Sunday, October 15, 2017

Taking a break, soon

The party last night was a huge hit. ABout half the people invited could not make it, but that's ok. We  had about 15, plus two other dogs. It was fun, though Holly kept growling and barking at one dog, who was so cute and running around. Holly is quite terroritorial.

It was exhausting, though. By 11 p.m. the last of our friends were lingering and I was falling asleep. Last night I climbed into bed around 11:15, and we left the mess for today, and I slept until 6 a.m. I never get that much sleep!

Today we went to breakfast at Farmer Girl and we were going to Amelia's, but I pointed out that we still have to plant the hibicus we got last week, and we needed to clean up. So we returned home, and he planted and I cleaned the kitchen. We watered the garden as well, the flowers are blooming and it's looking good. The rain we've had has truly helped. The basket of lantana is blooming and the butterflies love it.

I feel like I'm getting back my butterfly garden after teh hurricane. Even the strawberry guava tree that got pushed over from Irma and is now propped up seems more sturdy.

Thursday I got a lot of writing done - 4,000 words. Then Friday was the cleaning lady and a friend came over to fix my computer. Very little done - esp. since I had to really clean up before the cleaning lady. Just stuff like putting away 2 cases of water, and 4 cases of dog food ordered before the hurricane, just in case, took time. But the house really needed cleaning.

It's been a crazy three weeks since the hurricane and Cookie being sick and Holly having major diarrhea, so I'm so far behind on my projects. I keep wondering what it would feel like to have nothing to do other than work PT at the day job. PPL don't realize how time consuming it is to write and promote. even a good friend who asked me about volunteering to read, and I had wanted to do it, doesn't understand how long it takes to write a book, let alone promote it.

Today I'm reviewing MF and then formatting, as I have to get it into the hands of the ARC team and have it uploaded to Amazon by Wed. for preorder final status.

I also looked at my book income. ha ha. 

This summer I decided to experiment with two different genres under two different pen names. The first was launched in a big boxed set with several other authors. It was "clean and wholesome." That boxed set made USA Today. I released the followup story this month.
I've made exactly $14 on all platforms with the follow up story. It was priced at 99 cents and it was a novella. The only advertising was a newsletter to the new subscribers for that name. I did this on purpose - to see if the boxed set readers would want to read the second story and they would be hooked on the first one. Big failure.
The second one was even more obscure. It was part of a PNR erotic serial released solely to KU. I wanted to see if releasing something new on KU, under another name, would garner any income.
That one tanked as well.
So my great experiment, in a summer filled with sales slumps for my backlist, has failed. I don't regret it because it was an experiment. And this is the good thing about indie publishing - I can pull the plug and let these pen names die a dignified death without worrying about fulfilling more books for a traditional NY publishing contract.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No more

I simply can't do this anymore.  I've tried and tried and I give up. 

Others writing in my genre are selling better. Working harder at promoting themselves, and promoting smarter. I can't do it. 

These days, for me to make half the income I made two years ago, I have to work twice as much and promote three times as much. And I simply do not have that kind of time. 

Working three days a week, and the work is getting more demanding, leaves me too drained at night to do any writing or promoting. That leaves Thursday through Sunday. And those are the days when I have errands to run, vet appointments to keep, things like renting out the condo, etc. 

There is too much information out there and I can't wrap my mind around it. Join this group and take advantage of our newsletter promotion! Reach more readers! Take out this ad! Post in this FB group! 

I could spend all my free time trying to plug my books and not have any time to write. 

That isn't why I aspired to become an author. 

This week has been overwhelming. Last week I spent all my free time, my writing/promoting time, on coaxing the dogs to better health. Running one to the vet. Cooking for them. Cleaning up after them. Every hour on Saturday, I was feeding them. No time to write. 

Last month I blew two weeks away because of Hurricane Irma. Prepping. Cleaning up. No power. 

This week everything is catching up to me. Applying for a loan so we have cash to fix things that the hurricane broke - like the fence. Paying bills. Cleaning the house for a party this weekend. 

You see, the party is really important to me because it means getting together with our friends. I've already sacrificed so much for my writing career. 

If I had an assistant who could help me - by sending out newsletters, and plugging my books and doing promotional things that work, maybe it would be different. I could focus on the writing. the research. All the things an author NEEDS to do to have a viable career. 

But I don't have one. It takes time to find one. 

I'm too exhausted to pay attention to this anymore.  Too discouraged. Too depressed. 

I'm done. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lowered expectations

I doubt I will finish Snowbound by Thursday. It's too much work.

I went in late to work yesterday because of dogs, stuff. Left work early for me - after 5. Then we went to dinner right away and got home, rested, relaxed, and we were in bed asleep by 9:30 p.m.

I managed to sleep until 2:30 a.m. - five lovely hours! Most I've had of straight, uninterrupted sleep in a long time. Went right back to sleep after the restroom. Woke at 5 a.m. when he fed Holly her chicken after fluids. Did the dishes at 5:45 a.m. and made coffee and then fell back into bed, curling up with my "marshmallows," as someone I know calls pillows, and holly. It was heaven, for 30 minutes. Got up and did another AMZ giveaway, which took time. And then made the doggies more food, which took time.

I had wanted to get to work by 8 a.m. at the latest. No such luck. Even with bringing my own coffee and not stopping for Dunkin, I didn't clock in until 8:20. Argh. Now I will have to stay late to make up my hours.

Such is life. I'm glad I still work, but it's rough with trying to finish books and promote. I'm working more hours due to more projects.

The great experiment with Tia was a complete and utter failure. The boxed set did great for others; not for me. I did make back the money, and that was it. I entered the boxed set with the expectation that I could launch a new pen name, and a new genre (clean and wholesome) without too much marketing effort - to let the readers in the boxed set read the story and then want to buy the next book.

Well, either they didn't care for my story, or never read it, or didn't want to bother with the next one, bc story #2 came out yesterday. i've sold maybe 28 copies on Amazon. That's it. Much less on the other sites. omg, what a flop. It's not the writing. It's a cute story. But no one wants to read it.

So there goes my summer of experimenting and I doubt I will finish Book #2. I have a website, which is free, and a FB page. I didn't want to spend much marketing money on this new name. I was in it to make money and it's a huge loss. Buh-bye. Sigh.

Anyway, the good news is Cookie pooped. That was a relief, for all of us, lol. I put a little olive oil in her food and thru an eyedropper last night. Both ate well, the pet sitter said. Crossing my fingers that they have really turned a corner. BC of that, we are still doing this party for Saturday. Birthday party to celebrate Cookie turning 15 Oct. 15. Its our 22nd' year anniversary, too. Just a reason to have a party - after the stress and strain of hurricane Irma.

Promotion wise I am trying to get more Amazon followers. Not sure if they will buy my books, but hell, at least Amazon will alert them when I have a new release out, which is more than I have now. Anything Amazon can do for me, I'll take. The marketing power of that monster is awe inspiring, which is why Book Bub does so well.

I looked at my book income for this year - yuk. I had a great month in May and I thought it was because of a new release and realized, no, my last new release - indie - was June. May was the Bookbub. Sigh. I can't seem to get another one.

I need to figure out a promo schedule and a writing schedule. Try to have some balance in my crazy busy life. The minutes keep ticking by quickas I blink.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Playing catchup

I'm so far behind on projects. Last Sunday. Oct. 1, Holly was doing great and then Monday she got sick with the runs. She was sick ALL week and then Cookie got it. Today, a week later, both "seem" ok. Such is life with elderly dogs.

I spent thursday cleaning up after her, worrying about her, doing stuff like cooking for her. Friday took her to the vet. Saturday was giving them both baby food every hour to have a little something in their tummies.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to sit down and really write. I wrote 3,000 words on Snowbound. I have a good idea where this is going and how to end it, but I was supposed to be writtng the HQ book due in 2 months. The only way I will finish the HQ book is by taking a few days away by myself to power write.

And then I"m taking a break from projects.

I did make time on Friday, after rushing poor Holly to Quiet Waters bc the immodium was NOT stoping the runs, to meet the girls for breakfast. Two precious hours, including time spent talking with TH about the business. So glad I did this. I needed to break free.

Someone on a loop on FB posted an article about women going through a midlife crisis and how it is harder for women these days in their 40's than it was our parents' generation. I agree. We are under so much pressure to earn money, do more, do it faster. I never seem to catch up. ON Thursdays and Fridays, my writing days, I end up doing errands.

I did indulge in a book last night before bedtime and read, which was a real treat!

Hopefully by Thursday I will have Snowbound almost all finished.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

just ugh

Everything is catching up with me.

I had intended to finish/make good progress with SB/Adrian's book. Tuesday we had to rush poor Cookie into the hospital with a suspected brain tumor. Thank you sweet lord she is OK. And then the TFH (code word for our current PITA) dealt us a prob and I had to deal with that. Major time suck, looking at old paperwork, consulting with a friend, etc. That was Thursday and Friday, my precious writing days.

Today is Sunday and it's a really not great day. I've worked all weekend, trying to get caught up. Irma shaved two weeks off my writing time, so all weekend I have been frantically trying to finish frenzy. No work done on SB. I had planned to release SB in November. Adn I have my HQ book I MUST start writing again. It's due in two freaking months.

This crazy pace, and the 60% drop in my book income, is not worth it. Soon as I turn in my HQ book, I'm not writing.

I need to focus on me, and my needs. Not trying to make money. The promotion to put into a book, to sell a few lousy copies is astounding. I want to be having fun on weekends, instead of chained to a desk.

Today I:
- sent out a newsletter about my new Oct. HQ release (1 hour time)
- finished Frenzy (4 hours and edits)
- paid vendor bills (1 hour)
- uploaded messages to FB about books (1 hour)
- uploaded stuff for the pen name's book out this month
- tried to revise the listing for headers and subheads for AMZ so they won't reject my ad again
- applied for a bookbub (fruitless)
- wanted to bang my head against the wall (productive)

This business is slowly killing me. It was good when I made enough money to help pay bills. Now it's just sucking out all my energy and my life.

Monday, September 25, 2017

New stuff

Started writing a new novella that I intend to come out in December. It's going to be no more than 20,000 words and it's Adrian and Darcy's story. He's such an arrogant alpha and she's a shifter who can turn into any animal or insect form.

Asked readers if they would be interested and got an overwhelming response of yes. Now I have to make time to write it, as this is the last week I allocated to myself before starting serious work on the Colton's book due in December.

No rest for the weary author. Wish I made more money from my books. This has been a horrid month on Amazon. The worst. I have not promoted my work, but all the same, it's so horrible.

But I'll keep trying. We are looking at our financial picture and planning for the future.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Writing, recovering, etc.

Still a little shaky after last week. Tired. Post hurricane stress exhaustion, I guess. Between that and trying to play catchup on projects like Mating Frenzy, I'm pretty wiped. working m-W as well.

But also focusing on the future. Really liking the idea of buying a place in the mountains of NC to escape for the summer for the next hurricane. The panic, frenzy, fear and everything else, plus not having power, really grinds into you.

Lots of stuff to think about.