When I created the Short Story Writer Twenty Twenty Planner, I had a few emails asking me to do a video or blog post explaining how I plan out my week. So here it is!
I first write down my three monthly goals.
My number one goal every month is to increase revenue by promoting new books and my backlist. My number two and number three goal’s are always different. Usually, I dedicate them to increasing social media followers, email subscribers, increasing audiobooks, print books, etc. I also recommend that with your goal, you make sure it’s measurable. For example, you want to make a certain amount of money, you want to reach a certain number of subscribers, etc.
Next, I write down all the tasks I’m going to do that month to reach my goals. I also write down any extra projects I have for the month – multi author series, special release, giveaway, etc.
I keep track of all my details for each month. On the last day of the month, I write down how many books I have, how much I made, number of email subscribers, social media followers, etc. I do this every month to see where I’ve progressed and what I need to work on.
Monthly Social Media:
I then use a monthly calendar to plan the month’s social media. This video is so helpful to me:
How to Plan a MONTH of Social Media Content in 60 Minutes (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc!)
I publish a book a week (usually). So, I have a list of things I do every week for that book. If you want to do what I do, it is in my Short Story Writer Planner. You can get it here: Short Story Writer Twenty Twenty Planner
(However, what I do is common sense, and honestly, probably what you do already. You don’t have to buy the planner – only if you want it fancified and ready to go).
So, I do all of my to do list for the book, but I also write down the topic of my social media each day, I write down my keywords I plan to use for the book (this is soooo helpful, because I go back and look at these often when I’m working on new books), and I write down the weeks blog post topic and ideas.
I have a Top Priorities for each of my days and this is where I write down what I HAVE to do that day.
So, that is how I plan my week.
Now, you can get the Short Story Writer Planner on Etsy, or honestly, you can do it on your own with any planner! You don’t even need a planner, you can do it in a $1.00 notebook from the store.
Whatever you do, I highly recommend that you make a plan with your goals and your tracking – this helps so much!
Anyway, good luck to you! I hope you have an awesome 2020!
I hope this helps you!
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What is Audio Book Crave?
Audiobookcrave.com connects audiobook listeners to authors, narrators and publishers of audiobooks and distributes their free promotional codes. Emails are sent out to listeners every Monday and Friday with new audiobook release information as well as posted on Audiobookcraves Facebook and Social Media Accounts.
How is Audio Book Crave Different?
What sets Audiobookcrave.com
apart from some of the other platforms is that you can easily add more free promotional codes at any time. Plus, and this is a big feature, you are connected to your listeners, so you know who is receiving your codes and they allow you to contact them. Additionally, if you run out of codes, your listeners are waitlisted and emailed the moment you upload new codes. There are reporting features to allow you to see how many codes have been claimed (so you can reconcile with ACX) and plenty more features!
How Much Does Audio Book Crave Cost?
The cost per audiobook is $15, but you can save $5 by using the coupon code HOPESAVE5.
supports ACX (Audible and iTunes), but there are plans to support the other platforms.
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5 Tips to Beat Writer’s Block and Find the Joy in Writing Again
I think as writers, we’ve all been there. We’ve all hit that burnout phase, better and more horrifically known as Writer’s Block. It’s the bane of every writer’s existence. We strive to make art…and then, one day, for no reason at all, we can’t make anymore. Maybe it lasts for a day, maybe it lasts for a month. Maybe it lasts for a year. But for however long it lasts, to not be able to do the thing we were meant to do is absolutely soul-crushing.
How do we beat it? How do we refuse to let it get the best of us?
Here, I offer 5 tips that have proven effective for me in cases of mild to severe writer’s block. I hope they help anyone dealing with it, too.
Tip 1: TAKE A BREAK.
Now, this seems like a “No sh*t, Sherlock” statement. Isn’t writer’s block essentially a FORCED break? Yes and no. Reframe the block in your mind. It’s not that you cannot create. It’s just that your mind is telling you it’s tired. It needs rest. If you have the urge to write, but are having trouble focusing, and you spend your designated writing time staring at that little blinking cursor on your screen, that could be your mind begging you to give it some reprieve. So, what do you do? You draw a big X through the production day on your calendar, and you take a break. For the whole day. No writing. What to do instead? Read a book you’ve been dying to start. Read a magazine with a glass of wine or maybe some coffee or even a refreshing cup of tea. Take the furbabies for a walk. Relax in the bathtub, then put on some movies, or catch up on that new Netflix show that’s been on your radar. No matter what you choose, make it relaxing and soothing to your mind with as low cognitive load as possible. If the next day you’re still having trouble focusing, repeat until you feel refreshed to start writing again.
Tip 2: EXERCISE.
Sometimes, we spend hours at our computer, trying to pound out the words to meet deadlines and stay on track. We’re demanding a lot from our bodies by being sedentary for such long periods. Exercise is a wonderful thing. Not only is it good for our bodies, but it’s good for our minds too. Whatever exercise looks like for you—whether that’s a fifteen-minute stroll with your dog or on the treadmill, dancing for twenty minutes in your bedroom, running a couple miles, or a grueling, hour-long MMA workout or weight-lifting session, make it a regular part of your week. Start with one or two days a week, then work up to four or five. You might be surprised at the mental clarity you have each day when you return to your computer. Want bonus points? Every hour, get up and stretch and move your legs a little around the house. Or, every thousand words, do ten jumping jacks or crunches. Make sure you’re giving back to your body so it continues to fuel your mind.
Tip 3: SLEEP.
This might seem counterproductive, but sometimes, sleep is the very best thing you can give your body and your mind. Did you know that the vast majority of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived? You’ve heard that statistic a thousand times—we’re supposed to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Raise your hand if you hardly ever hit this range. I know my hand is up. But I’ve discovered from serious firsthand experience what a chronic lack of sleep does to me, and it’s not pretty. Like exercise, this is a habit that needs time to build up. Start shooting for one extra hour from where you currently are. If you get four hours a night now, go to bed one hour earlier, no excuses. Build from there until you hit 7 hours. Then shoot for eight. Then shoot for nine, just to finetune the right number of hours for you. And no, lying in bed scrolling Facebook or playing games for an hour before bed is NOT sleeping.
Tip 4: DRINK WATER.
Yeah, this one will send you running to the bathroom every hour, but hey! In Tip 2, I told you to move your legs every hour, right? Like sleep, most people are chronically dehydrated. This affects in a number of really awful ways, from our mood to the way our organs function to our skin and hair. Earlier this year, I made a conscious decision and effort to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water a day. A gallon is better. This sounds like a lot of water, and it is. But you know what? In days of practicing this, I noticed some crazy things. My skin, suffering from hormonal acne breakouts for the better part of a year, started to clear. My hair, which had been thinning and brittle, started to become a little more lush and then, after a while, it grew like crazy. I had more energy, I had better mental focus, and my mood even stabilized. Water is a beautiful thing, and our bodies NEED IT TO THRIVE. So drink up!
Tip 5: CLEAR THE COBWEBS.
Sometimes our brains become like attics, where dust and debris and other crap just builds up until there’s no more room for anything else—like the effort we want to put forth in our WIP. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to write—we just can’t write the current project we’re working on. So, just for a day or two, or even an hour here and there where you need it, clear out the mental attic. Freewrite for a while, even if it’s nonsense. Work on that short story you’ve had on your mind that’s totally different from your WIP. Write a blog post. Write a poem. Outline another novel you’ve had bouncing around in your mind. Flex those creative muscles in a different way and sweep the cobwebs out, then go back to your WIP with a fresh, clean space in your mental attic.
I hope these tips help!
For more information like this, or if you just wanna chat, please drop me a line at mazzyking.com or visit me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at @mazzykingwrites.
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(This post contains affiliate links. All that means is that I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link.)
My Take on the 7 Kindle Keywords
Ok, so I’ll admit it, when Kindlepreneur released the article, 7 KINDLE KEYWORDS: USE ALL 50 CHARACTERS OR NOT?, it sort of blew me out of the water. (If you haven’t read the article yet, read it now. None of the below will make sense without it)
I don’t like change. I mean, really don’t like change. I had this strategy that I’ve used to get keywords and it was really working for me.
But I figured since I’ve been singing their praises for so long, I knew they wouldn’t lead me wrong. So, I incorporated their new keyword strategy with my last two releases and these are my results.
Just a little back information, I have used this strategy to get my keywords in the past.
For the last two releases, Ford (released October 16th) and Cooper (released October 23rd) I used the strategy that I have always used for three of the keyword boxes and then for boxes 4-7 I filled them in with words that best describes my book (as explained in the article 7 KINDLE KEYWORDS: USE ALL 50 CHARACTERS OR NOT?).
Here’s my sales graph from Amazon for October 16 – October 27
Here’s my KU Borrows from Amazon for October 16 – October 27
So, I am not a scientific person. You’re not going to get a bunch of percentages, pie charts, or anything else from me. LOL. When I look at this and also look at my income, I do see a steady rise from the first week to the second. Does everyone else have a midweek slump? Every one of my weeks slump in the middle, usually around Tues – Thurs. But even my KU slumps are ‘higher’ than the week before.
Also, when I compare first seven days of the two books, Ford and Cooper, to the first seven days of Abby (released the week before with my old way of doing keywords), I experienced 2-4k more KU reads per day on the two new books.
Now, there are many factors to consider with this. Time of month, time of year, etc. One of them being, these two books were book 3 and 4 of a series. I do great with series. However, I did look at one of my old series to see if there was a jump like this and there was not one.
Also, I had my highest day EVER on October 27th. Coincidence? Maybe.
However, I have seen a steady climb since I changed my keyword strategy so I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep testing it out.
So, here are some questions I’ve had:
For the boxes that you ‘word stuff’ do you need to check the competition score for these word or phrases?
No. You don’t need to check the competition score for the boxes 4-7. (I do check the competition score for boxes 1-3). However, I do check to see the number of searches on Rocket to make sure that they do have a search volume.
When thinking of search terms, I would want to focus on short story romance, not just short story. And I don’t think people would just type in alpha man – they would type in alpha man romance. So, my question – would I need to use romance in each box – or only one box? If I just have romance in the first box, would Amazon use it when using the 2nd box keywords. Or do the keywords not cross between boxes?
I had to get help on this one. I emailed Kindlepreneur and there is not any testing done on whether or not Amazon will combine terms in different boxes.
So I would recommend that if alpha man romance has a high search volume, and even if it has a high competition score, I would still use this term in my “stuffed” boxes. And as the article states, you are not penalized for using a term more than once. Therefore, when I do my “stuffed boxes” I do use a keyword more than once (not in the same box) if I deem it necessary.
Do I really need Publisher Rocket for keywords?
Yes, with this new article, I feel that you need Publisher Rocket more than ever. It is so useful in finding low competition keywords for those first 1-3 boxes. And it is even helpful for the boxes 4-7. I use Rocket to check the search terms for these also.
Plus, it’s been said the less work that Amazon has to do to form a phrase, the better you rank. So even with my last boxes I still put my niche words into Rocket and check some of the phrases to make sure they are in the best possible order I can put them in.
Do you work for Kindlepreneur?
LOL. No I do not. I have never worked for them or even met anyone that does. (I do email them a lot though). I just truly believe in Publisher Rocket. I am, however, an affiliate for Publisher Rocket. All that means is that I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link. Any post I make has this declaration at the top of it, if it has affiliate links on it.
Plus, I hope by now, y’all realize that I would not “push” something that I truly didn’t believe in.
Did This Help You?
I hope this helped you. If you have questions you are more than welcome to ask me, but also Kindlepreneur. Their customer service is EXCELLENT!
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I am on the mailing list for Alessandra Torre and she sent out a super helpful email last week. I wanted to make sure you get access to what she shared. (Let me go ahead and say here, I am not an affiliate for Inkers Con or Alessandra Torre. I just really enjoy all of the the information she shares)
Lately, I have been looking for ways to be more productive on my Instagram Profile. Well, when I got this email from her I knew it was good stuff and had to share it.
There is a video and a downloadable cheat sheet. Here is the link: Alessandra Torre’s 5 IG Hacks
She teaches you how to:
- Quiz your readers
- Use your desktop
- Post text-only story posts
- Create Peekaboo Images that tease readers with future covers, WIPs or teasers.
- Use the Creator Profile
Plus the *bonus* hack: Using the countdown timer!
While you’re on her site, you may want to check out her Inkers Con Conference. I attended the digital conference last year and it was awesome. I have learned so much and having it in digital format has been really nice because I’m able to rewatch the videos.
Some of the things I learned were:
- Marketing Strategies for KU
- Everything about Goodreads
- How to have a successful backlist
- and my favorite, Newsletter Success
How do you use Instagram?
Do you have some hacks on using Instagram? Please comment below!
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Take 4 – Answers to Your Questions
Today I’m answering more questions I received.
How do you balance your family life and writing life?
Well, I am very fortunate that I now write full time. It makes it a lot easier to balance my family life and my writing life. I write when my kids are at school or practice and my husband is at work. It also helps that my kids are teenagers.
When I worked a full time job, it was really hard for me to focus on writing. My family comes first. Then I was working full time. Then I was writing. I wrote mostly in the early mornings or in the evenings. And I will be honest with you, it was hard to balance. I would be writing in the evenings instead of spending a lot of time with my kids. However, they understood. I think there’s phases where if you are building something, no matter what kind of business, you have to put the work in. And sometimes that takes away from family life. However, I made a point that if I was spending time with my kids, I was 100% committed to it. No phones, no emails. I just hung out with them. I think if you want something, there has to be a little give and take.
I noticed several of your books from early 2018 are in Erotica. Were they always? Do you think that helped your visibility? Most authors complain about the ‘Erotica dungeon’, but you catapulted to success so quickly, it seems contrary to what everyone else says.
Yes. The books that are still in erotica have always been there. They are there because of keywords I used or words I used in the title. I am going to tell you my thoughts on my ‘erotica’ books and my opinions on it, but please remember it may not be the same for everyone.
I’m going to use my book, Mine: Alpha Male, Virgin Female Steamy Sweet Romance, as an example. It is in the erotica category. It is in the erotica category because of the subtitle of the book. Which I could probably fix, I just haven’t yet. However, it is also one of my lowest performing books.
So here’s where we get to my opinion. I believe this book does not perform as well because it is in the erotica category but does not have erotica content. There are some sex scenes in the story, but primarily it is a love story. I’m sure if people are looking for an erotic book, they would be disappointed with this book.
So, in my opinion I do not feel that it helped catapult my writing. However, that’s just me though. It may be different for someone else.
Is having a blog or a Facebook page really needed for authors? Doesn’t it kind of cut into writing time?
I do not keep up with my author blog. It’s a goal of mine. But I haven’t done really well with it.
I do recommend a Facebook Page, or even better a Facebook Group. I wrote more on this last week – Check it out here: Answers to your questions Take 3
So, you have two options really.
1- If you have time to write (first priority), then start a FB page or Group and post when you can.
2 – If you don’t have time to write and it stresses you out to add a FB Page or Group, then wait on it. Writing is the most important aspect of all this.
If you were not making any money at all, would you still write and publish your stories?
Good question. I wish I could say ‘absolutely.’ But that’s not realistic. I love to write, share my stories, and get to know my readers. If I was not making money, then I assume I would not have any readers either. They are sort of what keeps me going. They motivate me like nothing else. 🙂 So even though I want to say yes, I would still write. I can’t.
What is the biggest mistake you have made since you started your publishing journey?
Probably my biggest mistake is putting my book up with the wrong title. I put a second book in a series up with the first books title. You want to talk about stressed out. I worried myself to death about it. Since it was in review, Amazon couldn’t help. They told me I would have to wait to fix it until it was either Live or not approved to publish and put back in draft. I hoped they would just not approve it, but they did. It was pretty anticlimactic though. It went live. I immediately fixed it and then didn’t promote it until it was live again.
At the time, this was a huge deal to me and I was so upset. Now, I realize it really wasn’t. I’ve learned to pay better attention when posting a book and also to not stress the small stuff.
Have you ever considered writing in a different genre besides Romance? What would it be?
I have considered writing some more nonfiction.
However, for fiction, I will probably only write romance. That’s all I read, so it makes sense I would stick with that.
Thank you for all the questions. If you have one you would like to ask, please click HERE and enter it.
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