The Reality of The Bleeding Worlds Being a Best Seller

The other day, Harbinger, Book One of my The Bleeding Worlds series, hit #1 on the Amazon Action & Adventure Manga list. Nearly six years after its publication, I can call it an “Amazon Best Seller.”

The Bleeding Worlds at the top spot on the Amazon adventure action manga list

Before I dive further into this, I need to say a massive thanks to my cover artist, Starbottle. Because of her amazing art, I’ve been able to finally market The Bleeding Worlds to its intended audience.

When I started Harbinger, I knew how much anime was influencing the story, but at the time, light novels weren’t a big thing. So my initial thought was to market the book to a Young Adult audience. Hence the original covers of the series were set up to mimic YA titles. Admittedly, I did those covers on the cheap, using free stock imagery, photos my wife took, and the collective Photoshop knowledge of both myself and my wife. I thought the covers were good, but I always wanted them to be what they are today. But would there be an audience?

Flash forward these years later and light novels are now a staple of several publishing companies. Even manga and anime fans are becoming increasingly aware of light novels and the influence they have on those other media. So it felt like the right time to bite the bullet, hire an artist, and make the covers of The Bleeding Worlds what I had always wanted.

But Harbinger didn’t just magically end up on the Best Seller list because it had amazing new art (though I think the art is good enough that it could!). It took some effort.

And money.

First off, I dropped the price of Harbinger to $0.99. In terms of income per unit sold, I make about $0.30 per copy.

Secondly, I started running Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) ads. The initial budget for the ad was $3.00 a day. Over the month-and-a-half it’s been running, the daily budget has increased to $8.00. I’ve also spent numerous hours tweaking keywords, bids, and more.

Third, I rewrote the book description for Harbinger. Numerous times. And like an idiot, I made each iteration live. Then decided I wasn’t happy a few days later, and rewrote it again. Based on the success of hitting the top of the list, I think I’m finally good with the current description. Funny thing is, it’s probably not the most “writerly” description I created, but it is the closest in terms of fitting the typical pattern seen in other light novel and manga titles.

Finally, I dropped the price of volumes 3-4 from $3.99 to $2.99.

Over the month-and-a-half the ad has run, I have seen an increase in sales on all volumes of The Bleeding Worlds. And between the ad spending and price decreases, I think I made about $13.00 for that whole time.

Yup. Best Seller. $13.00. To be honest, if I hadn’t sold any copies of the other books, I would’ve been in the hole.

The truth of being a Best Seller is that you don’t need to sell that many copies depending on the category you’re in. Nor will you make a ton of money.

It makes the experience a little bittersweet.

I’m thrilled. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so happy Harbinger is doing well. And even happier that people seem to be moving on to check out the later volumes as well. Particularly because I think the later volumes are better than Harbinger 😉

What makes it bittersweet is that I’m typing this on a break, while doing overtime at a job I don’t like, because my standard pay isn’t enough to pay the bills. And as I just showed above, clearly The Bleeding Worlds isn’t going to make me a rich man anytime soon. Despite being a “Best Seller.”

I suppose I’ve made the tone of this kind of somber. Sorry. I really was happy to see that orange “#1 Best Seller” tag on Harbinger. And I have every intention to keep pursuing it for Harbinger and any other projects I have in the future (and yes, there is a new project underway).

So let’s end this on a sweeter note, the massive outpouring of support and kindness I received on Twitter when I tweeted out Harbinger’s #1 status. Despite all the crap in this world, it is filled with wonderful people who took some time out of their day to say something nice to a guy most only know digitally.

I said it on Twitter, but I’ll say it here as well, thank you all. It means so much to me.

So there it is, the emotional ups and downs of being a Best Seller. Despite there being a touch of bitterness, I’d consider myself lucky to have it happen again.

Placeholder image for Book 4

Ragnarok -The Bleeding Worlds Book 4- Cover & Release Date!

Hello my wonderful Readers! I know it’s been a long time coming, but I can finally give you a concrete release date for Ragnarok and reveal the cover!

First off, the release date is….

MAY 31, 2018

It will be available in eBook format from all major vendors. I’m hoping the print copy should be available that same day as well. If it isn’t, it will release within days after May 31.

Finally, the cover…

Thank you all for hanging in there and waiting for this book! I truly hope you will enjoy it and find it a satisfying end to The Bleeding Worlds!

Update on Ragnarok, The Bleeding Worlds Book Four

Hello Everyone.

I realize it’s been a long time since I sat down and typed out an update on Ragnarok’s progress.

Truth is, I guess I feel ashamed, because every time I update, it’s to say the book is further delayed.

I don’t have a good reason, I’ll just be honest. I’ve spent a good chunk of the past two years doing no writing. I could go on at length about why, but it boils down to being discouraged. I don’t know how many times I started Ragnarok, just to delete it all and start over. Even once I got off to a decent start, there were chapters that made me so frustrated, they were terminated and started again. Sometimes I’d write things, feel ok, then come back the next day, only to find my previous day’s work painted me into an inescapable corner. Delete, delete, delete. Listen, if you every want to write, plan things out in detail ahead of time. Being a partial planner, or pantser, can be very disheartening.

So is the book ever coming out? I’m sure some of you have wondered. There’s been days I kind of wondered the same.

But it is coming along now. My pace has been steadier over the past few months. Not huge word counts per day, but steady. The ending is in sight. And I think I’ve written some pretty decent stuff.

God, I hope all of you think so too when you read it. It makes me nervous, the thought of you being disappointed.

And you’re all reading this saying, “Yeah, yeah, when’s the book coming out?”

I wish I could give you a definite answer. What I will say is it will be out as soon as I can. Truthfully, I’m tired of prolonging this. I want to type those words, The End, and mean them. Not to mention I’ve been keeping a bunch of other ideas at bay so I can focus on this book.

I’m sorry it’s taken so long. I promise you will have that book in your hands soon.

Thank you for hanging in there.

JR Stone.

Smashwords Summer Sale! FREE BOOKS!!!!

Hello everyone!

Summer often conjures images of reading–whether by the beach, or in the cool air conditioning. So it’s a perfect time for a huge book sale.

Smashwords, the ebook retailer specializing in indie authors, is offering a wide selection of books with coupons from 25% to 100%.

This year, I’m participating by setting Harbinger at the 100% off coupon level.

Suture is 50% off.

Resonance is 25% off.

And naturally Revelation Game is free, like it always is 😉

You can link to all of the books from my Smashwords profile page.

But it’s not just about my books. Smashwords has a catalogue filled with deals. You can find the sales catalogue via this link.

So if you’re new here, or have been waiting for the perfect time to check out The Bleeding Worlds, now is a great time. And hey, maybe you’ll find some other new authors to become excited about!

Happy book buying.

Updates! Yes, Including Ragnarok

Hello Everyone!

I realize it’s been a while since I wrote an update about where I am in life. And especially on the progress of The Bleeding Worlds Book Four, Ragnarok.

So let’s get to the things, shall we?

Ragnarok

Progress has been painfully slow. I will confess, I’m not in the league of professional writers who can push through depression, personal BS, day-job crap, and all that other stuff to keep writing. There are days where I can’t write a word. But, there are many others where I produce some good work!

I’m on track for a late June release. That is my goal. I’m hoping to have preorders listed by April. I’ll reveal the cover at that time too.

The other day I actually sat and read a few of the chapters I’ve finished. I’m happy. It’s turning out well. At least I think so! I hope all of you will enjoy it too.

Light Novel Reviews

My YouTube channel continues to grow. I’m really enjoying reading light novels and talking about them.

In fact, I had an opportunity to participate in an article about light novels in the English market over on an anime/manga/light novel website called The OASG. The article was called The Great Light Novel Experience and involved a number of people who have used their blogs etc. to shine the spotlight on Light Novels. I really enjoyed the experience and was very pleased with the result and to be included with the others on the list whose websites and articles I’ve visited in the past.

Anime Fandom Radio

OK, this one is purely for my own enjoyment, but I invite any of you fans of Anime OPs & EDs to check it out.

I’ve been wanting to do something like start a little radio channel for a long time. So I decided to take advantage of Radionomy and post all the music from my collection. It’s fun to listen in and see others are doing the same.

So check it out! You can visit the website Anime Fandom Radio or listen directly from Radionomy.

There’s even mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry!

The Website

It’s not a big thing, but I freshened up the website the other day. I wanted something a little different as I feel like I’m approaching some big events in the next few months!

So that’s where the new book is, and what I’ve been doing with myself.

Thanks so much for reading!

All the best,

JR

Huge 50% Off Sale at Kobo!

Hey Everyone…

Just wanted to let you know Kobo Ebook Store is running a huge sale on thousands of titles, and mine are included!

So, if you haven’t picked up all the books in The Bleeding Worlds, this is a great chance to get any you’re missing for 50% Off! The sale runs just a few days (Check the ending dates below) so hurry over to Kobo now!

The codes for the promo are different depending on your country, so check them out below before purchasing…

Canada
October 28th – October 31st
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand
October 27th – October 30th
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom
October 30th – November 2nd
Promo Code: UK50SALE

Book 4 Update

Hello all.

I know, I know, I was going to try and write here more often. Again, I’ve failed miserably.

Have any of you noticed a harder time getting motivated and/or happy? This year, it seems very difficult to do either. I wish I could give you some grand tale of conquering illness, or surpassing nigh impossible odds, but I’d be lying. In truth, I’ve just been horribly depressed.

And that is the round-a-bout way of saying book 4, Ragnarok, is taking longer than expected.

With the previous three books, I wrote, then deleted, then got off to a good start with the second try. It’s taken me six attempts to get this book right. The good news is, I’ve finally found that point. And yes, I’m well beyond just the start, but not nearly as close to finished as I’d hoped.

I won’t lie, this book scares me. One last chance to make this series special. One final moment to leave the reader (you) satisfied and feeling their time was worth giving. Some days it feels like an impossible task.

But I keep writing.

No firm release date today. I’m sorry. Right now, I think it would be realistic to say expect it around the same time as Resonance–early December.

I’ll work harder.

So that’s the pathetic exscuse of an update–I’m alive and working on the book. Which I suppose is better than many alternatives.

Thanks for hanging in there. I promise I’m doing what I can to make it worth your while.

Until next time, hope life is treating you better than well,

JR