Almost two years ago, on March 16, 2020, John and I published our first fantasy novel 60th Hour. That was also the day California officially shut down due to the pandemic.
No, it was not a coincidence that the book came out that day. Long before the pandemic, I had been weighing the benefits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, but I was nervous about trying things on our own. Then, in mid-March 2020, I watched the world turn upside-down within the space of a week. Even before the official state shutdown, events were being cancelled left and right. With an uncertain future looming, a sudden increase in free time, and with my beloved co-author’s encouragement, I decided to take the chance and make us Indy authors.
There was just one problem — I had no clue what I was doing.
I should explain. My cluelessness had nothing to do with the physical process of publishing. Amazon’s KDP had plenty of excellent videos to explain how to upload a manuscript, so that part was easy. KDP even had a simple process for creating book covers. I picked out one of my old photos, played with color and special effects, plugged it into the KDP cover-maker, hit the publish button, and hooray we had a book!
But just because you can publish a book does not mean you have any idea how to market a book. My initial cover for 60th Hour came out looking like this nearby picture.
Yeah, it was not exactly an exciting, eye-catching cover, but I didn’t know any better. I also didn’t know how to advertise a book, particularly after all the science-fiction conventions were cancelled due to the pandemic. John and I sold a few copies of the book to our family and friends, but that was about it.
As the pandemic wore on, we started working on new writing projects, and 60th Hour languished. (I corrected some formatting glitches in the paperback version, but never made any revisions to the ebook.)
Now, fast-forward to 2022. I recently paid for Bryan Cohen’s Author Ad School and started taking classes. After learning a ton of stuff about marketing in a very short time, I’m ready to put some of that new knowledge to use.
It seems fitting to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the publication of 60th Hour with a complete makeover of the book – a new cover, a new blurb on the Amazon page, and brand-new Amazon ads. The interior content of the book is the same, with one small exception — I changed chapter 1 to a prologue and renumbered the other chapters. I’ve been warned that some fantasy readers do not read prologues (see my blog post of August 7, 2020), but the opening chapter of the book takes place twenty years before everything else, so it really works better as a prologue.
For those of you who haven’t read 60th Hour yet and are interested in checking it out, here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085Z5YWN4
Now onto the next task — the marketing makeover for Prophecy’s Malignant Son!
Talk to you on the first Friday of April!