If I were to choose a word to describe the current state of the creative and business side my writing efforts with MyBoys3 Press, it would be “connections.” The last two years have squeezed a lot of writing and publishing into my evenings, nights, and weekends. During that time, I’ve released three middle grade children’s books and a standalone short story, all in-between the busy efforts of my day job and being a dad and husband.
While I still have plans for additional books in 2015, I’ve been working hard to tie things together, both with my products but also in my relationships and marketing/distribution efforts. In case you’re interested, either as a reader or fellow writer, here’s some of what I’ve been working on.
- New Book Covers & Series Branding. I went all out in the fall to hire a cover designer to redo all my covers around the release of Book 3, Ghosts of Belle Isle. It rebrands the series as The Virginia Mysteries. Response has been great, and I think the new illustrations are a huge leap forward from previous versions.
- eBook Box Set. I created a box set of all 3 books for the Kindle version. This gave me an additional product for sale on Amazon, and also provides ebook readers a discount to get all 3 books at once.
- Bookbub Ad – If Bookbub isn’t familiar to you, it should be. For readers, they are the leading subscription service for lists of on-sale ebooks by genre that can save you a lot of money. For writers, Bookbub is a powerhouse, far and away the best option for publicizing your work. After many rejections last year, I finally was accepted for my box set and I gained over 1,000 new readers!
- Bookstores – Just this month I added a new printing service for my paperbacks. Instead of only relying solely on CreateSpace, which most bookstores won’t work with since it’s owned by the world’s longest river, I worked to get my books on Ingram Spark, another distributor with strong connections to brick and mortar stores. It’s still early, but I’ve already had several promising discussions with a large chain and smaller bookstores. My books are already available at St. John’s Church Gift Shop, Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center Bookstore, American Civil War Museum, and Bella Arte Gallery in Midlothian.
- Richmond Children’s Writers. I was fortunate to join a great group of other Richmond-based children’s writers in January. This group of ten writers meets monthly, primarily providing critiques on submissions from the group in a variety of sub-genres including fantasy, picture books, adventure, poetry, and non-fiction. I’ve really enjoyed this added level of review to my work and the early chapter that was part of the process made great strides from the group’s feedback.
- Schools & Libraries – Armed with my newly branded book covers, I created a standard PDF packet and emailed dozens of school librarians in the Richmond and surrounding areas. The packet includes details about me, the series, and opportunities for author visits to classrooms, book clubs, and libraries. Response has been pretty good with booked events or discussions with half a dozen schools in a short amount of time, including Ecoff Elementary in Chester and Linkhorne Elementary in Lynchburg.
- Connections with other authors. I really enjoyed participating in interviews and features with two other authors, one local, one not. In October, I worked with Jessica at Tales Between the Pages who spent a week featuring reviews of my books, a guest post and an author interview. Recently, I connected with another local Richmond children’s author, Martin Tiller, on an interview on his site too. For the past year and a half I’ve enjoyed regular meetings with a couple other fine indie writers in the Richmond area. Ali Pfautz is a storyteller and picture book author, and Julie Farley is a romance author. It’s great to be able to meet with other friends in the field and share experiences and challenges face to face.
- Robious Corridor – one of our local community monthly magazines has been kind enough to feature several articles about my writing in recent editions. It’s worked well to spur interest from the immediate area, creating one more touchpoint for folks to hear about my books.