It’s that time of year again…the annual wrap up. It’s really as much for me as for you, so feel free to skip around and focus on the part where I wish you a Happy New Year and give you a gift!
Top Eight Things I Learned in Publishing in 2015:
- Never Say Die. 2015 started out crappy. Sales were down, I had really bad writer’s burnout, I was experimenting with ideas and they weren’t working. It sucked. Then as the first quarter came to an end, things started to recover. I finally started getting my writing mojo back, sales rebounded, and there was hope in the world—my world anyway. I was reminded—once again—that this is a hard business, and at certain times it’s even harder. But there’s only one way to survive and in the end thrive: Keep Going. Period.
- Just when you think you know what you’re doing it will all change. Following closely on the heels of “there are times it sucks” is this: it’s never the same for long. That’s the world of publishing (in the last five years anyway). Over the last few years some things seemed as though they’d became staples in this industry—Facebook, maximizing your followers on social media, book blogs, giveaways. Guess what? In 2015, all of those became a lot less relevant. Now what matters are ads (FB, Bookbub, Twitter, Instagram), book groups, and leveraging prices and releases to gain the most from sell-through. I have some personal thoughts about what else will change over the next year, but I’ll keep those to myself and we’ll see where it goes. The main thing to remember is that it’s always changing. If you don’t keep up, you’ll be left in the dust.
- Audio books and foreign translations aren’t “all that.” Indie writers heard that foreign translations and audio books were the next big thing all during 2013 and 2014. Everyone rushed around trying to figure out how to pay for these very expensive indie publishing options. And for some people they were nice additions to income, but for a lot of others, they’re a pain in the ass that don’t earn that well in the end. IF you’re big, and you have a great deal of disposable income to put toward high quality audio and foreign translations, you can earn from them. If you’re still on the small to medium scale as an indie, you might want to wait, because it’s a lot of outlay and no guarantee on the return.
- Indie publishing has absolutely impacted the agent-author relationship, but we’re still not sure where we’re going. Remember all that talk about how agents were irrelevant? Well, they aren’t. Maybe. There are still plenty of budding writers who want to get an agent, do the Big 5 book deal, see their paperbacks in bookstores, etc. But, that’s not the only option for writers, and not the only goal. As a result, agents have spent the last few years scrambling to keep up, and a whole bunch of authors really aren’t too sure what use an agent is to them. There are a lot of agents and a lot of authors out there right now trying to figure out if they can create anything worthwhile together. Can we help them? Can they help us? The jury’s still out. Ask again a year from now, and I might have a better answer.
- Keep up with the trends, but don’t let them control you. Let’s face it, particularly in romance fiction, trends come and go pretty quickly. It’s pop culture y’all, what’s interesting and hot this week may not be next. If you want to succeed, you need to be aware of these trends, but that doesn’t mean that you should let them rule you. If you loathe spectator sports, you don’t need to feel compelled to write hockey romance. You have to find a balance between being you and being up-to-date. It’s not easy, but in the long run, you’ll find that you waste less time and produce better work. Trends come and go, be cognizant of those that suit you, and let your friends write the rest.
- The market is flooded and it will correct. The digital/self-publishing revolution created an overflow of books and writers, but as with any market, corrections are occurring. Writers are dropping out—some only had one book or one idea in them, some discovered that it’s really effing hard to write books, hold down a full-time job, raise kids and have a life too, some found that making themselves open to criticism and assessment from the public was too upsetting—and for many of the rest of us, finding a comfortable writing pace has become a priority, because we can’t all write a book every six weeks, and frankly, they won’t sell well if we do. The supply and demand have to balance some. In 2015 I felt it became more about being smart—about how you market, price, bundle and package—then being prolific, and I think that trend will continue into 2016.
- There are a hell of a lot of great people, great books, and great experiences in the world of romance fiction. I never cease to be amazed at all of the interesting people, places, and experiences I’ve had in this job, and 2015 was no different. I cemented friendships that I know will last for years to come, I got to experience events that I’ll always remember, and I got to read some incredibly kick-ass books that make me so proud to be part of this genre and this time in its evolution.
- No matter what, this is still the best fucking job on the planet. In the end, 2015 was my best year yet. I wrote five books, had a book final in three national contests, made the USA Today Bestseller list, and hit all of my goals income-wise for the year. Yes, publishing is a tough business, but it’s also full of possibilities, opportunities, and choices. I love it super hard, and if I could have every year be as good as 2015 was I’d be a happy, happy woman. I stumbled into the industry four years ago, put my first book into the world almost three years ago, and haven’t looked back once. Thank you to everyone who has made that possible for me.
Now it’s time for the gift 😉 If you haven’t yet read my Lush series, the entire thing is on sale for $0.99 for a few more days in a boxed set. You can get it here:
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/lushrockszon
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/lushrocksZonUK
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/lushrocksZonCA
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/lushrocksZonAU
Happy New Year One and All!!