2019 Sum up
Thought I’d do a quick sum up of 2019, but turns out so much happened this year it was difficult making it a quick sum up. I’ve tried my best to only do the highlights, but boy was 2019 a crazy year for me!
I’ve been in this writing game since 2007, and this year, I celebrated my 12th anniversary by doubling my own personal record for most books published in a year. My previous high score was 5, and this year I did 9 – plus a couple of short stories.
Track record 2019
- January: They Come at Night & Blind Date
- March: Dreamland
- May: Chills & Creeps volume 1 & 2
- June: Human Flesh
- October: Dead Meat: Day 1
- November: Dead Meat: Day 2
- December: Dead Meat: Day 3
That’s a lot of books in a year, if you ask me. But besides putting out a lot of books, I’ve also learned SO MUCH about self-publishing. I started out a complete newbie, having never even bought a book off of Amazon, much less published one. I had no idea how it all worked or how to ’make it’. Because it soon became obvious to me that it wasn’t enough putting the books on Amazon—you also had to get them to sell.
So, I got to work. With the help of gurus like Derek Murphy from Creativindie, Dave from Kindlepreneur and David Gaughran, I literally spent days and nights studying Amazon and strategies for getting noticed and selling books. I taught myself how to make great covers which would sell (more on that in a moment), to write intriguing blurbs and to collect reviews. I built a newsletter with great fans and a review team with awesome reviewers.
And now, one year later, I feel almost like an Amazon self-publishing expert. I’m in no way that, however; there are still plenty of things for me to learn, but I feel a lot more confident now. I still, for instance, haven’t paid a single dime for ads or commercials, which is still something I need to learn about.
With only hard work and the right strategies, I managed to go from complete obscurity and literally not a single English-speaking person knowing my name, to having many loyal fans and reviewers from all over the world.
Awesome Covers Don't Just Happen
I already knew how to use Photoshop before I began doing my own covers, so I thought I had a head start. Turns out, it’s not enough knowing Photoshop, it’s actually more important to know what works in a cover and what doesn’t. There are entire books written on the subject (check out Derek Murphy at creativindie.com, he’s a true genius and has a lot of great material) but it really boils down to color, font and contrast. The cover needs to communicate the genre clearly and instantly. It’s all about feeling, not thinking. Be obvious, not clever.
When I started learning the game, my covers grew better and better. Just check out these samples of how I progressed. While some of the previous versions might be technically more sophisticated, the important thing to notice is how much clearer the genre and feeling of the books are conveyed in the later versions. The truth is, a cover which you’ve spent days working on doesn’t necessarily work better than one you’ve put together in a couple of hours. Simple is actually usually better.
Chills & Creeps vol. 1
They Come at Night
(They Come at Night was originally called The Tide, but I changed it because I liked the new title better, and because there already was a couple of books on Amazon called The Tide)
What’s up for 2020?
I’ve done a lot of shorts this year, so I’m turning my attention to longer stories. I have four big novels coming up, one of them (a sci-fi epic) will probably reach George R. R. Martin proportions at about 600 pages. Not sure I’ll get it done by 2020, but I’ll do my best, and at least two of the other biggies will be out for sure. We’re talking hardcore time travel sci-fi and a historical fantasy novel.
I’ll also do more installments of Dead Meat, and I’m planning on turning Human Flesh into a series as well.
But the biggest goal I’ll be pursuing is getting my books turned into audio. That would be so awesome! The only problem with audiobooks is the investment you need to make up front. That’s frankly the only reason why I haven’t done it already. But by 2020, hopefully, I’ll be able to get it off the ground.
One Last Thing I Achieved in 2019
I became a dad. For all the books and all the progress, nothing beats having a son. It’s true what they say about a kid opening up a completely new dimension of your life, and providing you with perspective on what really matter. And I thought I’d end on that note. While it’s nice to create and achieve stuff, remember what really matters in the end.
I wish you happy holidays, a great New Year and a productive 2020!
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