2017: Nothing to Brag About

I’ve worked hard on my writing for the last few years.  The first year I signed with Kensington, I had three romances come out.  Three more came out in 2017.  When I finished the last romance, I wrote a mystery and turned it in.  The Body in the Attic will come out in November 2018.

Nothing I’ve tried, so far, has worked the way I thought it would.  Way back when I got my agent–who’s with a great agency and really good–I thought I’d sell books and start being more successful.  But I was writing urban fantasy back then, and the market was glutted, so she let me put up digital books (the agency did that for me), and I marketed them myself as Judith Post.  I did EVERYTHING wrong, because I didn’t know any better, but I learned a lot, so I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then my agent suggested that I write romances, because there was a market for those.  I’m not suggesting that writers should chase markets.  But my particular market was almost impossible to break into at the time, so I was willing to try something new.  And I found out I liked writing romances.  And Kensington offered me a contract for three e-books.  My agent really liked the romance I’d sent her.  My editor really liked all of my romances, so I was feeling pretty successful.  But I took a mis-step on that, too.  Kensington did a beautiful job of promoting my first Mill Pond romance, so I assumed they’d do the same for the rest of the books.  Not so.  My second book came out, sat around for a while, and then fell.  I meant to pay for a blog tour for my third book, but my publicist said that she’d already signed me up for one.  It used the same excerpt and blurb for each stop and didn’t do much.  My fourth book came and went, and I finally paid for advertising and promotion for my fifth and sixth books, but I did too little, too late.  I was hoping romances and a publisher would jump start my career, but not so much.  I hope my mysteries start out stronger.

I thought when I got a publisher, I’d sell more books.  Not really.  I should have hit the ground running, promoting myself more, but I didn’t.  Marketing, for me, is as tricky as always.  I’ve been happy with the blog tours I did with Gallagher Author Services and The Goddess Fish promotions.  I chose tours that offered unique material for each stop.  They’re more work, but I think they’re worth it.  The first Facebook ad that I placed did well, but the second wasn’t as effective.  Not sure why.  I tried Tweet ads, but they didn’t work for me.  The truth?  No marketing has made a big difference in sales except Book Bub, and it’s a miracle if they accept new authors anymore.  So I feel stymied with markets, too.  I know I need to promote myself, but it’s a crap shoot if whatever I choose works or not.

I write a blog once a week, I put something new on my webpage once or twice a week, and I tweet, but I’m not sure that any of that leads to sales either.  I enjoy sharing and staying in touch with fellow writers and readers, but I can’t really call it marketing.

For the first time, I joined a group author giveaway during December as an experiment.  B. L. Blair organized it and did all the hard work, spoonfeeding the authors who signed up for it.  She’s wonderful to work with and is starting to look for fellow mystery writers.  Here’s her blog:  http://www.blblair.com/blog.html.

With the giveaway, I got a lot of e-mails that I can add to a mailing list (if I ever get off my duff and start a newsletter).  And the giveaway was a great experience, but I have to be honest.  Most of the authors took their turn on the giveaway and then didn’t support any of  the other authors.  That confused me.  I thought the whole purpose of joining together was to WORK together.  I tried to retweet each of my fellow writers, but only a few of them retweeted each other.

To wrap up, I accomplished a lot this year, but I’m ending 2017 with more questions than answers.  Maybe 2018 will be the year when everything comes together.  I hope 2018’s a great year for you–and happy writing!

 

Webpage:  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter:  @judypost

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6 thoughts on “2017: Nothing to Brag About

  1. Judi, I’m with you on all the promotion stuff. I have tried a slew of different things, some of which have worked very well and others which have fallen flat. Facebook ads are still my go-to, but I have a feeling they aren’t going to be as effective moving ahead. I’ve been hearing rumors FB is going to become less friendly for authors, and their ads are going to be more pricey.

    I haven’t had good luck with blog tours, only those I organize myself. I love Goddess Fish—they are such a class act, but I see the same people commenting on every stop on every tour as if scavenging for gift cards. Until that concept changes, I think I’m done with paying for tours myself. I haven’t done any for that reason on my last few books.

    I was excited about your mystery giveaway until I read how so many of the authors didn’t support the other authors in the giveaway. Like you said—authors need to work together. So sad that they didn’t see that.

    I’m excited about your new mystery series and wish you all the best for 2018. When the time comes for your release and promotion, I’ll help in any way I can. Happy New Year and all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I get the feeling that most people who visit blog tours and giveaways are only after free gift cards, too. On the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, though, I had 50 people sign up for a free e-book, so that was encouraging. And B. L. Blair sent me all of their e-mails for a newsletter. The 12 Days were romance writers. Maybe mystery writers are more supportive of each other? But I’m sort of surprised how many authors don’t retweet fellow writers, even when they’re published by the same publisher. Maybe they don’t need any help?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought supporting each other was the whole point of a group giveaway. B. L. Blair was wonderful, though, and so were you. I tweeted every single author, but some of them didn’t even tweet themselves. Not what I expected.

    Like

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