Year in Review 2018 and Goals 2019 – Michael Mandrake/Sharita L

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Hello again. I must apologize for completely skipping November. *sighs* I was very busy with Breakable Faith and Taken and Crowned.  Also, my twin, you know, the devilish muse BL, had some writing to do as well. So alas, we didn’t post anything in November.

However, now I’m back to post about this year which has proved to be a breakout!

Finally.

No, I didn’t receive the dream book or movie deal. In fact, I don’t think I’d want it because that means compromising some of my fiction ideas. Oh and no, I didn’t make six figures. However, I did learn something more about getting closer to my writing goals.

Every year, I find one word to sum it up. For 2018, it’s…

*drum roll*

BRANDING

Let me allow the head to speak on it more since she rules us muses… well, for this post anyway. *smiles*

 

Thanks Michael… I think.

*cocks eyebrow*

Yes, the muse is right about 2018’s word. Unfortunately, this eureka moment didn’t come until a good author friend of mine suggested a book I should read. And since a lot of authors read this blog, I don’t mind giving it a plug.

Write to Market: Deliver a Book That Sells by Craig Fox – https://www.amazon.com/Write-Market-Deliver-Faster-Smarter-ebook/dp/B01AX23B4Q/

Where was the book like 5 years ago?

This book changed my perspective. The whole time I’ve been publishing, I’d always thought writing to market was about falling prey to writing what’s highest on the charts. And believe me, with my weird tendencies, a good portion of my writing might not be what everyone wants. However, that’s just the point. You find your niche in the market by studying the charts and doing the research to see what best fits your brand as well as what you’d enjoy writing.

Oh God, why didn’t I learn this sooner? Bottom line, I’m glad I read it because it helped me to see my journey in a whole new light. I looked at my books and found what I’d be interested in. Then I studied to the charts, finding my niche in two places: Dark Romance/Fantasy for Michael and kinky, humorous, for BLMorticia. BL also loves to write musicians, so I’ll be sticking to that for the most part. The key is, finding that audience that appreciates those same things.

Writing to Market isn’t about selling out. It’s about finding your place. With this new information, I’ve got a clearer goal in mind of what I wanted to accomplish. By doing this, I’m building the brand to establish my names. Mostly, I’ll be focusing on Michael and BL, but the other names will follow a certain model as well. I’ve recently decided to drop Rawiya after this year. I’m just not into writing fluff anymore. I’ve got a story that has a cover, a short novella, as well as a book I’m getting back from a publisher. Besides, BL can do fluff with some humor and kink, so essentially this penname isn’t needed.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, a lot of my writing career has been about trial and error. Writing, publishing, and saying a small prayer that someone will read it. In the long run, this doesn’t always work. In order to make it you must build a foundation around what you write. And although there is some luck involved, you still have to do more work to make your books stand out. Work means marketing way before the book releases to create the buzz, building your keywords list, writing intriguing back copy or blurbs, which now isn’t so daunting as it used to be, along with writing stronger characters to support your brand.

I’m grateful to my friends and others for recommending this book because it was truly an eye opener. I’ve kept it bookmarked on my kindle app for reference to go back and read it. If you’re an author who wishes to get a better understanding of how things work, I’d highly recommend it.

To support what I’d read, I need no bigger proof than what’s happened over the last couple of months for Michael and BL. As we sit here now, I’ve had more sales in these two months than the last six combined. The beginning of the year was a good one for BLMorticia with Where There’s Smoke. Until this month, it was my best-selling book. Now, Breakable Faith has taken over that title. Granted, it is part of a shared universe. (Thank you Giovanna Reaves) but it’s success brought more attention to my Immortals series.

Immortals does well in KU, especially with the boxset. Longer books succeed in KU, as was shown to me with Where There’s Smoke in January. I’d garnered a significant amount of page reads and that was with very little reviews. The book sells okay on the other channels too which makes it a win win.

And for BLMorticia, Nerds Like Us helped to sell Starf*cked as well as Loved Me and a little on Push. Readers had even bought older titles from me, which was cool.

One more thing: I also made the commitment to go wide with most of my books. While I haven’t made as much on the other retailers yet, I do see royalties, especially from iTunes and Google Play. For the exception of Immortals, Breakable, and Taken, all my other books are on the other channels and I’m looking to add them to Smashwords as well as load the rest to Payhip.

Looking back at the year, I did more to hone my craft. I didn’t have as many submissions as I’d hoped, but I’m fine with focusing most of my efforts on self-publishing.

This year was more successful monetarily, so I was able to spend more on ads. I’m lucky to have friends who are willing to help with covers, edits, beta work, etc which brought costs down some and eased my anxieties.

Here are my releases for 2018.

Where There’s Smoke  BLMorticia (Jan 2018)

Calisto’s Quest Immortals Book Four, Caught in the Crossfire PROTEKT Book Three (Pride Publishing) Michael Mandrake (March 2018)

Teacher’s Pet Veronica Bagby (April 2018)

Nola Nights Boxset Michael Mandrake (July 2018)

Mercurio’s Mating Immortals Book Five Michael Mandrake, Beautiful Skin Anthology What I Like About You BLMorticia (August 2018)

Starf*cked BLMorticia (September 2018)

Push Music in Motion Book One Dreamspinner Press, Because You Loved Me w/Remmy Duchene BLMorticia (October 2018)

Immortals Box Set Michael Mandrake (November 2018)

Nerds Like Us Full of What I Like About You BLMorticia, Breakable Faith Vale Valley Shared Universe Book Eight Michael Mandrake, Taken and Crowned Michael Mandrake (December 2018)

Another 13 releases. *smiles* Something about the number 13 I suppose.

So far for 2019, I have one book being released from a publisher in the 3rd quarter called Love Voodoo. It’s a novella at around 37K. Other than that, all the rest will be self-published. I do plan to sub a couple more, but most likely they won’t be released in 2019.

So, with all this information, what’s the focus next year? Branding again. I’m planning on having my website redone and unveiling new logos. Also, I hope to attend a conference or two next year, but we’ll see. For now, I’ve made a list of what I’d like to work on next year, which was daunting to say the least, but I have a strategy to tackle it.

Hopefully all that hard work will pay off and I’ll have another success story to blog about.

Until next time. Thanks for listening!

* * * *

Thanks to the head for finishing that off. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t promote my latest book, fresh off the presses, entitled Taken and Crowned. Here is the blurb, buylink, as well as a link to my website to read a chapter for free!

Taken and Crowned - Michael MandrakeAmbrose’s family tradition destroys his plan to be a forever bachelor.

Although Ambrose doesn’t wish to be with anyone long term, he must find a spouse immediately. According to the rules, no one inherits the throne unless they’re married. Additionally, his father wishes for Ambrose to seek a human. Despite not being elated with the decision, Ambrose figures doing the necessary requirement of mating and impregnating will be enough.

Max, who identifies as non-binary, is tired of being shamed and manhandled. They wish to make a living off their “hobby” but it’s not in the cards. Relationships aren’t even on their list of things to strive for, and they don’t want to change. Unless the person is a certain Hollywood star they have a crush on, Max isn’t interested.

When Ambrose meets Max at their place of employment, Max refuses to give the alien king-in-waiting the time of day.

Little does Max know Ambrose’s calm exterior is a cover up for the monster willing to go great lengths to claim them for a partner.

This title is a standalone dark romance with forced mating, dub-con, MPreg, and smartass aliens who hate to be wrong. On page violence, rough sex, and knotting are included.

Buy for $3.99 or Read FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Link – http://mybook.to/TakenCrown

Read the excerpt of chapter three

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Through these, he builds worlds not centered on romance but rather the mainstream and/or obscure  plots we might encounter in everyday life and beyond.

Website: https://michaelmandrake.wordpress.com/

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To read more about the head, Sharita Lira, click here

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