Hard Year Comes to an End

It’s been a rough year. I was pretty excited for 2013 after 2012 seemed to lay a foundation for better success to come.

But it didn’t work out that way. Maybe it’s because there is a 13 in the year, but I have felt under a curse for most of my professional life this year.

Best Laid Plans

I had a pretty solid plan for this year. I was expecting to publish three books — two novels and a short story.

SatS Cover Lo-resThe Sword and the Sorcerer was scheduled for March/April, “Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale” would go in June-July, and Roses Are White would release in November. It seemed very reasonable, given that I published three books in 2012.

But almost from the get-go, things went off schedule. I got married in March, and I had thought that could delay the release of the first book by a month. But a series of delays in editing and rewrites pushed that book into the summer.

Meanwhile, the short story, “Beauty & the Beast”, grew into a novella. That was fine in terms of publishing it, but it meant it took longer to write and longer to edit. So rather than getting out in the summer, it didn’t go until the fall.

And Roses Are White didn’t get started until October as a result of all those delays, meaning there was no way to publish it this calendar year. I decided to write it during NaNoWriMo, and that worked really well for knocking out the words . . . until I got terribly sick in the first two weeks of December.

Scheduling SNAFU’s

As a result of all the delays, both The Sword and the Sorcerer and Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale were ready at roughly the same time. “B&B” takes place during football season. It is also set in my hometown’s largest high school. Thus, to capitalize best on the timing, I had to release it first. So The Sword and the Sorcerer, which was originally scheduled for March was pushed all the way back to Christmas.

B&B Cover Lo-ResI got Beauty & the Beast ready and attempted to upload on my scheduled release date of October 1. And Amazon publishing software went wonky. No matter what I did, I could not get my files to convert to Kindle format.

With the help of a friend, we found a workaround. I got a .mobi file uploaded, but the software changed my coding. The book didn’t look good. I spent the better part of a week fighting with Amazon’s tech support trying to get a new version uploaded that had everything lined up correctly. Eventually it got fixed. But it was a blown launch.

Promo Failures

In March, I launched an extremely successful free event with “Sleeping Beauty: A Modern Fairy Tale.” I raised my profile and discoverability very well and had encouraging sales for a couple months afterwards.

But by not publishing something new, I lost all the momentum I created. And then Amazon changed its algorithms so that free events didn’t generate the same results. By the time I finally got something new out, the market had changed.

I also tried to take advantage of the new Kindle Countdown program Amazon launched. I ran a sale on my three book-length titles, one each week, during December. But I was so sick those first two weeks, I couldn’t do any of the promotional work necessary to build awareness. The events generated sales, but they didn’t come close to their potential.

Looking Ahead

So this has not been the year I wanted. It’s been pretty terrible.

But I refuse to be depressed about it. On the upside, I published two new books this year, and both are strong works that reflect my growth as an author. In fact, I believe The Sword and the Sorcerer is the best book I’ve ever written.

I have an aggressive schedule planned for 2014. I’ll go into that in my next blog, but suffice to say that, among the things I want to accomplish, I will attempt to publish two Wolf Dasher novels. Since Roses Are White didn’t make it out this year, I’ll try to get it and the next book done this coming year. Plus, I’ll have some other things in store.

I’m very happy to see 2013 becoming a memory. Professionally, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But it had it’s moments, and I’m excited for 2014. Here’s to moving forward.

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