This year went fast! I didn’t really take stock until Facebook sent me the link to my 2013 Year In Review. Thank goodness Facebook tracks where I’m going and what I’m doing because I don’t.
In the interest of explaining this writer’s life, I’d like to share some of the highlights of the year with you and some of my plans for the year to come. Keep in mind that my life is fueled by words and travel. The words I write, create the income for me to follow my travel bliss and have done so for eight years now, and for that I am thankful. I am a digital nomad but as a 40-something mom of six, I am not a backpacker. I tend towards slow travel, spending 2-6 months in places before moving. I am lucky enough to be married to the writer version (not the CIA assassin version) of Ludlum’s Jason Bourne. He has residencies and citizenships aplenty, which afford us some long-term stays in places where his passports get us access.
This year started in London, UK and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada with three books published, a new branch of my company Moonlighter Media realized and a comprehensive video course created for authors. Oh, and A LOT of travel in between!
I’m an Anglophile. There’s no getting around it. As a American who loves English literature, I’ve romanticized England in my mind for many years. I’ve visited London a few times over the last few years but I never had the opportunity to live there until this year. I rented a flat just North of London in a little village called Stevenage for six months and it was everything I wanted it to be. It was historic, enchanting, English, wet, slippery and blustery. The London weather did its best to live up to its reputation, then there was the horse meat scandal and Heathrow was closed every five minutes due to the weather but I was not deterred. My husband and I would hop on the train several times per week and ride 15 minutes into King’s Cross station in London. From there we would spend hours walking around, pub crawling and visiting the sites on a photo safari. Back in our little village of Stevenage, we were living in the old town area near the High street with charming English pubs and little shops. It was a wonderful, albeit wet experience that I’m looking to repeat as soon as possible.
We also managed to spend the rest of the year in Thailand, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Spain landing in the US for the holidays.
Books and Publishing
I published three books this year and updated all of my other non-fiction titles. I managed to sell several thousand books per month on average but I’ll admit, I worked much harder this year to do it. I spent less money on advertising (like Bookbub) and more time on social media connecting with people one on one and taking advantage of guest blogging opportunities to show my books to new audiences.
The single best thing I did this year was give my latest book away in PDF format as a “Thank You” book to ALL of my readers and anyone else willing to sign up on my mailing list to get a free copy before it was published. It felt good to do it and it increased my mailing list by several thousand people. When I finally launched the book on Amazon, I gave away over 10,000 copies in 5 days and again, my mailing list got a boost. After the book came off its free run it sold about 6,000 copies in the first three months and was the single best book launch I’ve had.
I switched my mailing list sign-up from the back matter to the front matter of all of my books and I believe that made quite a difference. Now when a potential reader downloads a sample of my books, the opportunity to sign up is still there. Amazon is hands down the biggest email list builder on the Internet and connecting with readers directly is my ongoing goal.
At the end of this year I ramped up my consulting business and focused my efforts on helping authors streamline their social media time, build their writer platform and write their books. This is the job I love. This is the job I would do for free, although I don’t. 🙂
In October I launched my online video course Twitter For Authors. It was fun to create and I’ve received great feedback from authors who felt their time was useless on Twitter and now feel it has purpose.
So What Happens in 2014?
For the first time in several years I’m living in the United States for a chunk of the year. It’s strange that the country of my birth is foreign to me, yet it is, after all these years of travel. You can’t beat it for ease of use. It has changed very much since I started traveling in 2006.
While I’m here, I’ll be working with some authors in person, taking some opportunities to speak to writers’ groups in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and attending some writer conferences I’ve been wanting to attend.
I also have more courses for authors in the pipeline which I’ll roll out throughout the year and free training courses on my website.
I have plans to publish two more books in 2014 and possibly three if there’s time.
The travel train will start again with a trip to Belize and then up to Canada for a colorful Fall. By this time next year, I will have toured the Christmas Markets in Germany and I’ll be thawing out in Thailand.
These are the plans, at least. I like to announce them so the Fates can begin to unravel them but perhaps Zeus will have pity on me and allow the year to go as planned.