Readers, I Need Your Help

Hello, everyone.

So it’s been over a week since Tallow Jones: Wizard Detective has been released and I could really use your help.

I’ve been delaying writing this post for months, but I thought it would be best to be frank with all of you. This has been a long year. The last two Bowl of Souls books have under-performed and sales of my books have slowed down to a trickle. My wife went back to work a few months ago, but even with her income we are barely able to pay bills.

Now I’m not sure why things have come to this point. In the past when I have released a book, Amazon has told people about it, a sizeable amount of my readers continue with the story, and a slew of new readers start from the beginning. The same thing happened with new audiobooks. That trend has ended.

The feedback I’ve gotten from readers over my last three books has been great, but Noose Jumpers didn’t sell at all and less than half of the people who purchased the Bowl of Souls series up to Troll King purchased Priestess of War.  I had hoped that the release of Behemoth to finish out the Jharro Grove Saga would bring people back, but I realized that Amazon isn’t sending out emails to my readers to tell them my new books are out. Most of the purchases have been from active Facebook fans who actually hear when the books are released.

This is why I decided to finally write that Wizard Detective story that has been in my head for so long. The Bowl of Souls series had fatigued, which meant that instead of writing book one of the next saga I needed to start a new series and bring new blood in. So I worked really hard, slept very little, and finished the book in less than three months.

That brings us to today. I’m really excited about Tallow Jones and I think it is my best book yet, but for whatever reason only a small percentage of my readership have picked it up and Amazon hasn’t been recommending it.  Things have come to the point where if things don’t pick up soon, I will need to go back to a day job.

If that happens, this won’t mean I will have to stop writing altogether. My plans on the horizon are to write more Tallow Jones books, start the Dark Prophet Saga of the Bowl of Souls, and eventually continue the Noose Jumpers series. (I have so many ideas for that one.) It will mean, however, that I won’t be able to write my books very quickly. My previous pace of 2-3 books a year will dwindle.

How can you help?

  1. If you haven’t given my new books a try. Please do. If Tallow Jones is able to climb the charts, Amazon will start to share it and bring in new readers to keep things afloat.
  2. If you have read my newest books, please leave a review on Amazon or Audible. Reviews are extremely important both to Amazon’s mysterious algorithm and to readers trying to decide whether to give a book a chance.
  3. Tell your friends. All new blood is good new blood. Also, you will have someone else to discuss the books with.
  4. Give me suggestions on how I might better promote my books. I have tried almost anything that a poor writer can do, but I am always open to more suggestions.

I will hang on to this career as long as I can. This week I am writing a short story that will be part of a fantasy anthology that is coming out in December. After that, my plan is to start on Tallow Jones, book two. If I’m not at a day job I may be able to finish it by the end of the year. In 2018 my plan is to begin the Dark Prophet Saga with the first book: Sir Edge and hopefully several more books.

Time shall tell.

There is one last possibility I would like to run by you. It isn’t as common for novel writers, but there is a platform called Patreon where fans can support content creators and allow them the freedom to keep working. This is really helpful for people that have a small group of dedicated fans, but are not well known enough to make a living otherwise. Fans can pledge a certain dollar amount a month to help the person they want to support and in exchange the content creator can offer rewards and prizes. Fans can change or cancel their pledges at any time. I personally have two people that I help support in this manner, pledging five bucks a month. https://www.patreon.com

EDIT: My Patreon page is now set up! https://www.patreon.com/trevorhcooley

If I chose to start my own Patreon account I could offer rewards for Patreon supporters such as the opportunity to become Alpha readers and read a new chapter of my upcoming book each week. Or signed copies of paperback versions of my books upon release. Skype calls, Or even a mentorship where I will help you with the editing process on your own book. Let me know if you would be interested in something like that.  Let me know what you think.

No matter how this goes, I want to thank all of you for your support since I started this adventure five years ago.

Trevor

This entry was posted in Tallow Jones, Tarah Woodblade, The Bowl of Souls, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Readers, I Need Your Help

  1. Bryce says:

    I think there are a number of problems. As some have mentioned the series is long and fatigue can set in. You seem to have tried to counteract that by adding more POV characters. However from what i have seen you have largely kept the book length the same resulting in less pages per character and the story not progressing.

    The characters have also grown stale. Justan is a good example. For awhile you had him growing with his magic and weapons. He got a number of different bonded in the first few books and honestly he hasn’t really changed since then and that can be said for a lot of the older characters. And the newer ones like Tarah? Bleh

    • Bryce! It’s good to hear from you again. I understand your point of view on this. I remember reading your reviews and how you felt about the changes in the series as we got to the Jharro Grove Saga. I am sorry that you did not enjoy my method. I have a long term plan for the series including plans for Justan’s growth (including plans for his powers). In the Jharro Grove Saga I had some stories that I wanted to tell to set up future events and part of the way I did that was to give the series three major protagonists instead of one. So Justan split time with Tarah and Fist as three separate storylines interwoven to bring things to the conclusion I wanted. I don’t know if you read all the way to the conclusion, but It was quite an undertaking.

      I also hear your concern that the books didn’t get larger as the story expanded. As an indy writer I can’t afford to spend a year writing each book and putting out 1000 page tomes. So I split the story into plot paths to give each book it’s own climax that led onto the other ones. If this did now work for you, I’m sorry about that.

  2. Tamara says:

    I have binge read everyone of the books my husband’s had purchased of yours! I very much enjoyed Justan and Tarah in the Bowl of Souls series. The way 2 major main characters were given unique perspective of a larger occurrence made me fall in love with the characters. You are a great story teller (writer) and should be on the shelf of libraries across the nation, are you?

    • Tamara,
      Thank you! It makes me happy that you enjoy the books. My books are not on library shelves unfortunately. They are available for libraries to order, but since I don’t have a major publisher behind me, they don’t tend to buy them. The only times I have heard of libraries or bookstores carrying my books is if a reader requests them specifically. Even then, not many will do it. I probably sell 200 kindle books for every one paperback.

  3. John says:

    Sorry to hear about the poor sales. I do love the bowl of souls but I have to admit I was less interested once Woodblade was released. It just seems like Justan (forgive the spelling I have the audiobooks) stopped being featured so much. Not sure if that is what impacted others or not. As for your other books I have to admit Noosejumpers just doesn’t appeal to me, since I dislike all westerns. As for Tallow Jones, I think you might have 2 issues there. I personally don’t like the cover and to be honest ‘wizard detective’ doesn’t sound appealing. If this comes out on audible i’ll pick it up but I don’t usually have a lot of time to read. I listen to books at work. I might be able to support a pateron page though. I really hope the sales turn around because I do like your series better than Harry Potter or some of the other ones. I know someone mentioned in another comment that the series is too long. Personally i’m just the opposite. When i’m browsing audible I usually ignore all single books or anything that is a trilogy. I love long running series. So to each their own.

    • Thanks, John. I do hope you’ll give Tallow Jones a try. I think it’s my best book yet. As for your point about Justan not being featured as much, He is still and will always be the main character of the Bowl of Souls series. My plan with the Jharro Grove Saga, however, was to split time between Justan, Fist, and Tarah. I had Fist’s plotline that I was really excited to write. The next saga will be called the Dark Prophet Saga and Justan will be the central focus once again. Book one will be called Sir Edge.

      I am putting my Patreon Page together right now. I would be honored if you would be willing to support it.

  4. Tim Ford says:

    Hey Trevor

    Just a comment I have enjoyed your books.

    Regarding your drop off…IMO you may have encountered one of the classic blunders the most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” the lesser known second is “Never write a series with more than 5 books”

    Not to make light of your situation but beyond 5 novels no matter how good the characters are – the story gets stale. The reader knows the characters so well there is no spring left in the relationship.

    I applaud your initiative to begin branching out to other stories. You are a fantastic writer and it would be a waste if you became discouraged and let your talent fall to the wayside.

    Looking forward to great things from you in the future.

    Dexdox

    • Tim,

      I understand what you are saying. There is a tendency with a longer series that we writers call “Series Fatigue” There is always a slight drop off between one book to the next in a long series. This is usually made up for by the fact that new readers come in and start at the beginning. It’s a measurable thing and expected There is usually a 10-15% slide. But with the last two books of the Jharro Grove saga it was something more than that. Priestess of War sold less than half what Troll King did. And Behemoth sold only as much as Priestess of War. To make things worse, Amazon did not promote the books at all which meant that new readers weren’t hearing about the release and picking up book one.

      Thank you for your support. I am definitely trying to branch out with new series as well as continue with the original.

  5. Steve says:

    Hi, well I follow you on facebook and have read your books up to Priestess of War and Noose Jumpers (part way). Just could not get into the story. The Priestess of War did drag a little for me but did finish it. I will purchase your new book, Tallow Jones.

  6. I would love to support you on Patron! You are by far my favorite author. I have a novel that I have been working on but I am having trouble getting it to “flow”. That being said the mentorship reward would definitely be my favorite, however signed copies and Skype calls would be awesome as well. I own all of your books minus Tallow Jones: Wizard Detective, which I do intend on purchasing very soon. Your novels are my companions out here in the oil field. Let me know as soon as you start up your Patron account!

    • Evidently my phone needs to calm down on the booze. Lol

    • Thanks, Vincent! I will definitely let you know. And I would be happy to help with your book as part of the patreon rewards. I’m still putting it together and trying to figure out what tiers of support would equal what rewards and so forth. I’m glad you enjoy my books and I hope you will enjoy Tallow Jones. I think it’s my best book yet.

  7. Chris B says:

    Call me crazy but it would be fun to play universal just like the wizards do in a app on our phones. With the different colored rooms and all that jazz

  8. Lasse Samson says:

    Hi Trevor 😉

    I would love to help support you on Patreon, and please never stop writing books, i love them and the characters you bring to life with your writing.The Bowl of Souls Series, is my favorite series since i read Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings. Not sure how much i could support you with as a poor student, but i’d definitely like to help how ever i can.

    One Patreon reward i would like to see is a video guide or something like it on how to play with these ( https://imgur.com/gallery/LLmT6 ), i bought two decks few years ago, and i’m sorry to say never really got into it.

    Regards,

    Lasse Samson, a gigantic fan 🙂

    P.S. Tallow Jones: Wizard Detective was awesome!

    • Lasse, Thank you! I’ll keep you informed on that Patreon campaign. As for a universal cards video, I think that’s a great idea. I could film a guide to playing elements and a guide to playing Unity over one weekend. My brother who is a film maker could edit the videos together. As for Tallow Jones, I am very glad you liked it. Please leave an Amazon review if you haven’t had the chance to do so yet!

  9. Gordon Chow says:

    I was actually just trying to find you on Patreon before I found your blog. I would be happy to help support your writing

  10. Mohammed Al-Riffaie says:

    Hi

    I still have one hour left in behemoth and I didn’t know that you were planning new saga and I’m so exited to hear it.

    From what my friends who I recommended the books told me is after tarah woodblade they stopped reading because they thought the main heroes aren’t coming along if I remeber correctly. You did mention in the audio book that there is a fight for them but it wasn’t interested enough for them to continue. Until I have informed them and spoiled few thing. They didn’t plan to continue

    Another friend who subscribed to audible have problem with wasting 11 credit on a series. According to him “the books are short and I can’t waste almost 1 year tokens on them”

    Although they are totally worth it to us because when we started we had to spend 4 tokens at the time and then Wait 6 or more months to spend another. It’s not the case with new blood. I don’t know if it’s possible. But if you combine let say (1-1.5-2) as one book and (3,4,5) as another and then (6-7). So people will spend 3 tokens only and reach the point after they reach the grove. Then they can buy book by book. At least it will be more appealing for them

    Also I noticed that in my country (Bahrain) we can’t find any of your books in any book store. I don’t know why but other new writters have there books on the shelfs day one. But when ever I ask about your books I can’t find anything.

    Did you try merchandise? I love to use my favorite concept of worlds I read about on books as graphic tshirt or a creature like rouge horse
    But when you search for bowl of souls on redbubble.com for example. You won’t find anything. I know people usually upload the concept without asking authors but you can create your own tshirt and publish them. I would love to know how you imagine those rouge horses looks like and deathclaw. Find an artist and let him draw what you imagine and sell them as tshirt. Me and many others will buy them (make sure you have XXXL thought :P)

    Your story is amazing and I’m always thinking how good it ganna be as animation series. I hope one day you will get a deal and kids around the world go to school with backbag with gwerthu on it

    Best of luck

    • Thanks, Mohammed! I’m glad to hear that I have readers in Bahrain. I know that some readers were concerned that the Jharro Grove Saga wouldn’t have Justan and friends in it and if I was doing it all over again, I think it would have been smart to give Justan some kind of role in that first book of the Saga. I had hoped that the prominent mentions of Justan in the product pages of the other books, as well as naming one of them Ogre Apprentice would let people know.

      So there is a bit of a dropoff in readership from Mother of the Moonrat to Tarah Woodblade, but it is a relatively small dropoff overall. The big difference is between Troll King and Priestess of War.

      I like your suggestion about combining books into collections. i have done so for the Moonrat Saga books on Kindle, but I don’t know how I would do that on Audible. My narrators would have to agree to it and I’m not sure how to make that happen. I’ll look into it. I also like your idea for shirts and other merchandise. I have thought about it before. I would need good artwork and then I would have to figure out how to put a store together.There are Tshirt sites out there so that would be fun.

      My books aren’t in bookstores because I am an independent author. They are only available on Amazon. You can buy paperbacks there. They are print on demand. Amazon will print them and send them to you.

      I would love to have a TV show, animated or otherwise, based on the Bowl of Souls. Unfortunately no studios have shown interest so far. It is a goal of mine. Thank you for telling your friends. I appreciate the support!

Just tell me what you dag-gum think!