Saturday, 20 December 2014

How to create a business plan - Step 2

I have posted about writing what you have achieved this year, so how about writing down what you haven't achieved. I am going to put down what I haven't, why I think this is and what I am going to do about it next year. Here we go:

1. Ebooks - I didn't achieve to write and publish as many ebooks as I wanted. I believe this was because I didn't make use of all the time I had because I was distracted by other ventures I was trying, which wasted time for me. What I plan to do - I have already started to make more of the time I have in the day to write.

2. Sales - I didn't achieve as many sales of my ebooks that I wanted to do. Why? I think this is because of the low price. All my ebooks are at 99c, which is a discount price. I now think that this is only suitable for discount buyers and not serious readers. So, next year, or even after Christmas, I am going to up the prices of all of my ebooks. I am going to think like a publisher. Lots of trad publishers have joined the ebook world and indies have to compete with them now, so I am trying to match their prices.

3. I didn't get my Asperkids series of books out there. Why? The publisher I had emailed the partial to hadn't got back to me about it. Next year I want to get my characters out there myself. Get the ms professionally edited, get an illustrator to do the cover and drawings in the book I want. Will be researching that next year.

4. I didn't get a short story in a magazine. I hadn't done the proper research and find out what sort of stories they publish. I have been to workshops by Woman's Weekly and know what they like now. I have been reading the magazines to get a feel for the type of stories they publish. I now have a better idea of what stories I will be sending to which magazines.

So, are there things that you haven't achieved this year? If so, what are you going to do about them? Let me know.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

How to create a business plan - Step 1

I got this idea from the current issue of Writer's News magazine, and thought it was a good idea so am using it to create my plan for next year's writing. The first step is to write down what you have achieved this year. So here I am doing this here.

1. Ebooks - I published three ebooks (2 short books and one story). They were 'Life in the Old Dog', 'The Vanity Quest' and 'The Leaping Angels'.

2. I wrote a children's book, the second in the series about Asperkids finding confidence via a magical world at school.

3. I had published several letters in magazines this year, and got more rewards than I've done before doing this.

4. I started to give more talks at a local library, helping new authors get on the path to indie writing.

5. I created a new marketing website, to help other authors get discovered. This goes with a blog.

6. Finally, I wrote and sent off a story to Woman's Weekly magazine, after attending their workshops and realising what sort of stories they publish.

Despite all that I have achieved this year, there are things I haven't, and I will be mentioning those in the next post, and why I think this is.

So, what have you achieved this year that you are proud to have done? Let me know.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

My NaNoWriMo - how I did.

I would have posted this last week but things happened. My mum fell ill with the norovirus bug and I had to look after her (not that nice to do). Then the following day I went down with it too. I have only just got back my full energy to write again today. Yesterday I was feeling better, but did too much in one go first thing and felt faint. Today I am fine.  Anyway, how did I do?

I rewrote one story, which I worked out as 1600 words. This story is nearly finished, and when it is, I will read it again in the new year and send it also to Woman's Weekly.
I wrote another story at 2074 words. I cut that down in the end to just under 2000, and have sent that to Woman's Weekly.
I wrote the start of another story, which I am still writing the first draft. I reckon that made it to another 2000 words. I plan to finish this story this month, so I can send that too in the new year to Woman's Weekly.

I didn't achieve all that I wanted to do, but I think I did OK. I did work on my latest ebook in the mornings, and the stories in the afternoon. With writing late afternoon, which I don't normally do, but will keep on doing when I can.

So, how much writing did you do during November? Did you reach the word count you aimed for? Let me know.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

NaNoWriMo - my own version

If you are a writer, you might be doing NanoWriMo (National Novel Write Month), where people are writing, or attempting, to write 50,000 words during November. Me? I am doing my own version. With lots of other commitments and health issues, I know there is no way I could write that amount of words in a month, so I am doing my own version of it. I am aiming to write something new every day. So far, I have managed to do this. Here is how:

In the mornings, when I'm not out, I will work on my current ebook, 'A friend in need' which means highlighting and deleting words. If I am out in the morning, I will do this after lunch.

In the afternoons, if I've not been out in the morning, I will write something new. So far, I have rewritten nearly a whole short story, am almost at the end of another story. If I am out in the morning, I will work on my ebook after lunch, and later in the afternoon after a nap, will work on the new writing. Yesterday, I didn't work on a short story, but I did write a synopsis for the serial I have in mind for Woman's Weekly. That I will type up later and read during the weekend, so I can email it to the Fiction Editor next week.

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? Or are you doing your own version like me? If you are, let me know how you are getting on. I will blog here about the word count, once I have typed up the stories, which will be next month.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Another major writing decision

Following attending both the short story and serial writing workshops by Woman's Weekly the last week or so, I have made another major writing decision - I want to become a writer for Woman's Weekly and concentrate on those when I write in the afternoons. This is my time for writing projects I want to get published and not being an indie author.

Here is why I have decided this:

I had gone to a workshop last year by Woman's Weekly and got great ideas for stories but didn't think much about it afterwards. I went to a fiction short story workshop on Monday 27 October this year, and had a breakthrough, thanks to Della Galton telling us her formula for writing a story. One of the things she said was that the character had to have a big enough problem to be solved. I realised that this was why I had got stuck with the story I'd been rewriting for the magazine. I also came up with the beginning of another story and the plot for it, also to send to them. I came away so charged up with what I'd learnt that I wanted to write stories for them. I have since changed the story again and just rewritten the beginning of the story I have been working on because yesterday I realised that it had nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Then yesterday I went to Serial Writing and had such good lessons by Suzanne Ahern who writes serials for them regularly. I already had in my head an idea for a serial. I wrote the start of it, developed the characters and plot for it, all things that had been going around in my brain. I was so pleased to get them on to paper. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to write serials. I think one of the reasons is the money you get for each instalment. You can get £500 per episode. So if you wrote a 3-parter serial you would get £1500. So I am going to think of it as a business side from now on and write in the means to be paid, which I hadn't until now. 

Another reason why I want to write for Woman's Weekly is that I've now met the Fiction Editor, Gaynor Davies, a few times and she is such a warm, friendly and encouraging editor to us writers. She said that she would come up with the titles, so don't worry about that. And she works with the writers on their stories and serials. That is the type of editor I want to work with. So watch this space to see what happens. I plan to email Gaynor later this week with a brief outline to my serial I have planned.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Why I'm pleased I set up my new marketing website

Last Saturday I went to a panel talk held by the RNA on genre writing. Janet Gover asked most of the questions to the panel who were: Alison Morton, author of the Roma Nova novels about alternate history; Christina Courtney who writes historical, time-slip and YA for Choc Lit, and Monica Fairview who self-publishes books inspired by Jane Austen. I enjoyed listening to how they write what they do and why, but a couple of things happened that made me smile a lot. Christina (real name Pia) said that she is now going to self-publish her YA books because her publisher is not going to publish that genre anymore. Also, another author said in her introduction that she is going to press the 'print' button shortly with her first self-published book. That was number one that made me smile. People are still wanting to self-publish their books.

The second thing happened after the talk. Pia wanted to ask me a question. Me? Yay. Unfortunately, I couldn't answer it because she wanted to know about formatting with headings, which I have yet to do. Alison suggested to hire someone to do it for her. The following morning I messaged Pia on Facebook with other suggestions, which she said she'd look in to.

The third thing was shortly before I was about to leave, the other author, Linda Chamberlain, who said she is going to become an indie author, asked me for the link to my new website. I wrote it on the back of a postcard she had picked up at the talk. I do hope that the website matches people's expectations. The website is all about helping new authors get discovered with blog posts about marketing tips and strategies and guides about marketing. It can be found at www.hopewithjulie.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A major writing decision

I have previously posted that I want to stay as an indie author, publishing my own ebooks, and still get to be a full member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. To be a full member, you need to have had a contract from a publisher for a novel of 35,000 words. I still want to do this but have now come to a big decision on how to go about this. Here is my decision:

1. I want to continue being an indie author for both adult and children's ebooks, so I am going to carry on doing this as I love having the control and freedom to writing what I want, deciding my own cover, my own pricing and when I want to publish.

2. To get into the RNA as a full member, I am not going to try to have a novel published by a traditional publisher as I believe that method of publishing is getting more and more broken. Also, I feel that with most print publishers, contracts wouldn't allow for authors to self-publish other books, which is not what I want. So here is what I plan to do. I want to get published with My Weekly Pocket Novels instead. I see this is a way still to be traditionally published as they come out fortnightly in print, and after that is published you can try to get it into large print with a large print publisher. So, once I have finished the short story I am working on and sent it to Woman's Weekly magazine, I am going to work on revisions of a novel, and that will be sent as a pocket novel.

3. As pocket novels are up to 50,000 words, any novels that I write that go over that amount I will publish as an ebook myself, or any novels that I believe don't match with My Weekly's subjects, such as romantic suspense, then I will also publish as an ebook myself.

So there you have my new major decision about writing. I have been reading ebooks about being an indie author, and the more I read about being one, the more I am certain that is the path I want to stick to.