Not new in the world of publishing, but new for me. The last few years have been crazy in my personal life, so even though I’ve learned a lot about how to move my writing career to the next level, I haven’t been able to implement any of the changes.
I’m excited that I’m about to release a new book! And for the first time, I’m not publishing it as soon as it is ready. I emailed my newsletter list and included the first chapter and the cover so they could start getting excited about the new story/series. Immediately, a few of my readers wrote back saying they loved it, best book yet!
Thanks to a gentle push from a friend, I decided to put my book on pre-order for the first time. I set up the pre-order with the practically-final version of the book on KDP, iBooks, and Kobo. (Barnes & Noble didn’t have a pre-order option at the time I did this, so I prepped the book to be ready to hit the Publish button the day before I want it to go live.)
I emailed my list a second time, left Chapter One at the bottom in case readers missed it the first time, and gave them the links to the pre-order on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., Amazon Australia (my newsletter service lets me see where subscribers are from), iBooks, and Kobo. Within a day, I had my first seven pre-orders – yay!
Another first that I’ve wanted to do for a year or two is to create a beta readers group. I finally got that up and running on Facebook a few weeks ago. I have nineteen beta readers who are reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book that I put up on BookFunnel.
They’ve pointed out typos, offered a few suggestions, and they’ve given me enormously satisfying positive feedback about the book. They’ll be posting reviews on the first day of release so that new readers will immediately see that others liked the book.
I also finally created a Facebook group for all the rest of my readers! I’ve been frustrated with my Facebook author page and the fact that if a reader posts on my page, it’s almost hidden along the side. It’s ridiculously difficult to have a conversation that way. So I created a group that is attached to the author page. For the first time, I can easily chat with my readers and engage with them in a way that will help them to know, like, and trust me. You can see – and join! – my readers’ Facebook group here.
The other thing I learned is that although readers can’t post reviews to Amazon until the book goes on sale, they can post them to Goodreads as soon as I added the book to the site. I created a listing for the ebook, sent a link to my beta readers, and the first four people who had finished the ARC posted their reviews!
Then I created a paperback listing on Goodreads and set up two Giveaways, one for five books to be given away in the United States only, and one for two books to be given away everywhere. I would’ve gotten these up earlier if I could have, but they’ll go live a week before the book’s release.
I’m also going to try to get the paperback edition up on CreateSpace before the official release day. Once the book is live in any form (i.e., the paperback even though the ebook has its own release date), readers can leave reviews. So if I can get the paperback live and available for sale before the official release day (for the ebook), I can tell my beta readers to please leave their reviews immediately. Then it will look like the book releases with reviews. Awesome!
The last thing I’m doing for the first time is something I hope to never do again. The book’s release date is the day after I move! Yup, movers come pick up our stuff, then we clean the house and turn in the keys, and the next day my book goes live. While I’m staying for a few days at a friend’s house, before an international flight. Limited time, limited Internet access, limited everything. Well…we’ll see how it goes!
Meanwhile, I’m putting together Amazon ads for the book (not a first, I’m already running them for two other books), and getting the last newsletter ready that will go out on release day. This is the most amount of work I’ve ever done to have a true book launch. I’m excited!
I don’t expect to sell hundreds of copies the first day; instead my hope is to learn how to do everything, how long it all takes, and create a streamlined process for the future. Then I’ll create a book launch calendar for myself for the next launch.
Exciting times! I’ll let you know what happens! 😀
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!
I’m taking a page from Michael Hyatt’s playbook and trying to write ALL my blog posts for the next week or two in ONE day. Whew! The good news is that I get to write all day! Haha! The other good news is that with my brain focused on one thing, I’m writing better blog posts, though I’m not sure if it’s taking me any less time. (Maybe if I do this regularly it will go faster, but not yet.)
The other interesting thing is that my posts are becoming somewhat thematic as I write them all today. Everything I’ve wanted to write has to do with encouragement in one form or another. (Due to the luck of what day the 9th fell on this month, because that’s my blog day here, I have three posts hitting three different websites today!)
From a writing perspective, I want to encourage you to keep asking “Why?” John and I went to the East Valley Authors annual writers retreat last Saturday and had a great time. But on the way home, one or the other of us would start muttering, “Oh damn…” Laurie Schnebly Campbell taught two workshops on character motivation for the whole day, and it was startling to suddenly realize what you thought was your character’s motivation was just your author reasoning. It was a great day and Laurie gave everyone a lot to think about.
It also made me reconsider my own motivations. Why am I doing what I’m doing? And as Laurie said, “And why is that? And why is that?” After some work, you get another “sudden” revelation about the real why. Whether it’s for your character or for figuring out yourself, it’s good stuff.
When you are feeling tired or disheartened about your writing career, I want to encourage you to ask yourself why. The initial answer might be, “I write so slowly, I’m not getting many books out.” Or “I’m published but not selling many books.” Or “I self-published to make more money and I’m not making much.” Whatever the first answer is, ask yourself why about that. Why do you write slowly? Why aren’t you selling many books? Why do you have these expectations about money? And why is that? And why is that?
As you keep going deeper into the “why?” follow-ups, you may find your deepest motivation is something entirely different. Maybe it’s not money or fame that drives you, but a craving for respect from a significant person in your life who values money or fame. Maybe it’s not storytelling that drives you write, but the need for an inexpensive creative outlet. Who knows? You won’t even know until you start asking these questions.
I’ve learned some difficult things about myself over the years. Not having financial success makes me feel like I haven’t moved away from my poorer, other-side-of-the-tracks roots. I do write to tell the stories in my head, but I mostly write for the same reasons I teach – to connect with others and share what I’ve learned and entertain them in the process.
Knowing these things helps me understand why some advice from other writers works for me and some doesn’t. For instance, the “write every day” advice or the people who say “I have to write every day because I can’t not write” – that doesn’t inspire or motivate me because I can get the same high from teaching, and I can write every day for weeks, then not at all for a month or two, and I’m still quite happy. Up until recently, I felt guilty about that! I thought I had to feel the way “everyone else” feels in order to be “a real writer.”
I hope this helped you think about your career from a new perspective. If you’re interested in a more spiritual bit of encouragement, check out my “7 Steps to Building a Great Business and a Great Life” post on my author website. And if you’re giving some thought to quitting your writing, read “If You’re a Writer in Need of a Cheerleader” on Writer Entrepreneur Guides where I teach and share on writing topics.
Good luck! You can do it!
I was out buying an electric blanket yesterday (it’s winter in New Zealand) and I passed by a rack of blank books and journals that were on sale. I can’t not stop when I see pretty journals despite the fact I haven’t yet used all the ones I have. So I paused and looked them over and what do you know, one of them caught my attention.
If you’ve seen any of the pictures I’ve been posting on Facebook, you know I live in a spectacularly beautiful area with amazing sunrises and sunsets. And this journal reminded me of the view right outside my front window. But more than that, the title really spoke to me.
Not just “start” or “do it now” or “get moving” but it seemed to say, “jump in, even if you don’t know how deep the water is.”
That’s a little scary, and that’s exactly why I sometimes procrastinate doing things I want to do. I know the wisdom of “count the cost” and I don’t think it’s a good idea to jump into something when you don’t know how long it will take or how much it will cost. Not unless you have plenty of time and money, and who does?
I’ve been talking about starting my own podcast for two years or more, and I’ve done a lot of research on what podcasting entails. I’m excited about it. I know what topics I’m going to cover and the format the show will take. I have all the right equipment and software. But I haven’t put a start date on it yet because, as usual, I never know when I’m suddenly going to up and move (husband’s job). I’m scared I’ll get started and suddenly find myself out of time and behind in my schedule and disappointing my listeners.
I bought the journal. I’m starting my podcast now by getting the information in my head written down. Step 1 on the journey.
The blank pages are calling out to me, offering excitement and adventure. And you know what’s doubly exciting about that to me? That’s what I want my podcast to do for my listeners. I want to encourage people to get started, to keep going, to see the hardship as part of the adventure, to understand that trepidation grows along the sides of every new path.
Hopefully, I won’t release the first episode or two and find myself in the middle of another round-the-world move. But I’ve got lots of blank pages here to fill with ideas on how to manage the work despite a potential move.
Some writers hate the blank page, the blinking cursor. But something about journals begs you to fill the pages. Now. With something. Maybe you’ve got a beautiful blank journal sitting around that you forgot about. Go find it. See if the pages call out to you like this one does to me.
Write down your ideas.
Begin your adventure.
Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. Married to her college sweetheart, their romantic romps have included a scolding at Parliament House in Belfast for canoodling, and three trips Down Under where her handsome hubby made a movie penguin named Mumble dance. Meanwhile, she’s (sort of) fighting an addiction to all things Monsters, Inc. Only God knows where they’ll wind up next, but it’s sure to be another adventure filled with romance and laughter!
Perhaps the most difficult part of a writer’s career is selling your books. Whether your book is traditionally published or self-published, trying to figure out how to let readers know your book is available can be enough to make you tear your hair out.
In this 4-week online class, learn at least seven things you can do to find your readers and tell them about your book. We’ll look at creating newsletters (including why, what to say, and how often to send them), giveaways, free promotions, free advertising, paid advertising, Facebook ads, box sets, and more!
Join us and find more ways to increase visibility of your books without emptying your wallet. It’s easier than you might think!
Taught by Kitty Bucholtz
Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. After she earned her MA in Creative Writing, she decided to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher, forming Daydreamer Entertainment and self-publishing her first novel in late 2011. Founder of WRITE NOW! Workshop, she loves to teach writing workshops online and in person.