5 Lessons Learned Between Books 5 & 6

CELLAR_155x_OPToday I published Lock the Cellar Door, Book #6 and the latest in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series. I’ve made it a tradition to share what I’ve learned between launches (here are the posts following publication of Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, and Book 5), so here goes.


After trying several methods to rev up my writing schedule and decrease time between book launches, I’ve given up. I decided I don’t actually want to work faster. Three books a year is it for me. More than that and I fear a psychotic break. Although I love to write and am ecstatic that I can make a little money at it, I do actually heartily enjoy (gasp!) the times when I’m not actively writing or editing, which is mentally intense. Give me some garden clippers and let me while away the hours pulling weeds or trimming the Vinca for a while. Amen.


I’ve been super fortunate to have gotten four BookBub slots since late December 2014. I still can’t get into a 99 cent promo on the platform, though, as so far they’ll only accept my titles if I offer them free. This has accomplished my goal of accruing reviews and bringing attention to my series, but I’m still finding the bump in sales doesn’t last longer than 3 – 5 weeks, so I haven’t “made” it into the big time yet (haha) where my book sales are consistent.


Twice my titles have made it to #1 Free in the Kindle store, and it felt really great. I’ve hit “Top Rated” lists – and stayed there – and in May, my Author Rank was #95 out of the Top 100 best-selling Authors in Amazon’s Mystery Category. It was short-lived, but I was proud all the same.


I’m a blinders-on-slash-plodder, “one foot in front of the other” kind of person. That means I’m a horrible multi-tasker and don’t do well with too many things on my plate. Because of that, I’ve stuck to the plan I created for myself in January 2014, which was to focus on writing good books in my current series. That means I’ve turned down interesting offers to join and be active in authors’ groups, write in Kindle Worlds, guest post on multiple blogs, be part of anthologies, and several other interesting – but distracting – projects.

There is no doubt in my mind that these activities would have been fun, lucrative, interesting learning experiences that also would have introduced me to people, platforms, and events that might have been great for my career. But I also know they would have slowed me down from my primary goal: writing more books to build my back list. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t jump on opportunities as they come along, I’m saying know yourself and your tolerance for busy-ness, establish what is most important to you, and weigh the pros and cons of opportunities before you jump in.

Release Timing

Late May and early June do not seem to be the best dates for a new book release. People are out living their lives after months of being cooped up indoors avoiding bad weather. They’re attending graduations and weddings, enjoying much-anticipated vacations. Nonetheless, my book is ready so it’s joining the other titles on my Amazon Author page. I’m hoping to eventually tweak my release schedule to December 1, April 1, and August 1.

That’s about it. Last book I declared I’d be using the “pre-release” option going forward, but for some undefined reason I decided not to do it with Cellar. Overall, I’m still riding the learning curve, but I feel as if – knock on wood – it’s not such a rollercoaster ride, or at least it wasn’t this time.

Readers, what have you learned as you’ve published books? Leave a comment and share!

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32 Responses to 5 Lessons Learned Between Books 5 & 6

  1. Sue Coletta June 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Congratulations, Molly! That’s wonderful. SO happy for you! And I hear you about weighing opportunities against a realistic work schedule. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Good luck!

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

      Thank you so much, Sue. I’ve learned the power of wearing blinders and putting “one foot in front of the other,” that’s for sure. Life is good. Thanks for your support!!

  2. Marla Madison June 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    As authors, I think we must be related! 🙂

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      Hahahaha! Cheers to you, sister Marla!

  3. elainepinkerton June 1, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    A very helpful blog post, Molly I have six books out, all with different outfits. The seventh is a new edition of a book I first wrote in 1986. I’m publishing with a small independent publisher, Ocean Tree Books (my guidebook SANTA FE ON FOOT, fourth edition). The publisher has been distracted, for lack of a better term, by other projects than mine. It seems the fourth edition will be coming out a year later than we’d planned. In the meantime, I’ve gotten my novel MURDER AT RED MESA, submitted to another publisher (Pocol Press, who published my first novel). I admire your productivity and amazing ability to promote!

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

      Thanks so much, Elaine. I really haven’t done much promotion other than the odd blog post and BookBub and Ereader News Today and Book Marketing Tools’ ebook submission tool. Well, now that I write it all down I guess it’s a lot. Still learning, though, just like my fellow authors! Best of luck to you with all your irons in the fire!

  4. Tammy Salyer June 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    Congratulations on your newest release, Molly!

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      Tammy, thank you so much!

  5. Dena Jo June 1, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Congratulations on your book. I’m dazzled by the fact that you can write three books in a year! I’m still trying to finish my first. If I could ever get up to three book a year, I’d be thrilled with my output!

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Thank you Dena Jo! I’m lucky, though, the past two years I’ve been able to write full-time. AND, I may not be able to keep up the pace – we’ll see!

  6. Edita A. Petrick June 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    I too join the others in congratulating you since you definitely ‘made good’ on the promise to yourself (I remember it in one of your earlier blogs) that you need to ‘release’ a new book soon but there were moving issues and such.

    You’re right. There’s so much to learn and it never stops. Thanks for sharing. I have to tell you, whenever doubts set in on my side, I go to one of your blogs to re-read it and that somehow helps to get me back on the path I know I have to walk and it’s not alongside any small publisher. I just can’t take those years – yeah, years between books and postponments (yeah, I echo what one of your other readers here said). And I absolutely hate censorship and it’s the first time I’ve run into it with my upcoming book. I don’t use vulgarities, much less foul vocab, no matter how much it fits the character: I insinuate it – I mean colloquial phrases as “..all hell broke loose.” What on earth can you replace that offensive ‘hell’ with in an idiomatic expression? But replace I must.

    If you allow me I want to share one thing I’ve learned during my first KDP – 5-free days promo. Even though ‘they’ say that weekends are weak spots for choosing a weekend day as your free day, it may be somewhat true but NOT always true. My weekend day was – a single one, not a double – an outstanding success. Correspondingly, Thursday was not. So choose what WORKS for you – for me weekend was a must since I work full time outside the home. Don’t be afraid to go against the advice, now and then…thanks again, Molly – Edita

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks so much, Edita! It can all be frustrating and overwhelming, that’s for sure, and keeping to a schedule is a challenge under any circumstances. I wish you all the best of luck with your books, and thank you so much for your lovely words about my posts. As for promo days, I’ve heard one of the worst days is supposed to be Friday, and I had a Friday promo that absolutely knocked it out of the park. So I agree!

  7. Tracy L June 1, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m learning that I have so much to learn! My first book comes out in July and I have been like a sponge for the last six months, trying to learn everything I can about book promotion and launches. It appears that writing the book is just a small portion of the process! 😉

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

      So true, Tracy! One thing I can tell you though, it gets easier – and you’re doing the right thing by reading everything you can about what successful self-pubbers are doing. Huge congrats on your first book and best of luck to you in all your future endeavors!

      • Tracy L June 2, 2015 at 4:21 am #

        Thank you Molly! 🙂

  8. Pamela Beason June 1, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    Oh, what I’ve learned could fill Wikipedia! The main problem is that book marketing is a moving target–the game and players change constantly, and it’s very hard to get the whole story on various advertising strategies. I find one of my best resources is asking questions in the Writers Cafe on kboards.com.

    There are never enough hours in a day to write/edit/market/and do your other jobs well. Some days I am glad I do not carry a loaded gun when I hear for the 100th time, “Well, Pam, here’s what *you* need to do…” No matter whether you’re indie or traditionally published, *everything* seems to be the author’s job these days. Arg. Still, I just can’t stop writing because I have too many stories in my head.

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

      Made me laugh, Pam, sorry!! And so true – the constant in the promo game seems to be BookBub, and I’m a little sad no one else has figured out what they do and duplicated it – a little competition would be good for authors. Still, yes, not enough hours to accomplish even a slice of it, and despite all that I will not stop, either. So good to hear from you – I’m still hoping to make my way up there someday! I’ve been saying that for about four years now … 🙂

  9. Dannie June 1, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    It’s nice to know a well written author that gives us all hope and more importantly advice.

    Great success to you, Molly!

    • Molly Greene June 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

      Thank you, Dannie! If I can do it, you can do it – even though my progress is in fits and starts and roadblocks and well, life gets in the way. Keep writing!

  10. Susan June 2, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    Congratulations on the new book, Molly! I look forward to reading it, but first I need to read books 4 & 5 in the series (which I am loving, by the way). Your advice is always so sound and once my feet are firmly back on the ground I will follow it more closely. I am currently in the throes of moving to another country so my life has been in perpetual upheaval for a few years and my writing has taken a back seat in the last six months. Hopefully that will all get back on track soon. Good luck with your sales for the new book!

    • Molly Greene June 2, 2015 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks so much, Susan, and I know how you feel – I’m just about to list my house for sale (finally!) and when it’s time to move, i suspect my own writing schedule will go out the window. We’ll both get back to it when we can. Best to you in all you do!

  11. cindy June 2, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    Hi Molly, Congrats on the new release:) I write and publish one book a year, I have 8 books out so been doing this a while. I am hybrid indie/small press published. That’s one thing I learned…I like having it both ways. I also learned that I am not good at sticking with one genre. I have learned to accept that I like writing all sorts of things. I’ve learned writing is all about finding joy in the process and for there to be joy I have to follow where my creative heart leads. I’ve learned that to write well I need to be “on fire inspired” about the project. I’ve had to accept that this is who I am as a writer, and while it may not be marketing friendly, it makes me feel the way I want to feel, and that, I have learned, is more important to my writerly well-being than anything.

    • Molly Greene June 2, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      Thank you, Cindy, and I agree – if your heart isn’t in the writing, i think it will show. I’ve been on fire myself this past year, but I have no idea if it’s sustainable or where it will lead me. I’ll have to wait and see!

  12. Tracy L June 2, 2015 at 4:22 am #

    Well said Cindy! You seem to be very in touch with your creative side!

  13. DK Walker June 2, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    Thanks for sharing What you’ve learned between books, because you I have learned that I need to space or the releases of my books farther apart…working on the 1st I a 3 part series and I was starting to crack…LOL. Going to give myself time to properly launch each book.

    • Molly Greene June 2, 2015 at 7:13 am #

      DK, it took me three years from the start of Book 1 to its release, then two years or so until the release of Book 2, then six months to Book 3. After that I took off. We all need to work at our own pace. Good luck to you!

  14. Joe June 2, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Congratulations on the new book! I admire your output and aspire to writing three books a year. Always enjoy your blog, too. Best of luck.

    • Molly Greene June 2, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Thank you so much, Joe!

  15. Laura Zera June 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    I found myself nodding vigorously when I read the “Method” section. It’s so hard to pass up great and interesting and fun opportunities, but I feel the same as you: I enjoy everything more if I have less to focus on at all at once, and I’m more effective.

    Congratulations on your new release, Molly! And wishing you many more (3x/year for x years = infinity?!)

    • Molly Greene June 3, 2015 at 8:29 am #

      “More effective” is the perfect phrase and true for me, as well, Laura. As for the writing schedule, I’m hoping for three titles this year for a total of eight in the series, then I may need to slow to 2 per year after that. But we’ll see!!

  16. Kim Wenzler June 3, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    Thanks so much for another great, informative post! And good luck with your latest release!