So, it’s now been over a year since I made an update on this site. What’s its future?

I’ll cut to the chase: it does have one. The domain was up for renewal recently, and I let it auto-renew. I’m still going to publish books under my real name, and this is still a good landing site. Plus if I keep it, I don’t have to change the backmatter in a whole bunch of ebooks.

The last time I was here, I made a whole bunch of posts about my pen name Todd Aldrington, and the very different writing I’ve been publishing under it. Here’s another long story short: these books have taken off in a way I never expected, and after launching a second book under this handle, for the first time ever, I’m in a position to book my cover designer and editor knowing that these two releases can pay for the third one.

Writing gay romance novels for furries (and I do count myself as one) has actually made me money! In less than a year I’ve doubled what I ever made on my real-name books in FIVE. So that’s where I’ve been – concentrating on these books which are far easier to write than my SF stuff, easier to market (I don’t even use a mailing list and they’re selling) and maybe even just a little bit more fun.

But I still want to write SF and publish it under my real name. Shadow’s story needs an ending (and I already have 120,000 words of the final Talent Show book written, just on hiatus right now) and there’s one new book, Citizen Erased, which I wrote for NaNoWriMo nearly 2 years ago, re-drafted, polished, and then didn’t publish because I began using all my available funds to do the Todd Aldrington books.

Sitting on so much material that I can’t afford to publish it all actually isn’t the bad thing it sounds like. On the contrary, it means that I basically can’t run dry for the next two years. I’ve got another T.A book in the bank already, and another two planned, one of which will be this years NaNo material, and my writing business is picking up.

It’s curious that even though I advertise my real-name books in the back of the pen-name ones, my pen-name readers mostly haven’t gone for them. Three or four have read them and really liked them, one tried them and they weren’t his cup of tea, but I’ve picked up virtually no ebook sales on them even from readers I don’t hear from. There’s another reason for keeping this site: I’m not sure the fans from one set of books will cross over to another. I predicted that most SF readers of my real-name stuff probably wouldn’t be into the furry side, but I did wonder if it could work the other way. So far it hasn’t, so it makes no sense to put all my books in one place.

Back to the original question then: what am I going to do with this site?

Firstly, from now on it’s really just a landing page. I don’t intend to extensively blog on it. I’ve never managed to make it work as a marketing tool either. It really just exists because authors are supposed to have a website these days, and if things do start to pick up with the real-name books, I don’t have to suddenly scramble to make one so that fans can visit it.

It can’t look dead though, so every month I plan on making at least one post on it, but for now it will mostly have links to my other platforms as that’s where I’m active, and a bit of quick news on there.

Let’s start with a quick few paragraphs on the Talent Show series then. I really do still like these books. They have a lot more depth, plot, story and thought than the pen-name books. After all the work I put into them, I still don’t care that they don’t sell. I want this series finished, and my current plan is to take a time out from the pen-name in December and January and attempt to get another 50k or so down with Shadow and Co to see it through. When will I launch it?

Okay, good question. In ebook form, it could be 2021 before I get there. HOWEVER, one idea I’ve had recently is that I could set up a Patreon page in my real name and serialise it for people who have read Deception Crossing and really can’t wait to see how the series ends. It would be without a cover and un-edited, and I’d probably make a $5 per month tier for full access and a $10 tip jar.

Patreon has made things interesting lately. I have one for the Todd Aldrington books, and right now it’s making me $60 per month. Not to be sniffed at when over 5 months that makes me the cost of a good cover for the next book. The only reason I haven’t set one up as myself yet is because I know it won’t get the traffic, and I’ve got no material to put on there and no time to write any. I did think about publishing Citizen Erased on there, but to make it a good page I’d need some artwork, and right now my budget’s all tied up. So watch this space, it’s a future plan.

One thing I did get out of the last year is the idea of calling myself a publisher rather than just an author. Anyone who’s published on KDP or other platforms will know that there’s a box you have to fill in that says ‘Publisher Name’ and most indie authors just use their author name, as the two are one and the same. But when I launched the first pen-name book, I found myself thinking it would be cool to put ‘Athlete Raccoon’s Books’ in that box, as I use @athleteraccoon as a Twitter handle and people might notice it because of that.

With that in mind, I’ve changed my pen-name wordpress site to: https://athleteraccoonsbooks.wordpress.com/  I’d buy a domain name to get rid of the wordpress part, but for some reason they won’t let me do that without buying an £80 per year plan I don’t want (you hearing this, WordPress? I did it for this site, why can’t I do it there?) What I think I’ll do is make that a publisher site, and put the real-name books on there in some form. I’ll need to play with the site design to make this look good, and put updates on there more often as I’m lagging behind with updating that one too.