Looking Back Over my First Year as an Author

This blog post is intended to help others on their writing journey. Especially people who plan to self publish for the first time in 2014.

 

In February I published my first novel. A romance called Educating Autumn:

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It was my first novel and I was very proud of it. I published first using Smashwords and Lulu. I later used the Amazon services including ACX. In the future I plan to do Amazon for my print version exclusively. I also plan to publish my ebook using Kindle Direct and take advantage of the KDP Select program for the first 90 days of my books existence. Then, I will use Smashword after my 90 day obligatory exclusivity with the KDP select program.

I used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and the KDP select program on my second book Singing the Last Song which I published in Nov.

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As part of my marketing strategy I got involved with Goodreads and I joined Twitter. Both things I don’t think I would have done otherwise. Those were good calls and I have been really pleased to become part of the larger communities of readers and writers.

My main marketing strategy this year has been to give away books so that people can give me feedback and so that I can start to become a recognized name in the reader community. This hasn’t gone as well as I hoped it would. I wanted to giveaway 1000 ebooks this year. When everything was said and done my total giveaways have been approx 200. That is 800 shy of my goal!

I have tried giveaways on Library Thing which was nice but it didn’t give me the results I was hoping. I was hoping to giveaway 100 free ebooks. I ended up giving away about 50. 

I generated a coupon code with Smashwords and used Vistaprint to make coupons for free ebooks. I handed stacks of them out to local coffee shops, buisiness owners I knew who put them on their counters, and I had friends put some in their break rooms at work. I also handed a coupon to every person who checked me out at the grocery store or who served me food at a fast food restaurant. I passed out 250 coupons. To date, I have generated 5 downloads with that strategy. This is a strategy that I don’t think I will use again.

Most of my ebooks were given away through the KDP Select free days on Amazon. 

I have also received over 30 rejection letters for my children’s book series that I really wanted to go traditional publishing on because I am not an illustrator and I don’t have any artist friends who felt up to the task.

What will I do next year?

My goal next year is to become a prolific writer. I would like to publish about 5 novels next year. I have two completed drafts that need edits as well as two other drafts that are about half done already.

I also am working with an artist friend to help me redo my covers. I like my cover images but after doing some research I think my covers don’t really give the reader any idea what my books are about. I want Educating Autumn’s cover to tell the reader that they are about to embark on a romantic journey.  I want Singing the Last Song to have a cover that makes people think rock music and apocalypse. 

I am going to keep blogging and doing book reviews but I want to spend less time on social networks and more on writing.

I also want to send out queries for the novels I write that would fit into genre categories. I would really love to end up a hybrid author.

I am still new and still learning. Next year I expect to know much more then I did this year. I plan to make mistakes and learn from them. And, I hope to write more blogs about writing to help others who are embarking on the same journey of self publishing as I have undertaken.

One of the things I firmly believe in is to help others. I may not yet know very much but I now have a whole year of successes and failures under my belt and I hope that I can give advice to people who are newer to the journey then I am.

What successes and failures have you had this year?

 

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About authorjanebnight

Hello. I am Jane B. Night. I am a writer and also one of the owners of BZ Publishing LLC.
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