Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Year in Review: Karyn Gerrard Style!

Before I was published for the first time in May 2011 (Signed contract in March 2011) I used to do Sims Stories using my Sims 2 game. Complex serial-type stories with multi-plots and characters. The shot above? My vampire serial which is still a source of inspiration to me.

I no longer do Sims stories and the blogs have been long removed from the internet. But I learned a lot from doing this. How to plot. How to create characters. Improve my writing (still on-going) Also, it was a hobby. Relaxing.

When I became published, the Sims fell to the wayside. I had a new hobby! Yes, some of you are shaking your head and tsking, but this is not a job to me. I have no illusions I will sell hundreds of copies a month because I am not writing to the audience. The top romance book of 2012 at Goodreads as voted by readers? Fifty Shades of Freed *cough*  I stuck my toe in the erotica waters with a couple of short stories, but even they were tame compared to some I see making the best-sellers lists.

So what did I learn in 2012? A lot.

Contracts offered in 2012: 14   I doubt the coming year will see that kind of output, but who knows?

Due to contract violations, I had to ask for rights back from a publisher and was given two published stories and one upcoming release back. Stress level? High. Trust level? Smashed.

Doing a free read will introduce you to a few new readers who never heard of you, but does it translate into boffo sales? Nope.

Hardly anyone it seems, buys their ebooks from the publisher. So lower prices, sales, reader incentives do not seem to matter in the long run. People like one-stop shopping that the third party sites offer.

Do a few short stories to give readers a taste of your writing, but don't expect to make any money at it. It seems books priced under 2.99 (for example at Amazon) are subject to a higher cut, so after the publisher takes their slice, you are making pennies. Literally.

My sales kind of suck at Amazon. Doesn't matter how many likes, tags or reviews. Have no idea why. Just when I think I am not selling any books, the royalty statements come and I am blown away. I do far better at All Romance, Bookstrand and even Barnes and Noble. I don't get it. Well, at least I am selling a few. Better than none at all.

Social Media is overblown in its importance to sell books. I promote because its expected. But finding the correct formula that works for you takes time. I tried several things this past year to see what works for me personally.A few things didn't work so I am fine-tuning for 2013.

Blog Hops work to a certain extent, you can get more followers on twitter, Facebook etc. However, you notice the same names commenting over and over. Are you reaching any new readers? Its a toss up. Still, turn out is fairly good with hops so I am going to continue with them.

One new year's resolution is to hang out at Goodreads more. Yes, it can be a mine-field, but logic states you would find more potential readers there. Some days at Facebook, I hear crickets. Is anyone out there? *knocks on monitor* While its great to connect with other romance writers, potentially you would like to interact with readers. Doesn't seem to be happening at Facebook. That's fodder for another post.

I learned your publisher is not your family. Sorry to sound bitter, but I have good reason. Don't put your eggs in one basket (So glad I didn't) And in the new year, I will be expanding by seeking out new publishers. I am spreading it around, baby. I am even less interested in self-publishing. Why? Too much work, too much stress. I had enough with the writing thing this year.

So what did I learn? What works for one person, does not work for everyone. Find your own way re: writing, promo, social interaction. Know your contracts, keep in touch with fellow writers. Try to keep your emotions out of the equation and in your social media dealings.

Am I looking forward to 2013? You bet.

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