Thank you to everyone who emailed or sent us messages via Facebook asking:
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WEBSITE?
Our domain registrar failed to send us a renewal notice when the domain expired, and we temporarily lost the website, and had to spend several HOURS ON THE PHONE and more than a week of waiting to get it back.
Very frustrating, but we’re back now, and just in time for Halloween. AND we renewed the website for many years to come!
So, Happy Halloween!
Tomorrow, I’ll post a quick rundown and update of everything that’s going on at the Inkwell.
If you’ve got any questions you’d like to see answered, ask below (or email me) and I’ll address them tomorrow.
Have a great Halloween!
Hey there fellow Goner!
Sean here with this week’s update.
Just a few more days (this coming Tuesday), and then we’re back with Yesterday’s Gone’s FOURTH SEASON!!!
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!
GO TEAM BORICIO!!!
In case you didn’t see Dave’s super awesome teaser trailer last week, you can get that here:
And, in cause you’re as dying to start reading Yesterday’s Gone Season 4 as we are for you to start reading it, here’s a chapter you can read RIGHT NOW:
NOTE: Yesterday’s Gone Season Four is not back from our editor yet, so you may spot a couple of typos. You get to see our flubs because you’re a Goner and we love you! Also, we tweak right up to the end, so while this is a chapter from the new season, it’s not necessarily the first.
A DIFFERENT STRATEGY FOR SEASON FOUR
Last year we were running our schedules so tight, we were never more than a week ahead of what you were reading. That meant we were only working on episode three of while you were reading two, during every series we wrote. This drove us a bit nuts because we thought we would be able to write better stories if we could get ahead enough to see everything at once.
FINALLY, at the end of last year we finally did.
Our first series this year was the second season of Available Darkness. Because we were able to get the entire season finished before we published the first one, we decided to try something different, releasing the season at once, and individual episodes for FREE.
That didn’t work even a little bit.
The idea was that readers who wanted to get the entire season could do so immediately, then Dave and I would gain attention for our work by climbing the free charts, and encouraging our readers who were reading for free to help spread the word and review. But less than 1% of our free readers reviewed, and Amazon changed their algorithm (this is super boring to explain, but essentially it means that they greatly reduced the “weight” a free title’s given, thus reducing its value to us).
We tried again with WhiteSpace: Season Two, removing the free episodes but still keeping the full season. Again, our strategy failed.
With WhiteSpace, readers bought the full season all at once. I understand this, I binge too. However, we sold less than one episode for every hundred seasons, thereby destroying the serialization.
This meant we weren’t getting any new readers because we weren’t being seen. (One of the benefits of doing weekly serials is that it allows us to stay high in sales charts for longer than a single book, allowing more people to see our books).
So with Yesterday’s Gone Season Four we’re returning to weekly episodes, and the full season won’t be out until it is over. We are doing this in the hopes that there will be enough buyers at .99 per episode to push the series onto horror and sci-fi charts and give us some new readers, and because we would like to preserve the excitement and anticipation that comes from the cliffhangers and serialized structure that we work so hard to articulate.
What Dave and I don’t like is that it creates six files for you to read rather than one, which is absolute crap and we totally hate it. Someday we’ll have an app or a better solution. For now this is the best we can do.
This strategy is a gamble because we make less than half the royalty at .99, but we’re hoping we make up for it with new buyers. Either way, we don’t have a choice. We have to try something as writing for a living is still something that’s month to month for the both of us. We believe in the stories we tell, and you as a Goner to keep reading and supporting us where you can, but 100% of our money comes from our books, so with each new title we must run with what’s best for you as the reader, and us as the creators.
Z 2135 AND OUR LAUNCH PARTY HANGOUT ON MONDAY
After Yesterday’s Gone, you’ll be reading Z2135. So far it’s turning out AWESOME. There’s a big leap in world building from the first season to the second, and it has us both thoroughly energized. So. cool.
If you join our Yesterday’s Gone launch party Monday night, make sure to ask about it. I’ll be discussing it more soon, but can only ramble so much in one email without Dave going bonkers.
If you have any questions, just click reply to this email.
As always, thanks for reading. See you next week!
Sean (and Dave)
email us at: email@example.com
Visit our site: www.CollectiveInkwell.com
Talk with us (and other Goners) at Facebook: www.Facebook.com/collectiveinkwellpublishing
On Monday we’ll be doing a Google Hangout to celebrate the launch of Yesterday’s Gone: Season Four.
We’ll be doing that on Monday July 8, 2013 at 7 PM EST
Note: You WILL need earphones, a webcam, and microphone if you want to participate in the live chat. And the chat will be livestreamed via YouTube.
The earphones are to keep your audio from creating an annoying feedback loop. If you come without earphones, we may need to turn your mic off in the chat.
If you want to just chat in a message window, you can do that via YouTube without any of that stuff, and we’ll be watching that, too.
We’ll update this page on Monday, and our Facebook page when the event goes live so you can join us.
You can join in by either adding us to your Google Circles and emailing me in advance requesting an invite to join our live video chat, or (I think) you can show up and just chat.
We’re doing a one day sale for Yesterday’s Gone: Season One on Sunday April 28, 2013 (though the sale price went live today, so you can get it early, too).
Until Sunday night, you can get the full season for just .99 — $5.00 off the regular price!
Get Yesterday’s Gone: Season One at Amazon and Kobo
(Note: Unfortunately, we can’t do the sale everywhere because it’s too difficult to change the prices in other stores for a short period of time and get the prices back to normal quickly. So we can only do the promotion in the places where we have more direct and immediate control on pricing, such as Amazon and Kobo.)
I’ll assume most people reading this blog have already read Yesterday’s Gone: Season One, as it is our most popular title and how most people found us, but if you haven’t, or if you’ve got a friend you want to turn onto our series, here’s the product description.
On October 15 at 2:15 a.m., everyone on Earth vanished.
Well, almost everyone.
A scattered few woke in a world where there are no rules other than survival… at any cost.
A journalist wanders the wretched reality of an empty New York, in search for his wife and son.
A serial killer must hunt in a land where prey is now an endangered species.
A mother shields her young daughter from danger, as every breath fills her with terror.
A bullied teen is thrilled to find everyone gone. Until the knock on his door.
A fugitive survives a fiery plane crash. Will he be redeemed, or return to what he’s best at: the kill?
An eight year old boy sets out on a journey to find his missing family. What he finds will change him forever.
And there’s a few people who aren’t surprised that this happened at
all. In fact, they’ve been dreaming about this day for years.
These survivors aren’t alone…
Someone or something is watching them.
Sides are chosen.
Will humanity survive what it never saw coming?
Yesterday’s Gone is the bestselling, groundbreaking, post-apocalyptic serial thriller for fans of The Stand, Swan Song, and TV shows like LOST.
Hey there fellow Goners,
Dave here, and I’m back after last week’s newsletter from Sean. First, I’d like to thank everyone who emailed us following the last newsletter. Overwhelmingly, every email we got was from readers saying they didn’t care if we stopped doing free episodes, and saying they were more than happy to pay to help support us.
That means the world to us! So thank you.
If you missed the last newsletter, I wrote a blog post which will catch you up.
This week, I’m here to tell you about the next season of Yesterday’s Gone, and how we may be releasing it early. But first, here’s this week’s release, WhiteSpace: Episode 8.
You can buy it here:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CHQUY24
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CHQUY24
Or get the full second season here:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CDGV3S2/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CDGV3S2/
NOW… WOULD YOU LIKE US TO RELEASE YESTERDAY’S GONE EARLY?
Originally, we were going to follow WhiteSpace: Season Two with ForNevermore: Season Two.
But then Sean and I got to thinking…
We get email every day asking “WHEN IS YESTERDAY’S GONE COMING BACK?”
So why not answer the fans and give you exactly what you’re asking for?
Why make you wait until summer, when we can just as easily write the season right now?
Hell, we’re actually eager to write Season Four!
Though ForNevermore has built a small following, the first season only has 39 reviews. While we’re looking forward to getting back to ForNevermore, and think it will be awesome, we’re pretty sure we’re going to lose money writing it now. Though it has almost as many reviews as the first season of WhiteSpace, it didn’t sell nearly as well.
It also doesn’t get the email love that WhiteSpace seems to get.
Why not follow up WhiteSpace (which is getting great reviews, thank you!) with our all-time fan favorite?
So we’re going to.
A week ago we told our Facebook readers IF we can get 100 reviews for WhiteSpace, we’ll start on Yesterday’s Gone Season Four right away, and release it as soon as it’s done.
And immediately we got a few new reviews! Awesome!
But it feels a little bit like bribery.
I don’t want to make people jump through hoops to get our next book. We should want to write the stuff that you want to read, right?
But how else do we motivate people to leave reviews? How do we get people who LOVE the book to review it?
How do we motivate our readers to help us promote our books?
There’s a core group of Goners who leave reviews all the time, post reviews on Goodreads, and do all the things that help us, indie publishers, get the word out. And for that, we thank you!
But how do we get more people to help truly push us to the next level? Because make no mistake, after sales, it IS reviews that most helps indie writers.
There’s lots of nonethical ways to get reviews, and people often suggest them to us, trying to help. But we don’t want to stoop to those levels. If we can’t earn reviews honestly, we don’t deserve to be writing!
So, then, how do we get more reviews?
We need reviews for WhiteSpace: Season One to help push Season Two sales.
We’d love 100 reviews.
Considering the number of people who have personally reached out to us and told us how much they love the book, it seems easy enough a target.
I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, Dave, if so many people emailed you about the book, why not just ask them to leave a review?”
And maybe I should. But I always feel funny asking people who take time out to email us for a favor.
I like to think that our little group of Goners is powerful, and when rallied, will be there to support us. We just need to be bold enough to ask you.
So, here we are, right now, asking:
Please, let’s get 100 reviews for WhiteSpace: Season One.
We won’t hold Yesterday’s Gone: Season Four hostage. We’re going to write it anyway.
Instead, I’ll make a different offer…
In the spirit of Hugh Howey dancing on YouTube when he reached review milestones, Sean did one as Lady Gaga a few months ago for Z 2134.
And a lot of people asked, “When are YOU going to dance, Dave?”
So with great hesitation, I’m going to do it. If you come through and get 100 LEGITIMATE reviews on WhiteSpace (don’t go buying reviews, or I won’t do it!), I will dance on YouTube!
And if you’ve seen me, you know two things just by looking at me:
There’s no way that fat guy can dance.
Please, Lord, I hope that fat guy doesn’t dance.
Got a song you want me to dance to? Email me a link to your review and leave a suggestion or leave a comment below with your link and suggestion.
Not saying I’m going to dance for the entire song! So no “Stairway to Heaven” requests!
Let’s get 100 reviews here. Verified reviews always look better, but I know a lot of you bought episodes rather than the season, so if that’s you, maybe mention that in your review.
ONE MORE BONUS!!
If WhiteSpace: Season One gets 100 reviews, and Season Two gets 50, we’ll write a standalone story featuring whichever WhiteSpace character readers vote for. Just send us a link to your review(s) for WhiteSpace: Season One and/or Two, and tell us which character you’d like to know more about, or see in a standalone adventure. Whoever gets the most votes, we’ll write about!
And we’ll send the story as a timed exclusive to our Goners. (Timed exclusive meaning while we won’t publish it anywhere right now, we’ll probably put it in a Dark Crossings collection or something at some point.)
As always, thank you for reading,
David Wright (& Sean Platt)
Email us at: collectiveinwellmedia (AT) Gmail (dot) com
Chat with us and other Goners at Facebook: www.Facebook.com/collectiveinkwellpublishing
Visit our website: www.CollectiveInkwell.com
P.S. For everyone who’s been asking us to do an audio book for Yesterday’s Gone, we’re working on that now. We’re hoping to post the first episode this Friday at our website, with new episodes each week. We’ll post links on Facebook once the first one is up.
Dave usually does a kick ass job writing to you each week, but I asked him if I could take the reigns today since there was something I wanted to talk about. He said fine — that worked well for his schedule since he was planning to spend an extra hour thinking up new ways to write children in jeopardy.
This week we return to the creepy, paranoid Hamilton Island and the world of WhiteSpace.
Dave and I both feel this is currently our best series (we also agree that Breaking Bad kicks the shit out of our entire lineup). While Yesterday’s Gone is our most popular, and does have Boricio, WhiteSpace has a depth of complexity and character we absolutely love as storytellers.
This second season has been thrilling to write, and we’re eager for you to read it. But first, we wanted to let you know about a few changes.
We’ve had time to really think about what we’re trying to do at the Inkwell, both in regard to the worlds we wish to create, and the longterm business we’re trying to build. We want to do what’s best for us, while always keeping our readers (ESPECIALLY OUR GONERS LIKE YOU) happy and well tended to.
We love so much of what we’re doing, and feel like we are getting many things right. We are living the dream — building worlds and telling stories for a living.
However, we’re still writing full-time before we can afford to. Most of what we’re doing right with indie publishing are things that have never been done, or at least not by anyone leaving breadcrumbs to follow.
Most of what we’re doing at the Inkwell is made up by Dave and me as it’s happening. Some things work, others don’t.
For example, the weekly releases work great. Readers love getting their fix each Tuesday. We published weekly for most of the 2012 calendar, which was the best creative stretch in either of our lives.
With the release of Available Darkness’s second season, we tried publishing the entire season concurrent with Episode 7. This worked fantastically, with about half of our regular readers buying the entire season at once.
And we WILL CONTINUE offering both weekly episodes at .99 and the full season right on the first week for $5.99, so the season will cost you about the same no matter how you choose to get it.
We also tried releasing our individual episodes for free. THIS was an absolute failure, and we simply cannot afford to do it for WhiteSpace.
We feel that as a Goner you deserve to know why.
Free can be a terrific catalyst to paid sales, but only if and when it works.
Unfortunately, we failed to earn the response needed to justify our strategy. Amazon has changed things quite a lot in the last year, and good for them. We support most things Amazon does. The Kindle has made it possible for us to write full-time, and Jeff Bezos has done more to get people reading than anyone since Gutenberg. It’s OUR job as authors to find new ways to work within Amazon’s existing ecosystem that benefit both us and our readers, not their job to tailor a business model to our needs.
Once upon a time (like just six months ago or so), when authors published something for free, readers would download that title en masse, then review it and tell their friends. We’d see a boost in both social proof and sales.
But we didn’t come close with Available Darkness Season Two. We gave thousands of episodes away in hopes that readers would buy the full season. This didn’t happen. The vast majority preferred to read it for free. For the most part, readers who wanted the full season bought it immediately. Everyone else waited for it to be free.
That might have been fine if freebies earned reviews. But they didn’t.
After thousands of episodes given away, Available Darkness Season Two earned only 17 reviews in the US and 3 in the UK, many of which came from a core group of Goners who appreciate what we are doing and would have left them regardless.
The math is simple: Nearly two months of writing — with two authors — generated a few hundred dollars (split between us) and a hair over one dozen reviews.
This is bad business, not sustainable, and we cannot afford to do it again.
We truly appreciate every reader who buys our stories, but most readers consuming Collective Inkwell serials are not paying for them. Most of our income is from Yesterday’s Gone. Yet, as the title ages and its revenue shrinks, with new titles not generating new money, our ability to write serials full-time is quickly dwindling.
As a sustainable business model, what we’re doing simply won’t work. If we don’t sell books, we don’t make money. If we don’t make money, Dave is back to freelancing and I’m back to consulting. That means I’m on the phone telling smart people how to run their businesses more effectively.
And if I was on the phone with me, I would tell me to forget free, that .99 per episode is the lowest we can go.
One more note on FREE…
The only way to make a title free on Amazon is to make it exclusive for 90 days. So while we’re not getting the leverage, sales, or reviews we need from giving our titles away, we’re also tethering ourselves to a single platform and impeding our ability to reach new readers.
So for now, we won’t be using FREE promotions on Amazon. We would like to offer our Goners the occasional exclusive story without using Amazon for distribution, exactly like we did with “A Very Boricio Christmas.” Dave and I have wanted to get ahead on our storytelling enough to send the occasional exclusive freebie your way, because we greatly appreciate you reading. We just need to inch forward a bit more.
We are ridiculously excited for WhiteSpace, and the entire year to follow. Dave and I are riding a creative high, and feel our storytelling’s never been better.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this email, we’re always interested in hearing from our readers. Don’t be afraid to hit reply and let us know what you’re thinking.
If you enjoyed Available Darkness Season 2 and would like to leave a review, that would be wonderful. Please do so here:
Available Darkness Season 2
If you would like to leave a review for WhiteSpace Season 1, that would really help the second season’s chance for succeeding. Please do that here:
WhiteSpace: Season One
Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B008ASB4GI/
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008ASB4GI/
WHITESPACE SEASON TWO
And finally, at long last, we bring you the anticipated second season of WhiteSpace.
Here’s the back-of-the-book copy, followed by links to the full season.
WhiteSpace: Season Two (Episodes 7-12)
From the writers of the bestselling, groundbreaking series, Yesterday’s Gone, comes the follow up to the reader favorite sci-fi thriller, WhiteSpace: Season One.
Hamilton Island has just recovered from a school shooting which rocked the small bedroom community. But the shooter wasn’t acting alone.
Roger Heller was part of something bigger…
A conspiracy of scientific experiments, missing citizens, and ancient secrets threatening the island and its people.
Behind it all: the enigmatic Blake Conway.
Can Jon Conway piece the mystery together before he loses someone else that he loves?
Can Roger Heller’s surviving family move on from his heinous actions?
Will Cassidy’s addictions destroy her new family with Emma and Jon?
Can Milo trust the mysterious Don Bellows?
What will happen when Brock Houser launches his own investigation?
WhiteSpace is a character-driven, mysterious, sci-fi thriller that would be right at home with superbly scripted TV shows likeLOST, The Killing, and Fringe.
WhiteSpace: Season Two
As always, thanks so much for reading!
Sean (and Dave)
We’ll see you next week with news on our next serial and on our expansion to other stores such as Kobo, Apple, Nook, Smashwords, etc…
Feel free to email us at collectiveinkwellmedia (at) gmail.com
Or, if you want to leave a public response, you can do so by leaving a comment below.
Many of you know us for our dark fiction. Our horror, sci-fi, and fantasy has often been criticized for its bleak, adult subject matter and coarse language.
Heck, we opened up WhiteSpace:Season One with one of the darkest scenes we’ve ever written.
Our heroes sometimes die. And our main characters go through more misery and heartache than a decade’s worth of soap operas. And god forbid you’re a child in one of our stories, because you’re in danger!
While many of you love the sort of stories we’ve been telling since 2011, we’ve also heard from several reviewers who don’t take kindly to our brand of dark and dreary realism. People who think Boricio is a sick monster created by sick minds. People who think we’re foul-mouthed heathens with the mouths, and intellects, of middle school boys.
We hear you.
And frankly, we’re a bit tired of all the gloom and doom, too.
We’d love to write something different. Something better. Something more resembling the kind of literature we can be proud of, and you can be proud to put on your bookshelf.
That’s why we’re proud to announce a new partnership with Focus on the Happy, a positive, “family values” publishing company, who is partnering with us in a new line of serials coming this year.
Don’t worry, longtime Goners. We’re not leaving you behind!
We’ll still have the same character-driven stories and crazy serialized cliffhangers you’ve come to know and love!
In fact, we’re taking some of our most popular characters and series and spinning them off into family friendly, values-oriented series that anyone of any age can enjoy!
Here’s a look at what’s coming to our newly named HAPPY INKWELL publishing line in 2013.
Boricio and Harley: Life, Laughter, & Love with Man’s Best Friend
Serial killer Boricio Wolfe of Yesterday’s Gone is a fan favorite. But murder and mayhem is so played out, not to mention juvenile.
We’ve decided to go positive with this alternate world tale of love. Meet the NEW Boricio Wolfe, a dog lover with a heart of gold, who works as a volunteer firefighter, teacher, social worker, and brain surgeon. He has everything he wants … except love.
That is until he adopts a rescue dog and soon meets a sweet but sassy vet named Jen, who just might be the girl of his dreams.
Is she the one? After a freak storm destroys his houseboat, he winds up moving into her one room apartment temporarily.
Just one problem — she takes her work home with her. Literally … in the form of eight Chihuahuas, 17 cats, and eight ferrets. All in a two room apartment!
Can she find room in her home, and heart, for Boricio and Harley?
Can Boricio put aside his preconceived notions of what love is, and find enough room in his heart for both his dog, Jen, and all her animals?
Of course he can, this is a Happy Inkwell story!
Hilarity ensues in Boricio and Harley, coming soon!
Yesterday’s Gone But Tomorrow Is Going to Be Awesome!
On October 15, the Wilson family woke up with a message from the Lord — “Spread your message of positivity and love.”
So they packed up their guitars, tamborines, keyboards, and microphones, and set out on a road trip to share their message of hope, love, and positivity in these dark times.
But can they find their way into the jaded hearts of America?
Who doesn’t love a good, family-friendly, faith-based ditty? You betcha’ they can!
Join them in their family-friendly adventures in Yesterday’s Gone But Tomorrow is Going to Be Awesome!
In ForNevermore, we met Noella, a girl tortured by an alternate world which only she could see.
But in ForEver Happy, we’ve decided to make a more realistic tale of the teen experience.
Meet Noella and Cissi, two happy, well-adjusted teen girls who have it all — money, looks, and cute clothes!
When a new mall opens up at Kings Point, life is about to get even better!
Because that’s when Noella meets Dante, an Abercrombie & Fitch model, poet, and singer. But can her relationship with her bestie survive her new love?
Of course it can, because guess what … Dante has a twin brother named Dan, a perfect match for Cissi!
Join them for fun adventures in ForEver Happy: Season One! No moody teens need apply.
In WhiteSpace, you visited an island ripe with paranoia and something horrible bubbling beneath the surface.
Well, in WhiteFamily, we go back to an island setting…
Hamilton Island seemed like the perfect home.
And the Puget Island bedroom community is!
Dan White is a stay-at-home Dad who left the corporate rat race, along with his free-spirited yoga instructor/painter/jewelry artist wife, Linda, and moved to Hamilton Island where they’re starting a new age cupcake bakery/Meditation Center/Self Enlightenment Center.
Can they trade in the 9-5 for what truly matters, and still be able to pay for their insanely expensive mortgage with a vague business plan based on selling overpriced sweets and guru sessions?
Of course they can! This is a new breed of Collective Inkwell story where every ending is happy. Well, except for ones in massage parlors. (Come on, this is family friendly!)
Join Dan and Linda White, and their lovely, but precocious children in WhiteFamily, the new serial about a perfect family on a perfect island, where nothing bad ever happens, and each day is a beautiful flower just waiting to bloom.
A new, happier Direction for The Happy Inkwell
Sean and I have decided that after a year of writing such grim, terrifying stories, that we should write something with more positive, happy messages.
Gone are the violence and horrible bad words. Heck, I’m not even sure where we got such ideas for bad things, given that nothing like that ever happens in the real world. Not in the America I grew up in anyway! Nobody swears or hurts one another. Everybody gets along perfectly, loves one another, and lives together in peace and harmony.
We’re sorry for upsetting that harmony and painting a false picture with our fiction which clearly is the byproduct of too many sinful comic books and video games, or something.
But we’re trying to get better.
And for that, we thank Focus on the Happy, for this partnership.
And to anyone who says we’re selling out because of the multimillion dollar contract we’ve signed, we say, no way. These are tales that truly come from the bottom of our hearts. Our well-paid hearts.
These are the stories we’d always meant to tell. Shiny, Happy Inkwell stories.
And don’t worry, Goners.
We’re not changing a damned thing in our dark, disgusting tales.
Thank you for reading,
Sean and Dave