As the old year comes to a close and we peek cautiously around the corner at the new year, the world tends to slow down a bit for a sip of rum or holiday eggnog. For me, this is the perfect time to take stock of my projects and prospects. The lull in my usual frenzied pace lets me step back and take an objective look at what I've done, what I need to do, and what I want to do. Here are five author tips for 2022.
It's become a yearly ritual for me, and I enthusiastically recommend it.
1. Reassess Priorities
This is a risky task for a serial hobbyist like me. It's easy to mistake wandering interest for changing priorities, leading to an endless succession of unfinished projects. To prevent that, priority #1 for me is finishing projects I've started, even if I've lost some of that initial excitement.
But for those endeavors not yet begun, examining your priorities can help keep you focused. I sift and sort my To Do list to accommodate urgent needs (for example, long-neglected maintenance), seize new opportunities (such as recent developments and events that would make a book project more relevant), and dive into projects I'm particularly eager to pursue. These factors change over time, so it's a good idea to periodically assess that balance between “have to do it” and “want to do it”.
2. Instill New Skills
If you're not learning something new, you're stagnating. Get your education back in action. Maybe you want to learn how to create promotional materials for your book in Photoshop. Maybe you've never uploaded a book to KDP. Maybe you want to hone your writing skills in a new genre.
Browse the classes, websites, videos, and books available in that subject, and commit to setting aside a few minutes each day to learn that skill. That tiny investment can yield huge benefits.
3. Buff Your Blurbs
If you're like me, writing blurbs is torture. But the fact is, the more you do it, the better you get. And if you published your first book years ago, chances are good that your skills have improved since those early attempts. Look over your earlier work and see where it can be improved, then update your listings where appropriate.
And if your skills have not improved over the years? See #2, above.
4. Polish Your Presentation
In addition to your blurbs, take a fresh look at your book covers, sales copy, and ad text. If they're not performing as well as they used to, it may be time to dust them off and apply a fresh coat of varnish.
Trends age and change, and so do readers' expectations. Study the recent best sellers in your genre to see what's working for other authors, and consider whether it's time to try something new, or just fine-tune your existing approach.
5. Massage Your Metadata
Most authors select their keywords and categories when they upload their books, and never give them another thought. Keywords and browse categories are two of your strongest tools for getting your book in front of readers, and you can change them at any time. You can experiment to your heart's content, without penalty. Are you using that priceless ability?
And did you know that you can request that your book appear under as many as ten browse categories on Amazon? If you're only using the default two categories allowed during setup, you may be missing many great opportunities for readers to discover your book.
Like book covers and sales copy, keywords can have trends as well. Research and experiment to ensure that you're riding those trends effectively.
Over to You What Author Tips Can You Share?
One of the greatest advantage indie authors possess is that we're nimble, able to innovate and experiment where other publishers are slow to adapt to the shifting industry. Use that advantage to its fullest; don't stand in place while the rest of the world keeps moving.
What do you do to prepare for the coming year? What author tips do you have for 2022? Let us know in the comments below, and may your new year be exciting in all the best ways!