#Passion2Profession: 9 Books in 12 Months, the final update

In January I started a major push to pad my backlist: writing 10 books in 12 months. I’ve given periodic updates throughout the year, and with my final release for 2017 happening today, I’m writing my final update.

So, first of all, where did I end up? I wrote and released 9 books between January 2017 and November 2017. What happened to the 10th book? I certainly had plenty of time to write it. I could still hammer it out before December 31st. And surprisingly I’m not burned out in terms of writing, but  I am burned out on writing in certain series and themes, so I elected not to write the tenth book. I’ve moved on to writing some very different things for 2018!

Now we come to the results. My primary purpose with this schedule was to build my backlist. It’s safe to say, “mission accomplished.” The advantage of having a larger backlist is longer term than the revenues you earn on a release or even the revenues you earn as the books sit in your catalogue over the next several months. A larger backlist gives you more opportunities to run sales, create box sets, and use subsidiary rights.

So how successful was my 9 books in 12 months effort in terms of these things? The overall copies sold were mediocre (I’ll get into that more in a bit), but before you put on a sad face, the opportunities for sub rights, new platforms, and sales/box sets has been great. I’ve already managed to get two books into three foreign markets, and yes, they’re actually earning (pro tip: Germany, y’all). I’ve sold the audio rights to twelve books which are being produced as I write this, and I’m launching the entire catalogue onto some new platforms. By having a large backlist to leverage I’ve given myself a leg up with multiple streams of revenue.

Now, let’s talk about the lessons learned. I honestly didn’t struggle with writing 9 books in 10 months. There were of course moments when I would rather have flayed my own skin off then write another word, but that’s just how this job is some days, no matter if you’re writing 9 books in a year or one. Overall, writing the books was actually the easier part. What ultimately tripped me up wasn’t the writing, it was the other stuff. I tend to be very goal-oriented. I see the end game, and head straight toward it. So I made writing these books my goal, and I put my head down and wrote.

But guess what? There’s all that other shit that’s part of the job—new releases, record-keeping, promotions, networking. And the first quarter of the year I managed. I had a strict monthly promo schedule, I participated in group promotions, applied for BookBubs, built my newsletter list. And then I got to May…and June…and July. And I kept writing, but I began to lose track of what the hell was supposed to be going on AFTER the book was written.

The result was that everything BUT the books began to fray around the edges. I know people who can write and release ten or more books a year and make every release and every sale an A+ effort. I’m not one of them.

****Before I go any further I want to make an important note: I didn’t give an A+ effort to the non-writing portions of the job for the second and third quarter of 2017. However, that doesn’t negate the impact of the extremely difficult market in contemporary romance and to a lesser degree some other genres. I make this point because there are a lot of you out there who ARE putting in A+ effort, who are writing many books in a year, who are getting quality editing, quality covers, building your reader groups and your subscriber lists. There are a huge number of you who are writing to market and doing ALL the right things. And you still aren’t able to sell many books.

This market is unlike anything publishing has ever experienced. What we’re seeing isn’t a “normal” low in the market, because since 2011 we’ve had ebooks, Indie publishing, Amazon, Facebook, and KU. Those things didn’t exist before, so therefore the pre-2011 markets aren’t comparable. What we’re experiencing now is a first. The first time we’ve had the flood of indie authors, indie books, and Amazon marketplace manipulation. We’re in an evolving system. Therefore comparing it to anything that came before is useless. We’ve only begun to understand how it got here, and we can only guess where it might end up. So when you’re assessing your own results in 2017, make sure to take that into account. Give it your best effort, make sure you’ve done all the things, but realize that still might not be enough.****

Final thoughts: If I were living January 2017 all over again, I’d make the same choice. Having all my existing series nicely wrapped up, a backlist of 20 books, and the ability to send those out to new markets and platforms is well worth a year of my time. Now I start 2018 with those income producers, and the freedom to write whatever and wherever I want.

You’ll see some very different things from me in 2018, including a brand new pen name, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I hope the last quarter of your 2017 is filled with words–whether you write them or read them. Don’t be afraid to take on the “impossible” tasks and follow that road wherever it may lead.

If you’d like to read my last book of 2017, it’s a holiday novella set in my Powerplay world and you can grab it here:

      

xoxo, Selena.

Release of Vaughn’s Pride!

●☆●☆● VAUGHN’S PRIDE IS NOW AT ALL RETAILERS ●☆●☆●

And to Celebrate I’ve put the first in this series of standalone books on SALE for 99cents!

Grab CADE’S LOSS Here —>> Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | AmazonUK | Amazon CA

Now, here’s all about the second installment in the Jenkins brothers’ saga, VAUGHN’S PRIDE:

Once upon a time a boy kissed his best friend…the rest is complicated.

“I hurt for and loved both Vaughn and T.J., turning page after page right up until the end.” — Rach Lawrence Books

Vaughn Jenkins is the youngest in a long line of proud men. But he was only seventeen when his parents were killed during a storm on a California highway. Seven years later, another stormy night nearly took Vaughn’s life. Now he’s half a leg lighter, full of shame and doubt, and taking it out on everyone around him, even the woman he’s loved most of his life.

T.J. Brisco is the girl next door. She and Vaughn grew up together, inseparable friends, then high school sweethearts. But when tragedy strikes, Vaughn retreats and this time is no different. She’s determined to help him recover from his devastating amputation. But Vaughn’s not going to make it easy. When his anger becomes too much for T.J.’s shattered heart, she decides that their story is over for good.

Now Vaughn is faced with the rest of his life–as an amputee, as a brother, as a man–and as T.J. moves on, Vaughn falls farther and farther behind. Can he learn to run fast enough to catch up to the only woman he’ll ever love? Or will his pride stand in their way forever?

Want to read an exclusive excerpt? Click here: USA Today HEA

Buy it here:  Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Amazon UK | Amazon CA |  Amazon AU | Paperback

 

Cade’s Loss is Here!!

The California Cowboys Series

As writers, we’re required to promote all of our books as if they are “equal.” And for the most part we do love each of our book children the same. But every once in a while one comes along that you have to admit is extra special. While I can tell you something that is unique and significant in every book I’ve written, there have been a couple that were “more” special than the others.

CADE’S LOSS is one of those books.

The idea for Cade’s Loss came when I was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway last summer all happy and buzzy on post-RWA conference vibes. The waves of Big Sur were crashing below when I looked at the inland side of the road and saw a sign for a cattle ranch. A cattle ranch next to the ocean? That concept fascinated me, and within a few minutes, the idea of the California Cowboys had been born.

It took several more months, some plotting sessions with my fabulous friend Heidi Joy Trethaway, and numerous cover designs, before the concept for the series was solidified, but once it was, I started to work on Cade’s Loss, and when I was done, I knew it was special. It’s probably the most traditional contemporary romance I’ve ever written, but at the same time, it’s a modern take on cowboy romance. Cade rides the range, but he also surfs. He  doesn’t say, “Howdy ma’am,” and he’s more worried about going organic than he is about how many tons his pickup will tow. However, he is still so many of those things we love about western heroes–he’s honorable, responsible, and he loves his family.

Plus, since Cade is a Selena Laurence hero he’s sizzling hot.

But you can see for yourself! Here’s an excerpt:

There was nothing that soothed Cade’s battered soul more than the ocean. He’d been that way as long as he could remember, spending every available moment at the beach, in the water, following his dad from wave to wave until he’d been better on a board than the old man. As he looked at the water now, he could almost see the outline of his dad’s form, riding the long tail of a wave midway out, sun on his hair that was the exact color of Cade’s, water spraying on his tan skin, weathered from the years of being outdoors. The familiar ache that was his companion so much of the last six years caught him like a hoof to the gut, and he swallowed, tasting the lime and tequila in the back of his throat as he blinked the painful image away.

And that was when he saw her. She was leaning on the glass wall that ran along the edge of the deck, her blonde curls blowing in the light breeze that came off the water. She had on a sundress, white cotton, like a little girl’s, but it was backless, tiny straps running over her slim shoulders, and with the sun shining through it, the long skirt was nearly transparent. He could see enough to know that she was wearing thong underwear or none at all, and that her legs were long and lean, curved in all the right places.

Before he could think about it, he’d snatched the other two shots off the bar and was walking toward her, drawn like a moth to a flame, ready to incinerate himself for only a moment of warmth. As he drew closer, he saw another man approaching from across the deck. He gave the guy a hard look, and the dude stepped off, hands up to communicate “no harm no foul.” Cade slid into position to her right and set the shots down on the railing.

“Tequila?” he asked, turning to look at her profile. She had high cheekbones, and her skin was dark for a blonde, a beautiful golden shade that made her look like she’d walked off the pages of a swimsuit magazine. Her nose was straight and small, turning up ever so slightly on the end, but her lips were full, covered in some sort of peach shiny stuff that Cade thought might taste quite good if he could lick it off her.

She turned to look at him when he spoke to her, and the breath was knocked clean out of him. Instead of the standard blue eyes that he’d expect from a blonde, hers were amber, almost glowing under the frame of thick black lashes. She blinked up at him, and Cade’s sore heart gave a jolt that nearly had him gasping.

***

Cade’s Loss is the first in three books about the Jenkins brothers and their Big Sur ranch along the Pacific Coast Highway. I hope you’ll love this book as much as I do. It’s available in both ebook and paperback, and well, just look at that cover ;).

Buy Cade’s Loss here:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kBKJ7e
Nook BN: http://bit.ly/2mfLFPl
iBooks: https://itun.es/us/INj2hb.l 
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kLoQG2
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2lrs9Qv
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2kTzuum
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2loXB0K
Paperback: http://bit.ly/2kqL3WR

Ten Books, Twelve Months, February Update

 

It’s time again! Wow, those 3-4 weeks fly by fast, but it’s time for an update on my year of insanity, better known as writing/releasing ten books in twelve months.

First up, The Releases: I released my first book of the year, POTUS in January (it was written in 2016, obviously, but for the sake of this project, my 12 months is running roughly October through September).

My second release was a novella, DREAMING OF RHAPSODY, that I dropped with little to no promo yesterday. The reason for the low-key release is that I have a big one, CADE’S LOSS, at the end of the month, and when you’re writing as many books as I am, you don’t have time to promote every release like it’s the most special baby on the planet. My view of it, however, is that my primary purpose here is to build backlist. So, a book that doesn’t get a lot of play initially can get a lot later through sales, sell-through on the series, etc.

I am now in the midst of what I’m guessing will be the hardest month I have this year. My Powerplay books are political suspense/romance, and because of the dual story threads they’re much more complicated to write than some of my other books. Also due to that, they’re longer than some of the other books I have planned. The final blockade in the flow is that I just released POTUS, the preceding book in the series, so I’ve been doing a ton of promo for it over the last few weeks. I’m not one of those people who can write in the same world continuously. I get bored and disenchanted and want to chase shiny new things. Because of that, writing SCOTUS when I’ve barely gotten POTUS off my desk is tough. I’m behind on my wordcount now (not irreparably, but enough that it’s causing me discomfort), and I have two weeks to finish and send it off to edits. I’ll get it done. That’s not a question, but it’s going to be painful much of the time.

However, by the last day of this month (February, in case any of you haven’t been keeping track), I will have released three new books since Jan 1 (POTUS, Dreaming of Rhapsody, and Cade’s Loss)! I’m excited about that. Plenty of people do it regularly, but it’s a new record for me. At this point, I’ve done enough that I feel confident that barring anything really unforeseen (like a serious illness in the family), I can do this. It really is primarily about commitment and self-discipline. I have to say that I wouldn’t recommend it for new writers. I can do this in large measure because I’ve been writing for publication for nearly five years, and I’ve learned a lot about my habits, proclivities, weaknesses, etc. I also have very clear ideas about the structure of my various books and series–I know the pace and rhythm of each, and it makes the work go faster.

In terms of sales numbers, I’m in the process of climbing out of a hole that got so deep in December I thought I’d never recover. But a combination of sales each month, and new releases has gotten me back up to a respectable average (for me), and now I can work to continue that momentum to the “new normal” I’m reaching for.

My tip for you all this month is a website/app called Pacemaker.press. It enables you to set up your book’s wordcount, input a number of variables like whether you want to do more or less work on the weekends, and then it tells you what wordcount you need each day. When I’ve fallen behind on my current WIP, I’ve been able to reset variables and have it reconfigure the daily wordcount to get things to “doable” even when I’m lagging. I highly recommend, and thanks to Megan Erickson for telling me about it!

Until next time, when I should be able to report on another new release, and TWO more books written (yes, you read that right, by March 6th I’ll have finished my current WIP and written the second half of a book I started last year).

Also, look for a blog post later this week from me aimed at “new” indie writers and some of the mistakes to avoid. I made ’em, you can learn from ’em. Until then Cheers!

DREAMING OF RHAPSODY (A Rhapsody Novella)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2lglvMK
iBooks: http://bit.ly/2lgm09P
BN Nook: http://bit.ly/2kj6knI
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kFkiBh
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jUsppd
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2lgDW3X
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2kFlrsy

POTUS (A Powerplay Novel)

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gwLJLK
iBooks: http://apple.co/2fMZx1q
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2iQbHYQ
Nook (BN): http://bit.ly/2jsZ8FO
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2fDCOqP
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2eOA2Qj
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2fp0lJc
Paperback: http://bit.ly/2kjDEf1

CADE’S LOSS (California Cowboys 1)

Preorder:  Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kBKJ7e
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kLoQG2

 

Summer Release Mania!!

Featured

Falling for TroubleI know what you’re thinking…Didn’t she just release A LUSH REUNION a week ago? Well, it’s true, but the releases don’t end there. I’m so excited that I’ve partnered with Jessica Faust of Bookends Literary and her publishing enterprise, Beyond the Page, to revamp and re-release my entire Hiding From Love series!! The first two books are out today at retailers everywhere. Take a look at FALLING FOR TROUBLE and CONCEALED BY A KISS. If you don’t already know Gabe Thompson, Alpha soldier and ladies man extraordinaire, you need to. He’s hot and bossy, and spunky Alexis Garcia is just who he needs to turn him into the perfect book boyfriend.

Get your copies here (Barnes and Noble and Kobo to come, keep checking!):

FALLING FOR TROUBLE (Book One)

Amazon | http://amzn.to/1M98ziB

Amazon UK | http://amzn.to/1JQIPHx

iBooks | http://apple.co/1JKBwUs

Smashwords | http://bit.ly/1ClzFmv

All Romance Ebooks | http://bit.ly/1gkgL5p

CONCEALED BY A KISS (Book Two)

Amazon | http://amzn.to/1UtYYbI

Amazon UK | http://amzn.to/1fiSgW1

iBooks | http://apple.co/1LTsIMp

Smashwords | http://bit.ly/1H7oGZu

All Romance Ebooks | http://bit.ly/1G3Nfpe

Concealed by a Kiss