Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.
I have a very important question for you. Are you ready to make this year your best writing year? I hope you answered, yes. If so, then I challenge you to take this year long journey with me.
I spent a good portion of last year getting schooled in self-publishing. I have been a self-published author since December 2014, but there are some things I didn’t know. Like some authors, I have yet to reach all of my writing goals. Today, I’m going out on a limb announcing this is the year I work on making some those goals a reality. I know it sounds like a resolution, but it isn’t. It’s a statement of faith and a declaration that I’m ready to take my writing to the next level.
So what are the self-publishing goals I’m going to attack this year?
Get my letters (make a list)…I know it really doesn’t matter to readers if their favorite author is a bestseller, but it means a lot to the author. At least it does to me. In the past, I didn’t care if I ever made a list or had the title of Best Selling Author. Over the course of time I realized, I did. It’s not an ego thing, it’s a validation thing. I know I’m not Nora Roberts, Terry McMillian, E L James or Sylvia Day, but it sure would be nice to be known as a best seller like them.
Triple my income…This is a big one. I’m not sharing numbers yet. We’ll see how this year long challenge ends before discussing numbers. All I’ll say on the matter is if I fulfill this goal, it will be the first time I’ve earned that much money. Last year I did two major conferences, gained a lot of knowledge and some tools on how to push my sales and exposure up a few levels. This is the year I put all of those tools to work.
Triple my mailing list…This is almost as daunting as tripling my income. I have a decent mailing list of 3200+. However, I want to push that number up. A larger list will allow me or make me more attractive for swaps with other writers. I was surprised how many authors are open to swaps, but size matters and I can understand. You don’t want your swaps to be one sided. Swaps will allow me to increase my list. It will also allow give me some clout when seeking out anthologies to join. Bringing more readers to the table makes me an asset and not a liability.
Master Facebook ads…I did Skye Warren’s Facebook ads class last year and saw significant growth in my sales. I’m doing it again this year and expect the results to be even better. Here’s what I learned about Facebook ads…the system is constantly changing so you always need a refresher. I did Mark Dawson’s class, which was good. However, Skye’s class was a lot easier to understand. Within the first month I saw results. I was surprised how much could be achieved with five dollars a day. This year, I’m going to kick it up a few dollars and see what happens. FYI, this will also help with me tripling my income goal.
Update Covers…This is one of those areas I think is constantly changing. I am about to embark on the third iteration of covers for my series A Southern Gentleman. Why you ask? Because I didn’t know manchest equaled or implied sex. I thought you used a shirtless guy to sell a book. I didn’t realize it implied a certain heat level. Book one in the series is sex free. Book two is a completely different story.
I learned a little about covers which has caused me to review all of my books and see if the covers match the heat content. Unfortunately there are a few that need to be changed. The other reason for the cover change is, Facebook. They don’t like manchest…it’s too hot. I hear you saying, “how is that possible when manchest covers are constantly popping up in my Facebook feed.” Simple answer…the bot. The Facebook bot randomly picks and chooses covers it likes. Unfortunately for me, the bot doesn’t like my manchest cover making it impossible to use in ads. I found a work around, but I don’t want to have to use it constantly. The real solution is new covers. To prove their dislike for my cover, they shut my account down for a moment. Lesson learned. So now I’m working on new covers with a clothed man. The other thing I learned about covers in my genres (African American Contemporary and Billionaire Romance) is a woman only cover doesn’t sell as well as a man only or a couple cover.
Learn how to write a sellable blurb…What is it about authors and blurbs? We can write a hundred thousand word book, but can’t sum it up in three short lines. I’m not going to stress about this. I was introduced to a service that could help me. But first I really need to figure this out.
Use Ingram Spark…I did a little experiment last year. I ordered a set of proofs from Ingram Spark and a set from KDP. I loved the proofs from Ingram. Everything I heard about Ingram was true, the quality was far superior. I loved the books. As much as I want to use Ingram exclusively, I can’t. KDP doesn’t really like to share, so here’s my work around. Set up ebook, print, large print and hardcover at KDP and likewise at Ingram. This move with will allow expanded distribution. More outlets…more money. Another step towards that increased income goal. Another added pro to use Ingram, the proofs don’t have that ugly proof strip on the cover like KDP.
Direct Distribution…I’m a wide author, but I use a third party for Nook and some international outlets. I just found out doing this, has kept me from participating in Nook promotions. Going direct will allow me to participate in some NOOK promos. More promotions equals more exposure…more sales…increased income.
Increase my prices…I was at a conference a few months ago and this came up. I was a little hesitant about doing this, because some of my books are less than ten thousand words. So in a bold move…except for a couple of preorders, I made all of my books the same price $4.99. Amazon still hasn’t updated all of the prices, but I’ve seen sales at the other outlets with the new prices. This move taught me to get out of my way.
I have a few more goals, but these are the ones I’m going to focus on this year. What about you? What are your author goals for the year?
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