5 Lessons Learned Between Books 6 & 7

by Molly Greene

MIDNIGHT_155x-12-12-15-v2 Midnight at Half Moon Bay is out, Book 7 in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series, and it’s become a tradition to share what I’ve learned, good and bad, since I published the last title. Lock the Cellar Door went live May 31, leaving a long stretch to cover. Here goes.

The good

1. Good things come to those who wait

and prepare. I was lucky enough to receive a lovely, unexpected opportunity in late October, when I was approached by an ACX-approved audiobook producer. He emailed out of the blue to ask if I’d be interested in turning my series into audio. OF COURSE I WOULD!! I replied. Mark of the Loon is now live on Audible, and The Last Fairytale is in progress.

I asked how he chose me. He said he looked for good reviews, and authors who were sucessfully self-promoting. So next time you groan about all the book promos you set up, and the blogging and social media work you’re doing with no apparent payback, think of me. Takeaway? Good fortune can come knocking when you set yourself up for it. I’ll write more about the audiobook process soon.

2. My books picked up lots of reviews

One of my biggest 2015 book-related projects was to use free BookBub promos to generate reviews for each of my titles, with the ultimate goal of growing total reviews for each past 100. I did it – for all but Book 6, Cellar, which BookBub declined both times I submitted it. I’m really pleased, as those reviews played a part in the audiobook deal. Still, rats re: Cellar and BookBub.Which leads me to …

The bad

3. Marketing is a moving target

The book promo game is ever-changing. I was hugely fortunate Dec 21, 2014 – Nov 1, 2015 to score seven Bookbub promos, which boosted sales and KU borrows. But my last three “free” submissions were rejected by BookBub, leaving me out in the cold for holiday exposure, while my peers with fewer reviews were accepted at 99 cents. Darn it!

I have recently noticed fewer freebies in BB emails. This suggests a couple things: 1) BB makes more money on 99 cent promos and their readership has matured to a point where fewer freebies isn’t irritating, and 2) the books getting accepted are “wide,” meaning available on multiple sales platforms. So I am mulling the fact that I may have to pull my titles out of Select in 2016, or come up with a marketing strategy that is not BB-centric. Good luck with that!

4. Life intervenes – or, I let it

I accomplished an enormous amount in my personal life during the past seven months. But by September, I realized I was ignoring a ten-page list of low-grade annoyances that added up to days chock full of irritation over one thing or another, things like long, witchy hair, an original Kindle which I use constantly in my work that now had the tendency for half a page’s pixels to go dark without warning, a rural cable company with unreliable Internet service that was crazy-making.

I was ignoring and putting up with a dozen things that didn’t work, and those misfires grew to a point where they were running my life. They interfered with my ability to work. They put a cap on my joy.

So I went down the list. I chopped off my hair and donated it, upgraded my cell phone, tablet, and computers (and so am now learning all new platforms), applied to renew my passport in hopes I can travel in 2016, bought some necessities I desperately needed. All this took a chunk of time away from writing – but the takeaway? I don’t feel distracted and irritated all day long. That makes my work more enjoyable, too.

The ugly

5. Writing gets easier, and it gets harder

I love my job and I’m grateful and excited over what I get to do for a (however small) living. But I won’t lie, I sometimes feel burnt to a crisp. While the “process” gets easier with subsequent books, the task itself gets harder with some. I sometimes reach for the whiskey bottle when other authors gush that “they were so excited about writing book #535 that they got the whole first draft down in four weeks.”

While I’m happy for them, these revelations can be depressing, especially when I’m flogging myself to get out the word count. I feel like I’m not doing enough. So when that happens, I mute social media for a while. The truth for me is that some books flow out like a raging river, and some are more like an abbreviated trickle in a desiccated desert. Regardless, being a novelist is a business that requires self-discipline, and I apply it, but I won’t be able to pop out books every two months. And that needs to be okay with me.

Authors, what about you? How do you balance the good with the bad? What have you learned along the way?

All original content by Molly Greene is copyright protected – did you enjoy the article? You can show your support by checking out Molly’s Amazon Author Page – and hey, buy a book while you’re there! Or, subscribe to this blog and you’ll never miss the weekly posts. Your email will NOT be sold, shared, abused, or rented – that’s a promise. If you’re not already, follow @mollygreene on Twitter. Mwah! Thank you so much.

5 Lessons Learned Between Books 2 & 3
6 Lessons Learned Between Books 4 & 5
5 Lessons Learned Between Books 5 & 6



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15 Responses to 5 Lessons Learned Between Books 6 & 7

  1. Belinda Pollard December 14, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    Congrats on the new book, Molly! I already know it’s good. 😉 😀 You are a force of nature, to have made it to Book 7. Stop comparing yourself to the Book of the Month club, and start comparing yourself to members of the Slow Writing movement like me, and you’ll feel 100% haha

    I’ve just put out Book 2, and it’s a different book, a memoir about life with my dog, so I found there were learnings from publishing the novel last year that I could apply, and there were whole new learnings…

    I need to collect them all together in my mind so that I can record them and make use of them for Book 3!

    • Molly Greene December 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      We’ve talked about this before, you and I – even after Book 7 I have no real checklist for a book launch. Maybe 2016?!

  2. Garry Rodgers December 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Great insight, Molly. Thanks for posting this!

    I find having an internet connection available is a real productivity vulture as it’s so easy to stop writing and check emails and watch dog videos on Facebook… 🙂

    So, I spend a 3 hour block each day at the university library where you have to have a student number to access the wi-fi. The library is open to the public, though, and its architecture is to die for. Problem there is – it’s on the side of a mountain with an incredible view over British Columbia’s Gulf Islands and south to Washington State. I’m far more productive on rainy days 😉

    • Molly Greene December 14, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      I agree about WiFi, Garry. I loved to a cell phone hotspot w/limited data. It’s cheaper, faster, more reliable than my previous cable Internet – and it’s mobile – but since data is limited, I keep it off most of the time. And THAT is a productivity enhancer. I can’t help you with the view issue, though, nice problem to have 🙂

  3. Bridget Whelan December 14, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your experience – always valuable. Largely because of you, I applied to BookBlub twice this year: once for a giveaway & was turned down and once for 99c. They accepted me and while I was delighted, I was also nervous at parting with so much money for a one day promotion.
    Was it worth it? A resounding yes – both in financial terms & Amazon ranking. I didn’t get many reviews out of it though, although maybe that takes awhile. Like you, being in Bookbub also boosted my KU borrows so all in all a very positive experience.
    I’m a UK author wanting to make more of impression in the US market & I would never have invested in BookBub if it hadn’t been for you.
    Have a happy & productive 2016

    • Molly Greene December 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      Congrats, Bridget! Free promos get more reviews, no idea why. Are your books available only on Amazon, or are you on other sales platforms, as well?

  4. Sue Coletta December 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    You’re perfect just the way you are, Molly, and very inspiring! I can relate to a lot of things you’ve discussed. What I do is to celebrate the small victories along the way. While wading through slush piles it was the only way I could keep the dream alive. And now, it allows me to gage how I’m doing without comparing myself to other authors (which can be the kiss of death). No matter how small the victory take a moment to reward yourself, even if it’s only with a piece of chocolate or extra reading time. It works remarkably well.

    • Molly Greene December 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

      Today i will celebrate the fact that I’ve met fabulous people through my blog. Mwah! Thanks, Sue.

  5. Kim Wenzler December 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    Hi Molly,
    I always look forward to your posts and have taken away so much already. So thank you!
    Congratulations on your latest book and on the news about your audiobooks. This is so wonderful.
    I have not done BB yet-afraid to spend the money. Silly, I know, especially since the lower-cost promos aren’t making a difference. You get what you pay for, I guess. I’m going to have to take the plunge eventually.
    I also believe we have to work at the pace that meets our lifestyle. I really want to put out more than one book a year, but it’s just not possible for me. I’m right there with you reaching for that whiskey bottle.
    Always such a pleasure to read your posts. Thanks!! Best of luck.

    • Molly Greene December 14, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks so much, Kim. Your 2nd book is published now, but BB will be even more effective once #3 comes out. But do what your gut tells you, and meanwhile, I’m taking a shot here with you in mind. Cheers! *glug glug glug*

  6. Jet December 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Congratulations on book 7 and your audiobook news. I’m one of your newer subscribers and I enjoy reading your posts. I’m not published yet, hopefully in 2016, but I can truly relate to those life interventions and little annoyances that need attention. Plus here we are now in the holiday season with all the “to dos” that must get done. All the things that take away from the writing time. I guess there will always be something.

    One thing that helps me in my writing process is taking 2 – 3 hours a few days a week at the library. There I completely focus on writing with no connection to the internet. Although I do think I need to increase the number of days at the library.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I’ve certainly learned a lot. You’re a “rock star” in my view!

    • Molly Greene December 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jet. I’ve tried the library, but I find it distracting! For me, it’s much better to turn off the WiFi and work at home. Best wishes for a happy holiday and a fabulous New Year, and congrats on your upcoming book release!

  7. Nancy December 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    Your post is great and right on target. I especially agree with this: “So next time you groan about all the book promos you set up, and the blogging and social media work you’re doing with no apparent payback, think of me. Takeaway? Good fortune can come knocking when you set yourself up for it. ”

    I’m doing my best to self-promote (despite a lot of personal crises that occurred this year) and am already planning my strategy for 2016. Haven’t tried BookBub—might have to look into it!

    • Molly Greene December 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks, Nancy, and best of luck to you with your 2016 marketing plan!

  8. Chelsea Field February 14, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    Thanks, Molly. I find these posts really helpful, and I appreciate your honesty! I hear so many chirpy authors say how much they love writing and how they couldn’t NOT write any more than they could stop breathing–not to mention how they published twelve books this year–and start to wonder if I’m supposed to be a writer after all. So thank you for sharing the struggles as well as the triumphs. It’s reassuring to those like me. May you have many more reviews, BookBubs, and, of course, sales, in the coming year so the next “The good” section outweighs the others!