Acckk! Business terminology! In this case, the title simply means I've made a couple of decisions about where my writing is going -- at least until the next brainstorm comes along.
Discounting a few closet novels, the completed manuscripts I have that I feel are publishable are all over the genre board: women's historical/romance, near-future medical mystery/thriller and MG fantasy. As WIPs: traditional historical romance and m/m historical fantasy. In-stage ideas: contemporary ghost and contemporary ecothriller.
My blog is a mish-mash between writing-/publishing-related topics -- and farm life.
One lesson Amazon sales has taught us all is that, overall, series sell better than standalones. While my MG is planned as a trilogy and I have some vague idea how my traditional historical romance might be extended into a series, I don't seem to have inherited the series gene. I've been knackering myself over how to stop going in so many directions and settle into one so I'll be more marketable. Where that's mainly led is me not moving at all.
I've taken a hard look at what my goals are and how they've changed over the past few years. Five years ago I had no idea I'd be retired now. My goal then was to supplement my salary so I could retire by age 56. Now that I'm retired (at age 52), money is no longer the driving force for getting published. Don't get me wrong! I'm living on a very strict budget and cutting corners and making every penny go as far as possible. After all, except for the interest on my savings and whatever I can make off my books, I have no income at all right now and will have none for the next 12 years. There are plenty of upgrades around the farm I could indulge in with a few extra dollars in my pocket -- but those extra comforts are not a priority in my life. At least not today.
So I've made the decision to accept the diversification in my writing portfolio. I'll try to cultivate splinter audiences and if any of my books should happen to strike a chord -- and there's no guarantee any will -- maybe that will motivate me to focus in on one genre for awhile. Could there be a worse marketing plan? Of course not. But I'm moving forward with that full and complete understanding, as well as the luxury of not having to rely on that plan to keep a roof over my head and the beasties rolling in hay.
Diversification, however, does not mean I can't target market to multiple audiences at once. And that's where the idea of monetization comes in. A few years ago, I toyed with the idea of -- don't laugh -- writing a memoir about my time as a vet tech. I even wrote up a few chapters, but trying to tie my own boring story into the narrative just wasn't working. The new plan is to start up an animal-focused blog where I'll post 2-3 times a week. Each week I'll post a story or pictorial about what's happening on the farm, have maybe a guest poster or some other filler, and feature a story about my vet tech days.
I have a list of 60 vignettes for my vet tech posts, so a year's worth of ideas. The plan is to collect the first 20 posts into an ebook to sell (for 99c) and then put out Part 2 then Part 3 on a 4-month cycle. Writing bite-sized, essay-type stories feels like a better strategy for me than trying to do something along the lines of All Creatures Great and Small. And, depending on how inspired I am throughout the next year, I might collect some of my farm-related ramblings -- those that are inspirational or emotional or at least have a point -- and put them up too. I'll only turn the more personal farm-related ones into an ebook, though, if the vet tech stories sell and I have some sort of following.
First order of business now is setting up the new blog and attracting, you know, readers for it. You'll notice two things:
- This blog will become more publishing-industry focused
- My avatar will change
Of course, I hope you'll follow the new blog, too, but if not, you'll hear all about the ebook side of it right here.
First post establishing the blog and what it's about and who I am will be Wed, August 10. First post that will appear in the ebook, Part 1, will be Fri, August 12. That means the 20th post that will be collected in the first book will be on December 23. Which means the first book will be ready just in time for the after-Christmas spike in ebook sales when people are filling up those brand-new e-readers. Coincidence? I think not.
Now I just have to come up with the perfect name for the blog and books. Any suggestions???