Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The NEXT Two Years

Recently, I wrote an entry about what's happened with my writing career over the past two years. Today I want to talk about looking forward to the next two years and what I plan to do differently …

#1 - Reserve a day a week to do absolutely nothing, except maybe read. Working seven days a week is not good, no matter how much you enjoy it. My brain needs some down time.
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#2 - Format my manuscripts from scratch in “Kindle format” – meaning, in 12 point on 18, using section breaks instead of page breaks, etc. I've already started doing this with my new WIP, Ain't Too Proud to Beg.  It saves so much time in the long run.
#3 - Spend less time online. even though I love it, I realize I can’t read everybody’s blog, Facebook messages, or look at all y’all’s Pinterest photos.
#4 - Get out to more literary events. Last year I only made it to two, and that’s pitiful. In previous years, I went to every free/low cost workshop, seminar, book expo or signing I discovered.
#5 - Start a street team. Author Tonya Kappes has done a marvelous job with this. In essence, a street team is comprised of readers, online friends, other authors, anyone that has volunteered to help get the word out about your new book. Of course, there are little perks for these generous souls - free books, swag, discounts. There are some folks who have always helped me promote, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude, but this will be an official team.
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#6 - Try some innovative ways to promote my books. I have already started by creating new promo postcards to hand out in person. Before I had a separate card for each book with the cover image on one side and the story description and buy links on the other. Now that I have six books out, that doesn’t work very well. 
 #7 - Get all of my books onto other e-tailers. Right now I only put Have You Seen Her? on Bibliocracy and All Romance Books, but I did get the first four onto Kobo last week.
#8 - No more free or 99 cent offers. Been there, done that. These kinds of promotions are fantastic for getting your name out there. As a result of KDP Select, I've gotten my books into the hands of more than 15,000 readers. Not bad... 
#9 - Have a new web site created, since mine is stagnant. I haven't made any major changes on it in two years. This is something I don't plan to do myself, and I've been investigating people/companies to create a new site at a reasonable cost.
#10 - Get a new author picture taken. The current one is almost eight years old, but since I hate taking pictures, I'll have to force myself ...
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Well, those are my top ten. If you're an author, what are your plans for the next two years?


Victoria Valentine said...

Hi Chicki

Great article and excellent plans for the next two years.

I can identify with many of your points, mainly, to give ourselves a regular break. When I'm into a project, I never stop. I even work in my sleep, which is counter productive.

I have a newsletter that goes out at least once a month. We can cross promote if you'd like.

Victoria Valentine

bettye griffin said...

My two-year plan is to simply a) keep writing, trying to stay on my preferred four-to-six month-timeframe between new (not backlist) titles, b) get out more backlist titles, c) try the free thing for one weekend with a backlist title, d) blog more often, e) kick off my Southern town series, f) write my first novella (I tend to be lengthy), and finally, g) be open to changing my plan to suit present circumstances, because they always change!

Regina Duke said...

Excellent post! I am also a planner. I am in the middle of Year Two, during which my goals include adding six titles to my list. I've already gone live with Calin's Cowboy (a big one for me, 85K words), and I have three more lined up. So that leaves two others to prepare and publish before Feb 2013 (or May, if I use my first publication date to mark my anniversary).

Also, I will not allow on-line activities to swallow me whole.

I am very slow in some areas, but I am investigating the possibility of publishing via iTunes and Kobo. Just not there yet. :-)

Chicki said...

Thanks for stopping by, Victoria! I don't have a newsletter, but I'd be happy to do a feature for you here on my blog.

Bettye, good plan. I didn't even talk about the actual writing part. I too, am pretty verbose, and just published my first short this past winter, but it came from a novel that I cut into four different stories.

Very ambitious, Regina! I encourage you to get on Kobo ASAP. It is the easiest of all the platforms to do. In fact, it only took me about two hours to upload all of my books, and I've made one sale already.

Sean D. Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean D. Young said...

My plans are:
1. Make time to write, even if I'm tired, I want to take at least thirty minutes to write.

2. Update my author site. I'm always so busy working on other people's site, that I neglect my own.

Chicki said...

Thanks for coming into my world, Sean! Only thirty minutes? If you can get into an alpha state so quickly, that's great, but an hour would be more productive.

I'm looking for a web site creator. Please e-mail me and let me know your rates and where I can see some samples. Thanks!

Chanta said...

Chicki, I totally agree with you about the Kindle formatting. I've been writing all of my manuscripts in Kindle format since last year. You are so right- it makes life so much easier.

I find that the Smashwords format is the hardest for me, but once I've got it in Kindle format, I have a lot less to do.

I also plan my books out each year. I have certain books I want to release at certain times all the way to the end of 2013. I've deviated from this schedule twice, but it helps me plan and stay on track.

Thanks for sharing this!

Jackie H. said...

Sounds like a great plan! Especially taking a break one day a week and getting out and about. Do the work and leave the results to God:)

Chicki said...

Chanta, I'm easing up from this point on. Putting out five novels and one novella in two years kicked my butt!

Jackie, I guess I am truly a Proverbs 14:23 woman. "All hard work brings a profit; but mere talk leads only to poverty." I love what I do, but tend to work all the time. Gotta learn to chill a little bit ...

Ednah Walters said...

Hey Chicki, I like your number one, will plan on that. I'm already doing #2, Lit evernt won't happen any time soon for me and the Street Team is amazing and I need to start one for my adult romance. In fact, I plan to have a button for it. Otherwise, love your 2 year plan.

Diane Vallere said...

This is an impressive list that definitely represents you looking forward in your career. I recently penciled my own 2-year plans on a calendar. One of those goals is to use said calendar to stay on track. Already I'm learning that your #1 point is probably the most important/necessary.

Good luck!

Chicki said...

Edna and Diane, I never worked so hard in all my years in the corporate world. Working for yourself is a very different world. The down time is crucial.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi Chicki,
Listing those goals is a major step to achieving them.

If I could get a leg up on all the mss I have to edit, I'd be happy. Still, I'm breaking my goals down, so we'll see.

Sharon Cunningham Cooper said...

Those are some wonderful goals, Chicki! Wishing you the best!

Liz Grace Davis said...

These are great tips for any author to follow. Thanks so much for sharing.