Okay, here it goes…I’m about to publicly commit to something that may turn around and bite me in my middle-aged behind. But, I’m a grownup, I’m brave, and brash (not really, but I like the word), and also willing to take some risks in life because otherwise? Well, shit gets boring really fast.
I’ll start by admitting something. I sort of sucked this year. My sales were mediocre, I will have only had four releases, and I just generally didn’t have my head in the game. 2016 has been a tough year for romance authors in general, but I didn’t help my chances of succeeding with my lackluster efforts. SO, it’s time to kick it into gear, because you know what? This is not only my job, it’s my career, and my passion, and my family’s second income.
So, here’s the plan for 2017 (stick with me here, don’t freak out, it’ll all be okay, I promise): I’m aiming to have ten new releases during 2017. I can hear some of my friends losing their shit right now. I can also hear the moans and wails of “no one can write that fast and do a good job!” and “the market it flooded, you’ll just make it worse!”
And I get those concerns. Burnout is real, and of course I care about quality. I’ve seen plenty of books that had a great concept, but were executed so sloppily it was obvious they’d been rushed to market (and yes, I’ve seen it in traditional as well as Indie). I also agree that the market is overwhelmingly flooded, and that’s clogging up discoverability. So how do you deal with discoverability? Well, one way is by having a large backlist because the more product you have, the more options you give yourself for pricing, bundling, series, and subgenres. It may seem counterintuitive to produce more during a glut, but I’m going out on a limb and trying it.
And here’s the main reason why: every uber-successful Indie author I look to as inspiration, has more books than I do. A lot of them started when I did and have double my backlist. And even though we’re drowning in books, they haven’t slowed their production. So, while a bigger backlist isn’t some magic bullet, it’s obviously one of the keys to steady success. And it’s one I haven’t tackled until now, because in a lot of writing circles the 4-5 books per year I’ve been producing is a lot. But in genres like romance, it’s not so much. I’m not intending to produce ten books a year every year from now on, but if I can do it for one year — double my production — I will have stuffed my backlist, managed to get three series to high enough numbers I can put the first books free, and given myself enough books in enough sub-genres to have options for income production.
So, I have a plan–words per day, days per month, mixes of novellas and novels, and even time off during strategic points (like July… and December). If you’re interested in the results of my great experiment, stay tuned. I’ll make sure to blog about it, tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and ultimately, if it makes 2017 a year to remember or a year to write off.