Nine months

by | May 4, 2022

Bench in the low woods.

What’s changed around here since Janet first built this site in late summer 2021? Back then we were pushing toward publication of Chene, the first book in both The Goddess Daughter trilogy and The Darbas Cycle, our multi-volume, multi-trilogy slipstream epic fantasy series. 

The weather here at Black Sheep Manor back then? Hot and humid. Our prospects? We had no idea whether strangers would enjoy something called “slipsteam epic fantasy” written by some unknown author named “D.C. McElroy.” And while I’d previously published four eBooks, two of them with covers by Janet, I’d never actually made a plan or set aside a budget to promote them. 

Nine months later, the spring weather here is blissfully cool. We’ve published four Darbas novels in both eBook and paperback, plus a Complete Goddess Daughter Trilogy eBook collection. And 95 percent of the 63 reviews we’ve received so far on Amazon have been five stars. Not only is that a high response-rate based on the number of copies in circulation, but the ratings and reviews themselves have been highly encouraging.

Those four eBooks I published nine years ago as Dan Conover? Chene alone surpassed their combined all-time downloads and paperback sales in less than four months. Last summer I hoped we’d move a thousand copies of McElroy/Darbas novels in our first year. Nine months later we’re already well into four-figures, and we haven’t even begun promoting Ta Nupa

Does that mean we’re a success? Oh no. Not even close. But it does mean we’re no longer on Square One. The Darbas Cycle is no longer an entirely unknown entity, and we’ve learned that when we get these books in the right hands, readers enjoy them. 

With that in mind (and while we’re waiting on early reviews for Ta Nupa), Janet and I figured it was time to take a fresh look at this website. We’ve spent the last few days adding and updating content, creating new features (like this blog) and re-aligning things to reflect where we are today, nine months after launch. Not triumphant, but progressing. Still just one fantasy series in a marketplace filled with tens of thousands of them, but earning our way, one new reader at a time. 

Is it any easier nine months later? Of course not. All of this is hard. But if it was easy, everybody would do it. Poorly. 

The simple truth is that after nine months of beginners’ mistakes, little victories, trial and error, reader feedback and way too many New Opportunities for Fucking Personal Growth, we’re getting better at this book publishing thing. Thanks to all y’all for being part of that progress.