Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It's called "work" for a reason... by Cathy Ace

Now that 2022 is well and truly "in the books" (!) did you learn any business tips you can pass on?

Business tips are tricky, because, quite often, they are only really helpful given a quite specific set of circumstances. That being said, here are a few things I learned that you might find helpful:

DO NOT get overwhelmed when you’re reading about how phenomenal other authors are at their writing output.

This might not sound like “business advice” but it is, for authors, because writing is their business. Some authors – believe it or not – write and publish a dozen or more a books per year. Bear in mind they might have spent years writing them all, then are using a rapid release strategy because that’s what their target market demands/expects/wants. Other authors will write and publish one book every two years. Again, maybe they have a life plan that means they won’t be writing for the whole of those two years. So – slow release or fast release doesn’t necessarily signify current workload. And we, as authors, need to write the right number of books for us, according to how we want to live our lives. I have learned I can only write and publish a MAXIMUM of two to three books per year and not lose my grip on either reality or sanity – if you can write less, fine, if you can write more, go for it – but I have learned I have to be content to be me.

DO NOT get overwhelmed when you’re reading about how wonderful/active other authors are at their promotional effort.

When I had traditional publishers, they had a whole promotional department to work on my behalf, which organised my international book tours, advertising campaigns, appearances on local and national television chat shows…oh no, hang on, that wasn’t me…that was the author who signed a million dollar contract with one of the Big 5 publishers, who couldn’t be seen to fail! LOL! Silly me – I was the author who got a thirtieth share of the time of one overworked promotional person who did their best with miniscule budgets…and had to do the rest of it myself either out of my own pocket, or for free. Now that I self publish, everything is down to me…and I still need time to write enough to keep new books coming out. So – I have learned to breathe, accept that I cannot do everything, and now try to promote my work “smarter”.

DO consider ways you might be able to promote your work to readers beyond Facebook and Twitter.

As recent events have shown, if an author relies too much upon one channel of communication, they might find the people they need to speak to removing themselves from that platform for any number of reasons. A good author website that’s kept up to date, and building a mailing list for a newsletter that contains special offers, and actual NEWS, as well as an insight into one’s life and writing are both important, and often overlooked. That said, it’s critical to know how to reach your readers/potential readers: my books are NOT read by those who use TikTok, so it’s pointless me using it, for example.

DO whatever you can to try to work out who is reading your books, and how they choose to get their hands on them.

Libraries are important to society as well as readers and authors – I believe this deep in my bones. Do you know how many libraries have your books? Does your country have a way for you to make an income from this (Canada and the UK have funding for authors whose works are found on library stock lists, for example.) If people are buying your books do they buy print or digital? Where do they buy those books? If you have a traditional publisher, work with them to help you understand this – because then you can better target that time-sucking promotional effort. If you’re self-publishing, you can gather this information from your own data. And, boy, have I learned a lot this way – for example, I know that for my WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, libraries want hardcover vs paperback, buy them soon after release date, and buy multiple copies; by far the most sales are digital, through amazon vs Kobo vs Nook, with about 50% of sales in the USA, 30% in the UK, and the rest split fairly evenly between Canada and Australia/NZ. And the digital to print sales ratio? About 100:1 Knowing this? Priceless!

Not every writer wants to be involved in the business of publishing...BUT I BELIEVE THEY SHOULD AT LEAST UNDERSTAND IT.

While we all have to do our bit in terms of promotional effort (try keeping a traditional publisher happy without doing this!) for some, the craft and process of writing is where they want most of their focus to be – which is fine. So the business of publishing isn’t what you’re interested in – but that might leave you high and dry in the long run, so I urge you to read about the business you’re participating in and learn as much as you can about it. I recommend Jane Friedman’s website to everyone I can: it contains most of the answers, and direction for those areas where you want to learn more. KUDOS to her!

As for me? I have ANOTHER new book coming out:

On 20th February 2023, the 7th WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery will be published – the cover is above, and the blurb appears below. 

It’s available for pre-order NOW!

Click here to access pre-order links


When the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency are approached by the desperate owner of a rental cottage in a picturesque Welsh seaside hamlet, they agree to help. After all, there can’t be any such thing as a killer cottage, can there? But a cursed cottage? Isn’t that just as unlikely? They’re about to find out…when Christine and Annie take up residence.

Meanwhile, Carol goes undercover to investigate a day spa at a swish country hotel with some dangerous treatments on offer, leaving Mavis to stake out a man who might be incapacitated because of a work-related accident, or might just be a malingerer; will this bricklayer become belligerent if he spots her on the job?

While our engaging private investigators are busy with paying clients, it looks as though it’s going to fall to Henry, eighteenth duke of Chellingworth, to try to solve the riddle of the missing christening mugs, which is a priority as far as his mother the dowager is concerned.

Early spring in Wales is a busy time for the WISE women – join them to find out how they cope, in this, the seventh book in the series.

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Susan C Shea said...

Thank you, Cathy, this is so helpful and timely for me. I was waiting for your post! You really know what you're up to, and are a great model for success.

Cathy Ace said...

You're very kind, Susan. As I said - it's called "work", and it's how I earn my living. Best of luck with everything you're up to, too!