Hi everybody, just a quick update.
It’s been a while since I did a blog post, so I am doing one now to address why, and also to state my intentions over the next 12 months. Previous blog posts have been hosted at www.iainrobwright.blogspot.com, but from now on all blog posts will fall under my official banner of www.iainrobwright.com. The previous blog will remain active as an archive, but anything new will be consolidated under this single website. It’s good to have everything all in one place now.
For the last six months or so I have been hard at work, with three main focuses:
- Redesigning my website
- Building a mailing list
- Releasing new books
I am happy to say that I have realised all three of these points successfully. I have retired my previous website and built an entirely new one (and changed to being self-hosted). What this means, aside from it looking a darn-sight more professional, is that I am no longer limited in what I can achieve on my own platform. Having built the website myself, I can now make adjustments easily, and add future functionality (such as selling my own books directly or offering free downloads). The new website has already surpassed the old by offering complete product pages for each of my books, as well as allowing people who land on the home page to see my bio, latest offers, and author endorsements on one page.
Future plans for the site include e-commerce, a forum, and videos. I am much happier now that the website (mark 1) is complete and I am excited by its potential. It took many hours of labour to get done (because I insist on doing things myself if I can), but now that it is set up it should now become only a negligible drain on my time. That means more time for writing!
My Mailing List is now 2000 strong with between 15-30 new people joining up daily (if you haven’t yet joined, you can do so at this web address: http://eepurl.com/baDkyT). It’s been really great allowing new readers to find me by taking up my offer of free books, and being able to easily address my entire fan base has been a massive boon to me. The release of The Gates was my best ever launch campaign, and it is purely as a result of being able to email 2000 people in one fell swoop (I owe my beta readers a celebration dance video, and I haven’t forgotten). I also have 200 Advanced Readers, who proof read it, and have left me more confident than ever that it is error free (you can become an Advance reader here: Advanced Readers). Going forward it is a priority that I make it worthwhile for people to be a part of my email lists, and I will be offering prizes and freebies as regular as I am able. I hope people appreciated the “secret launch” of The Gates that I did just for members of my lists.
In regards to releasing new books, I have just released The Gates, which was one of my longest ever works, and I have The Wings of Sorrow out in a matter of weeks. I improved my output throughout 2015, and I hope to maintain a rapid pace in 2016. I am committed to 4 novels out next year, but will aim for more. After four years, I am now at a point where I can confidently increase my pace without sacrificing quality.
In regards to quality, I still get the odd review mentioning typos and other errors in my books, so in 2016 I will be having all of my books freshly proof-read by a new editor. My new books will be subject to my new editor’s eye AND my Advanced Reader team, so I am confident that my future books will not have any problems (I am yet to hear a single mention of typos with The Gates, so again thank you for that).
I will endeavour to write something new in time for Christmas, but I am yet to decide what that may be. It might be a new short novel, or it may be A-Z of Horror Volume 2. Let me know in the comments what you would like to see. Next year I will be looking at writing the final sequel to Ravage and Savage, a new MCU book (possibly the last, as the series has not taken off, but I will try new cover artwork before deciding its fate), the next book in The Gates series, and possibly a new apocalyptic story called Tar. I also have a zombie novella coming out through a publisher. Providing The Wings of Sorrow is well received, I will also be writing two separate series of books that both branch off from that book — I intend them to be the first books I write in the 1st person POV.
So, that’s my plans for now. They are, of course, subject to change. I’m currently finding it hard to balance work with my home life, as it is difficult to resist spending time with Jack and Sally. Having an operation and some personal problems hasn’t helped with my output this year, but I hope 2016 will be plainer sailing. One other thing I would like to address is how I currently feel about my position amongst other authors. In the past I have become someone others have looked to for advice — and having learned a lot from J.A. Konrath, I always vowed to share whatever I learned with others. My philosophy hasn’t changed regarding that, but the simple fact is that I haven’t felt like I’ve had anything useful to share. It’s ironic, that in my earlier career I knew less but shared more. I am at a point where I feel that I have mastered most of the things required to be a successful indy author, and have now turned my focus towards taking that next step up, and hopefully join the big dogs like Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, Russell Blake, and Mark J. Dawson. Although I easily qualify as a self-publishing success (although anyone who gets a single sale from a stranger is a success in my eyes), I am still a couple of tiers below the big boys.
My new focus is to cement myself as a respected and successful horror author, so that I never have to say goodbye to my readers. Amazon made some changes last year that almost washed me away in the tide, but I worked HARD over the last six months to clamber back up to the top of the hill so that people can see me once again. It made me realise how hard this industry is (I had a lot of luck in the beginning, and an easy ride) and that I can never take my position for granted. It was a lesson I needed to learn. Having survived the first crisis of my career, I am more determined than ever, and even more grateful. To get back to my main point, I have not been as forthcoming with self-publishing advice recently because I am learning new skills myself.
I have been looking at Facebook Advertising, Newsletter marketing, web design, and other stuff, but also working hard to improve my writing. I only share information when I feel I have mastered it and, to be frank, I do not feel I am an expert on any of the things I am currently focused on. Having said that, I will point people in the direction of thriller writer Mark J Dawson. He will teach you all what you need to know about Facebook ads and Newsletter sign ups. I am also looking into advanced ebook formatting, and that is something I will talk about if I ever manage to get it right.
As always, I would like to end this rather self-indulgent blog post with a message to my fans and colleagues. The beginning of the year was the toughest I have faced in my career, but I got through it because I had all of you keeping me afloat. I came through it all because of amazing fans shouting my name from the rooftops, and because of colleagues who were struggling right alongside me. Truly, I never take this job for granted. I never see it as a right, or that anyone owes me a living.
Four years, I have been doing this now, but I still count my blessings every day. I still love all of you every day, and I never forget that without people buying my books I would not be living my dream, or spending so much time with my wife and son. I may not have been as approachable lately (because I really have been working insanely hard on a dozen different things), but I never for a single second forget the people who got me here. I respond to every email/message/and post and I will strive to always do so. In the future, I will look at ways to connect with you all more, my fans, friends, and colleagues, but recently I have simply been consumed by trying to secure my family’s livelihood. It finally looks like I am moving back towards the light, and that just feels me with gratitude. Thank you everyone. Truly.