My Social Media Future
Today the CEO of TikTok testified before Congress only for our beloved US government to flash its ass in true plutocracy fashion. Make no mistake, this whole farce of a trial is so that Facebook / Meta can shut down its competition while continuing to sell private user data, allow foreign enemies to spread misinformation, and do all the things it's accusing its competitor of doing without evidence because "China" as the excuse. What the willfully ignorant don't realize is that TikTok is already banned in China because the app provides a tool for grassroots activism to rise up against autocratic / fascist leaders. Something that our current country is spiraling towards at a breakneck pace.
Congress is not actually interested in understanding the intricacies of the platform and the impact it has for millions of small business owners, churches, creatives, and other users across the country. They're being paid by Meta to eliminate the competition. It's as simple as that. Follow the money.
Social media is becoming an exhausting aspect of my endeavors. In the past 2 years I joined YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Mastodon...and it seems like every one of them is crashing and burning for various reasons, or just doesn't suit my needs as a small creator. It's exhausting having to go to a new social media platform, learn its tools and tech requirements, figure out its algorithm (which changes constantly), build a community from scratch...only to have all of my effort hit a dead end unless I pay the platform an endless flow of funds so that my content is not suppressed. Social media is becoming nothing more than a pay-to-win endeavor, assuming Congress isn't being lobbied to meddle in the micro-transactions.
Come April I will be handing off the manuscript of Obligation's Unity to my editor so that she can start working her magic. During that time I will be focusing primarily on the business and artistic aspects of the Carving Legacies series and all that entails. I will also be spending a considerable amount of time rethinking my relationship with social media as a viable marketing tool, in what capacity, and where to cultivate it. Given the state of our society, it might be best to go back to basics and do more local promotion by showing up to events, bookstores, and other avenues. Social media was just free (great for being an author on a budget), and reached outside of my immediate community. But if I keep having to rebuild from ground zero every year, that's honestly time better spent elsewhere in more tangible spaces.
Whatever I decide, my website will always be the "home base" for any updates and changes. I plan on figuring out the storefront features so that I can start selling physical copies of my book directly to consumers rather than 3rd party distributors; and I really want to give this site a new look and feel since book 2 is getting released later this year. All new things to be excited about, for sure!
I look forward to providing more updates after next month!
It's March Already?!
I had no idea it's been about 3-4 months since my last update. I'm really bad at keeping up on socials, both in real life and online, forgive me.
Anyhoodle, I've been plugging away at preparing Obligation's Unity to hand off to my editor by the end of this month! I know people have been diligently waiting for a storefront to open up here on the website so that folks can purchase signed copies of Key of Arcandus. I promised a late-spring / early-summer timeframe for that, and it's looking like it will be more toward the latter. The month of April will finally be some "downtime" in the writing sense of things, and I'll be focused more on art and merch that month so that I can take a break from my computer (a little).
Call-outs for alpha readers for the Sebastian x Niamh standalone fantasy romance novel, An Oath to the Winter Winds, will happen around summertime. I'm going to put off Book 3 alpha reading until after launch of Obligation's Unity since...that makes the most sense. But the SebNia standalone runs parallel to the main series just after Key of Arcandus, and ends after the events of Book 3. So, as long as you've read KoA, nothing will be spoiled (only teased) for you at the end of AOttWW for the main Carving Legacies series.
On a different topic entirely, I had to shut off access to making comments on this blog because I was receiving nothing but spam remarks. If you want to reach out to me, you can check out the Contact section of my website, or you can hit me up on my socials like TikTok and Instagram. Please remember that I don't respond to solicitations of products or services, but I always love hearing from readers!
I wanted to update my current social media contacts for anyone on the following platforms. Please note that the bottom two won't be used nearly as much as the top given that Instagram barely gets me any traction, and Twitter currently seems to be on fire for the moment. But I do check both of them despite being more likely to post new content on TikTok and Mastodon.
Important Book Sales Change Coming in 2023
Hello Fellow Scribes!
No, I haven't run off into the void. Although it sometimes feels that way.
Between June and now, I've been diligently working on writing two books. The first being Book 3 of the Carving Legacies series, and the other being the Sebastian x Niamh standalone romance novel that will dual-release with Book 3. While I didn't get most of the other projects I wanted to accomplish done this year, I did write three books which will be put in different stages of editing going into 2023 so that there is a tighter release schedule for the series as a whole.
Which brings me to this next important topic...
After much deliberation, I have decided that the physical copies of future published works will be sold directly through me.
There are several reasons for this, but namely because physical books sold by 3rd party distributors are the most financially detrimental to me as a self-pub indie author. Right now, I just don't sell enough physical copies to make the ROI worthwhile. I receive roughly $1 profit per sale after print costs, mandatory distributor discounts, and distribution fees are taken out, but I'm charged for the full cost of the book if it is ever returned. Which means it only takes ONE return for any meager profit margin on physical copies to be completely wiped out for the year.
This just makes no business sense in the grand scheme of things. I take on ALL of the risk for both the printing press and the distributors. At the end of the day, they always get paid, and I foot their bills. Even if the reason for the return is their fault.
So, going forward I will purchase the physical copies from the printer myself which allows me to filter out the misprints, provide a personalized experience for the customer, and keep the full remaining profit margin post-print costs.
Does that mean physical copies of Key of Arcandus will disappear from 3rd party distributors?
No. I will keep all formats of KoA on wide distribution, for now, so that new readers who might not know of my series can shop the first book in a physical format with ease from any major distributor. Could I change my mind about this later? Yes. This is not a permanent decision, but it is the decision I am making at this time, yet subject to change.
What about eBooks?
All eBook formats for my series will be available for purchase through 3rd party distributors. This allows my series to stay out into the global ethos so that new readers can easily purchase my books in some capacity that isn't directly through me. The ROI on digital sales is better in this format through 3rd party distributors, and they already have the digital encryption infrastructure in place. It makes financial business sense for me to keep Carving Legacies available via eBook through 3rd party distributors as it currently stands.
Won't this limit the reach of your sales?
Yes and no.
It will limit global sales because S&H outside of the United States is very expensive, and I don't see many readers outside of the USA agreeing to pay $20+ in shipping for a book that costs the same amount. Also, if there are readers who only prefer physical copies of books and don't follow me on any of my social media accounts, they might choose not to investigate further to find out where they can purchase the other installments in physical formats. They might also not want to pay any shipping at all to acquire a physical copy. This also removes me from having my series carried in bookshops and libraries for obvious reasons. I'm also not certain how Barnes & Noble would handle author signing events in this circumstance even if I were to go the consignment route with them at said events. HOWEVER...
After two years of sales analytics, it would appear that many of my casual sales are via eBook, while my physical sales are from me selling myself directly to others via social media, events, etc. Currently, there are only two bookstores that carried my book, and no libraries. Basically, the accessibility is not paying for itself because my series has just not generated enough interest...yet.
I am confident that if I play my market campaign cards correctly, I can convert 3rd party sales to direct sales on the physical formats to help mitigate certain pain points in my financial risks going forward. If and when I get to a point where my physical sales are exceeding my ability to keep up with handling the distribution myself, I will reconsider putting the physical books back on the wide market again. But for now, the wide market is too expensive and not viable for the amount of books I have sold thus far. However, I will continue to piggyback off of KoA's accessibility in hopes of selling the rest of the series myself. We'll have to see how the numbers adjust once enough new data comes in to evaluate.
When will this new sales process begin in 2023?
This new sales method will begin for Book 2's release, which means sometime during the last quarter of the year. Please note that you will also be able to purchase Key of Arcandus directly through me (hopefully earlier in the year), and you will be able to get it signed, and even potentially receive bundle discounts once I get those up and running. The goal is to provide the customer a better purchasing experience by buying directly through me, which in turn helps to support me and my work along the way. I want it to be a win-win for everyone.
And that's the plan!
I hope you all have a lovely holiday season as we head into All Hallow's Eve. Be well, and be safe!
The Picky Bookworm Podcast Appearance
Hello Fellow Scribes,
As the month of April came to a close, I was graciously invited to speak with Pamela, who is the creator of The Picky Bookworm. Not only did we chat about Key of Arcandus, but I got to speak with her about my process when I outline my novels. It was a wonderful opportunity that many self-published authors are rarely afforded. So, I was more than happy to make an appearance and enjoy the conversation!
If you have Spotify, you can catch the episode here as follows:
If you find yourself liking the content, follow The Picky Bookworm on Spotify, Twitter @PickyBookworm, and check out her website where you can find her editing services, forum, and other materials!
Not Every Idea Works
Happy Springtime Fellow Scribes!
It has been a hot minute since I last posted a blog update. So, let's recap on where I am this April!
OBLIGATION'S UNITY: Work on book 2 is progressing as planned and is "on time" per my schedule. Call-outs for BETA readers will commence on 05/01/22, and the reading process itself will begin in June.
MERCH & OTHER GOODIES: Have been delayed. I was hosting family for a month (and went on vacation), so I focused on creating / scheduling social media content on IG and YouTube back in Feb / Mar. After a general analysis of this 'productivity', I'm going to pull back on social media to create more income-generating material / services this year. Merch will be part of that process.
YOUTUBE: I planned on giving The Writer's Block a year-long 'shot', but after 6 months of no growth or live stream viewers, the content I'm producing clearly garners no interest. Rather than burning away time brainstorming production topics and streaming only to my spouse (love him), I'm going to use my YT channel to only post pre-scripted content I want to make at the time I want to make it. Things like book reviews, AuthorTube topics / interviews, and gaming will be added to the channel, but there will be no set frequency schedule.
I'm not disappointed in these changes because I'm still in the 'experimental' phase of my career as a fulltime author. Writing and completing the Carving Legacies series is always priority #1 over all of these other things. But book sales don't pay the bills (unless you're a legacy author). So, I am trying to expand to other opportunities that I enjoy doing and have the skill set. I have some new ideas and will be adding them to the site soon.
Happy New Year, Fellow Scribes! Welcome to 2022 and the Year of the Tiger all in one post!
I know January was a silent month for me, but that's because it was my Month of Preparation where I outline my goals and objectives this year to help grow the world of Clayne into a recognizable brand. This post is to give a sneak peek at what I have in the works for 2022!
Nothing is planned for release this year, however, Obligation's Unity is currently undergoing its editing phases, and a call for BETA readers will commence in May. While the manuscript is with readers, I will be working on the initial drafts for Book 3 and a standalone supplement novella featuring Sebastian and Niamh. The goal is to complete the Carving Legacies series no later than 2030 so that I can move onto the "next phase" of Clayne's timeline.
I will be expanding my merchandise line-up this year with a new storefront provider. People who liked the Vanis Aer Guild will be able to show off their rank with pins, while those who love the Skivat homeland of The Hive will get to show their pride with varsity tees for their favorite gangs and Shot-Pipe teams.
After years of putting it on the sidelines, I will be working on publishing a tabletop game concept of mine for digital download only. For people who enjoy one-shot tabletop campaigns where the focus is on laughter and shenanigans...this game is made for you!
I am biting the bullet this year and expanding to more platforms. This is the year of experimentation for me, so I'm putting my feelers out to see where the stronger following resides. I've mapped out a social media schedule for all of the platforms listed below. Subscribe, follow, like, comment, and do all of those social engagement things pretty please!
That is 2022's game plan! There are plans to release a few extra tidbits or expansions, but those greatly depend upon the overall responses I receive from the general public. Hopefully I am able to grow my channels so that it warrants further expansion, but for now, keeping all of these constantly updated will keep me plenty occupied.
Have a wonderful February, my dear scribes!
the process better.
I'm not ready for BETA readers yet. I will begin phase one of the editing process in January of 2022, and it will take a handful of months to perform a reverse outline, rewrite known issues, merge / cut chapters, smooth out some character arcs, check consistency, etc. My goal is to be ready by April 2022, but we'll see how things come along. I have plans to go on a trip between now and then, plus I have family visiting for a while, too. It might be closer to June 2022.
Either way, if you're interested in becoming a BETA reader for Obligation's Unity, stay tuned to my website, follow me on Instagram and YouTube, and in due time you'll see the official call-out. In the meantime...I'm going to enjoy the rest of what remains of 2021.
Happy holidays, everyone!
It’s Been a While
and family, a small circle of indie authors in the Instagram space, and the general ability to sell my books through a global market via Ingramspark no matter how long it takes me to pick up steam! To all of my current supporters, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
But 2021 is almost over, I must move onto finishing Book 2, and rolling out new projects that I’ve been putting off for far too long! After toiling and self-teaching, I am finally on the precipice of producing new content in the form of a YouTube channel and live stream session that my tiny community can munch on while I work on completing each installment of Carving Legacies.
We also have NaNoWriMo coming up in the next couple of months, and that will be my final sprint to the finish link on Book 2’s initial draft completion. It took way longer than I hoped, but two years to finish a rough draft sure beats the six years it took Key of Arcandus!
What new lessons have you learned about the creative space during the pandemic? Comment below and let’s discuss!
Key of Arcandus is now released!
You can now purchase Key of Arcandus at any major online book retailer or request through your local bookstore. It is self-published through Ingramspark with global distribution channels, so no matter where you are in the world you should be able to grab a copy somehow, somewhere.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this process, and who will continue to support me after launch! Your reviews and word-of-mouth help gain traction in building a community that supports indie authors like myself so that we can achieve our life's dream of making this our full-time career.
What's in store next, you might ask?
2021 is going to be busy as I go back to the writing table and tackle not just Book 2 in the Carving Legacies series, but a standalone novel for two of the supporting cast members from Key of Arcandus. I have a ton of projects for the world of Clayne, and as I gain momentum in my writing craft I'm hoping to bring new stories, series, and characters to everyone who becomes a fan. As it currently stands I have two full series planned (Carving Legacies and a post-CL pantheon series), with three stand-alone novels, and another potential two series that would cover the Finnean Rebellion and the war between the immortal gods during the ancient era. Whew! I better get writing!
I'm an author and avid gamer from the southwest who grew up on all things geek before they became chic.
TT back-up: @lahariels_bookshelf