While marketing has its place in letting people know about your book, I’ve come to learn how important it is to back off to write. Back in October, I was up to my eyeballs in marketing, and to be honest, it wore me out. I had to deal with about sixty to a hundred emails a day, and in addition to my blog posting, this left little room for actual writing. I was drained. I thought I needed a break from writing, but the truth was, I needed a break from the tons of marketing I was doing. Sometimes the answer to your problem is the exact opposite of what you think it is. 😀
So anyway, I cut back on my online time and two days later, I felt the urge to write again. So I did. I decided to use my ‘writing break’ as a marketing break instead. I mingled a bit online but not nearly as much as before. When National Novel Writing Month came around in November, I was refreshed and ready to go. I made a note on my website that I wouldn’t respond to emails until December and used the automated vacation response through my email.
Then I spent November working on three books. I started and completed my 39,000 word novella for my pen name. I wrote about 52,000 words or so into Bid for a Bride which is under my real name. I also worked here and there (about 10,000 words total) on a current work in progress.
Then this month, I completed Bid for a Bride, the work in progress for my first draft blog, a 4000 word story for my pen name to do a free read (a promotional tool), and this month I began and completed my next sci-fi thriller 15,000 word story in my Return of the Aliens series. And if I write 2,000 words a day, I can finish up the 5th story in the Alien series before the month ends. Since I have my other completed works off to my proofreaders, I have nothing else to do but write. I decided to take this Christmas season to go on vacation from all marketing and most online activities.
One might think that I’m exhausted from all this marathon writing, but the truth is, I’m more excited and ready to go than ever. And this leads me to my conclusion. It wasn’t a break from writing that I needed. It was a break from marketing.
At this stage in the game, the best way I make money is to publish my next book. I don’t reap much rewards by going around online. To date, my three most effective methods of marketing that have yielded sales have been doing a couple free reads on my shorter works, doing the first draft blog (I was surprised to see that since Aug. 2009, I had accumulated 107,000 hits to that blog), and Facebook (I have a Facebook badge on the first draft blog and my readers friend me that way so I can get to know them and they can get to know me in an informal and easygoing way). For my pen name, those are the efforts I’m focusing on.
I feel like I’ve had such a productive two months, and I haven’t felt productive since early last Summer when I published my last new book. This reminds me of why I had such a passion for writing to begin with. It was always about the characters and letting them work through me to develop their stories. While money is a nice benefit (it’s helping me knock out my mountain of debt at the moment), what I’ve come to realize from my ‘sabbath’ is that without taking time out to write, I lose a lot of steam and passion.
In conclusion, I’ve decided to take more of these breaks from marketing and tailor back on my online promotional efforts in order to write more books. I realize this amounts to less profits overall, but when I look back on why I began self-publishing and how good it feels to have five newly completed stories under my belt with one more likely to happen by Jan 1, I realize there are some things money can’t buy.