Tending To My Book Garden

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You might have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on the new release front of Cege Smith books. I wrapped up the last book in the Bloodtruth series in March, and then kind of disappeared for awhile.

There’s a few reasons for this:

  • I have the luxury for the first time since February 2012 of picking where I want to go next without having to worry that I’m disappointing readers (because you were waiting for the next book). I could write a sequel to Ageless. I could write a companion story to the Shadows trilogy. I could start something brand new entirely. It’s a bit heady really.
  • I was feeling a bit of burnout. 25 published works since November 2011 is pretty nutty when you think about it. By this time last year, I had published 3 short stories, 1 novella, one novel, and was halfway through a 2nd novel. That pace is exhilarating and exhausting, especially when still trying to find time for family and holding down a full-time job.
  • I realized that I had finally had the time and space to do some tending to my book garden.

This last point is really important for anyone who has jumped on the hamster wheel of being an indie author. There is always something to be done, whether it’s writing your next manuscript, promoting your work, or balancing your writing life with everything else you feel like you should be doing. A lot of things get prioritized much lower on the list and sometimes sacrificed altogether.

Dean Wesley Smith shared a great blog post on this recently in his “Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing” series. The post, called “Put the Book Up and Leave It” goes into great detail about the importance of tending to your book garden. I didn’t even really realize it, but this is what I’ve been doing since publishing A Heart’s Deceit in March.

I have three complete series under my belt, and honestly, the Shadows series has been the star performer since day one. I had some fantastic success with making Edge of Shadows free as part of the early days of the KDP Select program, and I also managed to complete the trilogy in just a tad over a year. I’ve only rebranded the covers once, although I continue to tweak the blurbs. It does well with promotions, and so I often feel like if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Love it or hate it, that trilogy has earned out its production costs in spades and so, for now, to me it ain’t broke.

I’ve always thought that the Bloodtruth series suffered from the anti-Twilight backlash. Those characters are some of the nearest and dearest to my heart, and that is probably why it was the series that took the longest to finish. I so wanted to do Angeline’s story proper justice. Still, it wasn’t until I rebranded the covers late in 2013 and ran a successful Bookbub promo on Heiress of Lies in January that I felt like it was finally starting to get its legs. With the final book now done, I’d say it’s treading water and showing some very positive signs of momentum.

That brings me to the Twisted Souls series. It pains me to say that this series has yet to find its footing with readers. I’ve made tweaks here and there to covers and blurbs (and even the first book’s title), but I’ve never spent a lot of dedicated attention to it to try to figure out what went wrong. It’s a strange, quirky take on the zombie mythology, with some dystopian horror elements mixed in. That’s probably part of the problem too. It doesn’t fit well within any specific genre.

So I decided to spend some of my newly found down time rebranding that series and trying to find it a home with readers. So far, I’ve had positive comments about the new covers (which I personally love) and so I went ahead with my plans to finally put the series in paperback. I’ll keep tweaking, but I think the major work has been done. Perhaps this will be the year that series finally breaks even.

The future is full of promise, and I’m excited to see where the second half of 2014 takes me. Just know that if you don’t see me writing, I’m probably out back tending to my garden. 🙂

(Photo credit: Raddish + Rose)

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Cover Reveal: Veiled Shadows (Shadows #3)

I can’t keep this one under my hat any longer. Yep- this is the cover for the final book in the Shadows series: Veiled Shadows (Shadows #3). It was designed by the very talented Dafeenah over at Indie Designz.

I suppose you are looking for a little tidbit or two on what’s to come in this installment? I’m happy to oblige.

**SPOILERS AHOY**

Well, Ellie’s finally going to find out everything she wanted to know about her parents and their tie to the Afterlife. The thing about knowing the full story? Sometimes you realize that you didn’t really want to know.

David’s on his own journey of self-discovery, but he hasn’t given up on a future with Ellie. He’s going to have help from some unexpected places, and that’s a good thing- he needs all the help he can get.

And we haven’t see the last of Mikel or Lillian. Oh, and if you thought they were bad, then trust me, you haven’t seen anything yet. 😉

Hopefully those little morsels give you something to look forward to. My opinion? I think this will be the best book of the trilogy.

What do you think of the new cover?

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