have reviews on launch day - assemble an arc team so you know you'll have reviews landing on launch). You have to market that book like there's no tomorrow. Target bestsellers in the genre and fire up the Amazon ads. It's going to hurt, initially, in terms of spend, but you should recoup it in page-reads. Build buzz around your new series using quotes, graphics, and your arc team. 

Have Book 2 ready to go, ideally up for pre-order while book 1 is selling like hot cakes. You don't want any hot readers to slip through the net, and they have a lot of distractions in UF. Catch them while they're fans, before they forget and move on to the next shiny new UF book.

Get the best covers you can afford. If you need recs, you know where I am. Approach other authors selling well in the genre and ask for cover designer recommendations. Get a cover designer who knows UF.

I've seen some folks here recommend you read tough guy UF (Domino's work and mine etc). Tough guy UF is not the same as tough chick UF. The readerships are looking for different things. Of course there are similarities - it's still UF - but you're aiming for the tough chick market. Tough chick usually, but not always, has a strong romantic sub-plot (at the very least, a romantic thread). Part of the thrill of tough chick UF is how the protag handles the guys in her world. This sub-plot is not as prevalent in tough guy UF. There are other differences, but you get the idea.

Someone above also said manage your expectations. This is good advice. Shooting for the stars is all very well, but may be unrealistic, and if you fail to make a bajillion dollars, then you're always going to be disappointed. Don't compare yourself to others. Look at your existing sales. Set yourself a realistic target and aim for that.

As always, the above doesn't apply to everyone and it's just my own personal opinions, with the caveat that there is no "one size fits all" in publishing. You've got some great advice here and a solid foundation to build upon. A new series is super exciting. I wish you all the best with the launch. Good luck!

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I'll be following your progress (and cheering you on!) as I'm in a very similar boat. I've given myself until the end of January to meet a certain financial goal or the plan is to start looking for another, more regular job. Not to say I'd stop writing all together, but things would definitely have to slow down. I'm launching two new series in September and am definitely planning to follow a launch plan similar to what Izzy listed above. Go big for book one to give your future books a better chance.

Best of luck!
To add to the fantastic advice you got from Pippa and wingsandwords (and many others) I'd encourage you to take a hard look at the top 100 UF books on Amazon and get Lou Harper or another UF-strong cover designer to make something similar to others in the genre, which usually means a protagonist you can recognize on the cover, either face full-on or in profile, but usually quite recognizable. While going without a clear face works for some genres, UF seems to be one (like various flavors of romance) where the readership wants to connect with a character. Following the advice to not put a face on the cover will almost certainly hurt you in UF, and you don't need to be a bestseller to know that.

So, study the genre tropes and expectations, and rock on. And if you want a newsletter blast to go out to my humble 5500 NL group, hit me up when you're ready and I'll do what I can to help boost. I'm a paper bag of small fries, but with enough of us supporting enough of us, somehow the rising tide lifts everyone. Have fun!
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