Episode 77: Choosing Your Next Project
Well I’ve completed NaNoWrimo again! 50,000 words of a first draft written in November. But more significant than that is that it is the final book in my three book Magpies and Magic series. So now I am faced with a common problem : what to work on next.
To be honest, I think psychologically I’ve been hiding behind this project for a while – it was easier to say that I only write books in NaNoWrimo, and that I needed to finish this series off before doing other things. Of course I’ve talked about doing other big projects – app development, non-fiction books and course creation amongst other things. But never really felt able to fully commit.
Of course there is still a lot of work left on my third Magpies and Magic book : editing, cover design and formatting to name just a few. But the hard creative work has been done. Such is the lead time of most projects that now is exactly the right time to be thinking about what the next project should be.
So have I decided what to do next?
In a word, no. I am mindful of a few criteria though:
- I don’t particularly want to write another fiction series in a hurry. While I enjoy writing fiction, I’m just not sure I’m good enough at it. Also the price for fiction books of the length I write (e.g under 60,000 words) make it very hard to market them.
- I need to have an audience ready (either an existing one or finding one) so that I can give out review copies of whatever I create and be able to build up a fair amount of testimonials before trying to push anything into a chart.
- I need to do more research, looking a Kindle categories and Keywords and checking that there is actually a market there first.
- Giving some thought as to what I actually want to be working on for the next few years. A book with a follow-on course better be on a topic I’m really interested in.
- Something important when choosing your next project : it needs to be able to generate some money. I don’t need blockbuster but I do need reasonable…
Will I keep on with the podcast?
Yes for a while at least. I do enjoy doing the podcast, and especially interviewing people. But it is an enormous time-suck. So it would be helpful if any project I create is related to self-publishing in some way. However I am not sure I want to just do self-publishing training courses and books. There are quite a lot of good how-to self-publishing books and courses out there. What is missing are many good book marketing courses. While I love marketing, there is a bit of a chicken and an egg problem here. I can’t with good intention create a book marketing course until I’ve actually successfully marketed a book using whatever methods I specify. Let’s face it there are lots of people online who have created courses in things they haven’t yet mastered, but I don’t want to be one of them.
What are the potential options?
As I’ve discussed before I’ve seriously looked at creating courses on sites like UDemy. However there always seems to be something that happens whenever I get near to creating them that puts me off (EU VAT, UDemy changing their terms etc). I have thought of doing a month-long boot-camp style online course, but I am not sure when I would get a month to do it (April perhaps?) or if there would be demand for it. An online course is less work, but potentially less use.
In terms of books, I’ve thought about writing a “Self-Publishing 2017” kind of guide, to release sometime in early 2017. This would be largely spelling out what I’ve learnt from the show. I’d obviously have to update it every year, but I actually don’t see that as an issue, especially as including the year in the title makes it a new book each year (so I can charge again).
Another option is something like “Marketing for Podcasters”, which allows me to combine two things that I really like doing. But the issue is that the downloads of my podcast, while above average, aren’t that huge. But I do think I have got really good at marketing the show, even if I can’t seem to market my books for toffee.
Have I ever told you that I have also written Apps? Well actually one App. It was a pretty specialised app for creating Google UTM codes. I only created the Android version as I had so little interest in it when I went to Social Media Marketing World in 2015 that I shelved the Apple version (and I also had massive issues with the bureaucracy of releasing on Apple). I could revive this as people seem to be using UTM codes much more in Social Media Marketing now. The only problem with writing apps is that the lead time in doing it is very large. I can’t really be chopping and changing things as I am used to doing.
So all my options are a bit up in the air at the moment. My current favourite is creating a Self-Publishing guide and then a live course, but that may well change. I have December to decide…
If you liked this then you might like Why I Do NaNoWrimo, Book Reviews, Dr Who and Mo Farah and Writing : Business or Hobby?