Taking Charge of the New Year With Laura Harner

As an independent author-publisher, I have to consider my career much like any small business owner. Which means as we enter a new year, I need to look at what has—and has not—been successful in the past.

What didn't work so well in 2013:

·         Sprinting on Facebook – 45 minute sprints in the big groups proved to be too much of a distraction, and felt more like a competition than supportive collaboration. I am a steady worker, but not necessarily speedy, and reporting my measly 300 words in the face of reports of 1000 from other authors left me feeling inadequate and discouraged.
·         Unlimited open chat on Facebook –should be self-explanatory. I have to treat writing with the same respect I would treat any job. That means while I’m at “work” I need to work, and not socialize.
·         Facebook Author page ads — toward the end of the year, FB shifted their  “professional” pages to monetizing ventures. They are a business, and have every right to earn money from their investment. The ads, while inexpensive, have not generated any measurable outcome for me. They are particularly restrictive because they cannot contain adult content.
·         KDP Select – While the promotion was wildly successful at giving away copies of my books, I think in the long run, exclusivity hurts an author’s success.

What did work?
·         Sprinting on Facebook. Yes, I know what I said up there ^ but I found a very small group of writers with whom I can sprint without feeling self conscious about my slower rate of word production. We typically work in 15-minute bursts and by tacit agreement, tell each other ‘good job’ at the end of each sprint. It’s affirming and just enough peer pressure to be effective. Interestingly, the word count was very nearly identical, whether I sprinted for 45 or for 15 minutes.
·         Working on a variety of genres. This one is a mixed blessing. It’s hard to become an established name in any genre, let alone three or four. Still, I think my writing remains fresher by switching things up.
·         Setting deadlines with my editor. It gives me a focus. I like having the mini deadlines that come with setting up a project in Scrivener, too.
·         Hiring professionals to do some of the work. Of course, that comes with making enough money to pay for said help. Let’s just say that’s a work in progress.

So what will I do in 2014?
·         Plan better. I have three calendar-type applications that work together: ToodleDo, 2Do, and BusyCal. I am working my way through planning the year, making sure my “must” writes stay in the front of my schedule before I chase any new shinies. After plugging in all the planned release dates, I can look to see where there is wiggle room before I commit to anything new.
·         Smart Marketing and Promo. I have never been very good at promo and definitely never enjoyed it. And unless you have a significant backlist, there isn't much benefit to blog tours. I believe a writer’s time is better spent writing and releasing more books at the beginning of a career. I always saw a boost in my backlist with every new release. Now I have thirty-plus books on my backlist, so the time feels right to work on increasing my name recognition in particular genres. What do I mean by Smart Marketing? For example, when you have a new release in a series, try making the first book free, use paid advertising and blogs to spread the word about the free book. That’s how you get the word out to new readers. Your faithful fans will buy the final book, but endless promo of the finale to people who have never read the first book feels like a wasted effort. Market Smarter, because it’s a stinky job.
·         Establish new goals. I’m a big believer in giving myself a reasonably challenging target. I really wanted to get to 100k books sold at Amazon before the end of the 2013. I hit that target in mid-October. Now I need to consider another challenge—one that my promotion and writing plans will support. Is it to be a USA Today Best Seller? Have a book hit #1 on Amazon Kindle? Double this year’s sales? Make six-figures? I haven’t decided yet, but you can be sure once I decide, my attention will focus on achieving that goal.

Those are a few of the changes I’m implementing in the coming year. How about you? What’s your best productivity tip and how will you leverage that tip into a more successful 2014?

Laura Harner is a multi-published author of MM, MF, and ménage erotic romance—suspense included, no extra charge. Her next release is Firestorm, book one in the Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Laura became a full-time writer in 2012, and now she spends her time writing, watching her Arizona Diamondbacks, and working on her very own version of the Willow Springs Ranch in northwestern Arizona. Her books can be found at all major online retailers

 Available at All Romance  AmazonBreathless Press and other fine ebook vendors! 


  1. very great and helpful Advice Laura! Lee thanksfor hosting her!

  2. This was good advice. I'll be keeping these in mind as I work on future books.


Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955