I’m a big believer in making lists and having a plan. I don’t always follow the plan exactly, but I’ve got one.
It’s good, essential even, to have dreams, but you have to have a plan for how you’re going to get there, or you’re likely to flounder around without making much progress. I believe in setting goals which are measurable and within my control to achieve. I start with the big goal, then break it down into smaller steps as I get closer. As the saying goes, life is what happens while you’re making other plans, so I like to keep my plan loose until I’m almost ready to implement the next step. You might call it “just in time” management. I don’t see the benefit of nailing down every detail far in advance, when circumstances might change.
I’ve had one quarter of being a publisher as well as a writer. If sales continue at the current pace, I’ll break even in 22 months. My dream is that the pace of my sales will increase as I continue to bring out more books, but I have no direct control over that. What I do have control over is how much I charge for my work, and how much I spend on the various components of publishing. I also have control over how much time I spend on free social media promoting my work. I don’t have control over whether time spent on social media converts to sales.
So how am I going allocate my time and money in 2012?
- The majority of my time will be spent writing, revising, and publishing two books. I’m currently preparing a backlist novel, DANGEROUS TALENTS, for publishing. DT should be out by May. I’m also writing FIRSTBORN, a tie-in novel in the Celestial Affairs universe that LIGHTBRINGER began. I plan to release FIRSTBORN in the fall. Then I’ll either begin work on GUARDIAN, the next Celestial Affairs novel, or prepare FORBIDDEN TALENTS for publishing in 2013. I will not plan another Christmas release as I did in 2011.
- I’ll continue to use social media to let the world know that I, and my books exist. I’ll blog a little less frequently, and tweet a little more. I’ll look into guest blogging so I can reach a new audience.
- I’ll send review requests to blogs that discuss the kinds of books I write.
- I’ll make personal appearances at events I enjoy: The Amore and More talks at the Pima County Library, the Tucson Festival of Books, and TusCon Science Fiction Convention.
- I’ll send postcards to book events advertising my books. I’m not sure how immediately effective this kind of advertising is, but at least it has the benefit of being targeted to readers. In direct mail campaigns a 1% conversion rate is pretty standard. With a targeted campaign it might be as high as 3%. Hmm. Now that I’m doing the math, that’s not a good return on investment. I may rethink how I implement this.
- I will research less expensive alternatives to certain production tasks, like cover design.
- I’ll research inexpensive advertising opportunities to implement once Castle Rock Publishing has three titles for sale.
- I’ll stay flexible and keep my eyes open so I can take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
Mostly this year, my focus is going to be on making my work available for sale. My long range plan is to release a minimum of two books a year. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂
12 responses to “My Self-Publishing Journey: Planning 2012”
I can’t wait to read your new books. I wish you much success in 2012!
I’m getting ready to send DANGEROUS TALENTS to the editor next week, and I’m trying to figure out what I want for the covers of DT and FORBIDDEN TALENTS. Because they’re largely fantasy, I want to strike the right balance. These books are close to my heart and I’m pulling my hair, trying to get this right. Wish me luck!
I am curious as to why the change of mind about spending $ on cover art. The cover remains a big influence on my purchases. Would you please elaborate?
Tara, I agree, cover art is very important. I’m not so much changing my mind as considering the possibility. At the moment, I’m thinking I might be able (with practice and time) be able to create good, inexpensive covers for my short releases. It takes 286 sales at .99 to pay back a $100 cover. That being said, I’m still evaluating the idea. I think I would enjoy noodling around, and learning this, but I also have to think about whether my time would be better spent writing my next story. On top of that, I LOVE the cover Rae Monet created for WITH HEART TO HEAR. I wouldn’t have that if I’d done it myself. And unless I discover I have a hidden talent for doing cover art, I’ll definitely continue hiring a pro to do the covers for my novels.
Great plans- I hope they bring you a lot of success. I want to make a plan, but I have no idea where I’d start. I need to figure out what I want to accomplish.
Thanks, Alica. You’re right, you need to know what you want to go after before you start setting goals. I’m not saying this is true of you, but I’ve had the experience of hiding what I want from myself because I was afraid that what I wanted would be too hard, or not approved of by people I loved. Sometimes I just didn’t know, and had to wait until my subconscious figured it out and sent me a memo. Good luck to you!
I think you’re right- I am afraid of succeeding or failing- both can be a challenge. I need to sit down and figure out what I want and how to break that into smaller steps. Thanks for the inspiration!
Alica, I certainly understand about fearing both success and failure. (Maybe I should do a post on that!) I’m confident you’ll move forward when the time is right.
Great plan, Frankie. Looks a lot like mine. Except I have a great cover art designer who I can’t do without–luckily the cost is very reasonable. I haven’t spent a tremendous amount for promo yet and I’m still figuring out what works–like you. I like twitter, not sure how well it works for book sales. I don’t get into facebook as much.
Biggest cost: editing services. No way to do without it.
With your plan to keep writing and publishing, you can’t go wrong! Wish you a great sales year in 2012!
Thanks, Stephanie! Yep, my biggest cost is editing services, but it’s too important to do without. I love my two cover artists, too, and want to keep putting a good “face” on my books. I won’t be making any big changes for a while, but I think it’s only good business to keep an eye on costs.
Good luck, and great sales, to you, too!
I am pleased that you are laying out your plans. I plan to have another book out this year and it is good to see how others are promoting their book I wish you the best.
Zombie Zoo http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006K7CVLS
Thanks, Sharon! Good luck, and good sales, to you!