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My Anniversary: A Timeline of this Past Year

1 May

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy. I’ve been pondering many ideas on how to go about this date – because it feels so surreal – and one idea in particular kept popping back up because I keep hearing one particular question:

How did I gain my followers and readership?

There is no simple answer, but I like to explain it in the only way I can: stats. I like to share my stats because it helps others see how websites and writers shape over time. I even have an Events page so readers can see where I’ve come from in order to get where I am today. So, I am going to do that with Minutes Before Sunset. Below, you can explore a timeline that showcases the moments that grew this novel over the past year. To keep it simple, I am ONLY including events about The Timely Death Trilogy. If you want to know about everything I’ve been up to – like my other publications or how I became C.O.O. of AEC Stellar Publishing – click here or visit my Events page at the top.

When you explore the timeline below, all links will take you to a relevant blog post. Throughout this post, I have added more about my life that I haven’t mentioned before now, so I hope you enjoy it!

May 1, 2013: Release Day

Originally, AEC released ebooks before paperbacks. (Now, we’re the opposite.) So May 1 came around and the ebook of Minutes Before Sunset was released first.

May 10, 2013: Full Paperback Preview

Again, we didn’t have the full layout at first, so the back of the novel changed a few times. This ended up being the final version, and it still looks like this today, and the back description was chosen by readers who voted between three different options. Fun fact: I took the photograph on the back cover. It was really important for me to have it on the novel. Thankfully, AEC Stellar approved it. 😀

The official Minutes Before Sunset cover, back and all, decided from your words!

The official Minutes Before Sunset cover, back and all, decided from your words!

May, 23, 2013: I Received My Paperback in the Mail 

I put three pictures below. The photo on the left was the day I received Minutes Before Sunset in the mail. My father took the picture on his back patio. I love that grill on the left. Bogart loves napping in that orange, lawn chair. And I am wearing one of my late mother’s rings – a sapphire I inherited from her. You might recognize the clothes I am because they were on “Dress Like the Book” photograph (on the right)  I shared last month.

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Is this what we call foreshadowing?

June 4, 2013: Goodreads Nomination 

Minutes Before Sunset was nominated for Goodreads Book of the Month for General Fiction of July, 2013.

June 14, 2013: Paperback Released

June 28, 2013: Minutes Before Sunset awarded “Book of the Month” for General Fiction on Goodreads.

This still means so much to me. To all those who voted back then, thank you. I still hold this moment so close to my writer’s heart.

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July 27, 2013: Book Signing

Originally, I had a book signing at a huge event for novels in Missouri, but I had to cancel last minute due to unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances. I still wanted to share it on this timeline because it is relevant to this past year, and it was probably one of those sadder moments where you feel really let down. A book release isn’t all fun and games, but it ended up being smiles in the end. 😀

August 11, 2013: New Edition Released

Minutes Before Sunset was redone – mainly because the first cover was extremely washed out – but there are some inside edits that were adds. This is still the edition used today. The photo below was of the day I received this new version in the mail.

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September 30, 2013: Soundtrack:

Minutes Before Sunset now has a soundtrack on 8tracks, which you can still listen to by clicking here. The songs include the XX, Florence + the Machine, Jem, and more, but I wanted to say one thing. I rarely write with music. I might brainstorm with music, but it’s difficult for me to write with music playing, so these songs are what I pictured playing in the background of a movie if it were ever made.

October 14, 2013: My Stats Started Spiking

After hitting #407 in Paranormal Romance, I feel like this was the week Minutes Before Sunset began picking up the great traction is still has today. I still haven’t figured it out, but during this week, T. Harv Eker, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, quoted me on his page. Following that, Shawne Duperon, 6-time Emmy winner and founder of Project Forgive also retweeted the quote and tweeted to me. My novel was also put on a bookshelf in a store for the first time. But who knows? This world is mysterious. I simply trust my gut when I say this is where I think it started.

6 Months

 …

November 2, 2013: Seconds Before Sunrise Announcements

Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2) is copyrighted and receives ISBN. This is when I really started advertising my next novel’s release (which just happened March 27) – so I took a number of months to connect with reviewers and interviewers while also pushing out more information about Minutes Before Sunset so new readers had a chance to catch up.

November 15, 2013: Dream and Stats 

I shared an excerpt from my actual diary from when I was having the dreams that turned in The Timely Death Trilogy. The reason I’m sharing it again as an event is because my sales spiked. (Again, I think this is where things started speeding up for the next release. I like to share this information in the hopes that other authors can see correlations and try it out for themselves.)

December 1, 2013: Seconds Before Sunrise cover reveal

As many of you know, the cover reveal for Seconds Before Sunrise was also a scavenger hunt across 50 AMAZING blogs. Special thanks goes out to everyone who helped me with the event, including Viola Estrella for dealing with my very specific vision for this cover.

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December 2, 2013: Under the Dome is reading Minutes Before Sunset 

Andrew Vogel, the actor who plays Carter Thibodeau in Under The Dome On CBS, is reading “Minutes Before Sunset.”

carter December 8, 2013: Country-Singer Quotes Seconds Before Sunrise

Seconds Before Sunrise was quoted by singer, Don Pedigo, with his music video, Sunroom Sessions: Cheap Unleaded. CMT calls Don “The hard-rocking heartthrob from the Heartland.”

Don Pedigo on Twitter

Don Pedigo on Twitter

December 13, 2013: Eric Welborn’s Birthday 

 Okay. Okay. I know it’s fictional, but his birthday in the novel falls on Friday the 13th, and it was a Friday the 13th that VERY year.

February 9, 2014: Book Trailer 

The book trailer for Minutes Before Sunset releases.

February 24, 2014: Copyright Infringement 

Three writers took the insides from Minutes Before Sunset and were selling them off as their own work. I shared my emotions about this event, which is now resolved.

March 4, 2014: Minutes Before Sunset reached top 1,000 in the Kindle Store

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March 16, 2014: Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2) on Amazon for pre-order

Remember, now AEC releases paperbacks before ebooks. (The ebook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases THIS June.)

March 22, 2014: Seconds Before Sunrise Paperback Arrives 

These moments are huge. I never forget them, and I always keep the very first novel I receive on display on my bookshelf. My father took this photo as well. Same back patio – just in the corner this time. I had barely slept the night before because I was out of town, and my dad had texted me to tell me they had arrived. After that, I couldn’t to get back home to hold them!

My latest novels.

My latest novels.

 On the same day, Minutes Before Sunset hit 100 ratings on Goodreads at 4.48 stars. I am so happy that so many people have not only read my novels but have taken the time to rate and review them. As of today, The Timely Death Trilogy has 129 ratings at 4.43 stars.

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March 27, 2014: Seconds Before Sunrise releases! (paperback only) 

We had a lovely time, too! Seconds Before Sunrise made it onto bookshelves, Eric wore a bow, and people won signed paperbacks. We also made it into the top 1,000 in Kindle Store again.

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April 5, 2014: Cute Couples Reading Cute Stories 

Yep. I just called my novels cute. (These two make it look so adorable!)

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April 8, 2014: Press Release for Seconds Before Sunrise:

This was my first press release. Ever. So I was really happy to finally see it: “Award-Winning Paranormal Fiction Author Publishes Second Book In The Timely Death Trilogy.”

ONE YEAR

May 1, 2014

Because I shared so many extras along the way, please check out these pages: Extras and Reviews. They include what cars the characters drive, personality quizzes, photos, floor plans, and more. The Reviews page includes every blogger that I know of that has reviewed The Timely Death Trilogy. (Thank you so much!)

But wait! There’s even more.

I have future publications coming your way: the ebook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases June 12th, and Death Before Daylight is about to be sent into my content editor. I also have my next novel – that I am still referring to as TMT – coming out THIS YEAR. That’s right. This year. And sooner than you think. I’ll have more news about it soon, so be sure to come back.

The Timely Death Trilogy is only beginning.

~SAT

Amazon

March Ketchup

30 Mar

Seeing as this is my second “Ketchup” post ever, I am amazed by how much I am falling in love with these. It’s a lot of fun to go back to analyze stats in order to figure out what you all found decided was the most popular. This helps me understand you all, and I think it also shows other bloggers what goes on behind the scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. I’ll slowly be adding in more categories as I realize what will be the most helpful to everyone! Here is what I’m sharing this month: my big moments, top three blog posts, the one blog post I wish received more views, the rest of the blog posts, top referrer other than search engines, top searched term, and gains in followers, likes, and shares. I also included every website who has helped me this month.

Big Moments:

currentSeconds Before Sunrise released on March 27th, which is the moment every writer looks forward to, but after the release party, something amazing happened! My novels skyrocketed into the top 1,000 books in the Kindle Store. Your growing support is astounding, and I cannot wait to continue into the future with my next novels, including “Death Before Daylight” (book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy.) If you want to start now, here’s a link to Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

Other big moments included actress, dancer, and director, Gracie Dzienny tweeting about my novels. I also found out my poem will be published in the first edition of LaLuna Magazine, so look out for more news on that coming in April.

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 Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Oh, yes. I Did Record a Video: I guess this means that I need to post more videos on my YouTube channel. I invited you to my launch party in all my nervous glory.

2. What’s Your Shade Name? And other Author Announcements: The shade name generator was possibly the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It’s also nice to know you all are interested in reading about my author life!

3. My Home Away From Home: This was a post I was nominated for, and I spoke about my favorite place to go. The post was also the anniversary of my mother’s death, and I shared how cemeteries bring me peace, even to this day.

The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Writing Tips: The Five Senses: This post actually got a lot of views, but I spent more time organizing and writing this blog post than the others. I analyze how to include the five senses in a novel, but I also ranked what I and other writers believed to be the easiest to the hardest sense to include. After that, I showed tallies from my own novels to display if my original thoughts were correct or not. I still believe this prompt is a fantastic (yes, time consuming but fantastic) prompt for all writers to try.

nomakep

Other Blog Posts: 

Below are the other blog posts I haven’t mentioned yet. They are organized into categories.

Writing:

My Writing Process Blog Tour: Nominated by Dan Thompson, I explained my writing process.

Why I Am Most Nervous About the Second Book of a Trilogy: Middle novels are often seen as transitional novels, and I fought that – hard.

What Changes from First Draft to Publication: I share my personal experiences in editing.

The After Party: The day after the release of Seconds Before Sunrise.

Reading:

The Controversy of Rating and Reviewing Novels: there’s a lot of argument going on between readers and writers. I discussed a few of the most common ones.

 So You Want to be a Book Blogger: Tips for setting up your book reviewing website.

Is that Novel REALLY Dystopian? How Market Trends Affect Incorrect Labeling: Novels are often mislabeled on purpose due to marketing strategies.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

Other:

No Makeup Selfie Campaign for Cancer Research: I always take time to participate in important events like this.

Guest Post: The Passion – she is contagious: author, Sorin Suciu blogged about his passions.

The Oscars: Who I Want to Win This Year: I have to do fun posts every now and then.

And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank the websites who supported me this month by reviewing my novels, interviewing me, and featuring my work during this crazy fun month:

Reviewers: Fantasy is More FunLife With No PlotJust A Third Cultured KidThe Modest VergeWrite Out LoudA Reader’s ReviewCoffee Shop ReaderEnnlee’s Reading CornerPau’s CastlesChris PavesicThe Novel ListPress Pause, Fast ForwardBreathe Wild FlowerMental CheesecakeLife with no PlotEndless ReadingSo Little Books, So Little TimeFantasy is more Fun, and Tamara Morning.

Interviewers: Dan Thompson, A Reader’s Review, The Urge to Write, Writing Under Fire, and Desirable Purity.

Features: BIT’N Book Promoters, Paranormal Book Club, and Fantasy is More Fun,

I picked this picture because tonight is the Full Worm Moon. (by Free Photos and Wallpapers.)

I picked this picture because tonight is the Full Worm Moon. (by Free Photos and Wallpapers.)

Why I Am Most Nervous About the Second Book of a Trilogy

4 Mar

icyyy3Before I start today, I wanted to thank Press Pause, Fast Forward for reading and reviewing Seconds Before Sunrise, which you can read by clicking here. We’re getting closer – only 23 days left – which, by the way, The Timely Death Trilogy broke a new record last month, hence the photo on the right. The photo was taken in the front yard of the house I was living in the time of writing the trilogy, and the quote at the bottom right is also a reader’s favorite. 

Also, I will be combining February’s websites into March’s Website Wonders near the end of the month, so it’s coming. I promise.

I think the second novel has a bad rep – it’s mainly known for being the book to transition the awesome beginning into the epic climax of the ending. The second book, more or less, is the “take a break” book compared to the other two. And you know what? I find it to be true. Most of the time. Mainly because it’s REALLY hard to compete with a new world (the first novel) and the ultimate climax (the last novel.) Even if you add a crazy amount of drama, the first and third books are more likely to be remembered. It’s the reader’s nature, and I’m no exception.

I remember more of Delirium and Requiem than… Pandemonium, right? I even read Twilight at one point, but I can mainly recall the first and the last book – not the middle ones. Fifty Shades of Grey is probably the same way. Wait. Let me think. Yes, it is.

As a reader, this isn’t really a big deal. It happens. But as a writer, it’s a lot more nerve-racking. We want our second book to be as entertaining as the other two. We want the second book to be remembered, not overshadowed by the beginning and end. We want you to mention it in that book club you’re in after you all decided to read the trilogy. We really strive for the entire series to be great – not just one or two of the books to be.

But it’s hard because it seems inevitable.

Believe it or not, there is actually something called “Middle Book Syndrome” and “Second Novel Syndrome. While they are a little different, I would like to use the “middle child syndrome” as a metaphor because people are familiar with it. The older sibling gets a HUGE amount of attention, including careful parenting and a gigantic, never-ending photo album (that includes the child as a baby wearing a hat, a baby in a hat, a baby wearing a hat in a hat, and so on). The youngest sibling stereotypically gets spoiled – often getting relaxed rules and a lot more toys than the others. But the middle child? Eh. I’m not sure what the middle child exactly gets until I looked it up – which is this by the way:

1. “Middle kids bemoan their fate as being ignored and often grow resentful of all the parental attention given to the oldest and the baby of the family, and feel short-shifted.” – Today.com

2. “Middles are considered the most envious, least bold and least talkative of all the birth orders.” – Psychology Today 

Trilogies have the same problem as the middle child.

This would mean Seconds Before Sunrise is that middle child.

As the author, I love all three books equally, but I had to face this issue at one point. I had to ask myself how to make the second book memorable and how I was going to challenge the belief that the second book is a transitional book.

So I made decisions.

Yes, the second book revolves around humans in a paranormal world, but there is still plenty of action and struggling romance. In fact, the book takes place from August to December, and if you read Minutes Before Sunset, then you know what that means – Eric’s 18th birthday is in this book. And not everyone is going to survive. There will be sacrifices, challenges, and more questionable circumstances revealed. You will get to know more of the characters on a deeper level, especially some that I’ve noticed readers mentioned in reviews. You will also notice one more thing – the life lessons get more controversial the longer the series holds out. While book one deals with teenage issues, book two will challenge more adult-like issues, and book three will top those. This was done on purpose to represent how “coming of age” works. That same reasoning went into the overall focus of each book, so that means you can expect this:

book 1 = the Dark (preteen issues, not very controversial)

book 2 = being human (teenage issues, mild controversy)

book 3 = the Light, so you will learn a lot more about them. (adult issues, very controversial, and yes, I’m nervous about this controversy.)

It is in my hopes that these two ranges will allow each novel to stand out as an important part of the trilogy.  Someone has to be the middle child, but we don’t have to follow the stereotypes by neglecting them. We can build them up in order to demand an importance. If you’re a writer, we might even have to give it some extra attention to let it know it is not forgotten. If you’re a reader, don’t automatically give into the stereotype of the second book being a transition.

The second book deserves the same amount of attention as the first and last book. Love it like the others.

If you would like to help me, I am accepting reviewers of the second book – Seconds Before Sunrise. I would be very grateful to hear from you via email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I can even supply you with the first novel if you haven’t read that one yet. Or you are more than welcome to buy it by clicking the photo below. I share all reviews on my all of my websites. I am also open for interviews.

Thank you.

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

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