Tag Archives: Wins

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Year Three as a Full-Time Author

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This journey keeps taking twists and turns. I find it both scary and exciting.

Three years ago I quit my day job so I could go full-time with my writing.

Last year I barely squeaked into the black. I actually made money after all of my expenses. Granted it was only about $100, but I’ll take it!

I had grand plans for this past year. You know, 2020?

Yeah, things didn’t go exactly to plan.

First

I released the last two of my Decker Family Romances in the spring. They did okay. Not as well as I would have liked, but okay.

Second

The plan was to write my YA military sci-fi series.

I started the first book four times, wrote a total of 130k words, and had to scrap them all. Twice. Pure frustration drove me to writing something more soft and fluffy.

Third

I wrote these three sweet and clean romantic comedies for the summer. By this point in the year everyone needed a good laugh, so I obliged. These were not on my radar at the beginning of the year, but they have ended up being my most successful series so far!

I also enjoyed writing my first curvy girl romance. I’m a plus-sized woman, and it was fun to write about a bigger girl.

Fourth

Among all of this romance craziness, I released another Academy story in this anthology. Writing this Snow White retelling was so fun!

Fifth

Christmas is always a good time to release romances, and this year I jumped on the bandwagon. These four books gave me my best months ever on Amazon in November and December! Her Christmas Middle Blocker (another curvy girl romance) is in a collection with eight other books at the moment, but will likely be out soon.

Other milestones

I hit one million page reads in 2020! After I hit one million, I managed to get almost 350k in a month, so that was amazing!

These are some of the highlights of 2020.

Marketing is getting easier, but there are still days that I take a nap instead.

I’ve learned a lot about fulfilling readers expectations, which has really helped my sales.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this endeavor.

I’m glad 2020 is over.

The hubby and I spent the first two weeks of 2021 in a Covid-induced haze, so I’m starting the year a bit late.

I have big plans, but who knows what will happen?


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Two Years as a Full-Time Author!

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The journey has been different than I imagined.

Two years ago I quit my day job so I could go full-time with my writing. I wasn’t making great money at the time, but my husband is super supportive and brings home the bacon, so to speak, so I found myself in the unique situation of being able to follow my dream while not having to stress about money.

The first year was hard. I didn’t break even with my expenses, and frankly I was a bit disappointing.

Year two has been a roller coaster of writing and emotions and almost breaking even. This is what happened.

First

I rapidly released eight fairy tale retellings with my Fairy Tale Academy series. While the stories are solid, and people who read them love them, I missed the market a bit, and the series didn’t do as well as I would have liked.

Second

I released five sweet and clean romance books under my pen name, Karly Stratford, and those did really well. I enjoy writing them, but don’t want to go full-time romance. It’s not where my passion lies, although I do love getting emails from fans who say how my book made their day!

Third

I had my very first story come out in Audible. It’s part of a collection of horror stories. I love it SO MUCH! The narrator nailed it, and I now understand a little more about the power of audio books.

Forth

I was part of a collaboration of authors who decided to use our talents to raise awareness about child sex trafficking. I’ve made my initial investment in covers and editing back, and from now on all profits go straight to organizations that actively help fight sex trafficking.

I’m not going to lie, this project sort of consumed the middle section of my year. The topic is difficult to write about, and we faced a lot of opposition when trying to get these books published. But we did it! And I’m pretty sure the journey for this project has just begun.

Fifth

One of my writing groups put together a Fairy Tale and First Dates anthology! We had such a good time doing this, and I loved how excited everyone got when they were able to hold a book of their own in their hands. Totally worth the stress!

Those are some of the highlights for 2019

Some days it’s hard to look past the drudgery and the stupid marketing and the fact that I’d rather make cookies than write and see all the good that I’ve done, the books I’ve produced and the wonderful emails from fans that I’ve gotten.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this endeavor . Cheers to 2019, and I look forward to 2020!

Do any of you have big goals for 2020? I’ve got some, but I’m not sharing yet.


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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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