Let’s Talk Projects: July 2019

It’s that time again, fellow productivity nerds! Here’s my monthly project update:

Writing Projects

Short Stories
Woot!  The Happiest Place is complete. At 11,000 words, it’s on the long side for a short story, but I’ll trim it up in editing. I’ve sent it off for some feedback. After feeling blocked all winter and spring, it feels f’ing fantastic to finish something! And I want to keep that momentum going.

Novels
I’ve turned my attention back to the next Emerald City Spies novel, Power Play. After trimming back several chapters to improve the pacing, I’m back in the thick of it, working through the ups and downs of the second act. My intention is to keep my focus here until I finish the first draft, then skip back to my other stories for a breather.

In a screencap from Futurama, Fry and Leela play out a joke in which Fry thought that because two pages took him an hour to write, they't take an hour for the actors to perform them.
Like Fry, I struggle with my writing speed. 🙂

Business Projects

Adding Webmentions to this Blog
Okay, this is kinda nerdy, but I’m super happy about it! This blog now supports webmentions, which means you can reply to my posts on your own blog, micro blog, or even Twitter and all replies will show up beneath my posts as comments. Neat, eh?

I love webmentions because they aggregate responses in a central location, but also because they’re a good way to help readers find others who are interested in similar topics. Perhaps you can find some new internet buddies in the comment sections, eh?

A quick note for those interested in doing something similar: I used IndieWeb plugins and Bridgy to get webmentions working, and I had to turn off one of my more aggressive spam-blocking plugins to get them to work. If you’re on micro blog and looking to incorporate replies into a WordPress blog, check out the documentation here. You’ll need to verify ownership of your WordPress blog and add the feed to micro blog under Accounts.

Book Promotions
Now that I’ve made my peace with “not doing Amazon ads” I’m focusing on slow-and-steady forms of marketing. I’m running a paid promotion for my Kat Voyzey series this month to get the first (free) book in front of new readers, and I’ve got my next newsletter drafted. I’m a mere marketing tortoise in a world of algorithm-chasing rabbits, and I’m okay with that!

Finding a Publication Path for Short Stories – Update
After thinking it through, I’m going to make The Happiest Place available as a freebie my website. I wrote it for the joy of it, so why not? I can always repurpose it in a short story collection later on. Stay tuned – my next newsletter will include the link.

Considering New Distribution Channels
Over the next few months I’ll be adding Smashwords as a distribution channel. They’re an underdog retailer, but I love their good ethics and simple interface. If you like DRM-free books and want to support a retailer that treats authors and customers well, check them out.

I also looked into producing audiobooks, but unfortunately the ROI still isn’t there yet, I’d almost certainly be thousands of dollars in the hole. But Findaway Voices looks like an excellent distribution partner, so I’ll likely go with them if the costs ever pencil out.  For that to happen, I’d need to increase my sales substantially.

Considering Kindle Unlimited
In general, I think that being exclusive with one retailer is a bad idea. It gives one retailer too much power over my business, it reduces consumer choice, and it contributes to the rise of monopolistic power in the marketplace. So why would I even consider putting a book into Kindle Unlimited? Perhaps because KU readers can be thought of as a specific audience, largely distinct from those who buy books one at a time. From what I hear, KU subscribers read voraciously, aren’t picky about trying new authors, and are open to shorter novels within certain genres. Could it make sense to write a new series geared toward KU readers, just like I might put together a consulting package for a specific business?

I feel very conflicted! I think a KU series might be a good business move, but I truly hate monopolistic power and I’d hate to contribute to it by participating in an exclusivity deal. This isn’t an urgent question (I have other books to finish, first), but drop me a comment if you have any thoughts to share.

Personal Projects

Really, I’ve only got one big personal project, and it’s called IT’S SUMMERTIME, MOFOS! (Lol) All that means is that I’m enjoying family time, city hikes, stacks of books, and probably too much good TV.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to. What are you working on?