2018 was a trying year, but in a good way overall. I broke out of my introvert shell more, and now volunteer at a local library, and learned more about myself as both a person and a writer. There were many lessons learned, but here are three you might be interested in. Maybe my mistakes and successes can help you along in your own writerly journey?
1) I’m better at writing stories than I am at blogging, and that’s okay.
When I took a hiatus over the summer, I was amazed how much more time it gave me to focus on writing, and how it freed my mind. At first I felt guilty about this, and had to come to terms with it and realize that it was okay. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the blogosphere, especially getting to know so many wonderful people and making dear friends. It’s one of the main reasons I will keep this blog going! I love interacting with you all.
But I’ve also come to realize that the value I give to you is the short stories, books and poems that I write. And if keeping a rigid blogging schedule interferes with that… Well, I would rather give you books you’ll enjoy reading, instead of blog posts you might not enjoy or might forget about later.
All of this is to say that for 2019 I’ll no longer stick to a rigid one post per week schedule, but will instead post when I have something interesting or fun to share with you (including entertaining blog tags; I won’t give those up yet!), or when there’s exciting publishing news. I’ve found that many other authors do the same, only posting now and then, so they can keep their main focus on writing.
If you’re concerned you might miss a blog post, news or something else important, you can easily keep in touch with me via this Email-list, where I will make sure to keep you well informed and even offer you special book deals and giveaways not available to anyone outside the list!
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about these changes? Have you ever had a hard time keeping to a rigid schedule?
2) How hard it is to sell a product.
During the summer, I reopened my Etsy shop and renamed it Progress Bars, in order to sell (you guessed it) progress bars! 🙂 Specifically ones that can be used on WordPress.com, made up of a series of images, which you can display using your image widget on the sidebar (and they can work on any blog platform, not just WordPress). It’s a fun way to show everybody who visits your website how far your progress on a book (or other project) is coming along!
Well, I tried getting the word out about it, and some friends and kind bloggers helped me spread the news. But the result, after all of that work, was…one sale.
Yep. Just one sale.
I’m a bit embarrassed, to be honest. I put a lot of work into making them, and thought there was a need for them, but either I was wrong, or not enough people learned about the product, I don’t know. (click if you’re curious to see what they look like, and browse the shop 🙂 )
Either way, if things don’t change soon, I’ll have to close up shop and take away from this what lessons I can. If you’d like one of these artistic progress bars for your website, now’s the time to get one before they’re gone!
3) How to hire a book cover artist.
That’s right, Strayborn now has a book cover!!! Cue the happy dance and confetti! Strayborn is the first in a coming-of-age fantasy book series that I’ve been laboring over for several years now, about a girl living in disguise while training to use her powers. It took me days of browsing through artist websites to find a potential artist within my price range, and whose artwork I felt would fit with the story. When I found one and emailed her, I tried to be as helpful as I could while working with her, and to be patient.
I wrote up an outline of the book and main character for her, to help her get a feel for the story and world, adding in any extra notes and things I thought could be of use. This turned out to be key for sketching the cover idea. And when she sent me several different sketches of the cover, I showed her what changes I wanted made by using Photoshop and drawing on the sketch itself, and then sending that to her. It’s so much easier to communicate with an artist visually this way, rather than trying to describe what changes you want made through words.
Tips: I suggest paying half the price upfront, and then the other half once the art piece is completed. It’s the safest way to go; plus, I used Paypal.
I’m excited for you to see the cover! It will have to wait until the book itself is all polished and ready later in the year, though, but you’re going to love it!
What lessons have you learned in 2018, or what new experiences did you have? Share with us in the comments!
Next post, we’ll be taking a look back over my goals for 2018, and see which ones I succeeded at and which ones I totally bombed. 😛 Then I’ll announce my goals for this 2019. See you then!