Too many cookies. Too much rich food. But one wonderful Christmas. My daughter and son-in-law from Florida came up to stay with us from Monday to Sunday, and my grandson’s staying with us over college break. What a bounty of good times! So no writing got done, and I don’t care. But I did a little marketing for my latest book release, and hopefully, I found some new readers. I had good luck with kboards, if anyone’s thinking of trying it. I got my newsletter up and running, and hopefully, I’ll find MORE readers with that. Sometimes I want to kick myself that I haven’t made more progress, but looking back (it’s that time of year) over the last 2 1/2 years since I put up my first e-books, I realize that I’ve learned a lot. And I want to keep learning.
I’ve talked a few times about marketing–how I’d have been ahead if I wrote a series and posted a new book every three or four months with the same characters and setting. But I didn’t, because I didn’t have a clue when I first started e-books. And I think that’s made it harder for me to find readers, because if they liked Fallen Angels, then they really didn’t pay much attention when I published Wolf’s Bane with an entirely different set of characters and supernaturals, and they scratched their heads when I published Empty Altars with Greek/Norse myths as the story’s base. On top of that, I wrote a kazillion (okay, probably not, but it felt like it at the time) novellas to post between books. Not my most brilliant move, since each series of novellas was completely separate from the novels I posted–so there STILL wasn’t any set of characters and familiar settings to follow. I shake my head over my lack of marketing brilliance, but you know, when all is said and done, I’m happy. Sometimes, stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you grow as a writer. And the past two years pushed my learning curve harder than I’ve ever been pushed before.
My daughter, Holly–who faithfully reads all of my first drafts–missed the mysteries that I used to write, so she bugged me to come up with something that combined paranormal with a mystery plot. I love odd challenges like that, so I started the Babet/Prosper series–still my “go to” novellas when I want to write for myself, for fun. Mostly because, Babet and Prosper have become “voices” in my head who are pretty darned particular about how I treat them on the pages. They like getting central billing over any clever mystery device I can think of, and I’ve tried for some of my favorites. One Less Warlock–in the first bundle–came to be because I wanted to test myself and see if I could write a clever, locked room mystery. A Different Undead (in the first bundle, too) is a “face in the crowd” mystery–when you see someone walking around who’s supposed to be dead. I’ve had a great time with Babet and Prosper. I have a new one to post early in 2015, and then I’ll offer the first bundle at a special price or maybe for free to try to find more readers for them.
My agent asked me to write a romance this year, something I considered impossible to do. But I wrote one, and I’m happy with it and so is she. I don’t know if it will sell, but I’m glad I tried it. Each new thing I’ve taken a stab at has enriched me as a writer and forced me to grow. I’ve stretched writing muscles I didn’t know I had.
I’ve read a lot online lately about writing quickly for e-books, and I’m not against that. Writers who post a book every other month develop a following faster than writers who take half a year to write a book. I get that. All that I’m saying is that some of my all time favorite authors whom I’ve read for YEARS have let me down this last year–(not in urban fantasy, I might add. I love Ilona Andrews’ and Jeaniene Frost’s new series). But authors I usually buy automatically feel like they’re sick and tired of writing the same, old thing. I know writers need to make money. And I know there’s pressure to produce more and more. But my goal for 2015 is to do my darndest to make each book I write better than the book before it. I hope you stretch your wings, too, and find a way to combine writing and marketing into a happy blend. May 2015 be a good writing year for you!