Happy New Year!

standingintherainbow
Dancing With Wieners Star, Maksim Hotdogski (alias Maks)
Is Wishing You a Face Full of Rainbows All Year Long

Just want to take a minute or two to wish each of you a wonderful, prosperous, and MOST of all, fulfilling 2017! I have a real good feeling about this one! Haven’t made any hard and fast New Year’s Resolutions, though I did get a Fitbit for Christmas, and am amazed at what a good job it does of keeping me accountable, and reminding me to get up from this desk and MOVE, every single hour. What I have done, though, is set some goals, large and small, and one of them is to find more time for marketing each week. This past year was my worst at that since I first started writing. But I’m collecting ideas, tips, and strategies, and I’m ready to implement some of them.

We’ve gained a lot of new followers here at The Write Stuff in the last couple of months, and I’d like to welcome you all aboard. This is a blog for writers and about writers, and we encourage you to share news, promos, release information, and more with us. Several of you are already set up as contributors, and I’m hoping you’ll post here often this year. Those of you who aren’t can contact me (see About/Contact button at top of page, right under the header) and I will be happy to post news for you. I’ll also be glad to explain how you can become a contributor, too.

Next week, I’ll be getting back to my regular blog features: #MondayMeme, #MidWeekPOV, #ThorsDaySmile, and #InspirationBoard Sunday. I left out #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, because I’m thinking of changing that slightly, perhaps to an interview format or something else a bit easier on guests. Often, guests don’t have time to compose a full blog post, so I’m hoping to find a quicker way to have folks visit us on Fridays. Will get back to you on that as soon as I know how I want to do it, but rest assured, Fridays will still be a day for guests to drop by.

In the meantime, let’s all head into 2017 with confidence and good cheer. Remember, Life is what you make of it–YOU have the power! And I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with this brand, new year!

Roll on, 2017! The Write Stuff is ready for you!

 

Preparing for the post-Christmas rush

Bloodling WolfWith my newest release at the copy editor, I’ve been spending a few days cleaning up my backlist in preparation for the post-Christmas kindle craze. Here’s what I’m doing:

Updating keywords. Supercharge your Kindle Sales is the best book I’ve found so far on this topic.

Cleaning up blurbs. Gotta Read It! is really helping me get a handle on writing blurbs that sell books.

Checking on back matter. I’m busy adding buy links to all of the titles I mention in the back of my books and am checking to make sure my email-list call-to-action is also clear and easy to follow.

Changing out covers. All of my covers were originally homemade, so I’m spending a bit getting replacement covers for a few titles that needed it the most. For example, take a look at my new cover for Bloodling Wolf to the right.

Planning a sale. I’m running a free period for a couple of my books the week before Christmas, hoping they’ll get in the public eye and be higher in the rankings once they go back to the paid store. I’m also thinking of a countdown deal right after Christmas, although I suspect everyone else will be doing the same, so that might not be a realistic time to try to move up the rankings.

I’d be curious to hear from others. What do you typically do to put your best foot forward for the Christmas season?

To Plan, or Not to Plan?

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That is my question. A certain part of my brain thinks planning is very uncreative, and that writing, like any other form of art, should be a spontaneous thing, like mold growing on an old shower curtain. (Okay, eeww.) Another, more practical, part of my brain says having a Plan…capital “P”…is usually a good idea. Trouble is, I’m at war over the issue.

Without a Plan, I tend to flounder, wait until the last minute to do things, get off track and spend too much time doing other, non-productive, stuff…things like that. Yet, with a Plan, I immediately rebel, and start to drag my heels, feeling forced to do one thing, when I really want to do something else. Having a Plan tends to stomp all over my enjoyment of things, like writing. So it’s a Catch-22 thing for me, and mostly I’ve been ignoring the whole issue. But recently, I realized my whole life was out of control. Too much freedom was actually keeping me from being as creative in my work as I wanted to be, because it was keeping me from focusing on anything. So I decided to write out a 5-year Plan, based on my personal needs at this time of my life, and incorporating some of the things I’ve been reading about.

My Plan is simple. It consists of Two Parts:

Part 1: Write ten decent books in 5 years.
Part 2: Learn some marketing techniques and tactics that don’t keep me too busy to accomplish Part 1. 

That’s pretty much it. Simple. Direct. Easy. Doable. And yet, I immediately felt the pressure. When I say I work anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day writing or doing writing related tasks, I’m not kidding. And that’s a lot of work for most of us, but especially for those of us who are feeling the effects of the aging process more each year. Sitting that long at my computer is difficult at best, and downright painful at worst. No need to go into all the aches and pains in detail, but believe me, they are there, keeping me awake at the end of the day. And don’t even get me started on my vision issues.

The point is, I end up trying to do more and more, faster and faster, in less time, so I don’t have to spend so long at the computer at one time, yet hoping I still have a chance to meet the goals laid out in my plan. And then…surprise!…I get tired, frustrated, and stressed, and fall  even farther behind.

My solution was to accept that my Plan is merely a goal–something to aim for, not something carved in stone that can’t be deviated from. I can allow myself to work toward this goal, yet stop punishing myself when I fall short. I think my Plan is a good one, doable at a rate of two books a year. But I can’t set myself up for failure, by insisting I work ridiculously long hours that exhaust me both physically and creatively.

My Plan is now a flexible one, which gives me a sensible, attainable goal to work toward, with room for improvising built in.

Do you have a plan? If so, is it working for you? Keeping you on course, yet allowing for detours in the road? I’d like to know what’s working for you guys, and what’s not. Hope you’ll share some thoughts with us.