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2023 Publishing Wrap Up

One of the things I dislike the most about this time of year is the realization that the year is almost over. The other is how busy the Christmas season gets, but I digress. The end of the year is a time of reflection. It feels like half of the world is looking forward to the coming year while the other half reflects on the events of the year ending. It's almost like dying and being reborn.

By dying I mean that we start the new year full of hopes, dreams, and plans for what we want to accomplish. Things like how many books we plan to publish. How much money do we want to earn in royalties and other business goals that will help us succeed. In December, we look back and do a reckoning. Did I accomplish all that I set out to do? If I didn't, why not? What hindered me, and how can I improve in the coming year?

The rebirth is easy to understand. It's the hope that the coming year brings. I may not have accomplished all I set out to do in 2023, but there's always next year, 2024. The calendar flips the page, and the slate is wiped clean.

I began 2023 with one major goal: finish Mate Run Cara and publish it. A few additional books completed and released would have also been nice. I completed Cara's story and released it this fall, months later than I'd originally planned. Instead of pushing to write and publish another book, I changed focus. Self-publishing is hard work, and there always seems to be some task that needs doing. Something that fell through the cracks because all of my attention was on writing. I chose to spend the rest of 2023 tackling those.

I worked on revamping my website. I watched videos, read articles, and listened to podcasts and audiobooks on creating a website where readers wanted to linger. Then, I researched (and am still researching) tricks to drive traffic to my website, all with the goal of increasing direct sales from my website store. I'm happy to report that in the last six months, I've sold $23 worth of books from my website. It's almost double the $13 of books I sold in 2022.

It might not sound like a big deal to you, but to me, it's proof that it can be done. It won't happen quickly, but if I keep putting into practice the things I'm learning, eventually I'll reach my goal of having a self-supporting website.

One of the biggest problems I have as an author and a business owner is negative self-talk. Someone says, "You should do this ___" and my immediate thought is, "That won't work." Usually, because I've tried it before, or I listened to other authors for whom it didn't work and assumed it won't work for me. The sales I earned on my website are proof that it can. Just because it didn't work immediately or in the way I hoped it would doesn't mean it's bad business advice.

Another thing I worked on this year is figuring out what works for me in terms of social media. If you do any type of promotion, I don't have to tell you how frustrating the constantly shifting sand of getting views and exposure can be. I finally decided to put the majority of my time and effort into Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. I may occasionally throw something out to my TikTok account, but it can no longer be my primary focus. I get the most reader engagement on Facebook. If I work on Instagram and Threads, I believe I can increase my engagement there as well. While I had a Twitter account, I don't think I used it more than once. It simply wasn't my scene, and while I found watching X's implosion amusing, it didn't impact me.

Next year, I want to improve my blog and work on providing content that people find interesting and informative. I also want to increase my website and newsletter subscribers. To that end, on December 15th I started The Great Christmas Giveaway. I'm giving away one book a day via my newsletter. ( The daily gift notification is only going out to newsletter subscribers. While the giveaway is ongoing, I'll continue to add new subscribers so no one misses out.

The cynical part of my personality says that once readers get the freebies, they'll unsubscribe. Some may, but remember, I'm working on my negativity. Hopefully, the majority will stick around. In addition, I hope readers will see how easy it is to purchase directly from my store and begin buying directly from me.

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