Life is busy. It is for everyone. What I have I been up to?
Enjoying my family. Spending time with friends. Reading non-fiction while struggling to find novels that keep my interest. (It’s me, not the books!) Planning for an upcoming high school graduation. (Eek!) Re-evaluating my career.
I guess the last one is most prevalent to this blog. I think it’s important every so often to revisit the direction our writing takes. Revisit our goals. I’m still in the process of doing that. I will say that a lot of “stuff” triggered this period of re-evaluation, and I won’t share most of it. The one aspect I will share with you is that I grew tired of the rat race. If you write and self publish you might know what I mean. The keeping-up with the new marketing strategies before they’re no longer effective, the continual push and realization that the best way to make a profit is to write popular genres and put out a gazillion books a year.
I found myself putting my most exciting ideas on the back burner either because they were middle grade or outside of my established genre or would require more time. I didn’t want to write ten books a year. I completely understand that to keep books visible it helps to release books continuously, in the same genre, in a series, over and over and over.
That’s not why I started writing.
That’s not why I love writing.
But…I do want to make a profit. I run a small business. So I’m figuring out what that will look like for me. I’m striving to find a balance between writing what I love and what will sell.
(It also grew discouraging to see the top 100 on Amazon filled with Amazon imprints and KU books. Some in categories they clearly should not be in. Amazon is a business, so I don’t fault them for pushing their own books.)
I decided to write two more books in my original series, Circle of Spies. I follow the main characters but years later. The cover reveal is below.
And a favor, if some strange pharma links show up at the bottom of this post, please email or tweet me and let me know. I can’t see them, and I can’t get ads while they’re still on my blog. Thank you!!!!
Let me know how you’ve been doing in the comments!
I self publish. I’m an Indie. At some point I heard it was good advice to create a business plan. I did, even though it was simple and not filled with some of the intellectual language I’ve seen in other samples.
I also heard it was good to create a production plan, which I do. It’s on a digital sticky note and it goes into the year 2016. At some point I had to stop going so far into the future because I kept changing my mind. New ideas would rise up, demanding to be written. Or flashy ideas that I thought had merit needed more time to simmer.
That is the delicate balance between art and publishing.
If I were a robot, spitting out words just for profit, different stories would be on my production plan. Ones that made more sense. Ones that were part of a large series and with romance and kissing. Ones that fell into commercial genres. And sometimes, I write those stories.
Just today, based on the Create Bravely theme from NESCBWI and everything I talked about here, I deleted every project past this coming December. I will finish projects I’ve started and there’s a certain sequel I want to write. But then it’s all free and clear. And I love it!
Sometimes I have to follow my heart and write the stories that are a challenge, that are scary, that seem to fall outside those genres that sell well. Sometimes I need to write the stories that call to me, those that I will love writing, those that won’t let me go.
There’s nothing wrong with writing to sell, with choosing a genre that you know sells well. Nothing at all. I’m just saying that there is no guarantee no matter how you publish or which genre you write that a book will sell well, so you might as well write what makes you happy.
Anyhow, I am always thinking about what I’ll be writing next, trying to find that balance between art and running a small business. It isn’t easy.
So for now my calendar is open while different ideas push at the envelope of my creativity, wanting to be written. I honestly don’t know which one will win.
How do you deal with this balance? I would imagine a similar struggle exists for those pursuing the traditional path.
For a long time I focused on middle grade. The first few manuscripts I wrote were middle grade. One was published briefly last year with a small press before they closed. I’m not ready to self publish it. Maybe someday…
There are certain types of middle grade books that are just as much meant for adults as they are for kids. One such book I recently read was a beautifully written survival story. It was Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Adults and kids will both love this one.
When I read middle grade I love, I end up shaking my fists at the sky and shouting (on the inside) “I will write middle grade again!” But for now, I am writing other kinds of stories that I love just as much. Business decisions.
Another great business decision is furthering our knowledge through workshops, reading, writing…etc. Here are two for you that are FREE!
Indie Recon with lots of great speakers and chats including the Indelibles’ Susan Kaye Quinn, Rashelle Workman, Chelsea Fine, and Chelsea C. Cameron. It runs this week the 25th-27th! Check it out.
And the second is a free YA science fiction thriller: Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri. Download it before the deal goes away!
I’m thinking that regardless of publishing route there are tough decisions to be made. If you want to share yours in the comments, I’d love to hear!]]>
I’ve been thinking about risks and mistakes and how it’s almost impossible not to make them.
I don’t mean obvious ones like not hiring an editor. I mean subtle decisions that arise that don’t seem to have a right or wrong answer. Like our sales are down or never took off – does that mean I need to redo the cover? What about paying big bucks for ads or joining a costly Net Galley co-op? What about investing in print books and attending a signing?
Sometimes we take risks. Sometimes they pay off. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we have to eat the cost and try not to make that mistake again. Sometimes it wasn’t a mistake. It was just something we had no control over.
We’re going to have ups and down. We’re going to have decisions that pay off big time and vice versa. Just don’t let the ones that don’t pay off get you down.
What are some potential risks you have taken on the Indie journey?]]>
Thanks to the hosts for this marketing blog hop: Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click on any of their blogs for all the links.
I’ve asked myself the answers to these questions all the time! I’ve done a lot of observing on book launches and marketing strategies for both traditional and Indie books to see what works.
You could seriously drive yourself absolutely crazy trying to follow all the marketing advice out there, thinking that’s what will bring success.
I’ve watched traditional publishers throw thousands into a lead book title to see it completely flop and vice versa.
I’ve seen Indie authors do everything they can from blog tours, to ads, to giveaways and their book never really takes off and vice versa.
1. Word of mouth is the best marketing, and we can’t control that.
2. The best marketing is more content, in my case, more books.
3. All the marketing in the world won’t sell a book that readers aren’t looking for.
4. If you have a book readers want, then most marketing will work.
5. There is no magic formula.
6. There is no magic formula.
7. There is no magic formula.
1. Write the next book.
2. Connect with readers. (This is much easier to do when fans seek you out, not the other way around.)
3. Build my email list. (Slowly but surely.)
4. Offer free or loss leader books. (You can download Vanishing Point, the prequel to my spy series for free.)
5. Brainstorm creative more long lasting ideas for the launch of the first book in my new series this spring. For example: a free short story with an excerpt.
I’m looking forward to what everyone else has to say, but I’ll be honest. I’ve become more of a cynic when it comes to marketing. That’s why my biggest motto will be to focus on the aspects of my writing and publishing that I can control.
Do you agree, disagree with my observations?]]>