The Year of Magical Creatures

A humorous look back over a year in the life of an author.

Last year I learnt not to set goals that rely on other people. So this year, I haven’t focused on the usual author success measures, like sales and reviews. My goal has been to try some new book marketing activities, and see what works.

Image of magical implements.
Photo by Anete Lusina on


Goal 1

Tactic: Try book promotion sites to give away free copies. 

Why: The idea behind this is to get more book reviews. Retailers only promote books with lots of reviews. And ads for books are much more likely to be successful if the book has plenty of reviews.

Result: I gave away a lot of copies. And got one new book review. I’m starting to believe that reviewers are magical creatures that only interact with human technology on one night of the year!

Goal 2

Tactic: Replace my book covers with shiny, new ones.

Why: Because people do actually judge books by their covers.

Result: I have shiny, new book covers. Which will work a treat when I have enough reviews for anyone to see my books.

Goal 3

Tactic: Make appealing images for social media posts

Why: To remind my followers that I write books.

Result: I haven’t sold any more books but my social media feeds look very beautiful now.

Goal 4

Tactic: Sell some old books I have read, to create an advertising budget.

Why: Advertising is a really effective way to sell books.

Result: This one worked really well. I have a healthy advertising budget. Now I have to decide whether to start advertising soon, knowing the ads are likely to cost more than I will make back (but could lead to reviews). Or give the book promotion sites a little longer to get more reviews in first.

I’ll be pondering that choice over the Christmas break. Let me know if you have a view.

And there was a bit of writing, too!

Of course, being an author is not just about marketing. Although it does sometimes feel that way. A writer has to write. And I have continued to put finger to keyboard this year.

My travel mystery series, The Lost Mysteries, is on hold until travel is safer and easier. Instead, I’ve been writing a young adult sci-fi mystery, which I’m really excited about. I was aiming to get this book out by the end of 2021. But there are noisy builders across the street, who’ve been there seven days a week, for nine months now. And show no signs of ever leaving. So that didn’t happen.

I’m not even going to estimate a date for this book’s launch anymore. I’ll just say I’m enjoying writing it, in the few moments of peace I get each day. And it will be worth waiting for!

Over to you

While I wasn’t achieving much with most of my efforts, you lovely readers have been busy doing your thing.

My books have had sales or downloads in six countries this year. The UK, USA, Canada, Austria, India, and Japan. Which is verging on rock star status in my opinion!

And this blog is now read in 38 countries. Don’t worry, I’m not going to list them all. But I have learnt to recognise some new flags this year. 

You are awesome. Thank you.

In summary

Overall, I think it is more positive, although perhaps less entertaining, than last year’s review.

This year has once again confirmed some things I already knew. 

  • I am an author, not a marketer 
  • Sometimes life throws things at you that you can’t do anything about
  • Readers are wonderful
  • Readers who leave book reviews on Amazon are about as common (and just as special) as unicorns

So I haven’t fully achieved my goals but I have made progress towards them. And I’ve learnt some new things too. Like how to write in 10 minutes sprints. And that the flags of Monaco and Indonesia are almost identical.

Have you achieved your goals this year? If not, don’t worry, there’s another one on the way!

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