My January to-do list is.. oh heck, it’s the fourth week of January already. All those marketing ideas I was going to sort out, technical things like adding X-Ray to my books, working out what new platforms to use… the list is endless.  And the tax return deadline for 2016-17 is looming.[tick!]  At least January is a long month, as usual, and I’ve another ten days to get the urgent things done.

Princelings of the NorthBook Launch 30th January

Of course I’ve used much of my time wisely, setting up the launch of The Princelings of the North.  If you haven’t already signed up for the Launch Post, which gives you an entry listing on the raffle for multiple copies of my books internationally, you’ve still time.  See all the details and content for a post here and fill in the form so I get back to you.

Goodreads Giveaways

Part of this includes promoting the whole series – through Goodreads Giveaways.  The news that Goodreads will be restricting its giveaways to US recipients only meant that I set up giveaways for each of my books for all countries except the USA.  The one for the first book ends next Monday, and they close progressively week by week until the end of February. Check all my open giveaways here.

White Water Landings has a giveaway open too, again for non-US residents only.  Actually I think people in the Commonwealth take more interest in this.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

White Water Landings by J.M. Pett

White Water Landings

by J.M. Pett

Giveaway ends February 07, 2018. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Social Media Review

Some things came up at the end of last year which made me want to explore the value of new social media developments. Facebook is increasingly useless as a means of communicating about one’s books, except perhaps to friends, unless you want to pay through the nose with no real check on the value provided. I think pay per click advertising has more merit. patreon wordmark

A few author friends have started a Patreon page.  I browsed this at new year.  My first thought is that I’d be asking people to subscribe real money to get the sort of content I give here. There would be extra work in delivering regular ‘rewards’, but an exclusive monthly post to people subscribing real money to help pay for my professional editors would definitely be a benefit.  I could also reward patrons with exclusive looks at my chapter illustrations.  As you can see, I’m unsure of whether to go with this.  It’s a growing area, though.

**** I decided to go with this at the weekend.  Take a preview of my page here and give me feedback! ****

With the change of Goodreads to another arm of Amazon, as evidenced by the change in the giveaway policy, I need to look for an independent readers hangout. I joined Librarything years ago, but got stuck when I couldn’t add more books to my to-read list.  I must spend some time evaluating Librarything as an alternative to Goodreads, and what I would lose if I stopped hanging out at Goodreads.

Why am I so determined not to be constrained by Amazon?  Read Mark Coker’s discussion if you haven’t already.  Either you’re an indie author or you’re an Amazon author.  We have a choice – for now. As he says at the end of his article “If you value your independence, fight for it.”  And, at the moment, I get more iPad sales than I do Kindle. A few other new developments crossed my path during December, and now I can’t remember what they were!

Amazon X-Ray

KDP logoI read the information Amazon sent by email about the new X-Ray for KDP authors and set up the system for The Princelings of the East in a break from editing!  I didn’t publish it, though—I wasn’t sure whether it added value.

Then Chris McMullen posted this guide, and it reminded me of the whole thing.

I think X-Ray may be useful for readers of fantasy and scifi in particular, and maybe also historical fiction, to help remember who is related to whom. I must publish it for the first book, and roll it out for the rest of the series.  It isn’t urgent, but then, new kindle editions with colour chapter illustrations are not urgent, but nice to do, too.  I think I may hold back on those until I’ve finished the last in the series, though.

Guest author appearances

This is probably one of my best ways of raising awareness of my books to people who haven’t come across them.

I’m continuing my slot with The Story Reading Ape this year – second Sunday of the month – but doing flash fiction all year!  The idea came to me a while ago when I was looking at my illustrator Dani’s wonderful fantasy creatures.  Pick some of her illustrations and write stories for the characters.  So that’s what I’m doing, with Dani’s permission.  You can see the first in the series on TSRA here.

I enjoyed my visits to Solveig Warner and Sally Cronin last month.  Sally is helping with the launch of Princelings of the North. I’m now working on guest posts for Don Massenzio, for Noelle Granger (thanks, Noelle) and also for Sally later in the year.  I’m sure I have someone else listed, too.

Short stories

One benefit of browsing some of these posts: I’ve picked up some really appropriate calls for submissions to anthologies.

There are two I’m focused on. One is open at present: Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest 2018. I know about about climate change, and I think I should come up with something under 5000 words that might catch someone’s eye.

The other one was from a list by Bryn Donovan of fantasy and scifi publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. This was worth working through, for me, as I picked up three ideas for submission, now or later in the year. I’ve taken one of my past flash fictions offline, as I think it hits the mark for a call that should open in a month or so.

Is that enough for my to-do list?

That is definitely enough in a to-do list!

Bear in mind I have the editing and production of two Viridian System stories, my priority for publication this year. It would be good if I wrote the last two Princelings series drafts, too! I keep thinking of snippets for those. I found my Friday Flash Fiction mojo still missing earlier this month; I’m going to ease off on both reading and writing if I don’t feel like it.  Focus on getting two the Viridian series out; give you some excerpts you may not have seen (or remember) since they are tasters for the books; and write flash fiction when the mojo returns.

It’s true that sitting down to write works, just putting one word after another until the story comes, but these other things need doing too. It’s a question of priorities. And you, dear reader, come first!

Collins Colplan calendar picture from SaveSave




My January to-do list
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8 thoughts on “My January to-do list

  • 22 January, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Wow, lots of good food for thought there. You’ve found things I haven’t even heard about; I’ll take a look at your Patreon page right off. One question: is it enough to remove a story from the blog/web page in order to make it eligible for submission? I’ve been assuming that if I once published on my blog, I was out of luck (though unposting it and then significantly revising it ought to be good enough, I’d think).

    You remind me that I have a story waiting now for submission–just need to spend the time to get it there.

    • 22 January, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      It’ll be rewritten. Given the number of views it had (single figures) I don’t think it’s a problem.

  • 22 January, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Jemima – I’d be willing to do a Spotlight on your series and a Rafflecopter giveaway on one of the kids Saturdays on Sci-Fi and Scary if you’re interested.

  • 23 January, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Good luck with Patreon. I thought a good while about it before taking the plunge. I really think having the right rewards is the key because otherwise people might as well just buy the books on Amazon. Hope we both got a lot of patreons and new fans.

    • 24 January, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks, Patricia. It’s a learning area for me, anyway.

  • 24 January, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I need to hire you for new marketing ideas. I missed the info on Xray – will have to look it up. Would you like a guest post on my blog to advertise your new book. You can send me stuff and I can make it up into an interview. Or you can tell me what questions you’d like me to ask

    • 25 January, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      With X-Ray – just go to your KDP bookshelf and look at the little block that’s a pull-down next to your titles. One of them says something like ‘launch X-Ray’. Click that and they’ll email you when it’s ready for you to edit – and gives you links to a how-to video. There’s also a great post by Chris McMullen on using it which I linked in the post above.

      I’d love a guest post. There’s a load of stuff you can copy from my page here: (drops down under Contacts on the menu bar above) For the interview… What questions do you ask your other guests?

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