Here we go then, the highs and lows of my published year (06 July 2011 to 06 July 2012) and being connected with a rapidly changing industry - and I've gone back through my 2011 and 2012 diaries and made notes so I don't miss anything...
The first thing to say is, I knew Little Child was not about to sell a million copies... not a thousand either... not even 100. One always hopes of course, but thanks to several workshops and networking events leading up to publication, I was brought to my senses in time learning how the publishing industry is a completely different beast to what I remember fifteen years ago. Net result? I was only going to sell masses of copies if I put in some serious leg work. And I mean serious. Like basically doing everything from editing to researching to marketing - myself. Oh, and giving up my full time job.
As with any topic and debate, unless you have a keen interest in the subject matter, why would you know anything about it? So, quickly coming to the realisation that nobody around me had any of this knowledge, I was keen to explain how the industry was in turmoil - but even then, I had no idea of the potential.
On 10 July 2011 I launched my website as a follow up to my Little Child Facebook page. I started tentatively blogging, dabbling in HTML coding and thinking of ways to get the knowledge out there so I could help fellow aspiring authors and writers.
13 July 2011 saw the Amazon launch (along with other book websites) of Little Child and the eBook format for Kindle came out a day later. That was a highlight for me. I was finally on the giant Amazon!
Now, I'm the type of person who likes all her ducks in a row, so when I got to see the pricing and the delivery details on these websites, I can't say I was happy. The pricing was high and the delivery info. was inconsistent. But I couldn't do anything about either and that was that.
14 July 2011 was the day I started thinking about my marketing plan - not much of which I've ticked off to this day hahaha !!! With the best intentions, I will get to it. It's all about priorities and my priority is not to hard sell Little Child at this time. You will see why as you read on...
19 July 2011 I received my copy of Little Child and I was over the moon, not even caring that I looked ridiculously flushed in the photo I took in very crap lighting (more chuckles). The next day I started researching into self employment and setting up my own writing business.
I signed my first ever book on 25 July 2011. That was another big moment. And that's when I started to realise it's actually the little achievements which are more rewarding and fulfilling at this point in my career.
27 July 2011 my contact at the Publishers was replaced. This was also the day my Agent uploaded a press release to lots of Newswires.
I was understanding my place in the Industry much better and it made me want to work harder - for me and me alone. I knew it would be a steep learning curve - and I also knew it was going to be rocky, difficult and at times utterly soul destroying.
More happy news now. On 02 August 2011 I received my first ever book review - and thankfully it was positive!
07 August 2011 I submitted my Author info. to Amazon for them to approve and upload.
Then I hit a low. I was getting criticism from the people I least expected to hear it from which is hard to chew on let alone swallow. Unedited typos were being brought to my attention and I don't mind telling you now, I felt an absolute fool. I'm a perfectionist and these were tough times.
Good always comes from bad and on the upside, I was also receiving some blimin' fantastic feedback. People who had gone through depression, child abuse, drinking all relating to the story. People who hadn't read for twenty years plus picking up my book because I'd written it. People congratulating me on the rollercoaster pace, the packed emotion, the complexity of the characters... This was feedback I welcomed with open arms. Even if there were negatives, there were positive too.
On 17 September 2011 with the help of a friend, Little Child was featured in an iPaper - newspapers that exist purely on tweets and links - and now I was blogging regularly gaining more and more hits on my website (talking early hundreds, not thousands though).
26 September 2011 I registered as self employed and a month later on 26 October 2011 my writing company Piara Strainge was official.
03 November 2011 I received my hilarious Royalty Statement which wouldn't even buy me a grocery shop - but we all have to start somewhere right!
In the rundown to Christmas I was still blogging, interacting on Twitter, making friends with other Indie Authors with varying degrees of success in Indie Publishing or Self Publishing ventures and generally really enjoying my social media networking and maintenance.
On 27 November 2011, after talking to a friend at work, I got a "30 Things to do before I'm 30" idea into my head and I couldn't shake it. My contract with my Employer was being extended month by month and I knew I had to cut loose, or I never would! So on 30 November 2011 I signed a contract for the last time up until the end of the year. And I felt so good once I made that decision.
03 December 2011 I booked my three weeks in Canada. This was going to be my "get it altogether" time with family and that's exactly how it went down.
06 January 2012 I blogged my initial 30 Things list. Two months late but oh well. I'm not one to hurry.
10 January 2012 I began my "Am I bonkers?" blog series which detailed starting life as a freelancer. Originally I was referring to being a writing freelancer but with the advent of my 30 Things project, I seem to be freelancing in anything and everything!
11 January 2012 saw technological advancements as I linked my website to Twitter, which then automatically updated Facebook, making light work of my social media antics.
On 08 February 2012 I got 100 followers on Twitter and two days later, I finally had a 30 Things plan of action.
You know that marketing plan I started thinking about on 14 July 2011, well I looked at it again on 11 February 2012 and put it in some sort of order. Think I may have even ticked a few things off!
An unofficial 30 Thing took over for much of February as I eBayed like crazy getting rid of some of my old stuff.
On 04 March 2012 I re-wrote my Homepage making it more anecdotal, a day later I re-categorised the tags on my blog and three days later I bought my domain name for another 12 months, set up Google Analytics, gave my website a design overhaul and added a Live Twitter Feed to the Homepage.
More unofficial 30 Things came next emptying the large guest bedroom for redecorating and re-designing the gardens. Also plans to see more of the UK this year...
On 21 March 2012 I sent my 1000th tweet!
10 April 2012 I received my first self assessment return but no earnings yet hehe
May and early June saw quite a few 30 Things being ticked off plus I slept overnight at an airport for the first (and probably not the last) time due to a very delayed flight, watched an England International at Wembley and enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
On 12 June 2012 I returned to my old school and started creating a Children's story with the kids. I also caught up with my first ever teacher who taught me to read and write!
19 June 2012 I finally set up Hootsuite to help me with my social media exploits.
03 July 2012 I set up my Author page on Facebook so I could use Hootsuite to send tweets through Twitter to this new page. I've been scheduling tweets (thanks to Hootsuite) which boosts website traffic and keeps my followers engaged. I also have PhotoInk tweeting on my behalf.
04 July 2012 saw my first celeb follower on Twitter - fabulous!
And bringing us right up-to-date, on 06 July 2012 I flew a Tiger Moth to celebrate Little Child's first anniversary.
So as you can see, not much room for marketing and selling Little Child although I've still got plenty of ideas running through the old brain box - and I will get to it eventually. I'm not measuring my success on monetary value, but instead against the happiness meter. And I'm happy with how it's all going right now whilst I flit from project to project. I may not have sold many copies, my Royalty Statement may be pittance and my Amazon rankings poor, but once I get the bit between my teeth, I'll go for it and we'll see what happens...
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.