2019: That Was The Year That Was…

Cue the obligatory look back on the writing year that’s been… 

I started acting & performing when I was eight years old, back in 1974. Forty-five years later I finally self-published my first books, The Next Prime Minister and A Fan Film Adventure In Space And Time! with the latter being the one that I planned to publish, and the former the surprise result of a moment of inspiration.

I started 2019 with the dream of being a Self-Published Author still burning brightly inside of me but with nothing in place to help make it happen. Apart from the text of the book I was working on finishing while holding down The Dreaded Day Job that I still dream of being in a position to quit one day…

Having finally finished the text of AFFAISAT, I knew it was time to start actually doing something .

Setting up all this stuff from scratch was tricky to say the least. Getting the website & the domain name & the autoresponder in place, compositing all the emails that requires and setting up the automation… all that took time (and some money!) to do.

Then it was a case of taking my finished book text, that I had written in Scrivener, going through it again with Pro Writing Aid and then going through it again with Reedsy Book Editor before finally being able to get the books out there. Did I make mistakes? Oh yes! But the good thing about all the mistakes I made is that I only get to make them once!

Hint: Mistakes are good. The mistakes you make are an opportunity to grow & learn and get better. You made them because you didn’t know they were a mistake. Now you do, you don’t need to make them ever again. 

Learning By Doing is what we’re talking about here. That counts for much more than Learning By Observing Others Doing.

The Website:

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Bryan Mack Books site. It’s built on one of the free WordPress templates so there’s only so much you can do to personalise it. But, having tried all sorts of other options beforehand when it came to site building, it’s the closest I can get to what I want on my No Money Budget. And I do like my Logo!

The Blog:

There’s an ongoing debate among writers & authors that has probably been raging for as long as the Internet has been A Thing. You know the one, “To Blog Or Not To Blog, that is the question!”. For me, since I’m still in the early days of all this self publishing malarkey it’s not something that eats up a huge amount of my time and really, it’s an ongoing experiment. It doesn’t impact on my writing time as there still are a lot of other things I have to spend time learning as regards The Process of putting all this stuff together.

The plan for this bit of the site, which I’m surprised and delighted that some people are actually reading, is for it to be an occasional “check-in” with both my readers and potential readers. It’s also a Note To Self reminder of things and a record of my Self Publishing Adventure, which will continue into 2020. But more of that later…

So I need to say Thank You to those of you reading this who have Liked any of my posts or are Following the blog. Cheers! Still no comments though…

My Books:

Yes, I have sales! Not that many of them, low double figures, but I do have sales. Yay! Considering all this has been started from scratch in just the past couple of months with little or no publicity to speak of, as far as this Newbie Author is concerned, that’s a bit of a result. Both books are available as Ebooks, with The Fan Film Book the only one currently available as a paperback.

The Next Prime Minister was put together pretty quickly but I don’t think it shows. It had been sat on my Hard Drive, in it’s raw, unfinished form, for the best part of a year until I had A Lightbulb Moment. I stand by what I say in it about Political Leadership and I’m happy (and slightly relieved if I’m honest!) that what I predicted would happen at the 2019 General Election in the book was what actually happened. It was formatted in Kindle Create but I’ll probably use Reedsy Book Editor for the Fully Revised And Updated 2020 Edition.

A Fan Film Adventure In Space And Time! was the passion project that kick-started all of this. It was a helluva lot of work to do both the book itself and the Free Stuff that went with it. It went through more drafts and rewrites than I care to remember but again, having done that and made the mistakes I made, I don’t need to make them again and subsequent books will hopefully be produced a lot quicker!

Hint: The mistakes you make are NOT a sign that you’re no good at this stuff and should quit. If you quit, then you definitely lose. But if you keep going and try to get better, then there’s still a chance that eventually you might just win…

Promotion, Advertising & Marketing:

As authors, we might have a talent for writing but not every Writer is a born Marketer. There are two skills self-published authors need, and they correspond to the two sides of an author’s life, Writing & Marketing. I reckon for most authors, it’s the latter skill that they need to learn & develop, me included. 

Out of all the things I’ve tackled in the past few months I’ve been at this, the promotion & marketing side of things is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the one where I’ve made the most stumbles along the way. I can’t say I’ve had any great success with my initial efforts, which were pretty minimal if I’m honest, so that’s the area I reckon I need to focus a lot more on in the coming year.

So what did I learn in 2019?

Well, the first thing has to be that I can actually do this! I know I can do it ‘cos I did it! Getting your Inner Critic to shut up and shelving all your self-doubts is a lot easier to do when you are passionate about the thing you want to do.

And I really wanted to do this. That’s why I shelled out on Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing 101 Course and invested in my future self, the person I want to be instead of the person I am now.  Some of the best money I’ve ever spent, and I’m grateful to Mr Dawson for giving No Budget Newbies like me a Pay Monthly option. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

2019 felt like it was time to stop planning and start doing. And so I did. And now, having done it, it’s time to do it again and get better at it!

Here’s to 2020!

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