As 2019 comes to a close I thought I’d share with you some of my highlights of the year along with taking a peek at what I’m planning in 2020!
In no particular order.
Getting Out & Meeting Readers – With over ten public appearances, 2019 was the first time I left my writing world and took my published novel out to meet the readers. I attended numerous events at WHSmith stores across the south east of England, a literary fair and even ran a few market stalls. Not only did I meet some very interesting characters, I also got to meet people who’d read and enjoyed my books! Such a great feeling!
Releasing Three Books – Of course one of my highlights had to be releasing three books. Across the year I released SURVIVOR, BEFORE THE END and OPERATION DAWN WOLF, in that order. All three are so different to each other. Plus I released my first audiobook too, launching IN THE END via Audible!
Connecting with People – After starting a mailing list in the first quarter, I’ve managed to take it from nothing, to over five hundred readers, many of whom have embraced my work and send me lovely messages every time I send out a newsletter.
Reviews, reviews and more reviews – Still my favourite non-writing aspect of being an author is getting great reviews and so far at least, I’m only getting great reviews. My latest release OPERATION DAWN WOLF has only got five stars! It was always going to be a risky release because of the unconventional format and concept, but people seem to love what I’ve done. Let’s hope I can continue this into 2020!
Audiobook Break Even – I broke even with the audiobook production costs after just over six months and now every sale is profit. I’ve not sold many since the break even but as I continue to build an audience for the series I know the audio sales will come. This lead me to the decision to produce all of my books in audio format, but because of the production costs and the amount of additional time I have to put into the process, I’m not treating this as a priority.
Lessons from 2019
Here’s a quick list of the things I learned during last year.
Large Print Books – The large print format for IN THE END has been out for over six months and I think I’ve sold around 5. The production costs are low so I may do this again for my other books but it’s at the bottom of the task list!
Release Deadlines – Be realistic! I have a tendency to put a load of pressure on myself to release as quickly as I can. With BEFORE THE END I thought I could get the book out in the summer of 2019 but instead of achieving this arbitrary goal, I made sure the book was 100% ready for release.
Jury’s Out – One area which I’m still not completely settled on is the issue of being ‘wide.’ I like that my books are available in so many retailer’s online outlets, however I’ve sold a total of five books so far across all of the vendors! This could be because the Zombie / PA genre is not strong in the areas and the theory is that this should improve with the more books I have out, however I’m still concerned about the readers and income I could be losing by not being in Kindle Select. This is a big decision to make in 2020.
Since the middle of last year my goal had been to release seven novels by the end of 2020, a total of nine by mid 2021, and not only am I on track, I’ve made space for the release of a novella in the summer of 2020.
I’m always thinking about how to drive readers to my mailing list (and therefore my books). I’ve decided another avenue for this would be offering a free novella in the retailer’s store. I’ll need to write one for the Spy-Thriller genre (covering both the Harris & Fisher series) and one for the post-apocalyptic series. I’ve already planned out the first of these and made the announcement to my mailing list.
My only other major goal will be to achieve a mailing list subscription of 2,500. I currently have nearly 600 subscribers.
That’s about it for now. I’ll be back next week with a more complete update including my preparations for events in 2020, facebook advertising results and an exciting announcement about one of the Facebook genre groups!
P.S. The cover for OPERATION DAWN WOLF is in this month’s AllAuthor competition. If you fancy voting then you can click here!