As I cruise through week 5 since launch, I’m becoming adept at juggling all the components of “authorpreneurship.” Here’s an overview of what I’ve done.
- Writing The meme in my head says “Write the sequel, write the sequel, write the sequel” (when it’s not spewing the lyrics of various Hamilton songs, that is). OK, meme, I’m on it. I already wrote about 10k words of the sequel about 8 months ago, so I’m not starting from scratch. But I did a fun exercise this week that helped me organize the plotline of the historical narrative. In Scrivener, I wrote out the basic plot, separating out subplots for their own mini-narratives. Then I jotted down the outline of each scene on an index card in Scrivener, color coded each by POV (point of view), and assigned each a status: “To do,” “Shi$$y First Draft,” “Getting there,” and “Nailed it!” I also added word count goals for each scene (which will be adjusted as time goes on, but it’s a nice incentive). Then for my grand finale I printed them all out, glued them to actual index cards, and dealt them all to myself.
Now I’ll lay them out on a table from time to time as I write the first draft, shuffling and reshuffling them. I have them separated into three sections: Beginning Hook, Middle Build, and Ending Payoff. This is straight from the Storygrid method by Shawn Coyne. Some scenes will get tossed out, and a few new ones will be added. The final step has yet to be done—I need to go through each scene and make sure it contains value shifts (positive-negative, negative-positive, positive-double positive, negative-double negative etc). But for the most part, my historical narrative is primed. It’s a much more organized method than last time. I’m particularly psyched about the subplots. Instead of figuring them out on the fly, I have already dealt with their issues and I haven’t even started writing them yet. Of course, there will be changes along the way. I learned with The Girl from Oto that the research and creative process inspire new and better plot twists–I can’t wait to see what they are! Final note—I’m using the 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off approach for writing. And I’m trying to wean myself off interrupting writing stints to do research. Instead I’m marking the places that need a bit of research to round them out, and will deal with that separately.
- Marketing/Promotion Do I love marketing? Nope. But I don’t hate it either. I’m learning a lot about how to promote and market a book in today’s oversaturated book market. This week I researched Kindle Countdown deals and came up with a plan for that. Basically if your e-book is exclusive on Amazon you can conduct one of these promotional deals each 90 day cycle. You discount your book for a set number of days and arrange for simultaneous promotion elsewhere on the Internet to draw people to your book deal. After a lot of research and queries to people in my FB author groups, I decided to use Fussy Librarian to promote my deal. It only costs $12, and will go out to a list of 100k lovers of historical fiction. I’ll probably promote it on a few other sites and do some targeted FB ads too. I also set up my Goodreads author page, entered an award contest (again, after much back-and-forth with people who’ve entered various contests), and deliberated about whether I’m going to shell out the big bucks ($400) for Netgalley in hopes of scoring a ton of great reviews. From anecdotal accounts, Netgalley is a total crapshoot and can end up giving you a lot of terrible reviews, but some people have hit the Netgalley jackpot and gotten dozens or even 100+ great reviews. Still undecided on that one, leaning toward “nah.”
- Admin I sent out books to people, followed up with people who expressed interest in writing reviews or having me speak at their book clubs, updated all the plugins on my website and found a free backup option for my website with BackWPup. Here are directions for how to do this—you need to have a Dropbox account to get it on the cloud using this method. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to back up your website. I used to run a website about true adventure called Armchair Adventurista, and when it was hacked I had to shut it down, partially because I had not been regularly backing up all the files. I still have a FB page for Armchair Adventurista and how I miss that website! But no time for it these days anyway.
- Bummer department I renewed my membership in the Historical Novel Society and prepared to send my novel to them for review, only to discover that they no longer accept independently published books for review. The site says they have a committee of people working on a new way to deal with indie books. I imagine they’ve been flooded with indie books of varying quality, so I understand the predicament. BUT. I wrote them a very polite email expressing my disappointment and telling them that if this is still the case when my membership expires in a year, I won’t renew again. Why pay to belong to a club that doesn’t want you? Life’s too short.