The Stable Instability

Hello readers! Never fear, I’m still alive. Just hard at work on episode #10 of Fireteam Freelance.

Episode ten? Why yes, I am getting that far ahead. Which is good, because these last episodes are probably going to be pretty titanic. “Season finale” and all that.

Of course, having a pretty good buffer does mean that this Friday will see the release of the next big episode: Missing Persons. I’m pretty pleased with how this episode turned out. Not only did we get a neat view of a future cityscape, but we also got to see a seriously cool action sequence. And some more puzzle pieces clicking together …

Anyway, that will be up this Saturday, so be sure to keep an eye open. We’ve passed the halfway point with Mandatory Takeout, so things are coming together and moving with a swifter and swifter pace, and again, I’m pretty pleased with some of the action sequences from this Saturday’s episode. They’re pretty crazy.

So, moving on to further news: Facebook advertising is now rolling forward. It’s still somewhat experimental, and I’ll admit I don’t have the strongest grasp on it yet (a lot of this is very much learn as you go), but I desperately needed something to combat the abject slump that came about with the reopening of the economy. Sorry, partial reopening. A topic which I won’t get into outside of saying “It’s divisive.”

And divisive social events seem pretty bad for book sales, as the moment things started getting rough, they took a dive once more. I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, I’m glad that I see enough sales that I can follow trends like this. On the other … Well, no one likes to see sales dip. Especially during the current times. Which plays right back into instability and how it can affect things.

The title for this post makes sense now, doesn’t it?

Now, obviously, I want that slump gone for good and want sales to climb as high as possible. Since Amazon Advertising has steadily gone up and up and up in cost while still delivering the same result (which has almost always been somewhat neutral), giving Facebook advertising a shot seems like the best natural step, especially since so many sing its praises at the current time.

Hopefully it turns this dip around. This year really was on track to be my best year yet before Covid-19 hit, and now it’s sort of limping along. Granted, I’m far from being alone in that situation, but it’s still frustrating to have been so close only to get completely upended by events completely out of my control.

The end point of this part of the post? Really it’s to keep you readers up to date and let you know how things are doing … plus just a little bit of pleading reminder to share and let people know about posts on the site you’ve enjoyed, books you’ve enjoyed, etc.

Actually, now that I mention it, I want to talk about the site a little bit. On my end, I’ve tried to make Unusual Things as friendly to social media as I can. Posts are tagged and properly sorted. I’ve got the search bar on the side to find posts on topics (I use it myself). And the bottom of each post has buttons for sharing on social media.

Oh, and there are no ads. I’m going to stress that one simply because WordPress and Google both constantly bug me about it, that I’m letting hits slip by without generating me money while spending cash to keep the site running, but I’ve held firm that Unusual Things will not have ads. They’re annoying, and get in the way. No pleading links for you to switch insurance providers. No sudden autoplay videos blocking out parts of the site.

No. Ads. Period. That’s not going to change.

But … should anything else change? The site is functional, and to me makes perfect sense, but I created it. It should make sense to me. But what about for you readers? Is it functional in its navigation? Suitable in its coloration and content?

I ask you, readers, because you’re the ones coming here for advice, content, and … well, whatever other reasons you come here, I suppose.

While we’re on the topic, have any of you ever found a post that you’ve particularly liked and shared it somewhere else online, either on a social media site like Facebook, through something like Twitter, or even on a site like Reddit? Used those tools at the bottom of each post for just that?

I would heavily encourage such, by the way. Not only is it helpful to me, it’s also helpful to anyone else that encounters it, often for the same reason it’s beneficial to whoever shared it.

And yes, I do bring this up in part because of a truly massive Reddit debate I spotted the other day in a book subreddit discussing names and how to make them work. A Being a Better Writer post on that topic would have been like water to desert wanderers dying of thirst, but with rules against posting your own created content in play …

Where it all began ...All right, last bit of news and musing for the day, and this is an odd one: I’m considering making One Drink free. Forever.

Why? Well, it hasn’t sold a copy in … at least a year. Even Dead Silver still sells a copy now and again, and most sales are dominated quite thoroughly by Colony, Jungle, and Shadow of an Empire (and rightly so). But most folks don’t seem to have time anymore (or 99 cents) for Jacob Rocke’s first outing.

Even on Kindle Unlimited, where the book used to get reads, One Drink has kind of fallen by the wayside. Maybe its ranking fell too low to catch anyone’s attention, or maybe it’s just that it’s a fairly middle-of-the-road first book (which it is).

Either way, One Drink has just become sort of … there. Good reviews. No sales. No attention (at this point, it’s probably tied with Unusual Events for activity).

Seeing as how Dead Silver still sees activity then … what’s the harm in making One Drink free?

Well, there exists some. To start, those that did buy it might feel a little put out that suddenly they could have saved 99 cents. You may laugh, but I’ve seen weirder behavior for consumers. Consumers are the same people who will complain that a book that would take them three weeks to get through is too expensive at $4.99 while in the middle of making a $17 Starbucks order (and their second that day at that).

Worse, it could give people the idea that my other works would eventually become free, and I’m not really planning on that, barring for temporary sales and promotional periods. Dead Silver won’t become free. Nor will Shadow of an Empire. You get the idea.

To top it all off, 99 cents is not a steep investment for a hundred-page novella. Sure, it’s old by now (seven years this year, folks, talk about time passing!) but this isn’t a medium where that often makes little adventures like that any less fun. One could even make the point that it technically has gotten cheaper, inflation being what it is, and be completely correct.

I don’t know. Maybe it just needs some love in the plugging department (as all my advertising is tied up in later works).

Anyway, that’s been more than enough of my ramblings and musings for the day. I’ve got another episode of Freelance to finish!

Wait … I lied. I have one more bit of news to talk about. With me almost being done with Freelance, I’m sure a number of you are wondering what’s coming next. Well, it’s time to talk about that in more detail.

As soon as I’m done with Fireteam Freelance, I’ll begin pre-alpha work on Axtara – Banking and Finance. Axtara will enter Alpha status once that is done and head on out to Alpha Readers.

This will not be a blitz of a writing project. I’m going to give it a few months, because as soon as the pre-Alpha is done, I’ll be turning my attention to Starforge, and splitting my days between getting work done on the final book in the UNSEC Space trilogy (it stuck) and doing the necessary editing for Axtara.

The goal? Release Axtara in the early fall, or even late summer. Which isn’t far off at all, but then again, Axtara is only about as long as Dead Silver. Not nearly as intensive as my usual fare.

Things are still up in the air as to what project will come after Starforge. Maybe an Axtara sequel? I’ve already got one in mind, and the first one was fun to write …

Speaking of writing, I need to get to it. Stay healthy and stay reading!

2 thoughts on “The Stable Instability

  1. I’ve never used the sharing buttons, just copied the link and flicked off a post to someone specific who I think would be interested. I’m still holding out for a Shadow sequel or at least something in that universe.


    • There will be more set in Indrim someday. I’ve actually got a good plot in mind for another book in the world. It’s just low-priority with so many other projects on my plate.

      Thank you for sharing my stuff though!


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