The Writer's Desk

Writing, publishing & marketing notes from Jamie DeBree & her alter egos

Motivation in Unlikely Places

A little over a week ago, I hired a personal assistant on a trial basis to manage the BSB Facebook page. I figured I’d start small, see what she could do, and perhaps work up from there. This is the nice thing about having a good day job…I can occasionally invest in services even when the books aren’t bringing in much cash (sales have been…well, lackluster is putting it nicely, at least partly because I do zero promotion). I wanted to see what kind of return we might get as far as visibility goes, and I have to say, I’m kind of surprised. In the past week, we’ve increased as follows:

10 new page likes (100%)
198 people reached (942%)
81 post engagements (189%)
12 new page views (500%)
2 actions (clicks on “About” or call to action buttons – 100%)

Basically, about a ton more traffic on the main BSB site. But I’ve also noticed more activity on the Twitter account (the Facebook page feeds into it), and some retweets of books for the other author I publish, so more visibility for her as well. No extra sales yet, but I didn’t expect that after just one week. It takes awhile for efforts like this to be lucrative, and we haven’t published anything new lately (as in, over a year – yikes!).

In any case, this is motivating to me. Seeing what she can do in just one week, with just one of our pages has been pretty enlightening. Could I do it myself? Sure. Will I, and do I want to? No, and no. Otherwise I wouldn’t have let it sit neglected for so long. So I’m keeping her on, and am going to pay for some help in other areas as well for awhile. I think that with her managing the day-to-day promotion, and me working in other ways, we might just be able to pick book sales up.

One of the main things we need to do though is get some new releases out – as soon as possible. So getting in gear with the writing is paramount, and I also want to do some collections that I wanted to put together a long time ago, and never quite found the time for.

I’ve decided I’d like to have the option of retiring from my day job at roughly the same time my husband will hit retirement age…which is in 13 years (how’s that for a nice lucky target?). In order to do that, I need to get some debt paid off, get some more solid investments going, and…I’d like to be at a point with my writing where it’s making a passable monthly stipend. I have other potential income streams as well that would allow me to work part time to supplement my early retirement. But of course if I don’t to where I need to be for whatever reason, I’ll still have my day job. Nothing says I have to retire early, so I do have a security net. Not so important to others, perhaps, but very important to me.

In the interest of gauging where I started with my writing vs. where I need to be, I went back and read the openings of three of my first books. And you know what? While I can see where they could use improvement, they really aren’t bad at all. They held my interest enough that I could easily have kept reading. I certainly think they’re good enough to give someone a pleasant hour or two of entertainment. It’s important to acknowledge this, because I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I was a “bad writer” due to low sales for a good long while, but while I have plenty of room to improve, I still think those early books are good stories. And I think I’ve gotten better, and will continue to get better with hard work and practice.

What I’m saying is, for the first time in a long while, I have hope that I’ll keep improving, and in the meantime, still entertain people while I’m learning. I’d lost that hope somewhere along the way. I’m happy to have it back.

Did I mention the new personal assistant is a fan of one of my later novellas, and is really hoping I’ll write the next one in that series? I might just have to do that…

In any case, a good investment, in more ways than one. And this weekend, I’ll be making out a plan that will stretch out over the next 13 years, so I can work my way to where I want to be in my retirement years – as a full-time writer making decent money to tell stories.

Now back to writing. Because it always comes back to writing.

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Publisher Site: Brazen Snake Books

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