Status Update: The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Series

We need to talk, humans.

This decision has been several books into the making, but unless circumstances change (significantly) with the May 16, 2019 release of Burn, Baby, Burn, the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series will be discontinued. We know this decision will upset some people, but all good things need to come to an end, and my human hates hearing how readers complain about how a series should have died at $x number book in the series.

No Kitten Around started the trend of lower average ratings for reviews, which was kinda mostly continued with Blending In, and saw a noticeable dive with Cheetahs Never Win. (Before my human discussed this issue and the series’ imminent end on Facebook, the book had dropped to 4.3* average and had less than 70% 5* ratings.)

To our human, that’s a very clear sign it’s time to hang the series out to dry and work on something else the readers may like more.

Maybe it’s a matter of the haters speaking louder. Maybe people just couldn’t be bothered to buy or review the book.

But here are the facts:

Sales were down.

Reviews were not as happy as before. (Lower average stars, etc, etc, etc.)

This was not a one-off book decision. This was over multiple titles. Sales are a touchy figure to discuss, but here’s a basic truth of the situation:

Cheetahs Never Win was up for preorder a month longer than No Kitten Around, and it barely kept pace with No Kitten Around. Blending In had a similar preorder length to No Kitten Around and sold hundreds of copies less than either other title.

The first week sales are pretty critical for a book, but the human does consider sales after the first week, too.

Sales have been down, period.

Most of that is on the human. She wrote the book. She wrote the description for the book. She picked the cover art. Combined, these things aren’t selling the books.

That’s fine. Sometimes a series just needs to die. Really, it’s okay. We know there are a lot of people out there who enjoy the series, but the human gambled on audibook, signing a contract for Cheetahs Never Win to put it into production to learn the gamble is likely to fail even before the sample 15 minutes is recorded.

Sales of the digital copies generally reflect sales of the audio copies, and it isn’t looking promising at this point. Honestly, the human doesn’t expect Cheetahs Never Win will earn back using the math that she must do to keep writing. (40% goes to taxes, 40% goes to the household, 20% goes to paying for everything she needs to write.)

As sales drop, that 20% figure becomes smaller and smaller, so the human can’t afford to write books people don’t want to read or buy.

The human enjoys writing all sorts of things, and she has a lot of stories she’d love to write that she has high hopes will perform well.

But here’s the thing: she’s already putting in a LOT of books on the schedule this year that will probably not earn back for 3, 4, or 5 years.

Steel Heart is one of these books.

Wild Wolf and The Edge of Midnight are two more of these books.

She’s also working on continuing the Requiem series. More of these books.

She’s doing this because she loves the books and readers have asked.

But they’re poor fiscal decisions.

She really can’t afford to keep writing books people aren’t happy with or have lost interest in and/or just don’t want to see continued.

The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books are starting to join the ranks of books that may not earn back.

It’s a gamble she can’t afford right now.

To see this change, this is what needs to happen:

Sales for future books need to go up rather than down. (Burn, Baby, Burn is essentially the series’ last chance for a while.) The human has picked 3,500 combined preorder and release week sales as the number needed to keep the series trucking at around two books a year, with one more Magical Romantic Comedy coming out in 2019 if it reaches the benchmark. 2020 will depend on how many, but she’ll likely do one on May 16, 2020 because that’s what she always does, even if the series does ultimately ‘die.’ (But we’ll see.)

Otherwise, books will release as the human has budget and covers and finishes them on the side.

That does mean there will be more (see the list above) but there won’t be any guarantees on when and why. There won’t be any preorders, and my human will stop investing in the series in general.

Here’s the thing: she just invested $10,000 to breathe life back into this series. While she made the $10,000 back… barely… it did not work as well as hoped. She’ll ultimately make a profit from the investment as new readers pick up the other titles in the series, but the promotion just didn’t do anywhere near as well as hoped.

To her, it feels like the series has reached a plateau, and that’s okay. Maybe it has. It hasn’t been due to a lack of effort on her part, but it’s hard when she busts her ass on a huge ad campaign to drive new readers to a book and it just doesn’t work as well as hoped.

She’s considering herself exceptionally fortunate that the gamble made back its money at all. But she’s not expecting to see much of a profit. That’s life.

But it’s definitely a factor in the decision to retire the series from active production once Burn, Baby, Burn releases.

If this decision bothers you, there are things you can do to help:

1: Be bothered to leave honest reviews. Sometimes, a series just needs to die. That’s okay. Be honest. But please, be bothered. If only the unhappy people leave reviews, then their voices will be heard over those who love the series.

And thus, the series dies quietly, much to the confusion of those who loved the books and don’t understand why the series might be ending.

2: Contact your local libraries and request the books, especially if the book is not yet for sale. They can preorder for their library, too! Their sales definitely count as copies sold.

3: Convince your friends to try the series out. To help out with this, our human has permanently set the price of Playing with Fire to $0.99.

She’s trying, but there comes a point where it’s not worth the time and general investment to continue trying. That’s okay. The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books have been a joy for her to write, even during the difficult times.

There will be new books, other series, and books that have humor, snark, and sass in high quantities. But there’ll be science fiction action adventure romps, pirate books with sentient ships, magic, and romance, and all sorts of other things going on.

For long-term series, her next large series is called Seeking the Zodiacs, and the first book will release later in 2019. It will have 13 books in total; one prequel novel and 12 main series books. (You guessed it, one for each Zodiac.)

She’s really looking forward to sharing Hypnos with you, as she’s been having a blast working on it.

But, as always, the ultimate decision on a series’ fate is in the readers’ hands. This has always been the case in publishing. Publishers won’t continue to release books that aren’t selling, and they’re not likely to continue even a trilogy if the first two books don’t do as well as they need.

As an indie, our human has more flexibility than a traditional publisher. But she pays all the bills herself.

And that means when three books in the series start to strike out, perhaps it’s time to say goodbye for a while… at least as a main project series.

After post edit note: Burn, Baby, Burn won’t be available for preorder until 90 days prior to its release date per Amazon’s rules.

Leave a Comment:

22 comments
Paula Geisik says January 14, 2019

Went on Amazon to preorder Burn, Baby, Burn, and it wasn’t there!
That might have an impact on preorders!

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 14, 2019

    Burn, Baby, Burn can’t be set up for preorders according to Amazon’s rules until February or March. When it’s available for preorder, everyone will know. As wide sales usually account for fewer than 20 preorder copies total, we won’t be setting up an early preorder.

    (Amazon only allows you to set up preorders 90 days in advance.)

    The preorder cycles are the same for all titles, although Cheetahs Never Win got another month as a grace; Amazon kindly restored our ability to do preorders after Cheetahs Never Win.

    Reply
Stephanie says January 14, 2019

I was wondering if reviews left on goodreads factor in to your accounting? Ask because I rarely review on amazon, but always leave a rating and date read type review on goodreads. If it matters so much to authors, then I will start leaving reviews on both sites, but until now never really put any thought into it.

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 14, 2019

    I do not use goodreads. Goodreads typically has a substantially lower star rating review, and honestly, if I went by goodreads, I would’ve ended the series after Hoofin’ It.

    Vendor sites are the only sites that matter when I make a business decision; anyone can leave a review on goodreads, even if they never read the book. Since I’m a wide vendor on Amazon, I see if the reviewers have purchased a copy of the book or not (as a general rule. My paperback sales are insufficient to make much of a dent on non-verified reviews.) That’s a big deal.

    Amazon is where readers are buying books and the reviews make an actual difference on sales. (That may sound harsh, but it’s just reality.)

    Reply
Ramona Cabrera says January 14, 2019

May I make a suggestion. See Patreon. Several authors have gone there for help. People, patrons, donate monthly funds to help out. I have 3 authors that I give to – not much but every little bit helps.

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 14, 2019

    Patreon has a lot of time investment involved to making it work. Usually, Patreons require monthly new content to keep it working, and it’s a huge time sink or headache for me. I just want to keep writing books, and anything that takes away from that has to be counted. I’ve tried a Patreon once, but it was taking up a huge amount of time without any books actually being written.

    Reply
Leanne Ridley says January 14, 2019

That’s a damn shame, as it was this series that pulled me into reading your books. That said, I understand – it’s my entertainment, but your livelihood. I rarely pre-order books but I will do so for Burn, Baby, Burn. I will also go and post reviews on Amazon. Anything I can do to help keep things going for books I enjoy 🙂

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 14, 2019

    I very much appreciate that you understand the situation I’m in! I do really enjoy writing them, dark or light. Dark comedy is hard, because some people don’t see the humor/comedy in parts. (And that’s on me.) But the series is more than just slapstick and hahaha all the time. I think the darker stories are part of what make the series work. And without them… it doesn’t feel like I’ve given the series my all.

    Reviewing can really help, because people are more likely to review a book they hated because they’re angry, or they’ll leave reviews meant to turn people away. (Those people who love it enough to review are so, so appreciated!)

    But you’ve hit it on the head: it is my livelihood, and I’m always, always listening to see what people want. There are a lot who love the mag rom coms, but maybe it’s a case of the series being taken for granted. it could be the best pace for the series is one book every May for my birthday as a birthday present to myself!

    But we’ll see how Burn, Baby, Burn shakes out. Because unless people are loving the books, I don’t want to keep asking them for money for things they’re not really enjoying, and there’s been peeps vocal about that.

    Reply
Lama Jigme Gyatso says January 14, 2019

This is terribly dissapointing as your “Magical Romantic Comedy with a body count” are my favorite of your books 🙁

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Irena Stoodley says January 14, 2019

So sad to hear sale are not going well I love the “Magical Romantic Comedy with a body count” series.

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Andrea says January 14, 2019

I also love the series, but I am not good at putting down my opinions into words. I never know what to say. I always rate the stars, but my review would be just a ‘love the series’ comment. I am not sure if that would be enough.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 14, 2019

    I love the series is definitely enough. If you love a character the most in a book, you can list them, too! But yes, just saying you loved the book is definitely enough. 🙂

    Reply
Jules says January 14, 2019

Such a shame. I’ve only just found this series and blasted through all of them in record time as well as preordering the last 3. Then went in search of your other books, which I’ve now read. So now I’m regularly checking amazon and your website for new books and updates. Sorry to say I generally to comment on amazon, but on a more personal note, please keep writing. I very much enjoy your books.

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 15, 2019

    I’ll still be writing, no worries! It’s only a matter of what.

    Reply
Meaghan says January 15, 2019

to quote my niece, “I has a sad”. After seeing your books pop up in my recommend list I finally started with “Null and Void”. Which eventually led to “Playing with Fire”. Napalm Hangover!!!! Serial Killer Princess was my next favorite.Which I will so post . I love the series and your general consistency with how the world works. But other than that it lacks a common thread and while a villain of the week (and not having to remember a character who randomly popped up 7 books ago) is fun, consistent secondary characters are even more enjoyable. I think it is telling that my favorites are the ones for which you are planning second stories.

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Susan E Aceto says January 16, 2019

I love this series, but to be honest, (and you asked that we be) Cheetahs Never Win was not up to the standard of the rest of the stories. When you kept to the plot, either murder or mayhem, it was much better. The over lapping characters, i.e. angels, etc. created a world that was incredible. Adding in details such as the pink neutralizer was also fun. But too much on the sexy part took away from the story. Playing with Fire was delightful. No Kitten Around was also in the ball park. I am looking forward to Burn, Baby, Burn, in the hopes that you recaptured the playfulness and plot line that was in the previous stories. I wish I had more words to explain better. To sum up, I for one would love to see the series continue but understand the economics of it. Good Luck and consider returning to the series at some point with stories like Playing With Fire.

Reply
    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 16, 2019

    Frankly spoken, writing the same sort of story all the time is bloody boring, which is why I explore in the Mag Rom Com world.

    No explore, no world, no stories, is basically how it works… and because I refuse to shoestring into one set type of story, so the series will ultimately go to lower frequency and die.

    I don’t want to get bored writing them because readers want a set shoebox for me to work in. That’s not fun for me, and I’d rather write books I enjoy to write.

    I know that’s not what you want to hear, so sorry for that.

    it’ll probably work out to once a year for now, and then ultimately peter away to nothing as I finish books I have covers for. If people don’t want to go on adventures with me in the series outside of the set shoebox they want, that’s the fate of the series. That’s fine.

    I want to have fun, too, and there’s nothing quite as much as a drag as being ‘forced’ to write ‘more stories like this one because that one was good, the others suck.’

    (But that’s what the sales figures say, so I’d just prefer to hang up its hat and walk away. Because while this is my job, I have so many other stories that are going to be much more fun to me I could work on instead.)

    Reply
Paul says January 23, 2019

Well, finally made my way over here only to find one of my favorite guilty pleasures might be gone :(. While I can’t say I have deeply loved every story, I’ve read them all multiple times (and some of them multiple multiple times). I get it’s about economics, and I can’t complain you haven’t produced a ton of content if I have to console myself. Long term I hope things pick up and I will certainly preorder Burn Baby Burn. Bummed if I never get conclusion on Last But Not Leashed and Serial Killer Princess but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says January 23, 2019

    I’ll finish books I have covers for, but it won’t be on any real set schedule. I might get a cover for Leashed I Could Do; that’ll be a we’ll see. I already have a cover for Serial Killer Princess 2, so that one will eventually come. Just no guarantees as to when.

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Loredena Frisealach says March 26, 2019

I’m likely a niche reader for you – I love the rom com series and have read them all, preordering whenever I realize there is one. My favs are Serial Killer Princess and Whatever for Hire; I really enjoyed Cheetahs too. I’m also enjoying the new Bernadette ones so far.

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Rick says May 5, 2019

I’m late to this blog-post, but my question is relevant, I think. Is there anything that gives the “backstory” of the books? By that, I mean answers to questions like:
• Where did gorgons come from? Or is that just something to accept?
• Same thought about angels, incubus and others
• And just *how* is gorgon dust manufactured?

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says May 5, 2019

    Burn, Baby, Burn goes into how gorgon dust is manufactured on a light level.

    Gorgons have been around since the age of mythology, so… the easiest way to think of this world is that when legends and myths were real, they were *really* real. All I did was ask, “What if all of these things were real?”

    And added a few twists. Over time, I do add hints of things. Whatever for Hire covers some of the creation store and myth on how some beings came into existence. Hoofin’ It does, too. Burn, Baby, Burn has some origin things as well.

    Reply
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