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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year 2015 - What it means to me

Happy New Year to all!  May 2015 be your best year EVER!

I have plans for this year, big plans. And do you know the best way to be held accountable for your plans? Make them public! So, here we go.

Plan One - Publish (at least) Three Novels in 2015

This should be easy. But if you've ever published a book/novel, you know it's not that easy.

I am almost ready to release a prequel for my WWIV series. I have three minor changes to be made, one last round of betas, a quick edit, formatting, and wah lah - it should hit the web. This is a novella actually (approx 20K words) and I plan on giving it away for free. Oh yeah, a title would be nice.

Book Three of the WWIV series is finished and in the hands of my first betas. After any necessary changes it will go out for first edits, one more round of readers, and then line edits. With any luck, WWIV - Basin of Secrets will be released by spring of 2015.

Then comes Book Four of the series; WWIV - Finders Keepers. While it is still in rough, first draft form, I already know of several changes I'll be making. After I release Book Three, I will get Book Four into the hands of my betas. By fall the entire process should be completed, and the fourth of five books will be published.

Plan Two - Advertise Smarter in 2015

Let's be honest; if you are a new author, you've probably wasted a fair amount of money on advertising your babies (your novels). And since there's no one secret to success, your trial and error method of tossing money about like chips on the roulette table hasn't worked very well. At least that's my experience thus far.

This year I am going to take my time and plan my marketing activities with some logic and reason. One of the ideas I'm dedicated to this year, is to make a concerted effort to make my budget reasonable with measurable results. What does that mean? Let me show you.

Many of us think we can spend $50 a month and sell thousands of books. Okay dreamers, that's not going to happen. What if you decide though you were going to spend $500 this first quarter on advertising? I bet you'd focus where that money went with a little more effort.

As self-published, independent authors we "cheap out" a lot. Spend $20 here and $49 there and hope we achieve some sort of results. Big authors with big publishing companies behind them spend thousands, ten of thousands, of dollars on marketing. I'm not saying that I have that to spend. But on a smaller scale, I bet I can make $1,000 this quarter go a long ways towards name and brand recognition, right?

And how about I do some activities where I can measure my results; that's a good plan. I've already bought into the idea of separate landing pages for each of my books. This way, I can have my team (daughter and oldest son) drill down into the data that comes from the pages and make more informed decisions as we spend more money.

Yes, I will spend $1,000 to sell a mere 500 books (basically a break-even). This is because it increases my readership, helps my rankings, and gets my brand (WWIV or Smith Chronicles) in front of more and more potential readers.

Plan Three - Be Benevolent in 2015

There are three causes I stand firmly with: Literacy, Anti-Bullying, and Helping our Vets.

I will give at least 10% of my 2015 earnings (usually marked by gross sales) to the causes and some of the many charities that represent them. Last year (2014) I had $6,014 of gross sales from books. My goal for 2015 is $15,000. Given these numbers, I plan on giving at least $1,500 to charities associated with the three causes listed above.

I will keep you updated as the year progresses.

What are your plans/goals for 2015? Please feel free to share them with me, or the world!

Here's to a great 2015 for all of humanity.

e a lake

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