Happy fourth quarter. We are a few weeks away from NANO season. I have received emails, seen blog posts and You Tube videos reminding me about NANO month.
A few years ago, I signed up for a NANO account and never participated. Last year, I reactivated my account and signed up to participate in NANO for the first time. I posted questions in some groups for advice and to make sure I was signed up correctly. I was all set.
I had a book I was working on and figured this would force me to complete it. I thought I was doing well. Unfortunately the words just weren’t coming so I switched books.
I figured the book I switched would be easier to complete. I based that assumption on the other two books in the series which were novellas. As I continued to write, the book grew. Every time I thought I had an ending, the characters kept talking.
When November ended, I hadn’t completed my book. I took a break and continued writing. I completed my book…a few months later. I also have the first couple of chapters for the fourth book. By the way, I never intended to write a fourth book in this series, but when your characters talk, you kind of have to listen. So, not completing NANO it worked out for me.
As I stand on the precipice of another NANO season, I’m faced with a very important decision…do I NANO or not?
I don’t want to make a promise and not follow through. Grant it, the only person I would be disappointing is me. Considering how things worked out for me last year, it might be to my advantage to sign up for NANO.
So what are the pros and cons to doing NANO this year.
I can’t figure out a valid reason not to do NANO this year. Writing a book in a month isn’t new for me. After all, that’s what I did every month in 2016. I think right now my focus is a little off and participating in NANO this year could possibly help me.
If I do this, does anyone have any tips on how to survive and win at NANO? Clearly my previous plan of sitting down and writing on a whim didn’t work, otherwise I would have finished my original NANO book.
Happy NANO Prep.
See you next month.
Happy September. I’m pretty sure you already know what I’m going to say…I can’t believe we are nineteen days away from the first day of fall.
Hope this makes you laugh. I was all set to talk about my experience with the review program at Hidden Gems. It wasn’t until I found my misplaced copy of my August post, did I realize that’s what I talked about last month. I had written three hundred plus words which I had to scrap. Now I’m stuck with either rehashing an old post or writing something new. I’ve opted for the latter, but find myself clueless.
The crazy that is going on in the world has sort of zapped my creative energy. I never expected I would still be working on my book. A few weeks into 2020, I had a writing plan or production schedule. I also inflicted a little self pressure to complete and publish it by a certain date.
Now that we are almost six months into the pandemic and shelter in place order, I find myself dragging. I love the subject of my book, except for the hole I think I plugged. It’s challenging continuing a series. Now that the book is complete and I’m doing another read- thru, I find myself referring to the other two books, when all I had to do was keep a series bible. Add series bibles to the long list of things I need to do.
Week before last, I reluctantly emailed my editor asking for a new editing slot. I’m pretty sure that was a given seeing I’d already missed the date.
This has been a challenge moving on to the next project. In my mind I’m already writing the next book, but that will have to wait until this one heads to the editor.
I really think what’s happening is I’m not sure this is the best time [or year] to release book with an alpha billionaire. Or is it? Maybe I’m overthinking that readers don’t want to read. Maybe readers really want to read romance where there are no health boundaries [i.e., Covid 19]? Maybe they want to escape to a world where things were like they used to be. I feel confident in admitting I haven’t got a clue how to write a romance with masks and gloves. Social distancing would be easy. That would involve traveling back to a time where manners and courtship were the basis for romance.
I believe it’s time for me to get out of my head and get my butt in the chair and write. I need to tell stories that make people feel good. So they can escape the crazy around them and fantasize about what was and how it might possibly be in the future.
Here’s my new plan as I head in to the fourth quarter. Send The Good Girl Part Trois to the editor by the end of this month. The second goal is to put the book up for pre-order on all platform except Amazon. This is a plan I can still live with.
Stay safe and see you next month,
Happy August. How has your summer been?
I am at the end of an experiment per se. I booked a review slot with Hidden Gems.
Like some authors it hasn’t been easy for me to get my readers to post reviews. I really wish I understood why this simple request is so difficult to fulfill. Then I think about myself. I have read quite a few books and am guilty of the very thing my readers haven’t done…post a review.
As a writer, I have become more aware of the importance of leaving reviews.
Last month, I enlisted the review service Hidden Gems. I heard great things about the service, but was a little apprehensive because of a past experience with a different review service. After asking around, I settled on them and I’m glad I did.
I choose their entry level plan, 50 reviews with my book A Southern Gentleman Vol One. I was very nervous. The nine reviews weren’t representative of the sales. This is my best selling title. When I do signings or book club events, the book is well received. Many have said how much they like the hero Jeremiah. However, the majority of them have yet to write a review.
Working with Hidden Gems was me walking into the lion’s den to face fifty readers unfamiliar with me or my books.
When the first reviews came in, I was good. Then a bad one appeared and I was fit to be tied. I know I’m not Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele or Debbie Macomber, but I can tell a story. However, I get a little pissed when people say they couldn’t get passed the first chapter. A thing like that can shake a writer’s confidence.
I think what stopped me from replying to that first bad review was the fact the review misquoted several things. Here’s a review tip…if you’re going to leave a bad review, know of what you speak. As I re-read the bad review for the fifth time, I came to the conclusion this person was looking for a reason not to like my book. Oh well, their loss.
As the reviews came in, I was surprised to see how my book was viewed. Let me clarify. I thought of it as sweet & sexy. However, the reviews came back as just sweet. There was the occasional rushed storyline. Some were upset I didn’t mention the faith element. Overall Jeremiah has been well received.
A bonus during the review period was an increase in sales across my library.
I’m glad I tried the service. It was well worth the money. Will I do it again? Yes. I have to be honest, I wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for the fact that I want to apply for a BookBub Featured Deal. I’ve heard of authors getting a BookBub Featured Deal without a lot of reviews. However, the two times I’ve gotten featured deals was with my book that has 30+ reviews. Using that as a measuring stick, I wanted to make sure I set myself up in a positive light. We’ll see what happens when I apply.
As of this post, my Amazon average is 4 out of 5 stars for A Southern Gentleman Vol One. I’m hoping to keep it there or higher.
I also think I’ll be adding Hidden Gems to my release plan. I know it’s costly, but if it will help make my book launches more successful, then it’s well worth the money.
If you’ve tried Hidden Gems or another service, what was your experience?
See you next month.
It’s hard to believe we are in the middle of July. This really isn’t the summer I planned. What’s that saying, “If you want to know if God has a sense of humor, make plans.”
This has been a year unlike any other and that is pretty much how it will be described. We will tell future generations how we survived 2020.
I sympathize with all who have suffered any type of loss during this time.
I have elected not to dwell on the negatives. Instead, I’m focusing on what I can do to update my writer life. I made a list of things I wanted to get done. I was surprised at the length of the list. Here’s a sampling of my tasks…some are still WIP:
I have yet to master a regular social media schedule. I got close earlier this year, but fell off the wagon. I heard about two planning apps: Planoly and Plann. I’m trying them out on my lingerie site. Once I complete a month of use, I’ll share the results. I will share this. On my lingerie Instagram page, I did the pre-planning and it yielded sales and a couple of new followers. Again, If I’d placed a little more energy into it, I believe the results would have been better.
What new or different thing have you done for your writing career?
Please forgive me for the replay. I’m in the middle of editing. Considering the state of our world right now, I thought it might be interesting to repost my plan for 2020. This post made me laugh. Like most writers, I have had to alter my plans for the year. In spite of the unstable time, I’ve been able to keep on track with my planning tools. Please stay safe. Use wisdom and don’t rush to get back to the old normal. Instead, get excited about the new normal. See you next month. Happy June.
REPOST FROM JANUARY 2020
Happy New Year and Happy Decade. First I want to apologize for the mishap last month, internet issues prevented me from doing anything.
Let’s get this year and decade off to a great start. I don’t believe in resolutions. For those who do, good for you. Instead, I choose to set goals and plans for myself. This is what works for me. This method keeps me focused and forces me to strive for the next level. Do I always reach my goals in my designated time frame, no. But that’s okay, I simply push them back and keep working towards them.
To briefly recap 2019. I started the year with great aspirations to publish four books. That didn’t happen. Instead, I released one book, A Southern Gentleman Vol 2 in October. I did however, release four boxsets, Secret Love, Real Love, Loving Her and Falling For Her Boss. I didn’t get more books published because I made a decision in 2018 which carried over into 2019…ReBranding.
I talked about ReBranding a lot at the end of 2018. However, I failed to underestimate how long it would take. In 2019 I started changing covers and blurbs, which opened a can of creative worms. I love the new covers and the new website. I still have work to do on the website, which appears to be a constant work in progress.
Since I do all of my graphic design, it takes up a little more of my time, which sometimes makes me a victim of poor time management. This is something I’m working on this year. [I’ll talk more about that later.]
It wasn’t until I released A Southern Gentleman Vol 2, that I realized I needed help. Me not getting help was costing me valuable time. I thought by me doing everything myself, I was saving money. In reality, I was losing money and valuable time. As my mother says, “you can always get more money, but not more time.”
A few weeks before my release, I booked a publicist [Honey Magnolia PR] to help me. The minute, I booked Honey Magnolia, I immediately felt relief. I had used a PR company before, but the results weren’t as good as I had hoped. So I was a little apprehensive to go that route again, but this time, it worked. I saw good sales and engagement.
My takeaway from 2019 was simple, be patient with rebranding and know when to get help.
A couple of years ago, I took you on a wild challenge of writing and publishing a title a month. This year, I want to take you with me on another journey…no, it’s not a book a month. SMILE. Planning. It seems so simple, but for me, it’s not something I’ve really committed to. Let me clarify.
In the past, I would start the year with a production schedule. Pretty much every month was filled with a title. There was a mix of new books, backlist updates and special boxsets. I figured the best was to get eyes on me was through titles. This is sort of a good plan when worked effectively. But I failed to schedule promotions and market the titles.
I went searching for a marketing calendar for my other business and stumbled on a couple of authors who like to use planners. One in particular, Sarra Cannon, opened my eyes to planning. She also shared her 90 Day plan. This is a remarkable plan. I’m, going to try it this quarter and share my progress.
This year, I’m also going to share how I use a planner to help me write and organize my business. Trust me, this is a world I never knew existed, but it’s filled with tips on how to work more efficiently.
Next month, I’ll share the results of my first month using a planner and update my 90 Day process.
The sands of time are running out . . .More info →
He doesn’t need a minor goddess getting in his way—no matter how much the redhead tempts him.More info →