About a year ago I promised to write something on this page at least once a month. That lasted one month. Sorry about that. I decided to spend a year following the publication of Rising Tide letting my work do its thing organically without my input and marketing hand-holding.
It didn’t go particularly well. My first mistake was probably not focusing more on getting a list of all the people who read and enjoyed Atlantic Island. I trusted Amazon to track them down but it just didn’t seem to happen. My second mistake was using the new (at the time) pre-order capability of KDP. Rising Tide pre-sold about 20 copies but that had little to no impact on the book’s ranking when it finally released.
In addition, Amazon finally expressed real interest in moving the Atlantic Island series into an Amazon imprint (I think 47North), but they were afraid to pull Rising Tide from the pre-order page because that would be a bad user experience. They decided to wait until the book was out and doing gangbusters. But then the book came out and sold almost nothing, and to this date I’ve never heard anything more about it. Such is life.
The Rising Tide situation was disappointing for me because I love those characters and that series and I think the sequel is really some of my best work. Yet the thousands of readers who bought Atlantic Island and the hundreds of them who actually contacted me to ask for a sequel did not turn up to actually buy the sequel.
I ended 2015 very strong after having that big 300+ sales week in the fall. I didn’t even sell 100 books through all of 2016. The only thing I saw that gave me some hope was a small amount of stickiness for The Traveler. The book sold 3-5 copies a month the whole year with no promotion, and that’s a book that at its best sold 40 in a day. Not even close to the success I’ve had promoting Atlantic Island, but this little bit of steady selling developed on its own.
Halfway through the year I started writing a sequel to Traveler. I rediscovered Dan’s voice instantly but it took me a while to figure out what I want to do with the story. I’ve mentioned before that Traveler was designed as a standalone story that also served to flesh out the Atlantic Island multiverse. I love Dan’s story and the arc of his romance with Suzy and I didn’t want to disturb that or turn the series into the wacky adventures of a time traveler.
Recently I figured out that this book isn’t really Dan’s, though he narrates a good portion of it and it is a continuation of his role in the larger tale I’m telling. This book is really Thomas’s. In many ways, he’s the connecting force between my books and he’s one of my favorite characters. Peeling back the mystery of his life is a challenge but I think it gives a new perspective on him and will, in turn, give a new perspective on the events of Traveler and Rising Tide. I think it’s an engaging story set in a very different series of environments than my other novels and it helps move the pieces into place for the finale to Atlantic Island which is still a while off.
Speaking of that, I will probably create another series that also ties into Atlantic Island before getting to that final part of the trilogy. I’m going to be doing some promoting of the existing works over the next few months and I anticipate getting the sales machine moving again, at least a little.
On a final note, there is a strong possibility that I will be developing Traveler into a screenplay over the next year. I would love to be a part of the process of turning my work into a film. How that all takes shape depends on how well the book sells in the near future so stay tuned.