Ringing in a New Year with New Plans

I can’t believe I actually pulled it off.

I published a book a month this year. Most of them were short. The mini-memoirs were about 20,000 words each.

Some of them were collections. Magic & Monsters collected four previously published stories and added a new one. Legend in my own Mind collected the mini-memoirs.

But there was also a fifth Wolf Dasher novel (Twice in a Lifetime), a sequel to The Sword and the Sorcerer (A Contest of Succession), and a new Modern Fairy Tale (Little Red Riding Hoodie).

And they all got my rigorous, multi-draft, fight-with-my-editor process, so I wouldn’t just be turning out turgid crap.

So as 2015 turns to 2016, I’m proud of myself for fulfilling my goal/resolution to publish a book a month.

I’m also exhausted.

In addition to publishing all that fiction and creative non-fiction, I took a job as a retail sales associate and saw a marked increase in my freelance business. The breakneck pace of 2015 has worn me down.

For 2016, I’ve a different plan.

I’m going to focus on marketing and sales. Putting 12 new books on the market was good for my business. I’ve seen sales increase by creating a large, diverse catalog.

But I’ve not seen them increase to a level where I don’t have to spend time selling fertilizer and insect-killer. My monthly sales look gonzo compared to when I started, but I’m not selling a lot on a per-unit basis.

What I have noticed, though, is that offering a book for free and advertising it through the better marketing sites leads to increased page-reads through Kindle Unlimited not just for the title in question but for the whole line.

I’ve got a lot of books spread across four distinct lines. So I plan to offer monthly specials to drive sales.

I also will blog twice a week, post to Facebook page daily, and do the little things to push my brand across the Internet.

And I need to increase my print business. I need to be attending shows and establish my own e-commerce on the website to build that aspect of the business.

Finally, I want to get into audio books. I’m convinced I’m leaving money on the table by not branching into this area.

And all that cuts down on my time to write significantly. I spent 2015 (and the last part of 2014) really focusing on the creative side of my business. I’ve been churning out product for 14 months straight, going back to November of 2014. I need to spend more time on the business side.

Of course, cutting back on the number of books I publish does not mean I won’t be adding more titles. New content still drives sales of the old.

In the first quarter of 2016, I’ll publish the sixth installment of the Wolf Dasher series, The Armageddon Clock. This apocalyptic adventure will bring the current story arc to a close. I’m hoping to have it out in February, but it might be March depending on how things shake out.

June will bring Blood Heir. This vampire tale has the distinction of being the first novel I wrote in my adult life. The first iteration came about when I was in graduate school in the early ’90’s, and it’s gone through several reworkings since then. The book takes place across several centuries and employs nonlinear time as a storytelling technique. Because Byron and the Shelleys appear as historical characters, I aim to have the book out in time for the 200th anniversary of the famous night in Geneva that allegedly spawned the idea for Frankenstein.

Third quarter brings the third installment in The Usurpers Saga, tentatively titled The Kraken Bone. It features Zod the Fearless from The Sword and the Sorcerer as its protagonist in a quest for an ancient artifact that will enable to complete his unfulfilled dreams of becoming King of the Known World.

And for the fourth quarter I’ve planned a serial. Empire’s End finds what’s left of the human race in a far-flung galaxy, where it struggles to be recognized by an imperial government of five other races that finds itself in turmoil with the mysterious death of its emperor. My plan is to release the serial in a 13-episode season, with a new installment each week.

So it’s still an ambitious 2016 I have planned. I may be planning to focus more on marketing, but I have an aggressive strategy to create new books and sell more of the ones that are already out there.

I hope you’ll continue to join me on this amazing authorial journey and that your 2016 brings joy, success, and good health to you.

Happy New Year!

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