It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

It’s Alive It’s Alive!
Pam Uphoff

Yet another novel in my Wine of the Gods series has gone live! Number 37!

Now this isn’t a proper series, there’s no over-arching problem that will be solved in the final volume, which might or might not keep readers returning. This is a “same Universe, same characters plus new ones, and a brand new Problem that will be solved in one or two books.”

I’ve often thought of it as a Soap Opera, never ending . . .

But how the heck do you know a series has gone flat? Died on the vine?

When the ratings crash, of course, for a TV series. For books? It’s sales.

Which is a bit awkward with the kind of lag time Traditional Publishing still has. By the time Cool Series #6 has had lower than expected sales, #7 has been written and possibly turned in. The author is deep in researching #8, with an outline in hand . . . before someone lets the cat out of the bag and said writer hears the rumors that his or her series has entered the death spiral.

Then the blame and finger pointing starts. It’s the Bad Cover! Poor Editing! The lack of push! Failure to notify buyers! The Author!

Yeah, guess which one gets stuck with the blame and the consequences.

Indies have it so much better, because it’s all our fault!

Yes, that’s what I said. Better. Because we’re getting those actual sales figures within hours of the ebook going live on

You post the link on all your social media sites, email the link to your mailing list, and by the time you get back to check, the sales numbers are available. Three days max, you’ve got enough reviews to see trends. And you know whether it’s good or bad. You might even know why.

You will know why before you’ve written the next book and started yet another. You have saved years of your life stressing out, agonizing over the Death Spiral, trying to save the series, and your career.

When you are independent, you can be agile. You can step away from a series, a universe, and write something entirely different. It is your decision, you can take it quickly, not waste years. And you can reverse that decision next year, if the fans of the old series start clamoring for more.

I love Indie. Because it’s all my fault.

Oh, and the series that starts here isn’t dead yet. #37 is selling briskly its first day.



  1. And speaking of laying blame, I see that I have failed to put a “Wine of the Gods #37” on the cover. Well . . . that another thing about ebooks. You can fix them right up.

    1. Your titles are short, but could I recommend “#37 Wine of the Gods”? I hate it when the number gets truncated.

      Micheal Anderle is notorious for this “Some Exciting Story – An Urban Fantasy in the The Kurtherian Gambit Universe Another Sub-Series Book #7” which truncates less than halfway through.

  2. Goody! Something new to read!

    Pam, I wish you’d expatiate more on how you evaluate how a series is doing. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to save me, because even with indie I’m writing ahead of myself (working on getting book 4 out there, while proofreading 5, writing 6, and plotting the start of a new series that ties in with the old one) but anything I can learn on the marketing/evaluating end would be helpful.

    1. Oh, I write way too far ahead of myself to be lecturing on not wasting time _writing_ something that won’t ever be published. But what I do is not _edit_ them until much closer to publishing time. That’s the big time sink, for me, and not an enjoyable one.

      Now, the market for any given series may not be the same size. So the first book in the _Doors to the Dimension_ having, over it’s life time sold a hair less than one third the number of units as the first _Wine of the Gods_ book isn’t especially an indication of anything other than SF selling better than very odd YA.

      But when the last Doors book, published a year ago, has only sold a third of the first in the series, it’s dying.

      And when the book I published this morning is about to beat that one year total, it’s a sign of which series ought to be getting the most keyboard time from me.

      Now the cause of one dying and one going strong can be argued. I mean, three Doors books published in four years? Versus 37 in seven years? Yeah. Lots of short stories, but just getting out new titles on a regular basis keeps the WotG books noticed and remembered.

      And . . . I do very little marketing, which doesn’t help either series.

      This probably isn’t answering the question, but look at sales, and if it looks like you’re loosing readers, look for a reason, read reviews. Look at which stories got more enthusiastic readers. Is there a pattern? WotGs for instance, has straight adventures, mysteries, some have romance, some don’t, some have a bunch of gal pals, other it’s the guys, some times it’s a couple working together. Slow pace, fast pace. How badly do you brutalize the protagonists? Is there humor? Horror? How clear is the win? Did you give the readers a “cookie” at the end?

      Look especially for what was in the early popular stories, and missing in the latest.

      And half the time, the answer’s likely to be “Guess I was just lucky that time.”

      1. Thanks! When I have enough stuff out to make comparisons, that’ll be very helpful.

  3. I wrapped up one series two books earlier than planned, because sales faded away. Another has reached a logical ending, so I’ll release the “story that started it all” early next year. Yes, I have more material. But sales slowed way down, and there’s not really reader demand. Time to call it a day. Besides, I’ve got two more series in progress, plus some random novels to toss out there.

  4. Love both “Wine of the Gods” and “Directorate” series. I’m especially grateful that you’ve made them available in KU. Much less of an “ouch” factor when you discover the series well under way, and it makes picking up the shorts a no brainer. I personally like the soap opera approach – it allows for a well developed universe without running a character into the ground a la Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. I still want to know where I can find the “Lawyers of Mars” sequel, though. 🙂

  5. Buy with 1-Click is evil. Camping next week, but I’ll post a review when I get back.

  6. Looking at the Amazon page, the author link doesn’t offer your Amazon page, just a search list of your books, compare to Amazon’s “In the Rift” page to see the difference.

    Also missing is a link to the series page, see Amazon’s “Project Dystopia” for a comparison.

    I have to go now, need to finish the book I’m reading on KU to free up a slot for this one, glad it is the weekend and I’ll be able to stay up late.

  7. I will get it, just as soon as I finish another authors book 3 in a 8 book series and that should be sometime tonight. Then after I finish 37, it is back to start book 4.

    1. 37 has been read and I liked it. I have started book 4 from above.

      Waiting for 38 :>)

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