The Writer's Desk

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

Writing & Publishing Notes: Mar. 22, 2015

So…it’s been awhile. A month, actually, now that I look at the calendar…

You know how sometimes when you drop a ball and run after it but it just keeps rolling out of reach, and then it bumps something that sends it back toward you and you think you’re actually going to be able to catch it, but then your fingertips graze it or your dog joins in and it ends up spiraling in yet another direction so you have to keep running in hopes of getting close again?

Yeah. That’s pretty much how I’ve been feeling lately. And I share that not from a “woe is me” sort of place, but just as a “this is how it’s been” sort of thing…because I’m sure someone out there reading is having the same sort of experience, and sometimes it helps to know you’re not alone.

I was doing okay, overwhelmed, but still sort of keeping things going, and then I got hit with that super-nasty cold that’s been going around. That completely wiped out pretty much an entire week for me (of everything – I missed day job work days too, so I’m even behind there), plus a good portion of a second week, and right in the middle of my big marketing push. Not good, but nothing I could really do to avoid or stop it, so no point in getting upset about it. I’m playing catch-up again now, but it’s just going to be kind of a slog for awhile.

I did decide to hire someone to format my latest print book for me – Polgarus Studios, and not only did they do a great job, it only took them a few days longer than it would have taken me, and it didn’t cost all that much. The time I saved in having them do the work as opposed to doing it myself was worth every penny, and as I’m way behind on my print formatting, I’m going to have them do a bunch more for me, one every month or whenever they can fit them into their schedule. That will take some of the pressure off me, and their prices are so reasonable it won’t be a strain on the budget.

As for the marketing push…well, I pretty much went about it all wrong, but that’s how you learn. And it did result in a few more sales, but really, considering I couldn’t do the promo work needed to really get the word out and I kind of screwed up *how* I ran it in general, I don’t even think I can draw any conclusions from it, because all the different parts were very insular from each other due to my not being able to bring everything together. But it’s more than I’ve done in quite awhile, and visibility is definitely higher for all formats, so it was still definitely a positive thing. And now I know better for next time, which is incredibly valuable going forward.

A few things I learned, for those interested:

– Reviews should come before a big promo push, so I need to do the review-request giveaways before I want to do a big promotion (consecutively rather than concurrently, I think), and before I lower the price, so the giveaways are that much more enticing.

– All formats need to be done and available before any kind of sale or discount

– Gotta have reminders all over the place for the promo. The review contests will take care of themselves on book lover’s sites, but for my own sites, and for a sale price, I need to make the visibility higher for that time period.

– I need to use my newsletters better for announcing contests/review giveaway opportunities

I’m starting to plan my next two promotional pushes well in advance, so I can correct some of these mistakes and see what kind of traction I can get.

As for the writing…I’m way behind on my writing *and* publishing schedule at this point, with no hope of catching up. So, I’m reworking my plans/schedule, and just moving forward from where I am now. Sucks, but it is what it is, and there’s no point in lamenting my own limitations. I’ll do the best I can, and see where I end up in December.

I think the important thing to remember (for me) is that I’m not actually on a deadline to *sell books*. So I can take my time and learn what I need to learn and make mistakes with promo and such…and all the while, I’ll still be working on my craft, and writing better books (hopefully), and nothing’s going to expire or anything like that. I have time. I have a day job I like that pays my bills, so I can afford to make mistakes, and learn slowly, and experiment with things, and figure this all out at my own pace.

And that is a very good, powerful place to be in.

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Publisher Site: Brazen Snake Books

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