I still can’t believe it. It took me four years to write my first book, and now I finished a trilogy in one year. I need some effing whiskey, folks.
It’s been a crazy ride full of ups and downs (more downs than ups, but hey, in life there are no mistakes only lessons learned). Success is relative. Many authors I know have much longer series that earn way less than the Dimensions series, and many others earn WAY more with a single book. For me, this series (which I absolutely love along with its multilayered characters) was a total flop–by my standards, and those are the only standards any author has to abide to: their own.
Le Ups and Downs: A Journey
- Selling the Dimensions series has been effing hard. It was kind of YA/NA, but kind of Adult, so it stayed in this grey zone that’s really hard to break. I had a lot of trouble with covers, because the first covers (which were absolutely gorgeous) didn’t attract enough of the right readers, and although the second covers were an improvement (ha, guess who learned the hard way about market expectations?), they just weren’t enough. Because of that stupid grey zone. The cover problem actually reflects the deeper issue with the Dimensions series: It doesn’t have a particular place, a particular niche. You’d think a book with adventure, romance and interesting characters would be an easy sell, but it wasn’t. Because it wasn’t YA and it wasn’t Adult (Sara J Maas anyone?).
Without a huge budget from the Big 5 behind it, I knew from the beginning this would be hard. I just didn’t expect that it would be this hard.
- Beta males: A huge issue. James, my adorable nerd, is a beta male. Usually beta males sell well when they are trad-published and YA (Peeta Mellark, anyone? Also, every John Green book out there). Adult Indie book readers, however, prefer Alphas. I think making James this way for an adult audience was my life’s biggest shot in the foot. But I still love him and I wouldn’t have him any other way.
- Pricing the first book was shit. I tried putting the first in series at $2.99, and it barely sold. When I placed it back to $0.99, I got sales (and read through to the second book at $3.99). So permanently $0.99 it was, and that sucked monkey balls.
- So, of course, I came close to dropping this series. I even started a new project that had market expectations in mind, and I told myself, fuck it, Miriam and James and the crew will just have to be unfinished business. But then my readers (the few who cared) told me how much they wanted the final book. They really, really liked the Dimensions series, and that put a smile on my face. That’s the thing about this series, you either love it or you hate it (you can see it on the reviews). I want to keep doing that, because I don’t want to churn out ineffable popcorn. I want to write stories that leave people thinking before they move on to the next book. I want to make an impact, even if small.
- Writing the final book was the most fun I had in a long time. Seriously. I just upped the game. Everything my readers loved in the first two books I multiplied by three. This was completely for them, always for them. Also, I wanted to end with a bang. Book 3 is still on pre-order, but I’m really hoping those who asked for it will love it.
I know BOOK 3 – ACROSS THE STARS will sell terribly (if book 1 sells terribly, so will all other books in the series). So, I was perfectly aware of that while writing it. And you know what? Knowing it would flop was freeing in a very strange way. Because in the end, this isn’t for me.
So, this was my journey. My first trilogy taught me a shitload of stuff that I hope will make my next releases a lot more successful. And in all honesty, I really LOVED writing this series. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.