Bouncing Back When You Mess Up

A Guest Article by Dana Fraedrich

Hello, dear readers! For those of you who don’t know me, here’s the skinny. About eight months ago I quit my nine-to-five job to focus on my writing career. This was something the hubs and I discussed for two years before I actually took the leap, so it was not a hasty decision by any means. Even so, the idea of giving up that paycheck made me feel downright ill…still does sometimes, no matter what anyone says. Fast-forward a few months to May. I finished the first draft of my next book—Into the Fire, second in my steampunk fantasy series, Broken Gears. Huzzah!

The process has been going, and the book comes out on September 5th, 2017. The lead up to a book’s release always feels a little wonky. You’re sort of caught in this weird limbo between creation and introduction to the world, and the to-do list is generally a litany of disparate tasks. It’s different from normal everyday writing and marketing.

Now for some naked honesty: I hate marketing. Hate it so much I’ve self-sabotaged by not creating any kind of marketing plan for this book release, which was a huge mistake. Remember that litany of disparate tasks I mentioned earlier? Yeah, I didn’t even write it down, just tried to keep everything in my head. Now, I know some people function better without a plan. That’s totally cool, especially given the myriad of promotion options out there for indie authors. We often don’t know what works and what doesn’t until we try it, and new opportunities are always popping up. Personally, though I am good at adapting, I’m a planner at heart and do better with some basic organization. Adapting is easier with a solid foundation beneath you after all.

Throughout this release lead up, I’ve been getting the right things done—a giveaway of the first book in the series, creating a book trailer, doing preorder reminders on social media, etc.—but for me, not having stuff written down in a schedule is a bit like navigating a labyrinth and not using the paper and pencil I’ve been given to make a map.

So there you have it. I messed up. I knew I should have created a book release/marketing roadmap for myself way back when. It would have, at the very least, saved me a lot of stress. I may have even lost out on potential promotion opportunities because I’ve been randomly remembering things I could/should be doing while trying to keep everything organized in my head. As of the writing of this article, I’ve got about a month to go before Into the Fire releases, so what now when I’m in so deep? Here’s what (for the remainder of this book release period and for the start of the next one).

1. Suck It Up!

I know I moaned a bit in the beginning of this article about how much I dislike marketing. Honestly, it makes me want to tear out my own hair. And we all need to moan at times. Our feelings as human beings are valid, but we cannot let them control us if we want to overcome, and our books won’t be as successful as we want them to be if we don’t market well. There comes a point where we just have to grit our teeth and do it.

2. List All Your Tasks

Creating a marketing plan starts with knowing what’s ahead before you step out. I suggest listing all the tasks you need to accomplish as well as a note for each one as to about how long it will take to complete (e.g. just uploading a print version of your book on CreateSpace takes at least a day or two when you account for the approval process, longer if you need to order a physical proof). You can get into the nitty-gritty details of who and where later, but making that initial list will give you a basic sketch of the entire journey.

3. Use a Calendar

I reached a point last week where I felt actual, physical pressure in my head due to all the things bouncing around in there—deadlines, general to-do’s, dates with friends, appointments, etcetera. I finally just had to sit down and enter everything coming up into my calendar. It was amazing the weight that came off once everything was written down and fixed to the little blocks on my computer screen. I even created some entries for when I needed to start items so I didn’t get to the due date and realize I was behind. And you know what? I’ve been referencing it every day since, as life has continued to roll forward and plans have changed.

4. Same With To-Do Lists

Not everything has a specific date to be completed by, and a lot of calendars don’t have quite the same functionality as a to-do list. Specifically, calendar events are always there, but items in my Reminders app stay there and stare at me accusingly until I check them off…and I get super jazzed about checking stuff off. It’s kind of crazy how much satisfaction it gives me. Anyway, I know this all seems really basic, but talk to some people about their life management habits. I think you’ll find a lot of them aren’t great about this sort of thing.

5. Don’t Wallow; Forgive Yourself

This kind of goes with my first point, but I think it needs it’s own spot because a lot of us have a tendency to be like Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Yup, that’s me. I talk a big game to other people about being gentle with themselves, but I need to apply that to my own life. I already held myself to a pretty high standard before I quit my day job, and it’s gotten higher yet since then, so I’ve been pretty hard on myself about this screw-up. Yes, I’ve been stupid and whiny and not planned for this book release as well as I should have, but beating myself up isn’t healthy and sitting in my own unhappiness isn’t forward motion. I need to apply what I’ve learned, fix what needs fixing, and make the best of the time that’s left. Forgive ourselves and move forward more wisely than before. That is how we can be better, to brush ourselves when we fall down and press on while applying the lessons learned.

Meet the Author:

Dana Fraedrich is the author of the steampunk fantasy series Broken Gears, which includes the forthcoming Into the Fire and the Amazon bestseller, Out of the Shadows. She is an independent author, blogger, dog lover, and self-professed geek. Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind.

Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs. Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Connect with Dana Fraedrich:

Check out Fraedrich’s website(s), WordsByDana, for book reviews, articles on the indie author life, and author interviews.

You can also connect with her on your favorite social media platform:

Don’t forget to check out Into the Fire, the second in the steampunk fantasy series Broken Gears!

An expedition to an exotic foreign city. An assassin in hiding, waiting to strike. World changing discoveries.

The Springhaven Museum’s expedition to Bone Port is underway! Opportunities await Lenore and her colleagues, but discovery and enlightenment are not all they will find in southern Invarnis. Back home in Springhaven, Rook is searching for answers but seems to find only more questions. Who took out a hit on Lenore? What is Bloodstone? A trail of clues becomes fraught with danger, and the quest for truth might demand a price he’s not willing to pay.

The land of Invarnis is on the precipice of a new age, and the lives of its inhabitants will never be the same again. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble endeavor, but sometimes one must ask: how much is knowledge worth? Some things were locked away for a reason…

Releasing September 5th. Pre-order here.

Photo by on Unsplash