July in the Books

flightAs I’m writing this, my family and I are 10s of thousands of feet above North Dakota or Montana or whatever other state might be on the flight pattern between Minneapolis and Seattle. We’ll be spending 12 days exploring Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, taking in the northwest coast, and enjoying the cities of Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle. It will be a good break for the summer workers in the family, and a break for me from writing.

July proved to be an ideal time for me to dig solidly into various writing projects. Blood Moon, my YA thriller, is in the capable hands of the editing and design team at Lerner Publishing, with a scheduled release date of Spring 2017. My newest, and current, project is one I entered with slight reservation, but one for which I’m now very excited. I made up my mind recently, due in large part to the advice of other independent authors, to write two sequels to Casey KC. The strategy for many authors in indy publishing is to write a series, making the first book in the series free in eBook format, with the hope to entice readers into purchasing and reading additional books in the series. We’ll see how that strategy pays off long-term, but even if it doesn’t, I’m very happy to be back in the world of Casey and to be writing him into some new adventures. The next book in the series is tentatively entitled Casey Cape Cod, and it will see Casey taking a step back from the majors and fine-tuning his baseball skills alongside college-aged MLB prospects in one of the best summer leagues in the country, The Cape Cod Baseball League. Once again, Casey will be a fish out of water, dealing with the challenges and obstacles of playing alongside teammates much older and more experienced than him. And don’t look now, but Casey might even experience his first crush and fall in love!

Casey KCAs for the business side of things, I continue to look for ways to market Casey KC and to find new paths for getting it into the hands of young readers. Many friends and family members have graciously stepped up and read Casey and have then done me the honor of sharing the story with others and posting reviews on Amazon. We indy authors depend on word of mouth and in building a collection of positive reviews, so if you’ve read Casey but have yet to post a review on Amazon, please consider taking a few minutes to do so. I would be eternally grateful!

In July I also purchased my first Facebook Ad. I started with a very small investment, not knowing the true benefits of this type of marketing. Truth be told, I’m still not really sure about the benefits. The ad ran for 10 days and resulted in hundreds of new views to my Facebook author page and over 50 clicks to my website. Did this result in any sales or any new readers? Hard to say. But it was cheap, and if I connected with just a few people in the world who were completely unaware of me and my books, I suppose it was worth it.

One piece of good news along the lines of increased visibility is that my local library, Hennepin County, has recently added a copy of Casey KC to its collection. It’s a victory, be it a somewhat small one, for an indy author to get one’s book into a large library system collection like Hennepin County’s. My library background has taught me that in almost all cases librarians purchase books only after they have been positively reviewed by reputable sources such as Booklist, School Library Journal or Publisher’s Weekly. And since Casey has yet to be reviewed by any of these, it’s a bit of a leap of faith for a librarian to purchase a book like it. Needless to say, I’m thankful to HCLIB for having added Casey KC to its collection and I’m hopeful it will be found by some new readers.

So onto August – family vacation, Olympics, Bachelor in Paradise and a continued obsession with following the Tweets of our now officially-nominated presidential candidates, supporters and naysayers. I’ll continue to write my new Casey story and, fingers crossed, will be able to report some more good news about the journey of Casey KC next month. Happy reading, happy summer, don’t forget to spend some time pursuing the passion in your life, and USA! USA! USA!