Growing Pains…How-To & OverWhelm

I have been writing since June 2018. So far, it’s been a fabulous ride and I am grateful and blessed. There are a few things, however, that I need to work on.

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That is why I watch videos and read how-to articles. This information gives me tips on marketing and branding. Most of them seem easy as I am watching/reading. I get excited and try to implement them right away.

I create my to-do list on my whiteboard and get to work. Here’s the issue: the three minutes I think it takes usually takes hours.

Many newbies are told: get an email list!  That is great, I did that after months of trying. I was so focused on getting this list, I didn’t know what to do after I had it. I went to the internet and researched. I saw some tips and then realized, great! Seems easy enough.

The video says, email your readers with a video including a thirty-second welcome message. Tell readers who you are. Offer them an extra incentive if they share your reader magnet to friends. Give them the info of your author’s Facebook page (not the personal page). If the reader does not respond to any of your emails after four attempts, delete them from your list. They are not interested.

Another great tip was to have your readers/ email lists have a contest with them responding to phrases for a tee shirt. If that reader/emailer replies with the best phrase, you use that in your shop. I plan on using it on a tee shirt. Oh, let explain this next step of our how-to market.

I do this with my children’s books but didn’t think to do it for my novelette series: a printify shop for your books. They are free for the author to set up and it takes minutes to download our already made book covers. I created my covers on my own. I have the copyright to my pictures, I used to design my covers. I own them so there are no issues for me. If you used a graphic designer, you need to find out yourself what the deal is for you.

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The name of my series is called The Regrettable & Forbidden so I created some shirts that say Forbidden Fridays and other shirts that say Regrettable Mondays. I used a quick graphics app for that too. It’s straightforward. I am not sure if anyone will buy them but if they don’t, I didn’t spend money. I just spent a few minutes of my time creating two designs for shirts and uploading a few of my covers for the website.

Now for my email list, I get my readers involved and have a contest. They give me a great phrase and if there’s is the best, I’ll give them a free tee shirt with their phrase on it. It will promote my shop and engage my email list. I am not ‘selling‘ anything to them. Not to mention, you’ll create a better connection with your fan base.

The email engagement should not be more than once a week, according to this video. The readers are also welcome to be on your Facebook page. This you need to be connected to them here more often. A fan that becomes a ‘friend’ is more likely to buy a book. Please don’t hound your personal page. I started to do that when I first started and I’m sure I annoyed the crap out of my friends but they didn’t say anything. They were supportive.

I would like to apologize now, for my friends and family that read my blogs…thank you for your patience.

Okay, this was all great advice. I was CRAZY EXCITED about what I heard in this video. There was more but let’s start out with this little bit first.

I started my attempt at the videos. My first one, I said hello and stared into my phone for ten seconds, forgetting what came next. Granted, the guru mentioned it was okay to stutter, say ‘um’ and ‘uh.’ The videos don’t have to be perfect. They will make us human and it’s probably better if we’re not.

If my mom could predict the video, she would tell everyone I would say “You know what I mean?” fifteen times in thirty seconds. It’s my go-to phrase when I’m nervous.

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I highly doubt my readers want to watch me spaced out for that long. “Hey, my name’s Robyn………”

That won’t work. I deleted that one. The next one was DEFINITELY NOT perfect. It was far from it but I thought maybe it was doable. Nope, forgot to mention to share, forgot to welcome anyone. Delete again. The next one I spaced out and deleted right away.

This video thing is a lot harder than I thought. I started another one. I think I did okay but when I saw the beginning, the picture of me looked like a toddler ready for a meltdown. I don’t want to introduce myself looking like I’m about to cry. I deleted before looking at the rest. I noticed a pattern. I make that toddler face a lot. Videos might not be for me. I knew I was horrible at selfies, but videos are ten times worse!

I decide to set up a Pinterest account. That took a few minutes, not very long. I had one from years ago apparently. I had to create a new password. I want to make a business page but I need to research this first. I’m sure it’s a lot different than Facebook.

So, I look at what time it is. I think it’s only been a half hour from when I completed my ‘education’ on the how-to marketing tips. This has been about three hours.

Where does the time go? I need to set up my timer on my phone because it gets ridiculous at times. I can begin to write a story and next time I look at the time, it’s 8 at night. I’m sure now that the sun goes down earlier that won’t happen as often, but this is absurd.

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I believe that’s why the blog has been written less often. I have the email list, I have been writing my fourth book, and I need to step up my marketing game. Sure, it’s easy as a newbie and you have little to work with.

I see self-publishing as a video game. The first few levels seem easy. You write the book, you publish the book, you think it’s going great but you have no clue about the secret powers you can use on these levels, even though you pass the basics.

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The next few levels are getting harder. You still have no idea what you’re doing. You look online for tips or secret hidden codes. You find out that there are simple ones you could have used all along. Oh crap! That’s fine though, you try them out with these next levels. If you have the opportunity, you go back to those other levels and replay them.

That’s when you can revamp a book cover and a book blurb. You can add the ‘here’s a reader magnet, join my email list!’ at the end of your ebooks. I’m still in the beginner’s levels but at least I’m learning new codes and some super tips.

This is actually a terrible analogy for me. I’m awful at video games.

I’ll give you one other tip that was on the video. It is incredibly interesting but a bit expensive so I can’t use it. I forget what it was called but what you do is buy 15-24 ads on book site newsletters on the same day for 24 hours. It will shoot up your discovery on insane levels like you won’t believe (according to the educational video, don’t take my word for it).

This is the mini version that is out of my budget. I would love to see how well this works for someone so if anyone ever does try this, please contact me afterward and give me your thoughts. I recall with my first book doing one or two ads on the same day and it working well for me. Don’t forget to have that information in the back of the book. That was my one major newbie mistake I will regret for a long time from now.

In case you don’t know what that information is, you should have the thank you for reading and if you’d like…. please visit…then the link to your landing page where they can sign up to your email. Once they sign up, they are sent the book or given a link to click that lets them read the book. Typically you provide a free short story, novelette, novella,(prequel to the book, something related to the book) to get them to sign up to your email list. I know one of the gurus that are big on thrillers give the confidential psychology breakdown of his protagonist. I think that’s a great idea. Honestly, you’re the author so it’s up to you.

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Just remember, as a newbie, we need to focus on so many different things so when we consider how to market we can’t get too crazy. The overwhelm will get to us. I love the psychological breakdown idea but that will take me forever to figure out. I need to research, write, find what half the phsychological words are and how to use them, what papers would be used in the medical field or in that sort of scenario. It would take me weeks, if not months. I have too many other aspects of my career to worry about. I’m better off writing another book and giving away the first book in my series.

I could write a short story prequel, eventually. I may do this once I feel things calmed down.

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Until then, I will stick to what I have. I am beginning to see some ups in my rollercoaster ride. I know I have a fall, twist or turn coming so I am getting prepared and holding on to the bars. That’s the best I can do. I am enjoying it instead of crying and feeling nauseous.

Well, thanks for reading and stay fabulous. Keep with it, newbies. We will get there!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie


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