Happy March. Get ready for it… because yes, I am going to say something very familiar…”I can’t believe this is the beginning of the end of the first quarter of a new decade”. That was a mouthful?
Let’s get started.
How did I do last month? Come si, come sa. The second month of planning hasn’t gone as well as I would have liked. At the same time it wasn’t as bad as I thought either. I got sick and that sort of effected my schedule. I have a simple but strict morning routine. I wake up at 6:30, slap the snooze button two or three times, thank God for another day, have quiet time or devotional, tend to a little personal business, grab a pre-workout snack, and go to the gym for an hour or more depending on how I feel. Then I come home eat some protein and get to work.
Unfortunately, sometimes I get a little distracted after eating and before heading to work. Heading to work, is me going down the hall to my office and putting my butt in the chair for a few hours. I researched successful people and their routines getting ideas for myself. What I came up with was six hours a day to operate both of my businesses. However, I seem to always end up working longer.
The first quarter of the year is always a little busy for me because I’m doing buying for my lingerie store. This is something that happens twice a year. There are other mini buys throughout the year, but twice a year I go on buying trips for a few days. These require me to be removed from writing, If you’re not familiar with buying season, it’s like going to RWA or RAM twice a year with more food, wine, less sleep and lots of walking.
When my mother and I return from a buying trip we need to decompress and enter the next phase, catalog review and placing orders. For clarification, this is like writing and publishing a dozen books in two weeks. Since I’ve been a published writer only once did I release a book during this time. I made a note to never do that again. This is where the planning part comes into play.
I was headed to Paris for a buying trip and thought since I had done everything for the book, it would be a piece of cake to complete the end of the blog tour while I was gone. I figured the time difference would work to my advantage. This was a major case of poor planning. The first couple of days were spent fighting jet lag and show fatigue followed by me trying to finish up posts for the blog tour. Needless to say, the launch didn’t do as well as I expected. My saving grace was a the BookBub ad I had during that period which got me a lot of sales.
I said all of that to say February was a real planning test and I didn’t score an A, but I didn’t fail either. So here a few highlights.
Plan: I didn’t finish my book.
Reality: I was going for a small novella, but it’s more like a small novel. I’m currently at 39,000+ words, plus I have a twist I really like. I’m about 7,000 words from the end. I’m trying not to do a cliffhanger, but it looks like that may not happen. I promised my readers I wouldn’t do a cliffy, but if I did, I wouldn’t let too much time pass between books. Upside, I have a cover.
Plan: I haven’t booked any newsletter ads.
Reality: I thought I’d turned off my Facebook ad for A Southern Gentleman Two, but it was still running. This mistake got me sales. And a chain of strange dialog about the ad. I really need to post about it. In a nutshell, the way the ad was written has made over a hundred people believe it’s a post about a real couple.
I did make an ad schedule for the rest of the year which I which goes into effect tomorro. I also have an ad budget. I’ll update you later on how that’s going.
Plan: I haven’t posted to my reader group as regularly as I want to.
Reality: I’m working this. Upside, I did a mini course on using Instagram and have seen a major boost in engagement and a few new followers. I also noticed a few sales related to some of my posts.
Upside, because of my new Instagram posting schedule, I’m posting to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr almost daily. Next on my list is Pinterest.
Plan: New covers for my Alex Chronicles Series.
Reality: I have created three sets of covers and still haven’t found the ones I like. However, I have until the end of the month to make a decision.
Plan: Update my newsletter
Reality: This was on my list for March, but I did it in February. I visited Lauren Layne’s website and saw her newsletter. I fell in love with it, so I developed my version. I like it and hope my readers do as well. Another change I made which ties in with my newsletter is my logo. I was motivated to make a change after seeing my friend Saharra K Sandhu’s new logo. I now have a logo I like.
Summary: I’ve done 24 things, but I still have thirty five things left for this quarter. I know it sounds like a lot. However, I know some of those won’t be done because they relate to a book I pushed to later in the year. And a few are admin related [i.e., setting up ads, switching my lead magnet, updating my website, reviewing my schedule, etc.]. Those are things I need to sit down and take a couple of hours and clear off my planner.
To summarize February…it’s better than last year. I see a plan for the rest of the year I can implement. I also know, I’ll be way ahead of the game next year.
Next month, I’ll summarize my first quarter and tell you which planning tools have worked so far.
Have a great month and happy spring.
This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.
The past two years have been challenging for everyone. I talked about this before, but I missed my writing goal for this year.
I recently listened to Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing and Productivity For Authors. I highly recommend both books . . .
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