It’s been a difficult year, making progress in some areas and missing the boat entirely in others. Let me start with last year’s goal, which were:
- Write and publish two books.
- Revamp my website.
- Start a newsletter.
BOOKS—Discovery Moon (book five in the Gladstone Shifters series) was published very shortly after my anniversary last year and can’t be counted since all the work was done the previous year. Sales and reviews have been disappointing, due in part to the time of year it was released and a large gap between books four and five. Once you lose momentum, readers tend to move on to other authors and forget that they wanted to read your next book. I’d love to write and publish more frequently, but working full-time makes it impossible.
Bear Creek Valentine (book two in the Holiday Mates series) was released more than two months late in February, and while it’s done fairly well, it also took longer to catch on. I suppose the economy can be partially blamed for lackluster sales and scant reviews. More readers than usual have chosen to get the book for “free” with Kindle Unlimited instead of purchasing, and authors are now being paid even less per page. In addition, Amazon started allowing star ratings without an actual review, and based on the trends I’m seeing, most readers don’t bother with either.
WEBSITE UPDATE—this was a project I put off for far too long, mostly because I am not computer savvy. I dug in and did it anyway, and while the site isn’t what I really wanted, it looks better and will have the functionality I need for the newsletter to come.
NEW NEWSLETTER—I wasn’t able to complete this goal, but I’m really close! The big holdup, besides the cost and technical aspects, was the need for reader magnets. Essentially, reader magnets are freebies given to those who sign up to receive an author’s newsletter. I needed some fresh, new material that couldn’t be found anywhere else, and set out to write four short stories (one for each genre/series). Now that these are complete, I’m ready to move ahead with all the technical stuff that allows people to sign up to receive their free gift and my monthly newsletter. I may need to pay someone to help with this part of it, though where I’ll get the money is beyond me!
MOVING FORWARD—Enormous changes are coming in the next six months! First, and this is BIG, I intend to step away from being exclusive to Amazon, expanding distribution of my books to other sites (Apple, KOBO, Barnes & Noble, etc). It’s called “going wide”, and it scares the crap out of me! As a result, I expect my book income to tank – at least in the short run. The biggest reason is that I’ll automatically lose sixty percent of Amazon royalties because my books will no longer be offered on Kindle Unlimited.
In addition, I intend to stop promoting my work for free. Unfortunately, many people will only read books that cost them nothing, which hurts every indie author. I’m hoping that the intended changes will free me from Amazon’s stranglehold and attract new readers who are willing to pay this author for his hard work. Due to the high cost of paper and audio books, I’ll remain focused on eBooks only.
In the latter half of this last year (August to August), I have struggled with health and work issues, putting me under a tremendous amount of stress. All of that affects my energy and creative juices, meaning I get less writing done in my spare time. I’ve taken steps to address these issues and hope to see beneficial changes in the coming days.
We live in an uncertain world, and indie authors like me are facing a multitude of challenges. Other than what I’ve already mentioned above, I don’t feel comfortable setting goals for year seven of my author journey. Simply put, if I’m still in the biz by this time next year, I’ll count that as a win!