Friday, 28 December 2018

The year draws to an end…

The year 2018 is ending, and it’s time for the traditional ‘what I’ve managed to do’ this year post again. I have no idea where the year has gone; it seems I was reflecting the previous year only yesterday. If you count my blog posts (6), it looks like I’ve done nothing this year. But that’s an illusion created by my laziness to write blog posts.

All in all, it’s been a good year for me. I published two new books: The Assassin, a longer thriller set in MI5 in London, and Tracy Hayes, from P.I. with Love, the fifth book in my cosy mystery series. Both took off well, I’m happy to say. I also wrote two more books that aren’t finished yet, so those will see me to a good start next year. One of them, Crimson Warrior, the sixth book in Two-Natured London series, even has a publishing date already, and will come out in March.

The biggest change this year was giving up my second penname, Hannah Kane, under which I wrote contemporary romances. I had pondered the decision for quite some time, as you can read in this blog post, and I finally did it at the beginning of the year. I gave the books new covers, brushed up the contents for typos, and re-published them as Susanna Shore. I also created a bundle edition of three of the books, which I published this fall. I can’t say the move was a great success; the books still don’t sell. But it has made my life easier to maintain only one penname, so I’m happy with the decision.

Another rebranding I did was with my thriller The Croaking Raven. I had originally wanted to call it Personal, but Lee Child was publishing a Jack Reacher book with that name just then, and I wasn’t brave enough to take advantage of it. This year, as I prepared The Assassin for publication, I redesigned the cover of The Croaking Raven and gave it a new name. It’s now called Personal, but I can’t say I’ve got any advantage of the more popular book with the same name.

I redesigned the covers of my Two-Natured London and Tracy Hayes books too. The changes were mainly small, and had mostly to do with fonts and their legibility in small sizes. But a couple of the Two-Natured London books went through a larger redesign, especially the first book Ive ever published, The Wolf’s Call, which has gone through more redesigns than my other books.

My website got a new look this year. My sister was studying web designing and kindly created the pages for me as a practice job. I’m very happy with the result, and even if html has changed quite a bit since I studied it, I’m still able to update the pages myself. I redesigned this blog too, but by the time you read this post, it has probably changed looks again. I have that kind of a year-end itch...

I opened two new social media accounts this year. First one was BookBub, which is a community of readers that offers advertising opportunities for authors too. You can find me here if you like. I occasionally recommend books there. Another new account was Instagram. I’ve resisted joining, as I couldn’t really see how I could operate there as an authorand how I could avoid posting photos of every interesting meal I have. I’ve been there for about three months now, and even if I don’t feel quite at home yet, I’m happy to tell you that I haven’t posted a single food photo. You can find me here.

One big new thing in my author life this year has been advertising. I was hesitant at first, but Amazon has made it fairly easy to try, so I gave it a shot. After a full year, I’m fairly happy with the results, even if I’m basically spending every cent I earn in advertising. It has helped me to keep the first books of my two series in readers’ attention, and that is good enough for now. During this year, advertising has become gradually more expensive, as new authors join in, but I still hope that next year the advertisements start generating more income than I spend on them. I also tried BookBub adverts, with mixed results, and Facebook adverts, which I’ve decided never to try again. Its a waste of money.

I didn’t write any blog posts about the books I’ve read this year, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading. I managed to read fifty-five books, which was my goal in Goodreads reading challenge. I’ll do a separate re-cap post on my reading later.

I didn’t find great success as an author this year, and with the advertising costs, the year will end in red. But for the first time in years things are looking brighter. Tracy Hayes books are gaining traction one book at the time, giving me hope that readers will eventually find my other books too. So next year I’ll work harder to bring more books to my readers. Hopefully you’ll be among them too.

Happy New Year to you all.

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