This is my 2015 writing year in review.
You may want to read this for the following reasons:
- to see what I've tried in an attempt to promote my novels.
- to feel better about yourself because there's someone less successful than you are.
- I self-published FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend, as both an e-book on Smashwords and as an e-book and paperback on Amazon. I promoted the release on my website, blog, Twitter and sent about 200 personal emails to people who had expressed an interest in my work.
- My publisher released the paperback version of NOT WONDER MORE - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.
- I launched my video book review channel, Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews on YouTube. These are reviews free from conflict of interest - not paid for, not swapped, not familiar in anyway. On it I review new work by self-published authors. Reviews are linked to Twitter and cover art is posted on my Pin Interest Page.
- I began negotiating the release of two of my novels, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs from my publisher as the contract had expired.
- I re-issued both these books on Smashwords as e-books and as e-books and paperbacks on Amazon independently and under slightly different titles: SAVING SPIRIT BEAR and LOVING THE TERRORIST - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. Both were re-issued that month as paperbacks and the e-books were re-issued as pre-orders. Saving Spirit Bear was out two months, and Loving the Terrorist out three. Both were offered at a special pre-order price of 99¢ as opposed to $3.99.
These re-issues were promoted on my blog, website, Twitter, BookLikes, Promocave, and about 200 personal emails were sent to people who have expressed an interest in my work.
- I entered my new novel, The Widower, into the Kindle Scout promotion. This was also promoted on my blog, website, Twitter, BookLikes, Promocave, and about 200 personal emails were sent to people who have expressed an interest in my work.
- In an ongoing effort to produce clean and uncontaminated e-books I'm learning to purge corrupt formatting from my manuscripts with the help of Mark and his team at Smashwords. This is a result of reading so many poorly formatted books published by indie authors. I don't want my readers to get as exasperated as I do.
The first couple of times are frustrating but with a little (okay, a lot) of patience you too can learn to do this. You owe it to your books and your readers. Download a free copy of Smashwords Sytle Guide by Mark Coker at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52
- I decided to try a Goodreads Giveaway. Until January 8, 2016, you can enter to win two paperback copies of both Saving Spirit Bear and Loving the Terrorist. Here are the links:
- The Widower has been re-named ABANDONED DREAMS and is now available on Smashwords and Amazon as a pre-order e-book, especially priced at 99¢ until it’s release March 6, 2016. Here’s the link:
- I’m also giving away 100 e-books of The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic on LibraryThing. You can enter until January 26, 2016 at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
- In addition, I've written 35 blogs (36 counting this one) and 52 book reviews.
What do I have to show for all the above?
- Royalties of $15.13 (and before you get all excited that's Canadian, equivalent to 73¢ US)
- Blog followers 57, up maybe 5 this year
- BookLikes followers 288, up maybe 50 this year (friendly bunch)
- Promocave friends 6. All new and I don't know where they came from since I don't follow or friend anyone - though I do respond to comments.
I think you can safely say that nothing I've attempted has worked. Does that mean all these things - blogging, tweeting, networking, having a platform, pre-ordering, contests, voodoo (is that politically incorrect?) won't work for you?
Probably, but not necessarily.
So, how do I feel about the past year?
The key, at least for me is to love what you do and have no expectations. And take satisfaction from small things like all my five of my novels now being available to borrow from the Vancouver Public Library, plus a couple (and I do mean two) absolutely glowing (blush) reviews that were unsolicited, came out of nowhere, written by perfect (yes, to me you're perfect) strangers.
Look at it this way, in 2016 there's nowhere to go but up.
Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs.