The thorn on the rose (and in my side)

I write this post for authors. Forgive me, dear readers, for pulling back the curtain behind which you may or may not want to see. I don’t do it to garner sympathy–I don’t do that–I just think better on paper, so to speak, so this is my way of trying to work through an issue I know other writers share. Maybe someone out there knows of a solution I haven’t thought of yet. Never hurts to ask, right?

Last chance to close the tab before we begin…

Still here?

Cool. 🙂 Read on.

I am learning a new business lesson this year: It’s not about what you can do, it’s about what you can delegate. Contrary to popular belief, successful people don’t become successful by working their asses off. They do so by investing money and hiring other people to work their asses off. Because you can’t climb the mountain if you’re constantly churning the mud at the base, and that is a huge reason why efficiency will tend to trump quality: People who love what they do, who take pride in every last detail of what they do, rarely look up long enough to realize they’re spinning their wheels in one place. It’s a beautiful place, which makes the labor one of love, but it won’t get them very far. Because “good enough” will never be good enough. The people who constantly leap ahead are the ones who take the lazy way out–find a faster, cheaper, easier way to do less for more.

That’s the gist of a general dilemma.

Now here’s my personal Catch 22:

I’m a stubborn control freak perfectionist. Vanity aside, I have the curiosity, the drive, and the technical ability to learn and execute anything and everything surrounding the art and business of being a published author. To my way of thinking, I can do it, I can do it best, and therefore, I should do it. Whatever “it” is. Unfortunately, what I can’t do is cram more hours into a day.

My problem is that I have outgrown my capacity to do everything on my own, but haven’t yet accepted that I need to and should delegate. See, it’s easy to shout out a book when you have one or two. But when you get to ten and more, you can’t apply the same amount of time and effort to all of them. So how do you pick and choose?

The obvious solution, you’ll say, is to hire someone to take over the marketing part of it for me. Yes, you’re right, and I’d dearly love to do that. But the problem is I don’t trust anyone else to put in what I do. I’ve spent too much time reinventing the wheel to get stuck in an assembly line rut with hundreds of other authors on the docket. My inner control freak perfectionist says that I can do that kind of automation on my own for free–and better–and anything more personally tailored to me would cost more than I can afford. Another Catch 22: Ya gotta spend money to make money, but ya gotta make it to spend it.

I always say that we each have two commodities to barter with: money and time. It’s up to us to decide which is more important and how to spend it. I’ve spent so much of my time to save money, I think it’s time to rebalance that equation. If anyone has suggestions on how to do that without going broke, I am all ears. No, really.

Anyway, that’s the hamster wheel my brain is stuck on lately. As a small book update, I am about two chapters away from completing Dearest Love, the second in my erotic romance novella series. I expected it to be done long before now (about 20k words ago, to be exact), but hadn’t counted on the history of these two to play such a huge role. It’s almost like each of the Rebels has a piece of Snow White’s story to relate… In a way, it’s like I’m retelling it through them. I love where it’s going, but would love it more if it could get there faster. LOL

The fantasy romance Prince of Deceit is also in the works at the same time. With the final part of the Dragonblood trilogy, the pressure is on to round out the story with all due flare, without going overboard. There is so much I want to say in this book, and it needs to be said just right. It’s slow going, but I enjoy the challenge very much.

I have also been asked about sequels and continuations for Wolfen and the Blood and Shadows series. My response to that is: I have no plans currently to continue either. I am 99% certain that Wolfen, in particular will remain a single title stand-alone novel for all time, for the sole reason that there is nothing I could add to the story to make it any better, and I won’t add to it simply to make it longer. It would corrode the original story and I don’t have the heart to do that.

As for Blood and Shadows, my certainty on that one is about 50% at the moment. When I re-published the first three under the new series title, the plan was to keep going, but I ended the larger story arc in Blood Hunt on a satisfying enough note that no more needed to be said. At the time, I was burned out on the story and so happy to be done with it, I put aside the 3 additional covers I’d made for future books and shoved it all out of sight and out of mind.  But the subplot or two I introduced in that last book are still there, and so is their potential for continuing the series.

Do I plan to do that any time soon? No. I think I need a longer break from this world and its politics. Is there a possibility for future books? Yes. But I won’t go into it lightly. It’s likely that anything new I add will be darker, grittier, with an apocalyptic bend. They won’t be pretty reads–as Blood Hunt wasn’t–and I’m not sure of the wisdom of veering off the original path even more. In short, I guess I’ll have to wait and see. LOL

Until next time!

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11 thoughts on “The thorn on the rose (and in my side)

  1. ronowen1

    So you want someone to help you out with marketing and don’t want to go broke? Offer to pay them a commission. The money doesn’t come out of your bank account and they have a motivation to sell more of your books.
    As for your inner control freak, You’ll either have to learn how to deal or take medication for it. Because if you can’t trust anyone you’ll stay in the rut you’re in unless you decide to give up sleep.

    • Alianne

      Hey Ron,

      Planning out a payment method is a moot point until I actually find someone willing to work with my multi-genre books without turning me over to a bot machine. Know anyone like that? Because 90% of the people and companies I have come across automate everything, anyway. The only difference is they have a different set of subscribers than I do, and who knows how long those will last when getting bombarded constantly? The few times I have invested in advertising with companies touting tens of thousands of followers, I’ve found that it only works once. The second time, you may as well be throwing money out the window. And the older the company with such a list is, the lower the odds are for your first time advertising with them to yield results. Oh, and also, none of them work on commission.

      As for my inner control freak, I think of it this way: It’s my brand, and like any other brand, it is based on the quality I can deliver. Yes, I have crazy high standards for those who work with me–because I have even higher standards for myself. Ultimately, it’s my name on the line, not theirs, and that’s not something I’m ever going to take lightly. That’s just a good business practice, as far as I’m concerned. It’s as much a sign of my respect for my readers as anything else. I also don’t see having high standards as a handicap that needs to be medicated (by the way, insulting, much?) so I don’t see myself lowering that bar any time soon. It might take me longer to get to where I’m going, but at least I won’t have any regrets when I get there.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      • ronowen1

        I was thinking of Ashleigh Zavarelli as an example. I’m not sure if she’s a mutual friend on Facebook, but she has someone manage her Facebook page when she’s busy writing or traveling for book events. Someone to run an official author page and plug your work while you’re busy could take some of the pressure off you. If someone buys one of your books from that page you give the manager a small cut per book. It might not be what you had in mind but it might be a start.

        • Alianne

          You’re thinking of a virtual personal assistant. 🙂 That is still in the running as an option. Again, though, the ones I have seen don’t work for commissions. I also considered a “street team,” but wouldn’t know where to begin looking for one.

  2. bethhalewrites

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I too am a control freak. And I too understand the spend-money-to-make-money deal and the fact that you have the make the money before you can spend it. It seems like a never ending roller coaster sometimes, doesn’t it? One day, we’ll get it all figured out and be able to help others. One day . . .

    • Alianne

      Hi Beth,

      Yeah, it’s super frustrating when you can see the end of the tunnel and it’s just there… always two steps ahead of you. But we soldier on. 🙂 One day it’ll all work out. Thanks for reading!

  3. Liz

    I’m a control freak when it comes to my books but just recently hired a PA to help me with certain things like getting ARC readers for my upcoming releases because I just can’t do it all. But for marketing, I do it all myself. I know what goes out and what comes in, and I know what is working and what is not. Blog tours help for visibility but not sales. The only thing that has worked for me is advertising, specifically Facebook ads. I started at $5/day, not dipping into my credit card at all and hoping that I’d roll over any profit towards the next month and the next month after that. I started with a year-old book that wasn’t selling anymore (but I wasn’t also advertising it) and from there, I was a believer. Any book, no matter how old, can be brought back to life with advertising.

    Yes, it takes money to make money but you have to start somewhere and I started at $5/day which is FB’s minimum. But you can start for much less by using Amazon Marketing Services or AMS and sponsored product ads. I have some that run at $3/day and Amazon won’t even spend my entire budget for the day (FB will spend your minimum budget, no problem). But I also spend money on courses on how to make better and effective ads which can be chunk of change but worth every penny when I see the effectiveness of my marketing strategy.

    • Alianne

      Hi Liz,

      I have tried advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. I think I must be doing it wrong, though, because I haven’t had much luck with them. Do you run yours continuously? I usually limit mine to one week. That might be part of the problem. Will need to experiment more with that, I think.

      Thanks for sharing your insights! 🙂

      • Liz

        I run mine continuously unless my numbers don’t look good (CPC, CTR and overall sales are less than my daily investment). If they aren’t performing as well as I want them to, then I look at my target audience, the authors I’m targeting (FB ads), and the ad copy and image. I also make sure that my Amazon page, if I’m sending them to one, grabs them in the description before Amazon cuts the text off. Or if it’s a landing page, I make sure that it gets sales. One landing page in particular doesn’t seem to convert very well for non-Amazon sales so I know I’m losing prospective readers there. I might add the first chapter just to give them a taste.

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