This post I thought I would give readers an opportunity to have an insight into a writer’s life, not the one at the computer but the one the reader never sees. My guest author this month is L.J. Kendall. Luke has just released book number 4 of The Leeth Dossier series (Violent Causes), and is currently working hard at a number things to gain the following, he thinks Leeth deserves. It would be nice to sit down, write a book, publish and have readers coming out of every nook and cranny to buy that book. Real life however isn’t that simple as you will see from Luke’s post. Writing like other professions has many demands impacting on the individual’s time and energy.
I was surprised and pleased when Barbara invited me to write something for her blog. Normally I like to write from a position of confidence, but as I mulled over what I could bring to Barbara’s table, the idea of admitting to my current feelings struck me as somehow ‘right’.
I’m writing a long series of cross-genre sci-fi/fantasy books with a strong female character I feel is unique. For book #4 I planned to give myself a couple of months to learn a bit about marketing to try to do a better launch, but things haven’t gone smoothly.
Not only did I have bugs in the word processor I use (introducing errors that cost time and money to fix), but I also had delivery problems with proofs (thanks, StarTrack), lost email (found, today, in a spam folder!), and a range of other smaller problems. For the first time in a long while I’m having to reassure myself to just keep taking each small forward step, and that I can do it.
To clarify my thoughts, I’ve been writing a marketing plan – it’s grown absurdly long, and too much to do, but at least now I don’t feel like I have all these ideas I need to keep mentally juggling. I’ve pinned those suckers down on paper!
More importantly, I believe only a few things in the plan are essential – the rest are ‘nice to do’. I do have one slight problem: I’m not 100% clear how to do any of them, though. I’m still very much an infant on this whole other side of the writer’s life, the marketer. I should also state up front that I like to solve puzzles and learn new things, so I’m also making this harder by trying to do it all myself.
Anyway, here’s my shortlist of the essential things I need to do:
- Author website. I have a blog and social media presence, but I don’t have a proper website showing my books and tying everything together for readers. I hope to have this basically working by about June 20th. Hopefully by the time you read this the link above should look reasonable!
- Mailing list. Everyone says this is the #1 thing for an author – I’m mainly mulling over what would make it worthwhile for readers of my books to sign up for it.
- Ads. I think nowadays you need to advertise to give readers a chance to find your books. Mark Dawson has great instructional material.
An easier thing to organise is a book launch, and it’s more fun too, since it’s a chance to talk to people face to face about a subject close to my heart. Fingers crossed, I may have the date and venue sorted out by June 21. I’ve had a launch once before, when I held a double book launch for the first two books in the series. Everyone who attended seemed to have a really good time – maybe because it was a chance to see a lot of old friends and catch up! Hmm, I should make sure I announce the book launch on my website too.
So, I’m bouncing from one problem to another, struggling not to let each one, make me feel too overwhelmed. Marketing isn’t something I naturally enjoy, so I want to somehow make it a way to connect with readers and share common interests.
Currently I feel like someone hacking his way through a dark and lonely forest, hoping to find a warm and welcoming tavern nestled in some hidden dell deep inside. I’m determined to get there though, even if I have to build it with my own bare hands and the help of other book-loving travellers. Especially with Leeth prodding me to get a move on!
I can’t wait to see how Luke goes with getting things done as I am hoping he comes back and tells us a little about writing a series.
Stay tuned on social media for updates on Luke’s launch.
Bye for now
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