What’s Next? …by Susan Lute

So my life has settled into a weird kind of routine. Predictable? A little squirrely? At this point I’m not sure. Exactly.

In my office are two desks. One with dual screens (very nerdy…and cool, btw) for the day job, which takes up eight to nine hours a day, Monday through Friday. I don’t work that job on the weekends. Never seem to have time to get to it, so consequently I remain just a little behind most of the time, though that’s getting better as I get accustomed to the work. The other desk is my writing desk. Yes, I have a whole room for my office. That in and of itself is very cool. And yes, I’m always behind in my writing.

Or I would have said that before yesterday and my Rose City Romance Writers meeting. Matt Buchman who writes as M.L. Buchman gave a workshop titled, Managing A Book-Managing A Career. Matt does what I do, or did until recently, working a full-time-plus, demanding job while navigating a writing career. And he gave me, especially, perspective. Thanks for that Matt.

During his presentation, he mentioned several blog sites he likes to visit. On of them is Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She has a great website. I enjoyed visiting. But in the meeting when I first heard her name, I thought, isn’t that the woman who wrote the books the tv show Bones is based on? I had to google. That would be Kathy Reichs and a great example of art imitating life. If you’d like to investigate more, there’s no question, Kathy and Temperance are both interesting women.

So, in the sometimes mysterious way knowledge is bestowed upon us, Matt talked about project management and how it relates to writing a book. At the end he talked a little about writing a business plan and what that would look like in the eyes of the project manager (namely the author). Because his was direct, to the point, I – who always have a business plan, though not necessarily up to date – started rewriting mine while at dinner with up and coming new author, Gina Fluharty. While deciding what to blog about this week, this morning I went to Matt’s website, found Kristine on his Cool Links page, had to google Kathy, followed the yellow brick road until I came to Dean Wesley Smith’s page (who it turns out I’ve previously visited a time or two), and his current post, The New World Of Publishing: Promotion.

This is the thing I’ve struggled with the last two weeks as I published The Broken Road and worked at getting the word out. How much promotion is enough? How much is too much – translate this to read, a waste of time? And how do you decide what works and what doesn’t? Where’s the best place to spend that most precious of commodities? Dean gives some sound advice.

There’s a lot to think about. I’m at the tail end of my promotion endeavors. I’m re-writing my business plan for 2013, keeping it real, simple, and to the point. And finally, it’s time to start writing again. I have two projects in mind. Bear’s Full House, the next book in my Falling For A Hero series; and Keeper Of The Dragon, the next Dragonkind novel. Okay, I have a Christmas short story to do first. When that’s finished, what’s next might be clear as mud.

What cool thing have you learned this week?

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on October 14, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi Susan, Thanks for the nice write-up. It was fun studying a few of the parallels between the two worlds that are my life. As to promotion, like everything else, you must think about the balance and always, always, always question the status quo.

    By the balance I mean asking yourself the question of how is my time/money best spent. Is it with a “free” promotion? Is it with mailers? Is it with heavy self promotion? Is it with intense tweeting? I expect everyone’s answer to be different, but the thing I intended to emphasize is doing a risk or cost/benefit analysis of that effort vs. writing effort. There are people who spend $1,000s more on promotion than their book will ever pay back and there are people who just write the next book. These aren’t simple questions either. My job for the last 10-12 months was all 60+ hrs/wk. So, the choice is easy, pare down everything to the bone and just write. My circumstances, my choice. You just need to consciously make your choices, not simply “do” them. Which is why I always question the status quo, even my own, every quarter when I review my business plan, and every day that I sit down to do something other than write with my free time. 🙂

    Thanks again,
    ML “Matt” Buchman

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  2. I was also lucky enough to be present during Matt’s presentation. Thanks for posting the blog link, I will go check it out now.

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  3. Matt is a very cool guy and knows project management. I’m sorry I missed his presentation. I’ve been following Kristine Kathryn Rush and Dean Wesley Smith for a very long time. They both have over 100 books published and have been in this business since the 1980’s.

    In terms of promotion, I know Dean is of the opinion the best promotion is to write the next book. He’s probably right, but I just can’t do only that. I’ve been doing a lot of research on what works and doesn’t for me. It is VERY difficult to discern, even when I have monthly numbers. The problem is that without talking to the buyers you don’t really know what got to them. Was it an ad? a blog tour? meeting you at a signing? a friend’s recommendation? The only thing I can do is make a SPURIOUS correlation between a promotion event and a bump in the next month. So far, there are only two things I know for sure. 1) When a new book comes out, other books get a bump; and 2) Blog tours (if they generate sufficient reviews of 8 or more) get a bump. The rest, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll know more after the end of the year.

    I’m doing a big multi-pronged blog tour for Healing Notes Oct. 30-Jan. 30, and I’m going to do a GoodReads giveaway next week. I decided the only paid ads I’d do would be in Book Breeze and Night Owl Reviews–and that’s really because those owners are friends and I want to support them. I don’t know that either actually get me sales. I’d love to hear from others if they’ve found anything that works.

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    • Maggie, two things actually worked for me this year that I can correlate to a burst in sales. RT ads, and the KDP 5 days free giveaway done all at once. Will they repeat themselves? We’ll see 🙂

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