Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Going On

So, here's what's going on right now. An update, if you will, of the various projects here at One Stray Word.

The Good News

Alex Cheradon Volume 2 is trucking along. We're on track for probably 5 total installments in this volume. There was going to be 6, but I'm making cuts so things don't seem padded out. I'm probably either just at or now approaching the halfway mark of Book 3, which still has the unfortunate title of "?????" At some point in the near future, I'll probably have to come up with a real title...

The only deadlines I have are self imposed ones and I kind of blew those. The original plan was to have the 3rd AC book out by the end of June. I was supposed to have finished writing it before my wife and I took off for our anniversary (6 years!) vacation and then do edits on it when we came back. That did not happen. So, I'm working on get back on schedule and, with any luck, I'll get it set up so that you get the last 3 AC books on a monthly-ish basis.

I had a beta reader (Thanks, Mary!) go through two of my older books, Just Dial 911 for Assistance and Explorers of the Unknown. Both books are grammatically cleaned up now. Explorers has been reissued, but I'm holding Just Dial 911 back because my wife and I really think this book could be something a lot better. So, after I'm done with the current volume of Alex Cheradon, I'm hoping to do a rewrite/expansion of Just Dial 911 into it's own volume/season. Basically, the idea would be to expand the book from a first person narrative into an ensemble cast, focusing on two or three other people from the 911 call center. I want this book to really fulfill it's original premise, which was "West Wing, but for 911 Call Centers."

My niece and I outlined the first three books of the Castle Sisters Volume 2. The plan was to start writing them in time for her birthday in November. I'm gonna try really hard to hold to that plan.

The Bad News

A couple of these you might have already guessed.

No Outlawed Love follow-up. Sorry guys, my heart's just not into it. It's probably never going to happen. Sorry.

There probably won't be anymore Cupid's Daughter, either. This book is about the closest thing to an actual bomb that I have. We had a quota, a sales threshold if you will, that we wanted to CD to reach before continuing with the series and it didn't even come close. It didn't even come into the vincity of close. We sold, like, 15 copies in 2012. And last time I checked for 2013, we'd only sold 5. Maybe it would have sold better if I had released the entire series all at once? I don't know. But it's been a horrible failure. I won't say that we'll never get anymore Cupid's Daughter books, but it's not looking good.

Reapers in Heels. Okay, this is the tough one. Again, I'm not going to say Never. I mean, I've got notes and outlines for Volumes 3 & 4 sitting on my hard drive here. I've got plans for these characters. But the series just hasn't been selling. In December 2011 when we launched RiH, One Stiletto in the Grave sold 206 copies. But then for the entirety of 2012, One Stiletto only sold 213 copies. And the numbers just went downhill from here.

Reapers in Heels 2012 Sales Numbers

And for 2013, the entire series has been in the mid to low single digits.

The point of RiH was to reach out to a larger audience. But it ain't working. I don't know what happened, but the larger audience is not picking up on it. Again, I'm not gonna say Never, but there would have to be dramatic increase in sales before we see any future volumes. This series needs to be profitable for it to continue. 

That said, if you've been following me on Facebook, though, you'll know that I've tried pitching RiH to a couple of different of comic book publishers. No luck yet, but my wife and I are definitely looking into the possibility of the series continuing in another format.

Overall, though, our book sales have taken a real dive this year. Everything's dropped into the single digits. I don't know why this is. I don't know how to fix it. It's not great. It certainly bums me out. But it is what it is.

Jon Acuff had a great post today about God's calendar vs ours, which was timely considering our frustrations over the declining book sales. Because it is very frustrating. We both work very hard on these books. But at the end of the day, you just have to leave things in God's hands. It's lesson that we need to be reminded often. My wife and I continue to pray about the books everyday and, really, that's all we can do. Which is also timely, considering our current devotional we've been studying is about praying more often. It's almost as though somebody's trying to tell me something....

So, for now, we're focusing on projects that are near and dear to me like Alex Cheradon, the Castle Sisters and Just Dial 911. Although, I do have this older sci-fi trilogy sitting on my hard drive that I've been trying to find a way to release for almost a year now. It's written, but it needs some editing and maybe the ending needs to be tweaked just ever so slightly. But otherwise, it's a complete package. I kick myself every day that goes by without it getting released. So, that's probably gonna get on the schedule somewhere.

I think that's everything. Kind of feels like I'm ending this on a downer, so, uh, here's a picture of some kittens:


  1. Thanks for the update, Jason. That covers a lot and now I know what to keep pestering you for and what to let be. It's really disappointing that some of those other books haven't sold as well as I think they should. Not sure what the answer is. I will pile my prayers onto you and your wife's. I am very excited for more Alex! He will always be one of my favorite characters- a true original! I am so happy to hear you have big plans for him. :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Mary! That means a lot. I'm so grateful to have readers like you!