June 2017 Goals

Welcome to another bright, shiny month! Can you believe how fast May flew by? I still feel that the conference I went to the first weekend of May was last week.

May was pretty crazy for me. Fun, amazing–but crazy. I accomplished a lot, but none of what I set out to do. Odd how that happens sometimes. But that’s the thing about a new month–a chance to try again!

My Goals for June:

  1. Get into a routine where I can better balance work and homeschool. I already have my schedule laid out, so it’s a matter of getting everyone on board and sticking with it!
  2. I got my first round of edits for Aletheia back, so I need to get those done before vacation at the end of the month, if not sooner. I’ll continue getting up early in the morning to edit for a couple of hours.
  3. Do a shakedown and reorganization of my work layout. I’m going to be focusing more on social media and book marketing (instead of editing). So, there’s going to be a learning curve. Plus, I’ll be changing my daily focuses to reflect this change.
  4. Get my homeschool paperwork organized!
  5. The first step to getting my health under control is to plan better meals! My husband and I are working together to plan out menus and find meals that we all enjoy.

I’m going to print up these goals and hang them up by my desk. This way I can see them every day and remember where my focus should be.

What are YOUR goals for June, work or personal?

Book Marketing: And so it Begins

Book marketing is a fun subject for me. I love hearing what other authors have tried, things that have been successful, and tactics that have failed horribly. Book marketing is definitely not a science–more like an art influence by science.

As I begin my journey to release my 2nd novel, I thought many writers might like to know how I do things, learn with me. And many readers may find the process fascinating. I’ll be sharing details about marketing plans, tips and tricks I learn, and some differences between the launch of my 1st self-published novel and this 2nd traditionally published novel.

 

MY BACKGROUND

If you’re new to my blog, then you may not know about my self-publishing journey. About 18 months ago, I began to publish a whole novel broken down into 4 parts. I published the first 20,000 words in October 2015, released the parts sporadically, then combined them and released Bellanok as a whole book in October 2016.

Why did I do this? My agent and I decided that self-publishing a stand-alone novel would help to build a following, which might make me more appealing to traditional houses, which are always looking to see what kind of platform an author has, especially a debut author. (So, writers, start building your platform today!)

Ultimately, we decided to break the novel down into parts as a way to offer something new and gain more followers by continually putting my name in front of them. Did you know readers may have to see a novel from a new-to-them author up to 7 times before they’ll purchase their book? Yep.

 

A NEW NOVEL

In October 2016, along with celebrating the release of Bellanok, I also signed a contract with Elk Lake Publishing for a YA fantasy trilogy! I was so excited–you have no idea. Well if you’re a writer, you might. The trilogy is an allegorical tale based on the premise question, “What if the armor of God were real?” I won’t tell you much more than that, for now. Muahahaha …

Currently, I’m working on substantive edits. But it’s also time to get my book marketing plan started. Ideally, an author should have 3-6 months to plan and execute their marketing plan. Aletheia, the first novel in the trilogy, is due out in September, which gives me about 4 months.

 

INTERESTING FRUSTRATION

I ran into my first major issue with the book marketing plan a couple of weeks ago. Quite by accident, I discovered 2 other novels by the name of Aletheia releasing this year. A supernatural suspense released in March, and a futuristic sci-fi or dystopian releases in July.

What? Are you kidding me? How dare they steal my title? Just kidding. I thought Aletheia, which is Greek for truth, would be an unusual enough title to grab a fantasy-lovers attention but not be copied. Apparently, I was wrong. Now, my publisher, agent, and I are in talks about what the new name will be. Stay tuned …

THE BATTLE PLAN

Every good marketing strategy needs a good plan. Every good plan is based on knowledge and experience. I’ll use what I learned from the Bellanok launch and the studying I’m doing to put together a snazzy plan for success. Only time will tell how smart of a plan it ends up being.

So, with each post I’ll share the goals I have for the next month.

 

Study Book Marketing

This is a continual process. For me, both as an author and as a social media manager, keeping up on the latest research, trends, tactics, and experiences from other authors and marketers will help me make the best choices for my book launch and for my clients.

I have about 1,000 emails in the Promotional tab of my email Inbox related to some aspect of marketing. I’ll be slowly whittling those down as I learn and apply. Also, several marketing-related books found their way onto my Kindle. Yes, I can get obsessive and one-track minded when I’m learning something new. (I did the same thing when I decided to homeschool my kids.)

 

Determine Marketing Budget

One of the most important parts of developing a marketing plan is to determine the budget. Budget will help me divide out which strategies I can use and which are out of my price range. I can’t very well place an ad in a magazine when the cost is $1500 and my budget is only $500.

There are a lot of “free” options for book marketing, which I fully intend to take advantage of. But there are also some great opportunities out there that may cost a bit. For instance, I want to have a graphics person develop social media images for the cover reveal and launch. I’ll be investing in book marks and maybe some cool swag.

Since I am not self-publishing this time, I don’t have the up front costs of editing and book cover design. Instead, I can invest more in my marketing strategy.

 

Layout Marketing Schedule

Since it’s only 4 months until the release date, I need to write out when tasks need to be accomplished–and what those tasks are! I am using Google Calendar to layout the basic schedule, and ToDoist to keep track of my to-do lists.

I need to plan out street team tasks, ARC reader deadlines, cover reveal timing, blog tour schedule … and a bunch of other stuff. Not to mention actually getting the editing done for the novel. Yikes!

 

Put Together my Street Team

I’ll talk more about this in another post, but, for those who may not know, a street team is a group of 15-50 people (I’ve seen different numbers), who are passionate about an author and their novels, who work together to get word out about the author’s latest project. While I don’t plan to DO anything with the group until the cover reveal, I do want to get the group in place.

 

Research Blogs

One of the funnest parts of the Bellanok launch was the blog tour, which was about 3 weeks long. However, one thing I quickly realized is most of the blogs involved had very similar reader circles. This meant I really wasn’t reaching new readers.

This time, I plan to research different blogs that may want to host me or do a review during the tour. In addition to author blogs, I hope to find blogs based on different aspects of my novel, like

  • homeschool blogs because my novel is a YA with strong Christian themes
  • book review blogs with a stronger following
  • Christian blogs
  • Other blogs that center around themes and topics addressed in the novel, like embracing your calling, overcoming self-doubt, challenging yourself …

 

And so it begins. Book marketing, done well, is an intricate plan that is as individual and unique as the author and the book itself. The more knowledge an author has, the better they can plan. I’m glad you’re on this journey with me, and I’d love to have your input along the way.

Are you a writer? Or a reader? Both? 

Do you have questions you hope I’ll address as this series comes out?

 

If you’re a bookworm like me, be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter! I celebrate new releases (mine and other authors), share interesting tidbits about life and writing, and indulge in other booknerd fun! Plus. on Monday, I’ll be drawing a winner from my subscriber list to win a copy of The Progeny and Firstborn by Tosca Lee!

May 2017 Goals

I can’t believe it’s already May! The first 4 months of 2017 have flown by in such a blur, I can hardly remember anything that’s happened. Of course, a lot of that has to do with my medical issues. Ack! But enough about that.

May is a fun month for me because it’s my birthday month! I like to celebrate hobbit-style, so I have a bunch of giveaways, sales, and other fun coming up.

But first … let’s talk goals!

It’s been a few months since I had a goals post. That should tell you how disorganized I’ve felt. But, along with my health, I’m getting my life and work organized! I have a lot going on in my life between writing, editing, social media, homeschool, and regular life stuff. The more disorganized I am, the more stressed I get; the more stressed I get, the more apt to get sick I am; the more sick I am, the more disorganized I become. Vicious cycle!

I’m working with my doctor to get my health on track and working with my husband to get home life more organized. I will get on top of things!

In other news, I launched my first newsletter last Friday. My plan is to use this tool to keep everyone updated on all things fiction (mine and others) as well as adding in fun and encouragement. You know, typical Ralene. If you haven’t signed up yet, you should do so! I’ll be making an exciting announcement in the next issue!

My Goals for May:

  1. Get into a routine where I can better balance work and homeschool. I already have my schedule laid out, so it’s a matter of getting everyone on board and sticking with it!
  2. I got my first round of edits for Aletheia back, so I need to get those done before my birthday. That’s my goal. I’ll continue getting up early in the morning to edit for a couple of hours.
  3. Do a shakedown and reorganization of my work layout. I’m going to be focusing more on social media and book marketing (instead of editing). So, there’s going to be a learning curve. Plus, I’ll be changing my daily focuses to reflect this change.
  4. Get my homeschool paperwork organized!
  5. The first step to getting my health under control is to plan better meals! My husband and I are working together to plan out menus and find meals that we all enjoy.

So there are my goals for May. What about you?

 

What are your goals for May, work or personal?

 

Share your goals below so we can keep in touch. If you haven’t already, head over and like my Facebook page, which is where we’ll check in during the month.