Hello readers! The funding campaign for A Feigned Madness continues! In the way of an update, I want to talk about two numbers: 82 and 27.
Stay with me because I think you’ll find them compelling.
Let’s start with 82.
Much of A Feigned Madness takes place inside a women’s insane asylum. Nellie Bly, in order to get the attention of the newspaper she so desperately wants to report for, deliberately puts herself there. If she can expose what’s going on inside by writing about her account, they might (might!) just hire her.
But the thing is, it’s 1887. A time when so little is understood about mental illness. Many asylums, if not most of them, are simply one-way tickets to Hell.
When I was researching the book, I wanted to know not just what happened to Bly once she was inside, but how the women she met landed there in the first place. In my research, I uncovered a gem. I found one asylum’s list of reasons why patients got admitted.
And it horrified me.
From 1864 to 1889, the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane compiled a list of reasons why inmates were placed into that asylum. The list, taken from a log book, is one bizarre road trip to You’ve Got to Be F$*&-ing Kidding Me.
How many reasons were there? 82.
There are a few that aren’t terribly surprising: brain fever, congestion of the brain and epileptic fits, for example, would likely have caused severe enough symptoms to necessitate hospitalization at least for some bit of time - although we can argue the efficacy of “treatment” at a time when so little was understood about these things.
But some of the others? Here’s a taste:
And then there are those concerning women:
-Medicine to prevent conception
-Fits and desertion of husband
And my personal favorite: Novel reading.
Based on this list, anyone (then and now) could’ve been committed. I mean, who hasn’t been stricken with “grief,” “greediness,” or “fever and jealously” at some point in their life? And what hope for release for the poor fellow with nothing so much as asthma?
You never know what you’ll undercover doing research. Sometimes the little details, that remarkable factoid you find, can enrich your story immeasurably. And it’s what entertains readers. The women Bly befriends at the asylum have their own reasons that ultimately lead to their admittance to the Blackwell’s Island Asylum. I think you’ll find them as shocking (and sad) as I did.
Now for that other number.
If every follower of A Feigned Madness who hasn’t yet pre-ordered places an order, my sales would increase 27%. That’s a sizable bump. I’d like to see it happen. Inkshares has been incredibly supportive so far by making it the pick of the month in two categories, but it’s pre-orders that move the needle.
Thank you ALL so much for hanging in there.
Until next time,
So the several year long journey of getting Ghosts of War: Retribution to publication day has finally come to an end. Many, many hours of writing and editing and deadlines and design and planning and crowdfunding and...
I got a cold on release day, proceeded to be wiped out, and forgot to do an update...
But fear not! The book is just as released today as it was yesterday and here are three simple things you can do to help the book as it takes it’s first steps into the wider world.
1. Read it!
Unsurprisingly the first step is to actually read the book. If you haven’t yet received your print copy (they’re on the way!), you should be able to download the ebook from the Inkshares website. If you haven’t bought it yet, and would like to here are a few places you can do that:
2. Leave reviews!
The next step is to head over to Amazon and Goodreads and leave your reviews. I believe the magic number is 50 reviews for Amazon before it does something magical with their algorithms. So lets aim for 50.
Every review helps grow the books profile, and will help to get it in front of more peoples eyes.
3. Tell some people about it! (or everyone even)
Spread the word. Tell people about the book. Encourage them to buy a copy (and leave a review!)
I think that’ll do for the moment. Lastly though, I want to thank everyone that helped make this thing a reality, you’re all awesome. It still feels weird. It still doesn’t feel real. But I am a published author today (er, yesterday) because of all of you.
I do really need to go lie down now though.
I come bearing some pretty great news. As of this week, The Phantom Forest is being moved from the Quill collection to the "full" Inkshares catalog. So, what does this mean?
Well, first of all it’s an awesome opportunity! Quill is a limited release platform, in which I had to do a lot of the marketing/design legwork myself, or hire outside vendors. The bump up to the Inkshares catalog basically means the book will get greater marketing/publicity support, more reviews, updated artwork, and likely an additional pass with their fantastic in-house editor. The best news is that we are still shooting for the same release date - November 13th! There’s a lot to do before then, but the team is working hard and I’m hopeful we will pull it off.
Now, how did this happen? Because wonderful people like YOU started telling everyone how much you loved this book, and the Inkshares team listened. The Phantom Forest will enjoy a wider release and become accessible to even more readers because you made your voices heard. I am SO thankful I can’t even think straight.
This will likely be my last update on the Inkshares website, as I’m going to move everything over to an email listserv. Next time ya’ll hear from me, I’ll have many more details about this new and exciting process!
Thanks again everyone - this is truly a reader-driven platform and it appears the readers have spoken. You’re truly the best!
It’s Pub Day!
I’ve been having a blast all day talking up the book, hosting games and giving out prizes, watching the reviews come trickling in. I almost forgot to ping you all and let you know the book is officially out there. Published. For reals. We actually ran OUT of books, if you can believe it. Multiple outlets are out of stock of the paperbacks, that’s how well today has gone. I am told that if you order them Ingram will print them to order, so if you’re looking to get a physical copy, ordering from Amazon or walking into a brick and mortar store will probably be your best bet.
And once you have read the book, please consider leaving a review. That would be super cool. So far readers are loving the book. It’s got five stars on Amazon and Goodreads, but the more the merrier, so please consider taking the time to toss a review up on your platform of choice.
I’m beat. It’s been a long, amazing day. I love you all.
May the Code replicate Eternal.