The journey so far after a year and a half of writing
So here we are after a year of writing and releasing books. This post is my view of my progress as an author. After a bit of success during the second half of 2016 this was the year that I would go all in on writing up my crazy story ideas and see if I can sustain it. Turns out I could and I now regard myself as an author, however things haven’t quite gone to plan. Before I get into that, first I’ll lay out a few achievements.
- Put out a book roughly once a month, with better editing. I’m now up to ten books and a short story.
- Launched two new series. (Now have three on-going series).
- Created a more organized mailing list (which in theory will cost a lot less).
- Wrote a short story for Instafreebie, which drove sign-up’s to my mailing list.
- Created this sparkly new website, which has a sign up form for the mailing list, and allowed readers to directly download something from me for free.
I’m pleased with that list above. It’s about as much as I could achieve in 2017, and its laid the foundation for what comes next. But before we get into that I need to talk about what didn’t go well in the past year.
What could have gone better
Even though I had periods where I was writing 3k words per day, that was the exception rather than the norm, and that has to change going forward. Having said that I feel better placed now to be able to take my time with a story, rather than my hell for leather approach up until now. I’m taking a bit more time with the start and the planning of the book I’m currently writing and the books that are coming up after that, but once I’m into the meat of the book I need to be more consistent with my daily word count.
Even though I launched two new series in 2017, neither have done as well as I wanted them too. In the case of the “Hidden” I think it’s because there’s only one book in the series, and I wasn’t really able to do much to keep pushing that book because of the other books I was writing. In the case of the Order of the Ring, I launched with two books straight away, but again it has not got the traction I hoped it would. I love both series, I think they are easily as good as the Cascade series, but they are both aimed at slightly different audiences. If I were to do 2017 again, I would of held off launching any new series, and just concentrated on the Cascade series until it was finished, and then launched the next series and so on. I’m not a fan of jumping back and forth between series, and going forward I want to try and concentrate on one series at a time. I’ll be pushing both the Hidden (Space scifi) and the Order of the Ring (Urban fantasy) in 2018 and I’m hopeful both series will gain an audience because both stories have a lot to offer.
Few goals for 2018
- 60k book each month, or 90k-120k every two months. 3k-5k daily word count.
- More planning before and at the start of a book. (I’m very much a ‘pantser’ but I’m going to see if I can put more planing into things in 2018 and see what effect that has).
- Every cover has to be great, not good, but great. I’ve done a lot of my books covers myself, and that hasn’t held me back, but perhaps it hasn’t allowed my books to get as big as they could of done. Having said that, the one book with a cover I did hire someone to do, and is a great space scifi cover didn’t do very well, but I’m convinced that’s not the covers fault. I’m stuck doing the Cascade covers myself (and I think they fit the series well anyway), and I like the Order of the Ring covers I did, but going forward everything else I do (with perhaps the exception of a thriller series I might write at some point) I want to hire talented artists to do the covers for. Having an amazing cover doesn’t guarantee a book becoming a success but it does give it a huge boost if everything else about it, is great.
- Finish certain series so I can concentrate on one at a time.
- Get AMS and FB ads to give me a good ROI, because in 2017 they have mostly been sponges which drain my marketing funds. I presume this is going to need a lot more experimentation, which I’m going to have to make time for.
- Read more. The books on my kindle and on my bookshelves are piling up, but with writing and other things it’s hard to find the time to read, but that’s something I’m fixing next year. So much about being an author is about discipline. You have to be disciplined not just with the writing and marketing but also as much as you can with your life which cradles your work. Maybe that’s different once you are earning the big bucks, but starting out I think it’s crucial.
- Recently after decades I’ve gotten back into comics, and I think a lot of what I write would translate well into that format. I’ve looked into indie comics and self-publishing comics is not the same as self-publishing a book (When it comes to comics, I’m all about the print versions). But it would be great to start having conversations with those in the comic biz and see where that leads.
- Have a book in the top 1000 in the overall Amazon eBook chart, and top of its category. Fingers crossed if I can pull off some of the above, then this is on the cards for 2018.
- Get a Bookbub feature promotion. Not sure which series I will go for that with yet, but I might start applying around the middle of the year.
- Network more. Something I’m pretty terrible at as I just want to write and get my stories out there! But I need to do more in that area. I might set up a Facebook group….maybe.
I’ve had great emails and reviews from people over the past year and I just want to take the opportunity to thank everyone that has read and hopefully enjoyed my books. I love creating stories which people emotionally engage with, and absorb them into a world of interesting characters and thrilling/intriguing plots. I’m looking forward to doing more of the same in 2018!
Right I’m off to eat another mince pie, and then more writing.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year!