Marketing Action Plan

Marketing my books has never been a strength of mine, but the great thing about e-books is that it’s never too late to improve. Today I’ve decided to take some tips I’ve found across the Internet and combine them with some advice of my own to create an action plan to get my books in the hands of more than a dozen people. So, in no particular order, here they are.

Review Keywords – It’s definitely worth the effort to go back and look at the keywords you’ve chosen for your books every now and again. When I published my first book I thought I had chosen a few good keywords. When I went back half a year later, I discovered they were beyond awful. What I had done was just broken up the title of the book and the names of characters and used them as my keywords. Now I have keywords that actually describe key parts of my book. Examples include: fantasy, magic, survival, adventure, knights. While I’m sure I’ll continue to optimize these keywords in the future, at least now I actually have them in place which means more people are likely to stumble upon my books.

Site Updates – Now that I have several series available it’s important that information about them is easily accessible. I’ve always had a page for each of my series, but as more books have been released the amount of clutter on those pages has increased. What I’ve done recently is drastically reduce the amount of text on each page and simplified everything. Having a series description is a great idea, but having paragraphs of description for each book is unnecessary when you’re linking to a place where someone can read the description on their own. Keeping the first book’s link at the top of the page is also important. Now if someone visits one of my series pages they will see the logo, a description, and then have a convenient link to one of the platforms it is available on where they can find out even more.

Non-Exclusivity – For a long time my books were only available on Amazon in exchange for free promotions. I assumed this would help me increase sales, but I simply didn’t have a platform big enough where it would provide a meaningful increase in sales. Going from 0 to 10 meant a lot to me when I first started out, but now I don’t find that to be as exciting as I once did. It’s better to have my books available on Nook and Kobo as well so readers have more of a choice.

Community – Twitter and Facebook accounts are personal, just like a blog, but I treated those platforms too much like a blog. Instead of interacting with other authors and building connections I posted things relevant to myself and did nothing else. These days I follow others on Twitter who follow me and actively seek out people to follow in order to increase my networking potential. As I increase my presence on social networking sites, more potential readers will take notice of me.

If you have any thoughts on these ideas feel free to let me know in the comments!

Writing Update: Time Management

Generally, I’m awake for about 15-16 hours each weekday. About 9 hours go to working at my secret job which leaves me with around 6 hours of time not at that job. About half of that non-job time goes to shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, gaming, etc. while the other half is absolute free time. I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t write every day so sometimes I spend that time completely on gaming and watching TV/movies. However, when I’m working on my written projects I tend to use up all of that time.

At the moment, I spend about about an equal time writing for The Academy: Second Volume and planning my 2014 series. Lots of cool ideas for what I’m writing next have arisen because I spend so much time thinking about it and those ideas are now free to use when I’m writing. What I’ve learned since I finished my first project in 2011 is that I’m no good at strict planning and it kills me on a creative level. But letting ideas simmer is a lot of fun for me and now I can still be organic in my writing while keeping myself aligned with the vision that I have for the series. I’m confident in the number of plot developments I know will happen, but I don’t necessarily know how I’m going to get there. I really like the characters that I’ve got so far and I’m looking to further define who they are and add interesting new characters to the mix as well.

For The Academy, right now I’m mostly rewriting content I’ve accumulated since the end of the First Volume. I’m once again encountering a bad habit of mine from the early days (um, less than two years ago…) where I randomly changed the tense of the story for no reason. It can be a little disorienting correcting each sentence individually, but upon reading it back it always looks better and fits with my vision for what’s happening. I’m certain I still have some tense issues, but that’s more because I like to interject at certain points in my story and emphasize certain ideas. Whether or not that’s something that has been effective is something I’m still debating, but I think it’s worked fine so far.

As the months go on, I’ll likely dedicate more time to The Academy: Second Volume simply because I’ve already learned so much about my 2014 series. New ideas will continue to arise, but I’ve gotten a great head start on the project and when it comes time to begin writing I’ll be able to have fragments of world and story waiting for me along with strong characters who will guide me through the story. In fact, I’ve liked this method of planning so much that I’ve already started thinking about even more series and potential ideas. What this will do is give me the advantage of choosing from multiple potential projects in the future that already have some sort of form so I won’t have to say something vague like ‘alright, time to write in this genre’. Instead, I’ll be able to say ‘now it’s time to write this specific story I’ve been thinking about for years’.

Recreations Live!

You can now download The Library Series: Recreations from the Library Series page. With this, everything that I wanted to do with The Library Series is now complete. Even though it ended back in May, it still hasn’t set in that it’s really over. Maybe now that the bonus work that could only have been released at the end is out I’ll finally feel like I’ve brought my first series to an absolute close.

Whether I believe it or not doesn’t matter. The time to focus on The Academy Series and continue planning my 2014 series is now. By the end of the month I’m hoping to have 16,000 words of The Academy: Second Volume written. I’ve already got 10,000 so it shouldn’t be too difficult to write 6,000 more especially since several story ideas have already been prepared since the end of the First Volume.

On September 20th, Recreations debuts!

The Library Series: Recreations will be released in two days! As promised, this supplemental work will be available before the summer ends on the 21st and weighs in around 8,000 words. Inside you’ll find development tidbits, fun stories, and perhaps even some surprising content. This is a work for fans of The Library Series and is a celebration of the series rather than an extension. As long as you understand that, you should be able to enjoy Recreations fully.

With this project wrapping up, now is the time to focus fully on The Academy: Second Volume which will release at the very end of the year. Expect updates as the writing process continues and be on the lookout for information about certain things debuting in 2014. Even though there’s still a quarter of 2013 left, I’m already looking far ahead. Beyond 2014, just how many years into the future have I planned?

That’s a secret for now.

Blogging and Writing

Yes, for the first time in a long time I’m posting something that isn’t a Writing Update. When I opened the page to start writing I had intended to do a Writing Update, but then I froze. Suddenly, all of my cool and wild ideas seemed like things I shouldn’t be publishing and letting other people see. While I can build confidence in my works, my ideas are things without form and openly discussing them is something I appear to not be comfortable with. I certainly love discussing my ideas, but every time I have done so on this blog those ideas have already been expressed in what I’m writing. The ideas I was going to talk about today have yet to be implemented, if they even get implemented, into anything I’m working on.

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