Time for my 2015 business plan

It’s time for that business plan that I’ve been hinting about. The Happy New Years, and resolutions have all faded. I waited since I didn’t want this one washed away in the stream. Warning: I’ve been trying to keep the word count down, but this is a longer post. It’s important stuff to me.

I’m going to recap 2014, briefly. My goal was to self publish four older stories. I achieved this in October. I never expected a ton of success, because I was completely unknown. Still, success was there. Outside this blog, and the Rave Reviews Book Club catalog, I didn’t do any promotion.

The unexpected things were the most fun of all. When Lisa was named best character of 2014 by Karen I about fell off my Bantha. I know how much Karen reads, and this was the highlight of my year.

I was asked to guest post on several other blogs, and these are a ton of fun. I was also asked to host a few people, and this works out well too. I’ll be doing more of this in 2015.

I was surprised by my first fan art, which involved Lisa the robot at a comics convention. Lisa also appeared in a fan fiction with my blessing. I also won a spotlight author spot with Rave Reviews Book Club. I learned a lot from this experience.

I really enjoyed loaning some of my characters out and would do so again. Appearing elsewhere in 2014 were Doubt the Raven, Lisa Burton the robot, and Lorelei my Muse.

It’s time to formulate a plan for 2015. I’m going to be informal about this, because writing is my leisure project.

I have a manuscript that’s ready to go. I want to give The Cock of the South a bit more time as the newest book, because it deserves it. It’s a good story, and it’s too close to the blog tour to cut it off at the knees. The publishing goal is late winter/early spring.

This one is a return to paranormal, and it’s called Will ‘O the Wisp. I’m not going to just plunk it on Amazon and walk away. I’ve learned some things from 2014 and want to apply them.

I’m willing to send out advance reading copies right now. All I ask is that participants have an honest review ready to go by publication date. Those reviews are uber important. If you want one, hit me up in the comments. I’m willing to reciprocate with many genres. I can forward PDF, ePub, Word, or Pages formats. Just let me know.

WOW is set in the 1970s and involves a teenage girl whose very life is in danger. She’s perfectly prepared for the wrong challenge. This involves me writing in first person from the POV of a 15 year old girl. Challenging? Yup. It may also be the best story I’ve ever written. It’s suitable for young adults.

I also have a rocking cover for this book, and will forward it to those who participate, providing you keep it top secret. I’d prefer to offer WOW to my blog followers first, but might have to approach some new people depending on numbers. I’m going to ask the cover artist to reveal it on her blog first. Then I can reblog the heck out of it.

I’m going to write a dozen or more blog posts for WOW ahead of time. That way I can take it on tour without all the deadline stress. I may hire 4Wills to handle the blog tour, I may try it myself. I’ll decide later.

I also need to sweet talk S. K. Nichols into sending me the name of that promotional company she used. I like to try new things, and she had good results with them.

I have a second story I’d like to put out in the fall. If I can get it ready, I’ll follow the same recipe as above, unless I learn something better.

I need to improve my social media approach. Social media takes a lot of time, but it must be done. I still have no interest in Facebook, but I’m going to give Goodreads a try. I’ve heard good and bad about it, but everything is that way. I’ll blog about it when I’ve done it, and am accepting all tips right now.

I also have a fun idea for promotions on my blog. I’ve already entered a contract with my Wild Concept cover artist for some custom pieces. More on this later. Maybe I can coerce him into a guest post.

This might be a guy thing, maybe not. I hate giving up the front and regrouping. I’ve learned so much since my older stories were written that I’m pretty sure I could do a better job today. The Army never goes back and puts the knickknacks back on the shelves. They keep moving forward. Should I revisit my old stories at the expense of my current work in progress? This might help me with points in the author world, but it would make me unhappy. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I think I need business cards. My wife and I go out quite a bit. Leaving a card along with the tip, could be beneficial. Pinning it to a bulletin board could also bear fruit. I’ve heard from other authors that this stuff helps. I’m open to any hints from the writing community.

There is a ton of research I intend to do. I own some valuable old hardbacks that I need to browse once more. I wrote a vignette about some people in Africa that keeps calling to me. They have everything they need except a story. Some of my books are Death in the Long Grass, Green Hell, Man-Eaters of Kumaon, Man-Eaters of Tsavo, Bell of Africa, and Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter.

Those aren’t all set in Africa, but I can snipe from them. I seem to remember one about Karamojo Bell hunting for the Battleship Konigsburg. I think that one was corrupted into The African Queen. Better re-watch that too. I should probably brush up on the Boer wars while I’m at it.

Those ought to provide my Muse with a jolt of adrenaline. Obviously, this would be an historical piece, with some of my weirdness of course. Maybe I can get some ideas for one of the other vignettes I posted about the guy with a talking yak.

Speaking of research, does anyone know of a decent book about alchemy? I don’t want an encyclopedia, more of the “for dummies” version. I think the world could use a mad science story. I don’t have a specific plan, but it can’t be all about the philosopher’s stone. It seems to me there were some Frankenstein type projects too. Send me some recommendations.

I’m bouncing back and forth between two ideas. One is a book of short stories. I could separate each story with a Macabre Macaroni type page. The other idea is to publish a bundle with one each, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. I could let it run for 30 days at 99Β’ then unpublish it. I may do both, or neither. Has anyone out there got any data on success with these methods?

***

I know some of you have published bundles or books of short stories. I know some of you live in Africa. Some of you are Goodreads members.

I love the comments I get on this blog, but this time I want more. I really want to hear from you guys on this post. Do you want an ARC of Will ‘O the Wisp? Do you have any Goodreads tips? Have you found a good alchemy book that can kick my Muse in the pants? Have you read any of my archaic old collectables? Would you re-edit your old stories at the expense of forward momentum? Who has experience with business cards, good or bad? Let me hear from you.

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “Time for my 2015 business plan

  1. I am definitely not going to be much help on this, having no experience whatsoever promoting myself, but I wish you luck! I have enjoyed seeing your following and stories grow. So exciting!

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  2. Way too busy for an arc, yes I do goodreads, but not very active there, no I do not have cards. Editing… hard to say. Feels like a very personal choice.

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  3. I will definitely take an arc of wow please! My opinion… keep on moving forward. You could edit a piece for ever, even if it has been proffessionaly edited. As you grow and develop, you will always see things you can improve, and you will never be satisfied. Apply that to your new works and let the old ones be. Goodreads… meh! Try it, I’m not enamoured of it. There are other social media which have worked far better for me, Google+ for eg, where meeting readers has happened and led to actual sales without ever saying ‘buy my book!’ Lol! Alchemy… o idea, I’ll ask the hubby when he’s back from rugby, he might know. Business cards, I’ve wondered about that. Chris MacMullen swears by that type of thing, and he’s quite knowledgeable. I’d like to try them, and bookmarks too. Good luck with your business plan!

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    • I like your idea about re-editing, but maybe because it’s what I want to hear. What is your format preference for WOW? I’m guessing ePub, but I want to send whatever you like. Does your husband play rugby, or is he a spectator? That’s a tough game.

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      • He used to play but knackered his knees. Now he coaches youths and kids and is a devout supporter of Leinster. It takes up most of his free time. I get to wash the team kit, lucky me! Lol! Epub would ne good. Im out just now… ill let you know about the alchemy when Ive actually had a chance to be in the same room as my hubby…

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  4. That’s a very impressive list of victories. As for business cards, I believe you can get 100 free ones as a one time deal with Vistaprint. Basic ones, but it’s what I did in 2013.

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    • Thanks for the tip. I designed a cool one and bought the card stock last year. Found out my awesome printer won’t handle card stock. This year’s list is a bit less aggressive than last year’s, in my mind. It allows more writing time, and some fishing time too.

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  5. WOW sounds so good! I’m sorry I don’t have advice to offer. I’m horrible at promoting my books, which are non-fiction academic and reference books anyway. I’ve been on Goodreads, but not in a long time. I find it annoying, but that’s probably just me. πŸ™‚
    I found this interesting article on Newton and alchemy. It might give you a starting point. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/science/12newton.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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  6. I am so happy to hear your plans. I’d love to help any way I can with WOW, she’s a good fit at my blog πŸ˜‰ and I maybe able to help with the alchemy. Don’t have a quick read….but. Drop me a line. πŸ˜€

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  7. “Should I revisit my old stories at the expense of my current work in progress?” Use the older revisions as a break from the WIP. There are sure to be times when the well runs dry, or you’re deciding between directions for your plot or characters.

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  8. Personally, I love Goodreads. I have a great marketing plan (written by someone who did it successfully) on how to use Goodreads to promote your books. If you decide to join I’d be more than happy to send you a copy. Just drop me a line and let me know: suecoletta@crimewriterblog.com

    Whatever you decide– best of luck!

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  9. I was raised on Man-Eaters of Kumaon, as well as The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag. As an entrepreneur, I’ve done a lot with my business cards over many years, and I still use them, but I have no evidence that they ever got me a customer. I’m currently doing an Americanized English edition of my first novel, which I originally wrote in Commonwealth English. My 2nd novel has slowed down anyway, because all of its easy writing is done. As far as promoting on Goodreads goes, be aware that they don’t want you to contact other members in some ways, and that they say they’ll outlaw you if anybody accuses you of spamming.

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  10. I think it can’t hurt to fine tune your older stuff if you think it could help… If you get a new reader and they would be more interested if only…. then you want them to want to read more of your work, and that might make all the difference. BUT I also think it’s important to keep working on the new WIP.

    As for the business cards, maybe also you could put some inside books of the same genre in bookstores or used bookstores? It definitely sounds like you have an awesome plan!

    Can you please tell me what I have to do to leave an excellent review?

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  11. I’m afraid I’m of no help here. I don’t even use my Goodreads.

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  12. WOW indeed, Craig. πŸ™‚
    I agree with Charles regarding Vistaprint. Vistaprint offers great deals throughout the year – they have much to offer.
    I would love to participate in reading the ARC – epub format will be fine.
    Goodreads is a great platform for authors and readers. I came across great authors and awesome books I might have never found otherwise.
    Panama will be one of my next reads; The Cock of the South is already on my TBR list. Be prepared for some more reviews on my blog, Goodreads and Amazon, Craig. πŸ™‚

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