Happy New Year!
It’s the first Wednesday of the month, in fact, of the new year, so it’s Insecure Writers Support Group again. Thank you to all who make this gathering happen, especially our hosts this month: Tyrean Martinson, The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Rachna Chhabria, and Jennifer Lane.
The question posed for our consideration this time is: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?
Frankly, that’s not my problem. The plan for publishing, and therefore writing and editing the books, has been in place for ages. It gets amended as and when something drastic happens, like pulling a book off publication and rewriting it.
Scheduling my marketing
No, my problem is marketing. My question for myself is: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your marketing?
My marketing plans are sketchy, and the tried and tested methods I’ve been using for years have been thrown into disarray because of Goodreads’ ill-advised (to my mind), nationalistic withdrawal of Goodreads Giveaways for the world’s readers with effect from 9th January. (I currently have giveaways running for each Princelings book, but none of them are open to US readers, sorry)
In one way this is a good thing. It forces me to reassess what I do to put my books in front of readers, to entice them to take a look.
I have been using the received wisdom (and the Smashwords and IWSG guides) that authors build their platform by creating a presence on the interwebs, showing what interesting, talented, middle-of-the-road, trustworthy, exciting, literary, cookie, people they are. The adjective depends on who you are and what you want your readers to like about you. I don’t think I’m succeeding very well at creating this image of Jemima Pett as an author to be read, but I think I’ve been doing reasonably at putting myself about out there in a sensible way.
The blog – well, here you are. I could have more dynamic posts. I’m working on it, trust me.
Other people’s blogs – I’ve been working on that. I’ve decided, after guesting with Solveig Warner and Sally Cronin‘s blogs, that flash fiction presents me better than trying to do clever posts about reading and writing, which I did with The Story Reading Ape last year. So The Ape is going to get unique flash fiction posts this year, with the help of my marvellous cover illustrator, Danielle English.
Facebook & Twitter – I’ve done the basics, I share things to them, I probably don’t engage with people enough, but I think I’ve allowed enough time to devote to them.
Goodreads – I post my reviews, which lost of people like. I’m a moderator on the Great Middle Grade Reads group, so I hope people get the impression of me as a nice friendly person. Whether they know I write books is another thing. Maybe they do. We talk books a lot. I enjoy it. With other groups I belong to, I rarely have time to hang out there. I want to spend more, but… there’s writing and editing to do.
With the change of Goodreads policies towards the US, though, I wonder whether the rest of the world will move on. I need to spend more time addressing audiences in other parts of the world, especially the UK. That’s where my stories are based, and I don’t plan on changing that. I need to be in groups that are more UK biased. The Goodreads UK Kindle Group is one, but I found it difficult to settle into when I first joined. Maybe I should try harder.
I am doing some advertising at present – click-through ads on Goodreads (I suspect more of my books are looked at as a result of giveaways). Amazon.com also offers click-through advertising, but the US isn’t my primary audience, so I don’t want to spend money if it doesn’t get me in front of Brits, Aussies, and others. I did a giveaway with The Kindle Book Review, and features with BookGoodies in December. I think they were worthwhile, but it needs more time to tell.
Maybe I should look at alternatives, though.
Alternatives to try this new year
Librarything is a group somewhat like Goodreads, and I’ve been a member for years. I know I don’t use it as it should be used. There are plenty of possibilities to build awareness if I put some effort in. I think I should do that and drop some of the time spent on Goodreads.
Other things entered my consciousness in the last few weeks before the new year, thanks to people like Lindsay Buroker, M T McGuire, and someone else. They have started using things called BookFunnel, mybookcave, and Draft2Digital. I need to make time to find out what these are, and how they can help me find new readers.
After all, with the launch of the Princelings of the North on 30th January, I will have eight books out in the Princelings of the East series. Once I’ve rereleased my scifi books The Perihelix and edited Curved Space to Corsair, it will be back to writing books 9 and 10 (the last) of the Princelings books. Those won’t come out in this new year, but probably 2019 and 2021. There are three more books (including at least one collection) in the pipeline that I need to write to fill in the gaps.
But I need to get to a different audience. I have a lot of research to do if I’m going to get my marketing sorted out. But if I don’t, then why am I publishing my books?
New year, new me. Time for changes.
Resolutions for the new year seem doomed to be broken. I’d better make this new year the one where I change that.
If you have a great way of marketing your books, let me know in the comments.