Welcome to 2018 - A new year. A new writer me.
Every year I re-invent my writing self, based on how the year before played out. Last year was a rebirth for me and my career. Throughout 2017 I concentrated on my LA Dragoni persona by rebranding Ghost Touch, (self) publishing Guardian’s Touch and then releasing Again, For Love (Torrid Press). I carefully followed marketing plans I learned from successful marketers. I worked hard to build my platform so that my release would hit fans on several fronts. The rebranding of Ghost Touch and pre-release of Guardian’s Touch gave positive results and I felt encouraged.
Yet, in the end it all came to absolutely nothing. Sales of both GT’s stalled after the release of Guardian’s Touch and Again, For Love (my favorite book so far) went absolutely nowhere. I’ve been publishing for over seven years, so I know building a following doesn’t happen overnight. But over those seven years I’ve also worked dang hard to stay current with my marketing techniques in order to keep my work in front of readers and I’ve learned a few things.
1 It’s fricking hard to keep up with the changes in marketing.
2 It can be expensive.
3 It is more and more difficult to get your work in front of readers because of the sheer volume of books being published.
4 If a book doesn’t take off at first, it isn’t likely to later.
5 I’m tired.
On the Kai Strand side of things, I struggled over what to work on next. I had a YA contemporary out on submission that was being considered by a publisher. I sent a YA mythology to my crit buddies that I want to self-publish. I asked my talented son to make a cover for a contemporary middle grade that I got my rights back on a while ago. The first cover he did was adorable, but not in the right format and we don’t have the correct tools to convert it. My crit buddies are just too busy with life to work on my mythology and I don’t have back-up critters that I know well and am comfortable with. And I finally got a rejection from that publisher.
So, all in all it was a really discouraging year. This industry has changed so much in the twelve years I’ve been writing. It went from authors having few choices, to having lots of choices, to having too many choices that just create white noise for readers. Please remember, this post is about my career. I just can’t get traction with my writing. I have some wonderful, loyal readers, who I am so, so thankful for, but beyond that I can’t seem to resonate.
And because I’ve worked so very hard over the years and it has only gotten more difficult instead of easier (there are other factors that I’m not detailing here, which add to the overall struggle) I’ve made a big decision for 2018. I will continue to write, because that’s what I do. And I will continue to publish – because I truly value my loyal readers and I really do love sharing my stories with the world. But I will do it on my own. At my own pace. No frills. No whistles. No bells. I’ll announce new books when they are available through my newsletters and on my Facebook pages/Twitter, but that will be it. If you truly want to know when I have a new book out, I suggest you make sure you’ve subscribed to my newsletter or follow me on Amazon (or both, if you need two emails to make sure you see things.)
It is super uncomfortable for me to say this out loud. There are so many reasons why I hate to put this in writing, on my blog, for all to see. But I really want to make sure my readers know.
I plan to re-release Save the Lemmings this month. My son made a new cover. See how ADORABLE it is! I’m just waiting for the full wrap for the print version. I’ve spruced up the book a bit, too.
I will also be publishing my YA contemporary soon. It’s a fricking great book, dang it. I don’t understand why it wasn’t picked up. I just have to come up with a cover and that isn’t as easy as I want it to be. Dang I wish I could do it all! Or more accurately, I wish I had the money to just make it happen the way I want. Ha ha.
Beyond that, I don’t have specific plans. I want to publish the 3rd Touched by Afterlife book, just don’t know when. The original February date was sidelined when sales tanked for that pseudonym. Can’t pay for a cover if I’m not making money.
The YA mythology is another mystery to me. Do I take the time/chance to work with critique partners I don’t know? Do I go it alone? I really wanted input on this one and I’m kind of frozen without it. I’m about halfway through writing the second book in the series and wanted the first book more solidified before I continued.
Can you see how writing is a bit like playing Tetris? You have all of these moving pieces that are different sizes and shapes and somehow you have to figure out how to fit them together before it all implodes. Okay, imploding might have been a bit dramatic. Though, it does feel that way sometimes.
I see many people stating their ‘word for the year.’ I can’t come up with one. By removing my self-induced deadlines and chucking the marketing aspect of writing, I’m simplifying my life. But that doesn’t really incorporate all I’m going through. Because this (for a lack of a better word) failure in my career has spurned me to focus on my life. Spend more time with friends, improve the quality of my family time. I want to volunteer more too, just don’t know where or how. So, my word could also be engage. Is there a single word that portrays both simplify and engage?
I’m actually excited about it. Though I always wanted my books to be my main source of income, now that I’ve decided that I’m done struggling to make that happen, I’m excited about the possibilities of what I can do with my reclaimed time and brain power. Maybe my house will be cleaner. Maybe I’ll lose some weight. Maybe I’ll become President, though I won’t be tweeting much anymore, so…
The possibilities are wide open for me again. AND I’ll still be writing and publishing. That’s pretty cool! But, if you’re one of those few who care about my books, you’ll have to work a little harder to know about them. Sorry about that.
Cheers to a simpler yet more rich writing life in 2018. Let’s see what it leads me to next year.