Tag Archives: Full-Time Author

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Year One as a Full-Time Author

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I made what I thought were easily attainable goals for this year. I imagined having more time than I would know what to do with and being able to do all the things.

Yeah, that crashed and burned early on.

Here’s a snapshot of my 2018 goals:

Make 20k-25k

Jagged Scars Series Finished

New Sight Series Finished

Sci-Fi series written and out

Babes in Spyland revamped

Flash Fiction Weekly

Blog Weekly

Master Amazon Ads

Master Facebook Ads

Have 10k subscribers on my newsletter

Get 50 people on my review team

Doesn’t sound hard, right? Let’s go through what got finished, what didn’t and why.

Make 20k-25k

This did not happen. The reason it didn’t happen is because I never took the plunge into advertising. One month I did some paid promotions and my sales skyrocketed for a couple of months, then plunged back down to normal levels, which is selling a book or two a day most days.

Jagged Scars Series Finished

This did happen!

However, writing the last book of the series consumed most of the first half of the year. I let it get under my skin, wrote the whole thing about three times and finally came up with an acceptable book. Writing it is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, including finishing my first book.

New Sight Series Finished

This happened! This happened in time for Salt Lake FanX (a ComiCon-like convention) where I actually sold out of books.

Happy to say that writing the final book of this series only gave me a migraine for two weeks. Nothing like the end of the other series.

Sci-Fi series written and out

This did not happen. I started outlining and planning and working through character arcs, and then my romance writing friend called me, and I ended up writing three sweet romances instead of these books.

The romances are doing well, and I’ll get back to this series early next year.

Babes in Spyland revamped

So I want to revise what I’ve written in this universe and then expand it! I have so many ideas, and it will be amazing, but it keeps getting pushed back. This might happen near the end of next year. We’ll see.

Flash Fiction Weekly

I only missed two weeks of this! And both of those are because of finishing book deadlines. This has been a fun activity. I’m thinking I’ll mix it up next year, but we’ll see. There will still be Flash Fiction!

Blog Weekly

Did this. I know blogs aren’t really a big thing anymore, but I kind of like blogging each week. I plan to continue.

Master Amazon Ads

Ugh. This caused me way too much stress, and I hardly did anything. I’ve enlisted the help of my mathy hubby, and we’re hitting this hard at the beginning of the year.

Master Facebook Ads

Same as Amazon Ads

Have 10k subscribers on my newsletter

Maybe this was too ambitious. I’ve more than doubled my subscribers and now have 2,500. But nowhere near 10k. Everything about this changed with the EU’s privacy thing in the middle of the year, and I haven’t been particularly diligent about it since then.

Get 50 people on my review team

I started a review team, so that’s good. I think I have 30 or so, and of them only about 10 are super active, but still, going forward.

What else came up?

Karly Stratford:

Well, I created my pen name of Karly Stratford and released two sweet romance books. The third will be finished before the end of the year and released in February. I don’t want to put my whole focus there, but it is fun getting out of my usual genres and doing something different. I really want to lean these toward clean romantic comedies. Should be good times.

Fairy Tale Academy:

A friend asked me if I wanted to contribute to a Little Mermaid retelling collection in May. I was struggling with my Jagged Scars final book, and took the opportunity to write something different. It’s only 24k and I had a great time with it.

I wrote it with the intention of it being a stand-alone, but a few of my beta readers asked if there is more in the world. Well, now there will be. I have two more written and a total of eight planned. Those will be out between January and May of next year.

Overall impressions of the year:

If I’m being brutally honest, being my own boss was much more difficult than I imagined. I can’t tell you how many days my schedule broke down and I didn’t get much, if any, writing done. Family and friends pulled me away more often than not. I got bored being at home by myself. Sometimes I played on Facebook more than I wrote.

I have a plan to fix these issues. I’ve been using it for a week, and I’m really liking it.

I know I can do more than I did this year. I know I can be a better author, a better business owner and a better marketer. More on my plans for that next week!


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Month Eleven as a Full-Time Author

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This month was a combination of “What just happened?” and “I should have known better.”

 

 

Strike 1:

Going to conferences is one of my favorite parts of being an author. I skipped a couple that I usually go to this year and decided to branch out and head to Vegas for a conference I’d never been to but had heard amazing things about. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I came back from this conference quite disappointed. My expectations were, apparently, way off, and even though I tried really hard to make it worth it in my mind, I’m still not sure it was worth the time or the expense for me.

Strike 2:

I’ve been full-time as an author since the beginning of the year. My old job has called me back to help them out a couple of times. They called at the end of October and asked for any help I could give them in November. I agreed to come in for three days the week after the conference I mentioned above.

Bad idea. While the extra money is always nice, it threw off my groove. I was supposed to write the second story in my Academy series that week. I thought I could do both, but it didn’t work out.

Strike 3:

The super-awful stomach flu of November 2018 struck 8 hours after I finished up working for my old day-job. Was it a simple 24 hours and done flu? Oh no, I had to get that Norovirus thing that was going around. I was completely down for 36 hours, and felt icky for 10 days total. Including Thanksgiving.

So that week I was supposed to write the second story in my Academy? The week I worked and then got sick? Yeah, I got nothing done. The next week was Thanksgiving, so three days of that got blown out of the water, and the other three days I was still too sick to really get into writing.

Those three strikes blew up my schedule so bad that I had to re-layout my Academy stories. I briefly thought about trying to catch up, but dismissed the idea. Why kill myself over it?

Also, a third romance book is in the works, so I had to rearrange my schedule for that anyway. The new and improved layout includes a few days of wiggle room between each story. Hopefully I can stay on track!

 

 

 

 

 


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Month Ten as a Full-Time Author

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October turned out to be a wild and crazy month.

Last month I mentioned a new project I was working on. For that project, I wrote two novels in October. Two 50k word novels. One is back from my editor and the other is just back from my beta readers.

I’ll tell you a little secret. They’re sweet, uplifting romance novels that I’m going to release under a pen name. If you get my newsletter you already know this, so I guess it’s not that big of a secret. I’ll be announcing the release of both books here before the end of the year.

If you’re wondering what they’re about, let’s just say that they could pretty much be Hallmark Christmas movies, but I couldn’t bring myself to cram quite that many cheesy lines into one novel. And believe me, I really tried with the second one.

I was considering writing another romance novel, but instead decided to start on my Academy series. I’ve now got outlines for stories about The Beast and a Frog Princess. You’ll love the take on the Beast, and I was seriously laughing when I was working on the Frog Princess. I also have the other five characters picked and their stories loosely laid out. Watch for these starting at the end of January.

I try to focus on the positives, but I feel like I should share some of my less than stellar experiences from this past quarter.

Marketing gives me anxiety. Well, after an hour of thinking about it and/or learning about it I want to punch people in the face. I guess that’s a form of anxiety, yes? Or maybe just stress. Or maybe I just need to take a chill pill.

Anyway, I haven’t met my monetary goal this year because I haven’t been marketing. I do have a newsletter with about 2500 subscribers, and that’s been fun. And I’ve put out a two novels and three novellas along with a boxed set for Jagged Scars.

However, I’ve failed miserably in my half-hearted attempts to learn Amazon and Facebooks ads. Everything I’ve read points to the fact that you must advertise so your books get in front of the right readers so then the readers can buy them, love them and then buy all of your books. This is the plan. My execution has been lacking.

So things aren’t all roses and rainbows, but things are going forward. Forward in a surprising direction, mind you, but forward all the same.

Check back next month for my first sweet romance novel, along with an update about my Academy stories!

 

 

 

 


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Month Nine as a Full-Time Author

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Most of you know that I went to Salt Lake city FanX (a ComiCon type convention) at the beginning of the month. See my post about it here.

I have to say that selling out of one of my series was a life goal for me. I had 25 sets of those books, and never thought that I would sell them all. Not to mention the other 100 or so books people bought. A few customers (hopefully now fans) have left positive reviews about my books on Amazon and Goodreads, which is awesome.

If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year what I’d be working on in September, I would have told you my Young Adult space opera series. I never would have imagined that I’d be working on something completely unexpected.

Two somethings, really.

First off I’m puttering around with my Academy series. The first story is in the Fractured Sea collection. The other seven—some of them including characters that you guys suggested—will be out starting January of next year!

The other project will come to life in November. I’ll tell you more about that when the time gets closer.

Have no fear, I’ll get back to my YA space opera soon. I’m excited to write it, but also intimidated, so I’m letting it percolate a little longer before I really dive in.

Earlier this month I had the privilege of delivering a keynote address to a crowd of aspiring writers. I really struggled with what to say to them, and actually had two different speeches written. At the last minute I decided to go with my writing journey. And I’m glad I did.

As we stare at what’s ahead of us, sometimes in anticipation, sometimes in dread and sometimes with both, I think we can all forget what it was like before. How difficult it can seem to finish that first book, or edit it, or get so caught up in trying to get an agent that you forget why you started writing in the first place.

It felt good to encourage people in their journey, no matter where they are. Because everyone needs encouragement at some point, even if it’s just a simple, “You got this.”

 

 


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