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  • Max Henry

Step By Tiny Little Step

Sunday afternoon.


There is chicken roasting in the oven, and like all good Sundays, I'm ending the week reflecting back on what I achieved and what I want to achieve going forward. I promised numbers and stats, so here we go. Grab a coffee, wine, or both, and get comfy 😋


Release week.


That big, scary duo of words that leaves most authors shivering in their PJs under a swathe of notebooks and hastily scribbled Post-Its.


I said in my last update that I wasn't placing expectations on this release, and I still haven't. It's early days yet - or so I keep reminding myself - so I won't know for sure how much progress I made with this book (from the last novel I put out) until the end of the month.


BUT (there's my favourite word again 😉) I can already see markers that tell me I'm on the right path (even if it isn't raining hundys like I'd love it to be). To keep it simple - and my squirrel brain reined in - I'll list the bullet points.


RANK

Now, let me precursor this by saying rank doesn't solely define a book's success. I hear people aiming for that top 100 like it's the golden goose, or the pot at the end of the rainbow.


What if I told you that an author in the 2-400s can sometimes make more than an author at 90?


Yep. It happens.


How? Because income-expenditure=profit. And sometimes, a top 100 author can spend major bank on advertising to get that position. Add in other factors like what price point the book is at, possible sell-through, and Penny Pageturner at 310 might possibly make more on her 350 page novel at $3.99 than Mick Moneymaker on his 99c 240 page bargain.


Anyway. I digress.


Rank. My previous novel, Amplifier, managed a respectable 5,384. Not bad, sure. But my target average at the moment is 1,000-1,500. Was I disappointed? Sure. I mean it's predecessor, Down Beat, achieved 656. Still, I'm a realist (sometimes annoyingly so) and I knew that after a year's haiatus in which I let my social presence diminish to almost nothing, then yeah, I'd be all kinds of crazy to hope for the same.


So, Good Girls.


I released this a month after Amplifier. I don't know if it's still true, but Amazon favour regular releases in their algorithms. Still, I sometimes wonder how much of a fabled unicorn these algorithms are because they've rarely made much impact for me. Anywho - I peaked at 1,287 on the day of release.


5,384 to 1,287. Not a bad incline, huh? Perhaps deviating from one series to write to market in another wasn't a bad idea at all?


PAGE READS

Since I'm not allowed to share actual figures and details, I'm going to lever this information in vague ranges.


Amplifier peaked at mid four figures pages read per day in its first week. Good Girls hit almost six times that. This is where rank can be a helpful indicator.


Truth bomb: I didn't look at my dashboard for the first 48 hours - only my rank. Why? I didn't want dollar figures to put me off and sway my mindset. As long as the rank climbed, I was doing the right thing.


AVERAGE RATING

I sent out the ARCs for Good Girls the week before release (I think from memory, it was four days beforehand because I was running a couple of days over schedule).


46 copies were claimed by bloggers. 34 by my review team.


As at today, I have 33 reviews in the US store. Hmm 🤔 On my list for this week is the task of checking off submitted review links against the list of recipients. For the longest time I would let people take advantage of my ARC offers because I felt as though they were doing me the biggest favour by taking time out to read and post the review for me.


Well, they are. But here's the thing.


I spent three weeks writing that book. That was roughly 60+ hours behind the keyboard. I spent countless hours creating the graphics for teasers etc, not to mention the nights with the laptop glued to my lap while I crafted the perfect covers for the series.


The book is my asset. It's my stock on the shelf. My shopfront display.


If I give it away for free in exchange for a fair review, then I expect that review to be done within the first few days of the book being live.


That's not being pushy, or demanding, peeps. That's paying yourself the due respect and knowing your worth. It's about saying, "My effort in creating this book more than deserves the level of respect a timely review demands."


So ... from now on, I will be a lot stricter with my review team. Uphold your end of the bargain, or forfeit your privilege.


Harsh, but necessary.


SOCIAL PROOF

Another key area I like to measure a books success in (that most people overlook) is what did it do for my audience?


Since Good Girls released I've gained new page likes, mailing list subscribers, and followers on FB and Instagram. My reader group, Max's Madhouse, has seen a slight increase in interest as well.


This is what makes me happy. It meant that somebody enjoyed a story I wrote enough to want to stay in touch with what I offer next. It means I get to meet new people, grow the discussion, and interact to a broader audience.


I set myself a target for this year: to increase numbers on all social media and subscriber lists by 20%. As of now, midway through the year, my progress varies between 5-25% depending on the site. Namely because I haven't concentrated on more than one or two platforms a month.


No biggie - progress is progress.


THE WASH UP

It'll take until mid August to know for sure where Good Girls stands on the success rate. I've promised myself to not make any concrete assumptions on it until the last book of the series releases in October.


Arcadia Anarchists is my experiment as much as it's a relaunch for my career.


I want to see what it takes/what I have to do/what is possible.


I'm 38% toward where I want my monthly baseline to be, income-wise. I don't have grand plans to be some mega publishing celebrity. I don't want three houses and my own jet. I don't even want to make seven figures a year (although I wouldn't sniff at it if my payouts wanted to head that way).


Nope. All I want is to be happy, and at ease.


I want to do my grocery shopping without a calculator again. I want to pay the bills when they're due and not have to strategically spread them through the month to even out the impact on the household budget. I want to get my kids new shoes ... that aren't put on the credit card. I want to eat something other than freaking sausages four nights a week. Goddamn - give me my salmon back 😫


I just want to enjoy the life I've been blessed with.


And it's totally achievable. How?


Because I already am, for the most part. I'm grateful for what I have, for where we are. But that doesn't make me wrong for wanting more.


I told hubs the other day, "I feel as though I'm borrowing a skint woman's life." And I do. I manage in the life we have, but I don't feel like it's me.


The real me doesn't wear shoes until they literally fall apart. She doesn't feel bad about spending more than $100 on a piece of workout clothing. And she doesn't feel guilty for sitting back of an afternoon and reading a book in the sun instead of working to earn more, more, more.


I feel as though I've done some weird life-swap for reality TV and I've left my large house and dream car across the country to slide into this small house and vehicle that's seen better days.


I've outgrown this stage of my life. I'm ready to move into the one I envisioned for myself before I turn 40.


Perhaps its part of the mindset work I've been doing the past year. Maybe it's borne of frustration at still living in a rental house six years after we moved into it when we said we'd aim to move into our own home after five?


Whatever it is, there's an inherent difference in the way I view what's possible going forward, and yes sometimes I slip back into the old way of thinking, but I don't stay there.


The difference is, I view these things (financial freedom if you want to lump it in one basket) as something that I deserve to earn. I don't look at people who have it and jump on the "It's not fair" train and draw comparisons between what they've done that I also do, and so why don't I get the same success, blah, fucking blah.


Nope. I see my faults. I admit where I went wrong. And I resolve to fix it.


I believe in my worth.


I believe I AM WORTH IT.


I am worth that level of success, not because of how it would look to other people (<- old way of thinking), but because I think after 36 years in this thing called life I can safely say that I've had enough bumps in the road and been dragged through the mud enough times to deserve a break - but only if I earn it.


Good shit doesn't just fall in your lap. You don't get great returns because your neighbour did. Age doesn't automatically enrol you in a certain income bracket.


You get it because YOU got up EVERY SINGLE DAY and believed that YOU were capable of creating change.


Sit still, expect moss. Keep rolling, expect returns.


It's that simple.


Which is why next month, I'll complete and publish Bad Boys.


Because I'm still rolling, bitches. 🤘🏼



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