Box Set #5 The Freeman FilesThose of you who have been with me from the beginning will know I’ve never failed to meet a deadline. So, what’s gone wrong? No sign of ‘Into The Sunlight’, halfway through November.

I’m not suffering with writer’s block, but I have lacked motivation this past month. My estimation of a few days before I was back writing five hours a day after my eye operation proved optimistic. I finally booked an appointment at the opticians for next week and hope to have my new glasses by the end of November. Until then, everything’s on hold.

In the past, I would have battled on regardless, but the cumulative effect of lockdowns and the surge of interest in my books last year have taken their toll. I’ve worked, non-stop, since August 2019 when I started writing the Freeman Files, and October provided a wake-up call. I felt exhausted.

I was an accountant for most of my working life, and I track important numbers related to my writing exploits. Last year, just 7.5% of my sales came from Box Sets. That figure has risen steadily during 2021, and for the past six weeks moved up to 50%. A comparison of basic units is misleading, but if I had persevered with my customary two-month turnaround for the next title, overall sales in 2021 would show a modest increase on last year.

On the one hand, I take the positive view that you trust me enough to buy three titles and know you won’t be disappointed. It’s not simply because you get three for the price of two!

On the other hand, my series read-through is well below that achieved by better-known writers. A good figure is 8-10%, while mine is closer to 3%.

My marketing strategy relies on getting Free deals with a handful of leading promotion sites. Many of you will have stumbled across my books via that route. I try for as many downloads as possible to attract more new readers. In 2020, this proved exceptionally successful; however, in 2021 the numbers have dropped away significantly. Traditional publishers entered the Kindle domain with titles from authors who had already had illustrious careers with hardback and paperback. It’s tougher for an indie author to get a Featured Deal with BookBub when pitched against a re-release from Frederick Forsyth!

So, where does that leave things? I guess 2022 will be tougher than this year, and if I were a younger man, I’d work harder to at least keep the gains I’ve made over the past two and a half years and try to improve my read-through figures.

But I’m not, and I need to accept that. Better to work on getting ‘Into The Sunlight’ finished by the end of this year and stick to my schedule of four books per year in 2022 and 2023. Once the twenty-fourth and final Freeman Files case is solved it will be time to retire.

My sincere apologies once again for the delay, but I’m convinced an extended rest will prove beneficial.

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of December.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler

Categories: The Long Hard Road