Friday, February 2, 2024

Another “Overnight” Success

The mysteries of fiction marketing continue to puzzle and fascinate me. 

When my first novel came out, reviewers kept speaking of me as if I was this surprising new talent who had suddenly popped into existence out of nowhere. Actually, I’d been publishing short fiction in pro magazines for about ten years already, they just hadn’t been paying attention.

Similarly, we published THE MIDNIGHT GROUND, by Eric Dontigney, on December 30, 2018. After an initial burst of interest sales tapered off, until by 2023 they were basically a flat line. I asked Eric if he wanted me to revert the rights, and he said no, we may as well keep it in print, for now. After that I didn’t pay it too much attention, as my attention was elsewhere. 

Then suddenly, about a month ago—

BAM! From a flat line to an average of more than 200 Kindle pages read daily in no time at all! The number of reader ratings on Amazon more than doubled, and 84% of them were four or five stars! The reviews were full of positive comments, too, from readers who’d found they’d loved this book and wanted to read more!

(I think my favorite bad review, though, came from some poor sod in the U.K. who’d read about a third of the way through the book, hit the scene where the one gay character in the novel was introduced, and quit reading in disgust. Boy, this reader must have trouble living in the real world!)

Why did THE MIDNIGHT GROUND suddenly take off so dramatically? I have no illusions it was for any reason other than the coattail effects of Eric’s enormously successful and completely unrelated new Xanxia book, UNINTENDED CULTIVATOR, which was released by Shadow Alley Press just before Christmas and is currently the #1 bestseller in a number of categories. If you’re into Asian myths and legends and LitRPG, you should definitely check out UNINTENDED CULTIVATOR.

But in the meantime: right now, I’m just happy to see that THE MIDNIGHT GROUND is suddenly an “overnight success” — five years after we released it. Better late than never, they say.