June Goals and Updates

Wow, we are almost to the half-way mark in the year. Not happy to have lost the first part of the year, although I did get some good writing in. Just not as much writing as I would have liked.

So, time to look forward to the rest of the year. Time to make plans to help me get on track. I won’t have as much time for writing as I did in the first part of the year because of the job and the health (having flares of fatigue, possible new diagnosis (see below)), but I can try to ‘fail to success’.

So, without further ado, here are a few goals for June:

* Finish first draft of Tsunami Found. Sooooo close on this one.

* Finish book description for Tsunami Found.

* Finish brainstorming of book 3 of new shiny in preparation for either the July Camp Nano or the November National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Seriously brain, figure out the overall plot before giving me so many nice juicy subplots! Sigh.

* Forward Motion for Writers site upgrade project: Finish transferring all permanent pages to the new CMS.

There are other things I would like to do, but if I’m able to get to them I will view them as ‘gravy’ to the above.

In good news, it appears I may have an answer to what is the underlaying cause of most of my health issues (and I just KNEW there was one). My sister was just diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and it tends to run in families. I went over the symptoms and just started nodding my head going “yep, yep, got it, got it, got it…” Wow, it was amazing how many I have.

We’re pretty certain Mother Hen had it. It’s a syndrome that isn’t easy to diagnose. For some, a blood test will sometimes give a diagnosis, but not for everyone who has it. So, it’s also a matter of ruling out what you DON’T have. I’ve had a bunch of tests in the past to rule other things out, test my sister also had. I can’t afford other tests at the moment (US health insurance for those who don’t work for big corporations is a cruel joke that the US should be ashamed of), but yeah, with the long list of symptoms, a sister who now has a diagnosis, and a mother who also had almost all the symptoms, plus I’d already figured out over-the-counter medical responses to flares that WORK and are consistent with now-common medical treatments of MCAS?

I would be shocked if it was something else.

So, I’m changing my diet yet again. Turns out I was already on the right track for a bunch of things, just from listening to my body and trying to figure out what foods and activities caused flares. Now that I know what the issue is (seriously. I’m about 90% sure this is what has been going on with me all these years), I can get even better at it.

By the way, to the doctors who told me this was all in my head despite me being so sick at times that I couldn’t work and occasionally it sent me to the emergency room: I TOLD YOU SO! Seriously. Those in the medical profession. DO NOT tell your patients that it’s all in their heads just because YOU can’t figure it out!

GAH!

Thank goodness I believed in myself and worked to find answers on my own. If I hadn’t, my medical condition would be so much worse. I find it ironic and pleasing (and sad, as it’s eroded my trust of the medical profession) to find out that my trial-and-error methodology resulted in many self-treatments that are the same as if prescribed by a medical doctor to someone with MCAS.

I got so much of it right!

I’m really hoping that all this will help me to eventually get on top of the fatigue, brain fog, and inflammation flares that keep me perpetually exhausted. Enable me to be healthier. Be more productive.

Because I have a ton more books I want to write.

Changing Up the Website

I started to revamp the website about 6 months ago, and then the summer really derailed that. I’m just now starting to get my head above water (although the fatigue is still bad), and so started looking at it anew.

One of the directions I intended to take the website has now changed thanks to several new software and plugin developments. More will come about that later as I start to implement the changes and take out the changes that had been about half-way done.

A bit of writing has been going on, as well, along with a lot of art (mostly contracted original art). So, the creative brain is starting to stretch its muscles!

One bit of bad news. Herman went to the great snail haven in the sky. He was pretty big, so he might have died of old age. In any case, there are new inhabitants of my nano tank which I’ll be sharing with you shortly.

I hope everyone has been having a great summer!

Worldwide Territory Ebook Readers – A 2014 & 2017 Comparison

After putting together the previous post, I thought about some of the presentations at the Business Master Class on the Oregon Coast back in October, and a few comments from Mark at Kobo. I decided there were another set of numbers I wanted to look at.

Unit sales across territories. Well, percentages, anyway.

So, I did a special pivot table for both 2014 and 2017 before I put away the big spreadsheet. Once again, I took out the numbers from Bundle Rabbit, to keep from skewing the numbers to far, and also because I don’t always know what country those sales come from.

Plus, it means I get to create colorful graphs again. 😛

2014 Countries - By Percentage

2014 is rather striking in how heavily the percentage tilted to the United States. The closest any other territory came was Great Britain at 10%. But, that does make sense. 2014 wasn’t that far into the new Ebook market and the surge of the Indie Publishing movement. The United States started off as the big market.

But, that has definitely changed as the years have gone by. Other countries are opening up as growing ebook markets. Many are reading on their mobile phones. All of which has shaken up the world-wide market when it comes to ebooks.

2017 Countries by Percentage

So, now we have 2017. The United States is just a fudge below half. It’s a more mature market. For me, the big spikes in sudden sales on a new release have reduced (although, we’ll see how I do going forward using a few ideas I have). In any case, the United States just isn’t the roaring market it once was. Other markets are now growing faster.

Canada and Australia grew. Germany came out of nowhere and grabbed 25%. If I’m remembering the reports correctly, I think most of the Germany sales came in a short space of time in the spring. Was there a mention of some of my books somewhere in Germany? A blog mention them? Just one of those things? I really have no idea, but I wouldn’t mind it continuing to happen. Heh.

It will be interesting to see how the percentages across territories changes each year. One thing this reinforced for me is something I’ve long believed in and the previous post I just did also confirmed: Keep it wide.

There is no “one” platform to sell on. There is no “one” country to sell in. There is no “one” way to read books.

The only way to reach the most people is to have it available in as many places as possible to capture the browsing reader’s attention. Put as few barriers between your work and those prospective readers.

If any of you have done this sort of research on territory distribution of sales, I would love to hear about it. Please comment below with your own numbers!

A New Pet! Maybe Writing Mascot? But What to Name Him?

Went into the Valley of Death, AKA Phoenix, and a little cutie followed me home.

A New Pet! Maybe Writing Mascot? But What to Name Him?

He’s a Nerite Snail, and is great at eating unwanted stuff like algae. Perfect for a small nano tank of aquatic plants. He’s about 1/3 of an inch long, and I love the little black marks on his shell. At the right angle they look like an arrow pointing in one direction.

Now I need to name him. No ideas yet. All I do know is that the name “Flash” is out! 😛

Reassessing Part of the Business Plan

Reassessing Part of the Business Plan
geralt / Pixabay

I like the business plan I have right now. I feel it has me headed in the right direction, and parts of it that I’ve enacted have already resulted in an increase in sales.

The main business plan has over-all goals. Then in a separate document I have the goals for the current year broken down into steps needed to make them happen. Then in a third document, I have those steps broken down into monthly to-dos. I review the big goals about every quarter to see if they need changing.

For the next few months, I have a few things each month to do to keep myself on track. This way I don’t get overwhelmed trying to do everything RIGHT NOW. I also don’t get overwhelmed wondering how in the world I’m going to accomplish the big goals. In November it worked great.

Only, something happened in December.

I kept getting stopped these past two weeks while working through the to-dos of my business plan. Sometimes, well, something didn’t feel right. Other times because what I wanted to do couldn’t really be done, or done to the fullest, without something else coming before.

Last night I realized what it was: my online ecosystem.

Everything I do all points back to the website and the reader ecosystem I want to create there. All promotions will have a boost by having that strong website foundation. In turn, the website will boost the promotional efforts. I want to make it a hub for readers and fans, where they can get fun tidbits and special offers directly from me.

My long-term business strategy hinges on it.

And the website needs a huge amount of work.

So, today I’m stepping back and refocusing for December and January. The only two jobs that really REALLY matter are the writing, and building that foundational website with its reader ecosystem. Everything else needs to be put off. *IF* I do anything else in the business plan then it will be a bonus, but not a focus.

So, expect this website to change over the next couple months. For a few days it might even look like a complete mess. In other words, this website is under construction!

Reassessing Part of the Business Plan
geralt / Pixabay