5 Lessons Learned Between Books 7 & 8

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.

Note from Molly: If you haven’t already, check out my Amazon Author Page, friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe and you won’t miss a post. By the way, all original content by Molly Greene and guests is copyright protected. Mwah! Thank you so much.

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15 Responses to 5 Lessons Learned Between Books 7 & 8

  1. Garry Rodgers June 3, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

    Great to see you back at it, Molly. Completing 8 books is a huge accomplishment and something to be really proud of. I think you’re right that consistently putting out new material is the key to longevity and prosperous sales. Just think where you’ll be by book #16 🙂

  2. Molly Greene June 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

    Ha! Thanks, Gary. Time for me to buckle down. Plotting Book #9 now.

  3. Jennifer Jennings June 5, 2017 at 6:04 am #

    Your post resonates with me, Molly. I, too, have taken a break from writing my mystery series because I felt burned out. You had a much better excuse than me; I wasn’t going through major life changes. I just felt blah. I began other projects which included writing four children’s books and that was a nice change of pace. Now I’m selling those books at farmer’s markets in my area for the summer. However, after six months of taking a break from the mysteries, I’m ready to get back to them. I suffered a huge decline in sales in the past six months, but oh well. Sometimes, you just have to do what ya gotta do. I’ve recently started the next installment in my series (book 22) and to my surprise, I’m enjoying it. I set up a pre-buy, so now I’m fully committed.

    Congrats to you on your new release, I’ll be buying it!!!! And I love the idea of living in a trailer; that minimalist part of me fantasizes about building a tiny house and giving away most of my belongings. What a huge sense of relief you must have. You are truly free!

    • Molly Greene June 5, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks, Jennifer! I agree, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. My hope is that others will read what we’ve said and not be afraid to take a break if they can afford it. Now that I’m back, though, I’m hearing that many authors have taken a hit in the income dept. even though they’ve been producing, so we’ll have to see … and the trailer is fine for now, but I miss my queen size bed!! And yes, I do feel free. Took a while for the stress to fade away, but now I’m looking for the next adventure. Good to hear you’re back at it, best of luck to you!

  4. Anne Hagan June 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Hey girl! Welcome back! It’s good to hear from you and great that you’ve got an all new start and a new book. You just keep doing what’s best for you.

    • Molly Greene June 15, 2017 at 10:12 am #

      Love and miss you, Anne! So happy to hear your goals are on track and within reach.

      • Anne Hagan June 15, 2017 at 11:34 am #

        Love you too. We’re all reaching for something, aren’t we?!

        • Molly Greene June 16, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

          I think if we aren’t, we’re not really living. Hug your wife for me!

          • Anne Hagan June 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

            Done…and she’s all confused. LOL

  5. Laura Zera June 10, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

    You are a wise and awesome. xox

    • Molly Greene June 15, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      … as are you. Hugs, my friend.

  6. Gloria Holland June 11, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    Yes so very true. I Find whether I’m teaching a Bible Study or counseling others its all about connecting with people and having a listening ear to meet them where they’re at in their lives. Being a Marriage Famly & Child Counselor, I relate to the characters in your book because you bring out their own personal issues and struggles. It seems to me you’ve dealt with your own life issues. And studied psychology. I’d love to hear your story sometime. Email me your life bullet points.
    Blessings to you as you continue to write and develop the Gen Delacourt series. Gloria Holland. [email protected]

    • Molly Greene June 15, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      Gloria, at my age we’ve ALL dealt with our issues, not necessarily resolved them – that’s why I find it easy to empathize with my character’s challenging lives. Mwah!

  7. Laurie June 12, 2017 at 9:34 pm #

    The Gen books are so good! Grateful for a good author who writes a solid story. My favorite books have always been series. Looking forward to “what’s next” has been the best part of my lifelong reading obsession!! Thank you!!!

    • Molly Greene June 15, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Laurie, sorry for the late reply. Thank you so much! I’m grateful for supportive readers like you, deeply appreciate your patience and continued interest! Book 9, working title “Burn Rubber,” is in the works.