I re-read the blog post I wrote at the end of 2021 to get a feel for what I accomplished this year, what I didn’t, and what I want to do for 2023. I have the post up now–let’s compare:
Number of books written: 3.5
In 2021, I wrote six and a half books. I only did half that this year, writing my Lost & Found Trilogy and 58k of Twisted Lies and Alibis for a total of about 286,000 words. I’m not sure why I was so slow this year, other than I must have gotten caught up editing and packaging other books.
Number of books published: 3
I didn’t publish anything last year, but it seems I was too busy writing to bother. I published my Cedar Hill Duet this year along with Rescue Me, a billionaire one-night stand standalone, which is probably why I didn’t write as much as last year. Editing, formatting, and doing covers can take a long time. Technically, My Biggest Mistake was completed and put out into the world as my newsletter reader magnet, but that’s not published, so I suppose we can’t count it, though it is accessible to readers when it wasn’t before.
Year-End Royalties: $670.55
Ignore the 43 books–Bookreport combines all the formats. At the time of writing this, I have 16 books published–13 under Vania Rheault and 3 under VM Rheault. Surprisingly, even with my new releases this year, I’m short $64.33. I can assume His Frozen Heart enjoyed a bump because of the promo I paid for in November, and I’m still getting read-through.
I’m disappointed my Cedar Hill Duet didn’t do better, but all I did was run some Amazon ads to it. I was on the fence on whether or not to put it up on Booksprout for reviews, and I never did, so that might be part of it. Books have a hard time selling without reviews, and I think even now, Addicted to Her doesn’t have any, even though it’s been out since August. I could still make up that $64 as the month isn’t over yet, but let’s just say, I hope in 2023 I can multiply that by ten.
I probably broke even with everything I pay for: Office 365, Canva Pro, Bookfunnel, website costs, promos and ads.
I spent $112.55 on Amazon ads, only five dollars more than I spent last year. It’s nice to see I’m not wasting money overall, though I would have dive deeper into if my ads are really cost-effective or if I’m losing money on a book-by-book basis. For the most part, I don’t care if I break even on ads, so long as I’m not wasting money, but that’s not a strategy everyone can agree with. If you’re running an ad to a book and it’s not a good return on investment, either you need to reconsider the ad (maybe your bidding is too high or your target audience is off) or figure out what’s wrong with your book (maybe the cover isn’t meeting reader expectations). Since I’m in KU, I look at the big picture. I’m always reluctant to pause an ad that’s doing well just in case I’m getting borrows (you can keep an eye on your rank if you really want to know). Page reads (and royalties) can come later, so it pays to have patience because reporting can lag and readers sometimes don’t read right away, either.
I still feel like crap, and a friend of mine suggested maybe I always will due to hormones and the fact that I’m staring menopause right in the face, something I kind of forget because in my head I’m stuck at 45 years old when I actually turned 48 last month. Maybe my girlie parts will never feel normal again, and if I let myself, I can get pretty depressed over that. I try to take one day at a time, but I’ve been dealing with this for two years now and there’s no end in sight. It’s not even the physical part of it at this point, it’s just a mental drag I have to try to keep from interfering with my writing. But enough about that. I just included it since I did last year, but nothing, unfortunately, has changed.
I blog every Monday and some Thursdays. My visitors dropped off this year, I think because I didn’t blog as much as I did last year.
I’m 20k words shorter than I was last year, but I didn’t post on Thursdays as much. There were a few weeks I struggled to come up with anything at all, mostly because I didn’t have much to say, some because I was having my health issues and I had a hysterectomy in March that took up a lot of headspace. My fiancé and I also broke up, so if I didn’t give my blog as much love as I did last year, I’ll just blame it on some personal problems. My WordPress stats added a new statistic, and it shows me where people have shared my posts:
It’s fun that people are sharing my posts on LinkedIn and Pinterest. I have accounts at both of those places, but I don’t hang out there. That could explain some spikes in reads for some of my posts, but the most popular one of all time is still my instructions on how to do a full paperback cover wrap on Canva with 4,081 views.
I’m only going to guess people are looking at the page for my imprint to see if I publish other authors. I don’t and don’t intend to. If you need help with anything, email me (I have my personal email listed in the contact me section of this website) and either I can help you or point you in the direction of someone who can.
I don’t intend to stop blogging, but looking back over my topics, there is only so much content I can share. I blog a lot about marketing, but if authors aren’t willing to change then there’s no point in beating a dead horse. Your book title is important (I’ve seen some weird ones over the years). Covers are important. Formatting is important. Being able to write a good blurb and come up with a catchy hook is important. Your marketing tactics won’t work if those aren’t good enough. There is so much pushback when it comes to finding your comp authors and doing even just a small amount of market research before you begin writing that sometimes I just feel like giving up. I know I’ve helped people with this blog, and sharing my experiences will help someone with their journey. WordPress recently congratulated me for blogging for 7 years and if you think writing a book to no audience is like screaming into the void, that’s nothing like blogging every week and hoping someone can take something away from your words, no matter how small.
What’s Next for 2023?
I’m not sure. More the of the same. 2023 will actually be a big publishing year for me, as I’m planning 5 releases right off the bat with my trilogy in January, and two standalones in March/April and July/August, depending on when I feel like putting them out. This is a tentative schedule, but I’m already tinkering with the release dates of my standalones because I want to have time in 2023 to write what I’ll publish in 2024. I put off the four books left in a series I started, and once Twisted Lies and Alibis is finished, I’m going to dive right in and make those books a huge release event for 2024.
I’ve done a lot of the hard work, and now I can sit back a tiny bit, drink some wine, and enjoy my releases in the coming year.
I always share this quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger. You have to stay hungry. You have to always think there is something better and never lose your drive to find it. Indie authors can make hundreds of thousands of dollars with their books. My $670.00 is only a very tiny drop of water compared to the potential of what can be. Keep going, or you’ll never find it, but in that, you have to, you have to be flexible. Find new ways of doing things, or you’ll be stuck with the same results. Not happy on Twitter, find a different way to market. Not finding the number of readers you want with what you’re writing? Write something else. You aren’t powerless, but hanging out on Twitter over the past five years, so many people act like they are. Your career is in your own hands, and the only thing that traps you are the choices you do or do not make. People blame summertime, Christmastime, the economy, Elon Musk, for their lack of sales, when really, it’s you. How will you make 2023 different for yourself and your business? Stay hungry. Try new things. You won’t regret it.
Great post! I try to do this every year as well as it helps me not be so hard on myself. You are always an inspiration, but I have to say that last paragraph brought it all home for me! I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2023! Can’t wait to see what it brings!
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Thank you! I hope you see all the success you want as well!
Great post! Especially that last paragraph. I’ve never heard that quote before, but ‘Stay Hungry’ is an excellent motto to have. I enjoy reading your posts and appreciate what you offer within these posts. I pray you have a very successful 2023 and may the new books add to your success.
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Thanks, Sarah! I hope you have a success New Year, too!