Reading Ahead and What’s Behind

Did you miss me?

For those of you that celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas. If you celebrate any of the other religious holidays of the season, I wish you blessed days ahead as well. As for myself, I’ve spent the past couple months or so not writing, but instead tending to our haunted house business, to family health-related issues and mainly to cleaning up my own publishing related mess so I can move forward into 2017 at full speed.

Healing Embrace CoverIf you’ve been waiting for the lesfic romance, Healing Embrace, to come out, I apologize. It’s primarily finished but a little rough. It needs some edits and I won’t be undertaking those until we cross the threshold of the New Year. The 9th Morelville Mystery will actually come out first. In all honesty, it should have been out before Thanksgiving but it wasn’t to be. The theming may be a little off for the season but it’s a good story (or so I’ve been told by the wonderful woman who Beta read a very rough draft) that will take Dana, Hannah and Mel (to a slightly lesser extent) into an unsolved local murder mystery involving Faye’s family before Faye ever became a Crane. Look for it in mid February.

So, what have I been up to in the moments I could sqeeze in between business, work and family obligations? Lots of stuff, in dribs and drabs, as I could eke out a little time!

The 5 Self-Publishing Lessons I Learned in 2016

They all come down to what the readers want:

  1. A functional website is key. It’s almost transparent to anyone reading this – right now – but this website moved. I was paying for hosting at WordPress.com but there are things I wanted to do to revamp the site to make it more visual and more visitor/user friendly that I just couldn’t do there. Paying for a site through them doesn’t give you much more functionality than using a free one there. Lesson learned…the hard way. Over the next 2-3 weeks, look for some changes here as I work on the site a little each day. Rest assured, the lesfic list you all love will remain a fixture here. I update it with new names and/or new genre’s all the time.
  1. I took a look at my 2016 marketing and the return on investment. It was pretty bad. Most of the stuff that I paid for didn’t return any more than a little name recognition. Being active and social on social networks, when I could squeeze in the time, was better for me. I’ve been going back and forth with a couple of other author friends on better use of social mediums – more presence but less time suck away from writing. Is that even possible? I think so. Instead of paying for BookBub PPV ads (I can’t seem to get one of the biggie feature ads anyway) and Amazon and Facebook ads, I’m devoting a lot less dollars a month to two mediums that will help me manage Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn a little better. I’m still on my own with Pinterest. Overall though, the best book marketing has been publishing new books. Can you imagine that?!
  1. All books must be in print. Half of my stuff is/was; half wasn’t. By the end of 2016, it all will be. It’s such a simple process, there’s no excuse for this but my own laziness. I just released A Crane Christmas in print and Hannah’s Hope and the two cozies are almost ready to go. I have to do a review of Mad for Mel before I can release it in print and then they’ll all be out there. In the meantime, I’ve reviewed and lowered pricing on many of the print editions, especially for international distribution.
  1. Wider is better. Amazon is amazing for authors. Kindle Unlimited is amazing for readers…in the U.S. and some other English speaking markets. In October, I came to the realization that my two books and the two, four book sets that are available at most major book e-retailers were gaining a little traction, especially outside the U.S. Amazon is queen here and in the U.K. but Kobo is king in Canada and making inroads everywhere else including the U.K., the Apple iBooks platform is pervasive among the tech and younger sets and GooglePlay is huge in many countries (if you can get in). Traction with all of those sites can take 4-6 months but it does come. It’s worth it to be on them and to wait. My books now go to Amazon for 90 days to benefit from Kindle Unlimited and then they’re going wide.

I wish I’d have learned this lesson sooner. I’ve turned off auto-renew on all my books in the Kindle Select program (which makes them exclusive to Amazon and available through Kindle Unlimited) and, as they come out of Select, I’m taking them wide. By mid-February, the only things left in select will be my 8 book boxed set which will always be there and – temporarily – the 9th Morelville Mystery and the romance, Healing Embrace.

  1. Finally, for a self-published author, an email list is a must have…and I don’t have one. At all. I intend to remedy that in 2017. More details to come later but, if you want to be on my list, click the contact link now. I promise plenty of sneak peaks, a few freebies and more as we move into 2017.

As always, thanks for reading!

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