Those of you following me know the deal:
I write in two month intervals. From July 1st through August 31st, I will have plotted Scorpion Summer, written the first draft for Now I Knew You, and edited Camp Dogs. On September 1st, everything gets shifted into the next stage of development and a new novel drops into the plot phase.
Which means I’m juggling three books at once. Actually, that’s not uncommon. Few authors completely finish one project before starting the next. And most will be deciding their next book and beginning the initial research and development. I just put it into a schedule.
But then Writing Partner Gina comes up with a grand plan. Let’s write a serial novel together! Okay. So, not being all that bright, I jump in. Thus #AngelWarz was born. And actually, I’m enjoying it more than my regular novels. Since we’re alternating scenes, I can’t plan too far ahead. We agreed on major plot points, then set about writing our first episodes.
The prologue is out tomorrow. Sign up for the newsletter up there to your right and you’ll get all the episodes, delivered weekly. Free, of course.
But Ron, you say, why waste time on writing that for which you are not paid? (Nice Shakespearian drift, by the way).
Like blogs, you mean? Okay, I get it. Here’s why:
Every new author, whether indie or trad published, has a monumental task: to build a platform. Or, better stated, to establish a following of readers. Your first book will sell just enough, hopefully, to make your publisher not hate you. As an indie, if you sell a thousand copies of book #1, you’re a superstar.
So, to be honest, those first words you put down aren’t making you much. Count your expenses and you’re probably taking a loss (welcome to the world of the self-employed). But those first words serve a vital function: to build your readership. It is a. slow. moving. process.
And I mean slow. Authors like Hugh Howey took years to build up their following before their “overnight success.” Trad published authors get a little boost from their publishers, but they know better than to count on that. Not if they want to eat.
So, Gina and I concocted this plan to build up followers before our first books launch. She’s actually trad published one already, but still needs to build a following. Why not, said we, offer a novel to our readers immediately, one episode (or scene) at a time? After a year of this, hopefully we’ll have enough readers to make a decent showing with our next books.
And if it bombs? Well, then we’re no worse off than we were. Back to relying on the first book to lure readers in. And if it’s wildly successful? We build a reader list and we bundle our episodes into e-books to be sold. Or we can offer them as free downloads to pull in even more readers. By the end of next June, we’ll have several novels written and the first season of #AngelWarz available to new readers as well.
Yes, it takes time away from our novel writing. But we consider it an investment. No different than buying ad space or paying for a nice book cover design. But it’s only costing us time, not money.
So what do you think? Do you have any of your own little schemes to pull in more readers while you’re busy getting your next novel written? I’d love to hear from you!