by Molly Greene, @mollygreene
As I’ve written previously, my life was nutso crazy pants for nearly a year, starting early 2016 when I kicked off a concentrated push to get my former home ready for sale (the crazy part). The property was listed by early June 2016, an offer came in within a month, then I nearly lost it (the nutso part) closing the deal and disposing of 99% of my belongings and….moving in with my mother. For five months. And, for now, my 85 lb. dog, Frank, and I are living in a 25 ft. trailer on beautiful acreage in north San Diego County, awaiting the next adventure.
It took more time than I’d expected to get back into the writing process, but I’ve finally launched Book 8 in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series, The India Archives. I haven’t produced a new installment since Midnight at Half Moon Bay went live in December of 2015. A long gap, but still, it’s a tradition for me to share the errors and wins I’ve experienced between the publication of each new book. So here goes.
1. I took a break and changed my life
I’m not an effective multi-tasker. Juggling too much at once doesn’t work for me. Three main projects are my maximum, and if one of those tasks is major it takes over everything. That’s what happened – and I knew it would – with the monumental life change I set to make (all by myself, I might add).
So I let it.
I hit the peak of anxiety and the depths of exhaustion and despair during the process, and didn’t beat myself up for not trying to write while I was slogging through it. The time between books stretched longer than I’d anticipated, but I have no regrets. Life happens, one thing leads to another, every chapter has its season, its problems, its rewards. This one has been no different. My book sales plummeted, but the quality of my life soared. Yaaay!
2. It’s all fodder for upcoming plots
The meme of the hermit author who never leaves her writing cave may be true (and work) for some, but for me, getting out, feeling emotions, spending time with people and laughing and enjoying new places …all this makes for a rich background of experiences that I can draw on for characters, locations, situations and events. I was too isolated in my former life. Now I’m not.
3. There are consequences
I made little effort to market my series during this time, and trust me, absence will not make your readers’ hearts grow fonder. Consistent production and marketing is the key to long-term sales. Not producing new work + staying out of the marketing loop has consequences, and I am paying them now. Now I find myself asking, what the heck is a Thunderclap? How did everybody partner up in cross promotion marketing groups so quickly? Which book promo sites are getting great results, which have fallen by the wayside? *sigh* which leads me to …
4. A new marketing effort
Something I did do was to say yes when I was fortunate to have been invited to join a multi-author box set, and the set is now live on Amazon and other major ebook sales outlets (Buy it! 14 mystery/thrillers for 99 cents through Monday, June 5). The process was an eye-opener in its complexity, as far as how many pieces it took to put the marketing side of it together. And all I can say is my partners in this project are incredible, knowledgeable, and effective. I learned a lot. Here’s an article from Joanna Penn’s blog about doing your own.
5. It’s all about people, people
Once I picked up The India Archives again (at 30,000 words) and tried to figure out what was going on, I had a really tough go of getting back into it. I felt my writing was dry, forced and stilted. I said as much to my two fabulous, supportive beta readers when it was ready for them, and I trusted them to tell me the truth. They said I was wrong. They told me that the plot was compelling, the characters were interesting, my writing up to snuff. Nearly a dozen ARC readers said the same, and left reviews that reflected it. But here’s the real story in that … even after a year, betas and advance readers were still supportive, interested, and willing to help and encourage me. It’s all about the people, people.
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