Finish Line?   9 comments

Do you set business goals as a writer? What are they for the 4th quarter, and have you started planning 2021?

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Goals are Good, but….

Writing is still a side gig for me, so I’m not treating it like a corporate takeover. My goal has always been to make my books profitable, but it was a long-term goal, not something to be focused on down to the quarter.

Last Quarter was Good, but….

They always say the secret to selling books is to write the next book and that appears to be true. My ongoing series, Transformation Project, sees an uptick in buys and reads every time I publish the next book in the series. The last two books paid their initial costs in their first quarter of publication. Yay! That felt good. The entire series is in the black with minimal marketing.

My fantasy, Daermad Cycle, has a different profit profile. The Willow Branch was published in 2014 and it wasn’t until 2019 that it finally paid for its publication costs. But now it’s making a profit and the reads are good. Mirklin Wood is slated to pay for itself this year. I’m starting to feel like it will be worth it to write the third book “Fount of Wraiths” because it’s fairly obvious from the read pattern that once they read The Willow Branch, they read Mirklin Wood. These being fat fantasies, it takes them a while, but it is happening, so completing the third book is making financial sense as well as creative sense now.

It gives me hope that if I publish the next book in What If Wasn’t series, it will get some attention on the first book, Red Kryptonite Curve. Sometimes, a book just doesn’t sell and you don’t know why. This is a new genre for me – Young Adult/New Adult — so I might not know how to market it right. But, I learned how to do the other genres, so I’ll learn this one too. But maybe I just need to publish the next book. And I’ve learned from Daermad Cycle that a book can take a long time to catch on and then you don’t really know why it does. “Dumpster Fire” will launch October 20. Today’s article acts as a cover reveal.

Maybe someday I’ll have long-term goals and quarterly reports, but currently, those live in my “real” job and my ‘next goal” is to publish the next book — at least one per year (Covid has made 2020 especially productive — there had to be a bright side to the whole country being in the timeout corner. Even teleworking full-time, I had a lot more time to write.

Here’s hoping that 2021 sees a return to normality.

Posted September 21, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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9 responses to “Finish Line?

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  1. Strangely, I find that my standalone stories are more successful than my series. But then, I’ve always been awkward.

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  2. And I’ve (sadly) had the exact opposite. The more books I write, the fewer sales I’ve been getting.

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    • That’s odd. Have you tried Amazon ads? I believe that’s what really broke the dam for the fantasy series. I never knew how to market it properly. I can’t just talk on the Internet and stir up interest like with the libertarian apocalyptic series. I needed to advertise. Most months I spend less than $20. I’m making enough over costs that it’s worth it, although the first few months were an exercise in spending money without overt return and then things started to move. Now, I lowered my bids per click, but the readership has remained.

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  3. We run the risk of repeating ourselves with series, but if they take off it’s great. If not? In my other life I heard ever excuse for flat to falling imaginable. And I would pull out the figures and say “Your problem is you’re not making any new friends.” And that’s the case, particularly with a series. If you sell more on the front end and they fall off there was something missing that didn’t bring those people back, or they were the wrong people. Reinvention is what we have to do, even if it’s difficult.
    He said, having no business plan other than to stop wasting time and get a couple of things out of the hard drive and into the world.

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    • My series are not standalones like, say the Longmire Series or Agatha Christie. They’re following an arc, so there’s a beginning middle and end. Sure, I could rush through the story and maybe hit the high points in a book or two or I could take my time and actually tell the full story of the apocalypse and how they survived it. So, repeating events is unlikely to happen, though I do repeat some characters’ quirks. For example, if he isn’t actively being shot at, Shane checks his ammo before going into every potential firefight. Rob fingers his beard when he’s thinking. Cai rolls a bad shoulder when he’s nervous. Joe the police chief has a pet phrase “Bless your tiny little hearts.” Those are part of what makes the characters who they are, so I mention them occasionally. I try not to do it more than once a book though.

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  4. I think the real goal is always to get the next piece of literature out. Of course, I say that and there are some authors who were a one and done deal, and they did fantastic with it. To each their own.

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    • Yeah, you think about DJ Salinger. He wrote one amazing book. He didn’t publish much after that and what he did publish was not nearly so amazing. How does that work? I suspect he let writing the great American novel his first go out of the chute mess with his head. I’m more in light with Ray Bradbury who suggested you write a short story every week because it’s impossible to write 52 bad short stories.

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