2013 was a rough year for me. And I’m not expecting 2014 to be any easier. Money is still tight and I’m barely keeping my head above water in my fight to stay alive. But I’m trying to do what God told me and keep going.
Looking back at what I was able to accomplish last year I’m surprised I made so much progress in the face of my financial struggles. I published over 13 books and wrote 12 of the baker’s dozen. Out of that 13, I published four paperbacks and released a brand new full-length novel. I didn’t think I could work that hard or be so productive.
This year I want to slow down. In spite of all my progress I’ve been struggling with quality control issues. Publishing so many books over the course of one year I’ve been slipping up and making mistakes like I did with the first edition of Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy. (Since revised with corrections) After publishing that book, I saw myself slipping into the pattern of rushing I fell into when I returned to publishing in 2008 with the Cassandra Cookbook. It was that pattern of rushing that prevented that book from actualizing its potential five years ago.
I’ve been feeling the pressure from my dwindling savings and it’s been making me rush. The truth is the clock has been ticking for my publishing business since 2010 when my unemployment ran out and I had to start living off my savings. I’ve been racing to get every manuscript I wrote published and promoted before I ran out of money.
I want this to work. I don’t want to go back to living off family members. I don’t want to go back to living on $2 a day. Even before I lost my job five years ago I’ve been fighting hard to get this business off the ground and keep it growing.
My main goal for 2014 is not just to stay alive but be able to stand up on my own two feet. To be able to make a living off my writing. Get those Kindle sales up to double digits instead of the singles.
Along with staying alive and standing on my own two feet I hope to:
Find new avenues for promoting books. Most of my promotion these days has been on social media like Twitter and Facebook groups. I’ve reached a lot of new readers on these sites and they’ve been a godsend. But If I’m going to sell more books to a larger audience I have to find new ways to reach readers.
I’ve been experimenting with making YouTube commercials for books like Isis: All About the Goddess. If I can learn about other marketing strategies that will allow me to reach new readers,
Offer fewer free titles on KDP Select. Amazon’s KDP Select program has been a valuable tool in helping me get the word out about new eBooks. It’s been like an incubator for struggling titles allowing me to reach new readers who might not have tried one of my books if they had to pay for it.
Lately I’ve been seeing books like Isis: All About the Goddess stand on their own without the support of a KDP Select free promotion. So I really want to stop putting new titles on KDP Select.
Offer fewer free titles on Smashwords. The Summer YA eBook program is one of the ways I reach new readers during the busy reading periods. And I enjoy sharing new titles with readers. But with my finances at their lowest point something’s gotta give.
There will be a summer YA campaign. But there will be fewer free titles. It may be just two books. It may even just be one. I know All About Nikki has its fans on the Smashwords network and I can guarantee Nikki fans will get a three episode book this year But they may not be season all 2 episodes. They may be a mix of Season 1 and Season 2 episodes and a lost episode. We’ll see.
Release a Thetas Paperback. The Thetas was a surprise hit last year on Kindle. Since the book has proven it can sell on its own I’d like to offer a paperback edition on CreateSpace. I’d love to offer an “official” edition on Lightning Source, but money is too tight for a LS print run.
Finally release a complete edition of All About Nikki The Sensational Second Season. Nikki’s second season has been on the back burner for two years now. Before my troubles, I planned on relasing this book out on 2012! But I kept running into problems. And to let Nikki’s fans know I hadn’t forgotten about them, I released a three episode Nikki eBook last year. I’m shooting to finish writing the complete second season this year! I just need to write two or three more episodes to get it done!
Do more YouTube videos. I’m starting to get comfortable with the camera on my Macbook Pro and I’d love to do more YouTube Videos. I believe people seeing me discuss issues on my channel would give them a personal connection to me and my work. If I did most videos, they’d be in the style of my blogs. The only thing that keeps me from doing videos is bandwith.
Start work on a new full-length novel. Lately, I’ve been writing stories in a Short story/novellete/novella model. I adopted that story model because it fit characters like Isis and made her stories easier to read for younger readers. Plus, it enabled me to get books on the market faster than a conventional novel.
But what I’d like to do is write another full-length novel. However, novel writing requires a whole different mindset. To sit at a computer and write 75,000-90,000 words like The Thetas requires my full, undivided attention for not just the editing, but for the writing as well. And I don’t have that right now. Thanks to my financial pressures, I’ve been focusing heavily on the business side of publishing. Trying to get sales of older works.
I’d love to start a brand-new novel featuring a brand new set of characters. Maybe I’ll be able to do it this year. Maybe.
Explore a new story model. With Isis: All About the Goddess last year I decided to try experimenting with a new story model. Part of a writer developing their skills and keeping them well-honed is trying new things. New story models and new story concepts keep characters fresh and have readers looking forward to the next book. For many readers, my books are different from anything out there. And I want to readers to keep saying how different my books are from all the other fiction out there.
I’m not expecting to do much this year. The money’s just not there and five years after I lost my job, I’m just trying to keep myself from falling back into the place I was in eleven years ago in 2003. Until I can find a new day job to replace the one I lost five years ago I can’t make too many long-term plans. Right now I’m just gonna have to take it day-by-day.