Been asked about it, so I figured I should discuss what my own plans are… and show how all of these kind of mix together with my own career plans as well as my own marketing strategy.
Plan for the long term. My time horizon on all my projects (outside of Starlit Publishing’s contract with Grayson which is time limited by contracts) is not 5 years or 10 years, it’s 30-40 years.
Technically, it should be life + 70 years, but considering I might (likely will) be dead in 40 years, I’m not that worried about what happens when I die. I’ll have everything set-up (hopefully well enough) for my heirs, but that’s their problem since I won’t be adding to the work then.
In short, my career strategy breaks down to this:
– make sure I’m willing to keep writing into the long term, which means writing things that interest me and not just make money (i.e. avoid burnout!)
– invest in projects knowing I have a long period of time to earn out
– do not rely on a single source of income
That’s my basic career & business strategy. Since I have a couple of relatively successful series, I can afford to invest in side projects that might not earn out immediately. If I didn’t, I’d have to adjust how often and how I do those side projects, but I wouldn’t change the fact that I do them (see point 1).
Basically, my main marketing strategy boils down to this:
– write and locate readers who enjoy my writing style and who will follow me through all of my work
– as such, work to introduce new series and new work to existing fans of other series and works.
– focus on building each series, individually, and only conduct paid marketing for new series when it makes financial sense
– when looking at each series, develop plans on a series level but keep an eye on the entire business
– be wide whenever and wherever it makes financial sense
What the hell does that mean?
Basically, if you haven’t seen my little cribbed series/profitability matrix, dump all my series in there. Review which ones are doing well, which ones aren’t and focus money on the ones that do well.
Write in different genres (as and when inspiration and desire strike) and worry less about individual series income, since we’ve got a decent backlist already to pay the everyday bills (currently).
Don’t advertise series with 3 (or fewer) books, unless there’s a damn good reason to and/or look at unpaid advertising options. It’s better to build upon strong series than weak ones, so abandoning / leaving series that aren’t doing well behind is fine (so long as they’re finished!).
When marketing, consider how to best make each series work best by itself, but always make sure to look at how to tie those readers into my other series. Whether that’s more chapters to new series at the back of the book or call to newsletters, Facebook groups, etc.
As an example, permafree for A Healer’s Gift works well, maybe not so much for Hidden Wishes with its trilogy. A short story going in to that might work better, but it’s not selling well so spending time unless I have inspiration to write a short isn’t a good idea.
Paid advertising to generate new readers for successful series is my go to marketing tactic since I’ve got the funds to do so.
Developing social media, my website and my newsletter allows me to keep in contact with readers and contact them. Most importantly, the last two (my website and my newsletter) are under my control, so it allows me more control for the future. If something goes wrong (or a social network becomes less popular), I still have these areas I control to continue keeping in contact with my readers.
I’ll talk about individual series another week, probably picking out maybe a few instead of all of them to discuss how I view and plan to develop the marketing plan for them. It’ll be more detailed too, since I can dig into the 4P’s a little more.
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