Happy New Year. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.
This morning I woke up to a daunting historical fact. Five years ago, I made a rather strange decision or idea to publish a title a month for a year. I’ve spoken about this project several times over the past years. When I set out to do it, I had one main reason, to sell more books.
I heard the best way to gain readers and sell more books was to write more books. I also heard it was easier to do advertising with more than one book.
When 2016 started I had one full-length novel, a novella and a novelette. What I didn’t have was a completed series, or at least a duet. I now know that was a big mistake. If I were to ever do another challenge like that, it would center around one series.
I have learned a lot about writing and publishing books. I think I finally have a handle on my writing style and what my readers expect from me. I write books that aren’t necessarily written to market. In my books someone is always wrestling with their feelings, raging hormones and how they mix with their faith. I like to hook my reader with something a little sweet and sassy so they can get to know the characters. The heat levels grow as the series progresses. In my writing world, the characters need to read like real people. It should feel like you’re reading about someone the reader would actually know.
I have three series and two duets I need to tie up. I’m not saying I’m going to tie up all of these collections this year, but I’m going to try.
I’m also guilty of using cliffhangers…another thing I tried to sell books. I think it would have been successful if I’d immediately released the next book in the series.
Last year I didn’t release a book and my sales suffered as a result. What did I learn from this…no new book and a lack of marketing my backlist leads to no money. I did however, participate in some incredible free promotions which gave me awesome results. My book Unexpected Love was #1 in one of my categories on Amazon US and UK for three days. I was on the roof. Both of my other books peaked in the top ten of their categories.
These promotions yielded several thousand downloads and sales which I loved.
I take responsibility for my low sales, because I failed to do adequate marketing and advertising. I refuse to kick myself for not sticking to my production schedule. I was distracted by a little thing called COVID-19.
So what is my plan for this year? I’m not quite sure. I know I’ll be releasing a book in February. My goal is to release the next in that series approximately three months later. I’ll also be releasing new covers for my Alex series as well as another book.
The other thing on my list is the follow up to Unexpected Love. I have the cover, title and eleven thousand words. Seeing several free copies have been downloaded and it ends in a cliffhanger, I need to release the follow up asap.
Before I start any writing plan for 2021, I’m going to take a few days, clear my head and make a reachable and achievable plan.
So what’s your author plan for 2021?
The third book in my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, BAD TO THE BONE, will be officially released in a couple of days–May 8. And I’ve been quite busy promoting it already.
Do I enjoy promotion? Yes and no. I used to be uncomfortable getting in front of crowds doing any kind of public speaking. Now I do it all the time.
For example, I recently attended Malice Domestic, a conference focusing on cozy mysteries. Both authors and fans attend, and it’s a lot of fun. I was on a panel called The “Paws” that Detect: Animal Companions with several other authors, and we were asked questions and got to explain how the animals in our books help our stories. Fun!
I also went to an authors’ event at a local library branch that was reopening after being remodeled. There, I was on a panel discussing–no, not dogs this time, but promotion. I got to share ideas with the other panelists who approached part of it similarly and some differently.
I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books a few weeks ago, where I encouraged passersby into the romance writers’ booth and also did some signings at the mystery writers’ booths. I talked to a lot of people there, and not only about my writing–though that played a major part.
I’m attending a birthday bash at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore soon, where I’ll also get to talk about my new release.
Then there are all the blogs I do–including A Slice of Orange plus my other scheduled ones such as Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, and InkSpot. And I’m also currently on a blog tour to promote my new release, where I’ve written blogs and responded to interview questions for some sites and will also have my new book reviewed or highlighted on other sites.
So what are the things I enjoy about all this? I get to talk about myself and my writing and meet other people and share ideas and… well, I’ve definitely learned that writing isn’t only about writing. Not now–not when one is published. So I might as well have fun doing it, since it’s part of the game!
Linda first novel was the 1995 Love Spell time travel romance A Glimpse of Forever. Since then she has published over 40 novels—mysteries and romances, including paranormal romance and romantic suspense.
Linda has two new books out for 2017. May 8th will see the release of BAD TO THE BONE, the third book in the Barkery & Biscuits Mystery Series. On June 1st, her book PROTECTOR WOLF (Alpha Force) a part of the popular Harlequin Nocturne series of paranormal romances will be published. Both books are available for preorder.
If you’re in the San Diego area, Linda will be at the Mysterious Galaxy Birthday Bash on Saturday, May 13th
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.
This month I’m teaching a brand new online class for OCC – “7 Ways to Market and Promote Your Book Without Breaking the Bank.” I’m excited to share the things I’ve learned about inexpensive promotions – including having an author newsletter – with my writer friends!
The 4-week class starts next Monday, August 15, 2016, and costs $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members. You don’t have to be a member of RWA to enroll in the class. You can read more about it and sign up for the class here. I hope to see you there! [Note: Signing up is a 2-step process. You must hit the purple “Yahoo Groups Join Now” button AND then come back to the page and pay via PayPal. If you only do one step or the other, you won’t be in the class until you complete both steps.]
This week I also re-opened my full-sized online course, “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing.” I’m so excited about everything I’m doing on the new website! There are five modules covering every step you need to take to get from finished manuscript to published book. I’ve spread it out over eight weeks, which should be plenty of time to learn what you need to do in the lessons and then go apply it. And you’ll have lifetime access so you can come back to the lessons as often as you like.
I’ve included videos, audio downloads, text-based lectures, and worksheets to help you through the entire process. There’s also a private Facebook group where students can ask questions and share their experiences. Two of the three tiers give students access to weekly/monthly live video-based Q&A calls, and those in the upper tier also get a private coaching call with me.
There are payment plans for all three tiers, and bonuses for anyone who signs up by August 15. You can learn more about it all at WriteNowWorkshop.com. If you have any questions, please email me at kitty AT writenowworkshop.com.
I’m looking forward to helping more writers self-publish their books and find new ways to promote them. I hope to see you in one of my classes!
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. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
A lot of friends make comments to me like, “You’re always on Twitter.” Well, the truth is, I’m not really on Twitter all the time. My Twitter feed is mostly the result of me sharing the blog posts of fellow tribe mates on a site called Triberr.
If you’re not familiar with Triberr.com, I’ll try to explain, though there are people who can do a better job of it. Triberr is a website where bloggers band together in tribes to share each other’s blog posts. Once you get your blog registered and join a tribe or two, your posts automatically appear in the Tribal Streams of your tribe mates where they can share your post on their Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook feeds. What it means is that your blog posts will get tweeted a lot more than you could manage on your own. (Most people primarily use Twitter for their feeds, as Triberr can quickly overwhelm a Facebook timeline, and I don’t recommend doing so.)
So how do you get started?
First step is to set up your account, which you can do using your Twitter user name and password. This is what my profile looks like:
As you can see, I’m now in 7 tribes, with a total of 198 Tribemates and a total reach of 1 million. And I’ve passed on invitations to join additional tribes. This is all I can handle at the moment.
Once you have your profile set up, go to Account >> Settings >> My Blogs to add your blogs. For this you will need to know the URL for your blog’s RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s the way your blog gets shared over the Internet. If you don’t have one, you can easily acquire an RSS feed address using feedburner.com and other similar services. Once you’ve added the information, your account settings look like this:
If you find that Triberr isn’t picking up your blog posts in a timely fashion, you can go to this page and click on Check Feed to update the site. The blue button on the left is to Assign a Tribe to your blog. If you have more than one blog, you can only assign one to each blog. Before I consolidated my websites and blogs into one site, I had to split up my tribes by blog. Now the Reading Room Blog goes to all my tribes and the old Flights of Fancy has none, though I haven’t deleted it, just in case I ever need it again. Yes, I even hoard blogs.
Next step is to add your Social Networks to your account. I chose to only use Twitter, but Facebook and LinkedIn are also possible.
How do you join a tribe?
Start by following the tribe. As a follower, you’ll be able to participate in the community and share member’s posts.
After a week as a follow we’ll email the Chief to let them how much content you’ve shared.
The Chief can choose to promote you to a full fledged member, then your content will be shared by the rest of the tribe.
But first you have to find the tribe. You can try searching at Triberr, but it really helps if you know the name of a tribe or a tribe sponsor. Frankly, I haven’t found Triberr’s search function to be very helpful.
You might start with our Southern California Writers of Romance tribe, of which I happen to be the chief, and which happens to be open to new members. If a tribe is filled, the page will advise you of that fact. You can still Follow the tribe, and if an opening comes up, it will usually go to someone who has been following the tribe and sharing their posts.
This gives you an idea of what a tribal stream looks like. Each blog post appears with the avatar of the blogger at the top. Use the green Share button to add a particular post to your Twitter feed. You can schedule posts to go out as often as every ten minutes or as slowly as every 24 hours. Something in between is probably best. If you hover your cursor over the blogger’s avatar, Triberr will tell you how many posts that blogger shared and wrote in the last week, including whether or not that person shared your posts. If someone isn’t sharing regularly, you are not obligated to share their posts. You can use the little blue Hide button to make their post disappear from your stream. If someone is really bad about not sharing, hit the Mute button and their posts won’t appear in your stream until you undo the Mute. (This is on your Tribes Overview page.)
I hope this explanation is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.