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Thoughts on the New Year
I had planned to write something about being excited to share more in the new year and the same types of things everyone else writes. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot I’m looking forward to in 2022. However, I feel like I’m ending the year a little more weary than excited. It’s an uncertain time for the world and has been for almost two years. A lot of people I’ve seen online have been gathering their content plans for next year during this holiday downtime. That’s something I would enjoy, but simply don’t have the space to do.
I launched my book series to the public in 2021. It was definitely time to move them off my hard drive and into the spotlight. The decision doesn’t come without a lot of second guessing, though. I second guess the content in the books, despite having been proud enough of them to put them online. Is the first one strong enough to keep people coming back? Why did I put a beach on the cover of this serious book? How will this specific friend or follower react to this specific scene? These are things I never had to worry about when I wrote for the sheer enjoyment of it.
Marketing the books has come with a lot of ups and downs, too. I actually achieved and surpassed every single sales and marketing goal I set for the series in 2021. Getting people to follow you, click your links, and then actually spend their money and time on something you’ve created is a challenge. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received this year from everyone I’ve met (and whom I already knew)!
The marketing side of things has also been a fairly frustrating undertaking. Although I manage web/social platforms at work, it’s never my face on them. My name isn’t associated with them. A lot of the content I post is generated by others. There’s 100% nothing personal about being followed or unfollowed or clicked through on the work platforms. I started off 2021 generally too shy to leave comments on Instagram, so I feel like I’ve grown in a lot of ways! It’s sometimes hard to get past the frustration, jealousy, and extra screen time created by using Instagram to showcase the series. My real love is the actual writing of the books, and I’m always going to prioritize that over taking pictures of myself. Unfortunately, that means slower growth, which leads to my self-esteem getting dinged sometimes.
I’ve honestly thought about giving up the Instagram grind a lot lately. It’s difficult to be consistent without the time and resources that other accounts have. Back in my pre-child days, when I was a member of a writer’s group, we used to do monthly retreats (we called them boot camps) at each other’s homes. We wore comfy pajamas and put all our phones in a basket by the door; the host didn’t give out the WiFi password and made homemade soup, bread, and dessert for everyone at lunchtime. This sounds even more blissful as I type this now. Unfortunately, as we all got less-flexible jobs and had children, these retreats disappeared. I would love to be able to harness some boot camp energy (or just some energy would be nice). I also plan to stick with Instagram for the time being. The real solution to this is staying in my lane and not getting caught up in what others are doing. Of course, that’s much easier to type than actually do!
With all of that said, I really am looking forward to what’s to come in 2022. A new book is coming out in February, and it’s really a turning point for the series. It took me writing this series to realize that New England Gothic might be my favorite thing in the entire world. Given my typical pace, it’s also likely that the actual writing of the series will be complete in 2022. It’s bittersweet on the one hand, but I’m so looking forward to putting hands to keyboard on the final three.
Happy New Year! I hope you’re able to soak up the last days of the holiday season in peace with family and friends.