Writers who are dedicated to selling their books, sell more books. This is not a game for the faint hearted. Stephen King sold books from his car to bookshops when he was getting started. The 2016 equivalent is being on social media and producing interesting, shareable blog posts at least once a week, about your book, your themes, your characters, your locations, anything connected with the book, which will inspire a desire in people to read it.
The above line got me thinking about this blog and what I’m doing right and wrong with it. I like the ideal of posting three times a week, but I don’t think that the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule is working for me. There have been times in the last few weeks where I didn’t have the time, energy, or emotional fortitude to write blog posts. Writing novel stuff became the priority due to deadlines and feeling of accomplishment. One thing I want to get back to is pre-loading content, so I don’t have to worry about my dry spells. There are days that the muse is in a better mood than others and I need to take advantage of that.
Content and tone also seems to make a difference. My biggest posts since the move, based on stats and Twitter reaction, have been those where I shared my expertise and passion. Right the Writer used to be about my endeavors in tech and writing. This one has been a little more scattered as I tried to do too much with it to create a huge author platform in a short space of time. It and I became unfocused. No more.
There are experts who have plenty of posts on blogging and writing. Very few have the unique perspective of a writer / web developer. None of them know my writing like I do. This leads me back to concentrating on writing and tech again. Meet a Writer, or as I call it Meet the Author, for introducing other authors isn’t going away, neither is my sharing of interesting articles. With the latter, I’m going limit their frequency and variety so it doesn’t it seem that I’m quoting the same person over and over again. I also want to make the articles I write about more relevant to my writing instead of just commentary on the article
Someone wondered why I wasn’t promoting myself under my own name. I am, sort of. Facebook and Google+ are all about Ani H. Manjikian. Twitter uses @lonehorseend, but has my name in the description and my picture as the avatar. Everything else is under lonehorseend, my name, or a combination of both. Lone Horse Endeavors is my DBA, accomplishments, and technical side. Lone Horse Spirit, this place, is my essence and creativity. I need to keep those two separate.
Rebranding myself under my own name is just too big of an investment of time and money at this point. Besides, Lone Horse Spirit hasn’t had enough time to establish a foothold. Some would say that’s a perfect moment to change things. I disagree. Too much flux, in some cases, is worse than not enough.
Also, there is a matter if I’m using a pen name or not. Stars of Heros is going to stay under my real name because that’s established for that series. As for the rest of my ideas, I’m seriously considering AH Mann for science fiction and something a little softer for the YA stuff. Haven’t quite figured that one out yet, because the pen name I want to use belongs to an Australian cricket player.
If I go by conventional norms, three separate writing names means three separate websites. I just went through a consolidation process to simplify my life. Why would I want to complicate it again? Lone Horse Spirit captures who I am no matter what name I use. Granted, it’s close to Spirit of the Lone Horse, but in a way that might be a good marketing ploy.
Five draft methodology
My implementation of the 5-draft method as a means of keeping myself from over editing seems to be working. In fact, it stopped me from going off the deep end today.
Because of a sense of unbelievability tickling my instincts in A Dream to Share, I changed the extent of an injury and added a reaction by someone. This reaction affected a conversation in another chapter that I had already marked completed for its stage. Under my old methodology, I would have read through and made changes as I went along until I reacted the part that I actually needed to change. In this case, I found a little more tell than show and a couple of rough grammar things. I ignored the grammar, noted the tell, made my needed change, and went back to the section I was working on. No long drawn out process, no interrupted thoughts. It was wonderful.
A week later…
It’s been a week since I released Legend. Wish I could say I’ve already sold 10,000 books. I haven’t. I’m continuing my writing and trying not care, but, worry and concern hang over my head. Its feels like a repeat of Spirit to me. It isn’t. Only a week and a better book, I just need to keep tweaking my marketing approach. I got another one out there, which is important because I’m no longer a one-offer. With people mass producing books, it may take number three or four before things get going.
Am I happy with that? No, but it’s life. As the book selling article points out, “There are readers out there for you book. You have to find them.” Finding them means being myself and letting my personality show. As I said yesterday, packaging myself, or my works up, in some smelly perfume just to appeal to the masses isn’t who I am. If I went by the norms, I wouldn’t be writing at all. Heck, I wouldn’t have had the rich life I’ve had so far. Has it been a struggle? Sometimes, but I’ve also defied expectations.
What I’m working on
Jo, the main narrator of the Stars of Heros, is yelling louder than Mel, from The Fantasy Reject League, at the moment so I’m indulging her. I want to get back with Mel as soon as I can, but every time I look at her book I come up blank, so I’m not forcing the issue. My muse obviously wants to continue the momentum of SOH, so I’m going to let it.
My next goal is to release another book toward the end of the year. What, I’m not sure yet. We just have to see what progresses faster.