Looking Back & Facing Forward
2014 was my year to publish my work – yes – out there, in public, no more hiding. I was inspired by two things:
- Asking myself the big question – “If not now – then when?”
- Following the Self-Publishing Podcast – generously shared by Johnny, Sean & Dave.
And yes – I did publish five books: the complete Wedding Dress Promise Series – ‘No Regrets', ‘After the Party', ‘The Wish List', and ‘The Contract'. I also published ‘The Fixer Upper', first in my second series, the Poet, Oregon Series.
I'm not saying I have all the answers now, that I have this thing whipped – far from it. In my efforts to discover the answers I needed, I found there are many offerings out there for the budding writing; a veritable labyrinth of choices to navigate, some good, some bad. I caution you to step lightly.
My solution? Get back to me, ask myself, “What I would be doing without all the ‘we're here to help you' noise?”
For me, that was the writing. It was watching the SPP guys, and reading their book, ‘Write, Publish Repeat' (No – it isn't “Right, Publisher Pete!” LOL) Through the SPP guys, I learned I needed to not only write my book, I also needed to market the book and myself, get out there, be social, learn new stuff, etc. This is not an easy thing for a writer, as we tend to avoid the spotlight. Still …. it had to be done.
Step one for me was signing up for Marie Forleo's B-school, which teaches entrepreneurs to set up a business, market that business themselves and to thrive.
Writing and marketing my books would be my business. Ronnie Roberts Books would be the name of my business.
The nice thing about B-school is once you've taken it, you can re-take it again and again at no additional cost. Having tried a few other programs and courses online, I found B-school's content and integrity exceptional and highly recommend it. (I am not an affiliate – another new term for me in 2014, btw …) In fact, I'll be taking B-school again in 2015 – and will no doubt get more out of it this year as I now understand more.
As I prepare to launch into 2015's goals, I can't help looking back at the path I've traveled the last twelve months.
Last year I published three novels. This past week I published two more in between assembling my notes for my first non-fiction effort, a book on writing essentials; a book I so wish I had had available to me when I first began.
But these five books are final products, surface stuff. Along the way, I had to find an editor. I learned how to create professional covers with a designer. I learned kindle formatting. I learned it takes 2 years to build ‘discoverability'.
The term ‘discoverability' wasn't even in my vocabulary last year!
Last year I took on the daunting task of making this website. Oh, how I actually cried some days putting this site together. This year I'll add to it. Last year I learned about Mailchimp and sent out my first newsletters to my extremely small list. This year I intend to pour more energy into the newsletter and hopefully grow my – did I mention, my extremely small? – list. Last year I wrote my first three blogs. This year I intend to write bi-weekly blogs.
Last year I was always behind the family camera, taking the pictures. Now I have a ‘head shot' for the back of my books, a birthday present from my family.
Imagine me with a head shot? It's too funny!
Last year I dreamed of teaching writing workshops. This year I taught my first workshop, based on my upcoming non-fiction book. The workshop was very well received and I loved doing it. I will teach more.
Last year I signed up for a few courses, some of which were a big waste of money. B-school was NOT a waste of money. Last year I thought all books were like mine – 80,000 hard fought, blood, sweat and tears, word books. Now I know many people call a 30 page pamphlet a ‘book' and sell it – to great success, so they claim in their course materials. In fact, they are so successful, they are willing to teach me how they succeeded for the bargain price – but only 'til Friday at midnight, this is time sensitive, you know, and there are only so many spaces left, a mere $499.00, (they usually charge $999.00, but this time it's special ….)
I'm no expert, but I feel miles ahead of where I was one year ago.
Many, many times I felt as if I was just treading water, barely keeping my head above the waterline. Now I look back and I'm kind of impressed at the river I've crossed.
I hope I'm as successful in reaching 2015's goals.
Those would be to complete and publish :
- The second in my Poet Series – ‘Caroline Explains'
- My post-apocalyptic adventure, working title, ‘TT Prep'-mysterious huh?
- Boot Camp for Beginners – Fiction Writing Essentials
- Standalone novel – ‘North for One Year'