Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing

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Writing Timelines and Outputs

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about time management. Namely, am I spending time and energy on the things that are bringing me money. As a freelancer, this question is vitally important, because if I don't spend my time on the things that make me money, I will have no money. I read recently on the latest Author Earnings that the most successful self-pubbed authors just do one thing: write. They don't waste their time sharing knowledge of tips and tricks, they don't do a whole bunch of other nonsense. They just write-publish, write-publish. And I thought to myself, "Sush, are you really doing what's best with your time?" Back in 2016, when I was a true full-time writer with naught but my words to focus on (and a whole lot of savings to live on), I wasn't any more productive than I am now, book-wise. I put out four full-length novels a year, although I probably blogged a little more. Today, my time is (somewhat) split, as I work roughly 30 hours a month for a software freelancing company. Even with doing that, I'm averaging 300,000 words per year (4-5 books, depending on length). But still, I ask myself, can I do more? Do I think I'll ever get to the point where I can write a book a month? I doubt it. In the first place, I jump genres too much that I have to rebuild my audience in each one before I can release a book with any kind of sales. And in the second place, I don't think I'd enjoy spending so little time in the worlds I create. Writing is, and will always be, for myself first (which explains why I can't stay in a particular genre for more than one series). I write books because I can't get the stories out of my head until they're written down. I build worlds to play in, and to rob myself of that joy because I'm trying to get a book out quickly or write to market just ain't gonna fly. I admire authors who are able to do it; I'm just not that kind of writer. And that's okay. But that's not to say I can't learn from those book-a-month writers, which gets me back to this idea of time management. For the past year, I've been building out the SGR-Publishing blog, dumping all my knowledge of marketing [...]

By |2018-04-07T09:34:04+00:00April 7th, 2018|Rambles|Comments Off on Writing Timelines and Outputs

Celebrating Every Milestone

Last week, I tried a little experiment. I wanted to test out how many eBooks I could sell on a $0.99 promotion week with a different eBook Advertising site every day. The goals were simple--make back the cost of the ad--and it was a chance to see if I could make a paid bestseller list and get that little flag of approval from Amazon. Yep, you read that right, I've never made the paid bestseller list of Amazon. Nor have I ever broken 100 eBooks sold in a month (well, now I did, but more on that later). To boot, last month was the first time I a) gave myself a paycheck and b) made over $100 in eBook sales (though those sales won't get paid for another 45 days). And when I go to celebrate these milestones, I find myself thinking "Oh lord, what will people think?" Like they'll say, "Why hasn't she done this already?" "She said she's writing full-time, so why isn't she making more?" The Ugly Truth The truth of the matter is, I'm writing full time because I have a lot of savings + very little monthly expenses. For me, it was more important to get out from under the stress of consulting and take a few months off. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, I've actually been taking it easy. I also wanted to try my hand a freelancing and have discovered that I do not like it. As well, I kind of also thought that things would take off a little more than they have. Don't get me wrong, there's been a marked improvement in ebook sales since Conviction came out, and then Fusion, but these numbers aren't enough to support even my low requirements. #consulting BUT STILL - last month was the first time I ever broke $100 for eBook sales. And this month...   Celebrate, Even if I Don't Want To So that's two major milestones hit in two months. I kind of hit the top 100 in the wrong genre (in what universe is Empath a kid's book?), but it never got higher than the high 60's. But hey, that's higher than it's ever been before, so I'm going to take that win. I've always suffered from too-high expectations of myself and of what is feasible in reality. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. And I have to accept that [...]

By |2017-03-15T10:01:07+00:00March 16th, 2016|Publishing Schtuff|4 Comments

Alliances Hotwash Part II

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the results of nine weeks' worth of content building up to Alliances. Today, I'm talking about the specific goals I set for myself for this quarter (technically, we're still in it, but I don't anticipate much change between now and the end of the month). My specific numbers are competition sensitive (that is, I don't feel like sharing them!) but what I did put was the % complete of the goal I set. As you'll see, sometimes I woefully underestimated myself, sometimes I woefully overestimated myself. But for the most part, I was pretty much right on the money. This speaks to the importance of creating goals for yourself. When you have something to work towards, you put in time and effort every day. And soon you'll find yourself much farther than you were before. PART II: Metrics   E-Book Sales / Preorders Total number of Alliances Preorders: 21% of goal Number of Double Lifes downloaded (Jan-March): 103% of goal Total number of Sage Teon Short Story Downloads: 78% of goal Truthfully, I way overestimated how many preorders I could conjure. Even over a 9 week period (longer, in fact, over 3 months), I only was able to get to 23% of my goal. I'm really not sure there's anything I could have done differently; this one is simply a lack of awareness for my series. Which, I still have to remind myself, I've been doing this for less than a year. And although I can't totally remember how many preorders Double Life had (since it was only available on Smashwords), if memory serves, I still had a % increase from first day sales. So it's a win. One of the things I did not do until recently was add a link in the back of the Amazon version of DL that went straight to Alliances. Once I did that, I saw an uptick in readers buying Alliances. But I wonder how many people read Double Life and just put it down, never to pick up Book 2? Lesson learned - put the link in the back of the book as soon as you have it. Am I doing preorders again? Absolutely. For one thing, I don't have to worry about uploading the book on the day it comes out. For another, as Empath is a stand-alone first book, there's a good chance [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:59:30+00:00March 12th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Alliances Hotwash Part II

Alliances Hotwash – Part I

Y'all know me and my hotwashes. I decided to write a full-up recap and analysis of the promotional period for Alliances, up until the release yesterday. There's some post-release promo going on in the form of a blog tour, which I may write up a quick one after that's over. Since it's a lot of stuff, I'm breaking it up into parts. Today's review focuses on just the content that was on the blog, since that was the center of the promotional universe. Tomorrow, I'll look at some of the specific metrics I was tracking. Although the "project" was supposed to start 1 Jan, I ended up putting up Alliances for preorder on 18 December. But the corresponding blog content didn't appear on the blog until 5 January, the first Monday of the new year. For most of all of the blog posts (except for Wednesdays), I added this graphic at the end of all the blog posts. It linked directly to the Amazon page. Did it work? I'm not sure. I don't know if people saw it and didn't realize to click on it. For Empath, I've decided to put the blurb and cover of the book at the end of every post (again, except for guest blog posts), with button-links to the ebook stores. That way people can make a decision within the post.  #MondayBlogs As always, Monday Blogs reigns supreme on all metrics. Alliances focused content on themes from the book, and some other content that I had on stand by (why yes, I have tons of stuff just waiting in the wings). The trend continues to be higher for content about me personally, indie publishing, or general non-book stuff, and lower when it comes to stuff about the book itself. For Empath #MondayBlogs, I've taken the seven things that scare me the most, and written about them. I think it'll not only be a big driver to the blog, but it'll be interesting to folks who've been following me for a while to see what truly scares me. #TeaserTuesday The Alliances Teaser Tuesdays were a bit of a dud. I tried to choose passages that were applicable to whatever I blogged about on Monday, which was fun, but it often felt like I was talking about something on Monday that I didn't show until Tuesday. Empath offers an opportunity to add in more of the "personal" [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:58:18+00:00March 11th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Alliances Hotwash – Part I

Living the Dream

As I've been saying for almost a year now, I'm quitting my day job as a consultant and going full-time into writing. I will be living the dream. Now, just as in Empath, Lauren begins to have second thoughts after making a brave, bold statement to face the Anghenfil, I'm faced with the thing I boldly stated I was going to do, and I am fucking terrified. But that's a different blog post for a different time. I wanted to shed a little light into my own situation, because so often I see other writers who do nothing but write and I feel very jealous. But also, their situation is much, much different than mine, and so just like the #1 Writing Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Compare Thy Numbers to Other Authors - well, you get the picture. My situation is pretty interesting, in that I've unknowingly put myself in a good spot to actually quit my job. I bought a house 3 years ago which increased in value so much that it will give me a huge payout when I sell it. Because I'm moving from one of the most expensive places to live to a relatively cheap place to live, the profit on the house sale should allow me to purchase a house outright. Yep, that means no more (or significantly less) mortgage for me. Similarly, I've been in the process of unburying myself from debt over the last 8 years. School loans, remodeling costs on the house, even my car - all should be paid off by the time I say goodbye to my company. That's huge you guys - not many people can say that they're completely debt-free. In addition, I'm single. I ain't got no man (thank God), and I don't have any human children. My dogs are getting up there in age, and so I anticipate higher medical bills coming soon, but other than that - I don't have to worry about anyone else but me. And I am not a real frilly person. Since my DC-level mortgage is so high, and I've been unburying myself from debt, I have been living within my small means for a long time now. I don't buy things, I don't go on trips, I don't do designer clothes. So basically - there's no change in my life if I suddenly don't make much money. So all of [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:57:04+00:00March 9th, 2015|Life and Love|Comments Off on Living the Dream

Pensacon Hotwash – Take 2

I realized today that the hotwash I posted yesterday wasn't really a hotwash. It was more a lovely picture-based summary. The hotwashes you crazy kids have come to expect should have lessons learned and all that fun stuff. So here's the real hotwash. Pensacon the Project encompassed more than just the three day event. It was a testing for media engagement, looking at the differences between selling one book versus two, and also learning to let other people sell my book. Bottom Line Up Front: Pensacon was successful in some ways, and not in others. But overall - I'm a happy camper. I had been planning this damned convention since August, when I put down the $483 for a table, electricity (YES, SO GLAD I DID THIS), and an extra badge. Total, I invested $2300 into this event between the table, my flight to Pensacola, books, advertising, and petty cash out to feed my two helpers. Yes, that's a lot - and more than I normally put up. But I also knew that if I was going to splurge, I would splurge on a release convention. Media Engagement I put together a press release for the event, focusing on my hometown girl nature and coming home to release the book. I sent it to every media outlet in Pensacola - and only one of them decided to follow up. First with an almost verbatim article and then with an honest-to-God interview article. One or two people mentioned that they saw the article and it got them interested enough to come find me - so definitely a good thing. The media team at Pensacon was also pretty supportive - sharing the article and whatnot. And the Pensacola Today article was also mentioned on the local radio station, so that was even better! I'd never worked with traditional media before (other than when I actually worked for them in my former life as a news producer freelancer), so it was good to get out of my comfort zone. The media is still one of the best ways to be noticed, and it's worth it to try and get their attention. Book Sales My total sales for the event were 104/200 copies of Double Life and 83/100 copies of Alliances - which is a split difference. Obviously the goal is always to sell out, but selling only half of my copies of Double [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:55:30+00:00March 6th, 2015|Hot Washes|Comments Off on Pensacon Hotwash – Take 2

Working for Myself

Ever since starting Sun's Golden Ray Publishing, I've had a blast working for myself. One of the things I've been told almost my entire career is that I am efficient. I work very hard and very quickly, and usually complete the work of three people in half the time. When I work on something, I give it every piece of me, even long after I leave for the day. As you might imagine, working for el gobierno hasn't been that fulfilling for my hard-charging work ethic. There have been clients where I worked so hard that I developed stress migraines and spent two hours on the phone crying to my manager in frustration...only to have them say, "Yes, that's nice" and put it on their cubicle shelf and never look at it again. One of the big realizations I had during my quarter life crisis is that the work I was doing had little to no impact on anyone's life. Our leadership would talk about supporting the soldier/airman/marine. For me, that work that I was doing was six-degrees-of-separation from boots on the ground. Ergo, I was basically giving myself gray hairs for nothing. Me, Myself, and SGR-P Now, I've been able to channel my worth ethic into something that makes someone happy (me). I don't mind working sixteen hours a day or giving up my weekends to conventions. First of all, this is super fun. Second, I know that all of this hard work is going to pay off, and there will be a result at the end of it. Some days, I wake up at 7am and work until 10pm at night. I'll flit from business strategy, to retweeting, to Facebook scheduling, to blogging, planning my upcoming book. Then, I'll end the day with a good 3,000-5,000 words in one of the three books I'm writing. Some days I'll toss in a little graphic design, a little cover work, and maybe a little reading of other indie's books. There are some days, I just don’t know what I want to do first, because I want to do all of it, right now. Happy Girl When I stop moving long enough to take stock of my life, I get all weepy. I think about all the years where I gave my energy to others, and how unfulfilling it was. Now, I'm working three times as hard, and am three times as happy. [...]

By |2017-03-06T11:07:25+00:00February 23rd, 2015|Publishing Schtuff|Comments Off on Working for Myself

Who I was and Who I am

My parents are downsizing and selling the house I lived in from ages ~12-20 (although I was mostly at college for the last 3 years of it). So, Terry was all, "MEH YOU NEED TO CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET!" And I was all, "Gull Mah, just get rid of it, yo." And she was all, "MEH!" And we're going to be living together. In any case, I set out to pulling down the plastic bins in my closet and rummaging through them. Predictably, I found a bunch of American Girl dolls and Beanie Babies, some of whom I hope are going to be worth just a little bit of money. I also found some of these bad boys: Besides all of that and some teddy bears, I also found reams and reams and reams of spiral notebooks and literally EVERY PIECE OF HOMEWORK I EVER COMPLETED (thanx mom). But within the pages, the very beginnings of all of my novels. Scenes, thoughts, backstory, all of that that will eventually be turned into the novels you'll see over the next five years, and some that you'll see in different forms (such as Empath). Flipping through the pages and pages of my high school  handwriting, seeing my familiar characters splayed all over the pages.... I found an entire notebook - complete with dual-color pens for each person talking, where Suni and Whitney are having conversations. Metallic pens FTW #Imissthe00s (In case you were wondering, I still journal in this way. But I'm not going to share that with you, cause that's personal!) From what I can tell, I spent most of my high school writing career oscillating between Anime fanfiction, a YA Contemporary Fantasy titled "Spells and Sorcery" (to be renamed and probably published in 2017 or 2018) and also a little bit of Razia. Even my homework was littered with writing notes, such as the below: (This was from my advanced vocabulary notebook) I can't believe I was so focused on writing and then just...GAVE IT UP. What the hell was wrong with me? I also can't believe how much I have reverted to the person I was in high school. This realization couldn't have come at a better time, either. Yesterday, I had a mini-existential-crisis on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. I couldn't help but feel like a bit of an imposter and perhaps [...]

By |2017-03-07T15:48:28+00:00December 30th, 2014|Life and Love|2 Comments


I had a bit of a reversion today in the form of a panic attack. Full-blown, "Oh-my-god-I-can't-breathe" panic attack. And I could not figure out what was bothering me. Yeah, that's right. I can have a panic attack and analyze it at the same time. Because I am batshit crazy #duh. I won't go into specifics, but the gist of it was that I was afraid I was going to get in trouble for something and it made me panic. I've gotten lots of criticism and "redirection", and for the most part, I've let it roll off my back. Ignore the noise, course correct where needed, and move on instead of drowning in it. The most effective method for controlling this anxiety is actually apathy. If I no longer care about the thing/person that is disappointed in or criticizing me, then it no longer has power over me. I can react to the situation normally (Oh, I've misspoken, my mistake) versus having a complete and total meltdown over it (Oh God, please don't fire me). Part of that therapy is to vocalize what the worst possible outcome could be, and to recognize that even if that were to come to pass, it's actually not the worst thing in the world and I would adjust accordingly. Another tactic I use is to return to my "intention" - remembering that my life goals have changed and I no longer want to be an executive at 35... of a consulting company ;). Today though, none of those techniques were working, and the answers that I was coming up with weren't ringing true in my soul. Which usually means that I'm worried about something else. It took me a while and a few anxiety-related Google searches, but I figured out what caused my panic attack. Yesterday, I dropped around $400 on LegalZoom to set up SGR-P LLC, and then another $150 for some professional banners for the upcoming Baltimore Comic-Con, for which a table cost me $250. I also haven't been selling as many books as I thought I would be (although I haven't been going as hard and fast with the Double Life advertising). As you can guess, my little fledgling business is already in the red after being alive for 24 hours. Intellectually, I knew that I wasn't going to make tons of money on Double Life. First book in a series [...]

By |2017-03-20T11:32:17+00:00August 5th, 2014|Self-Love|Comments Off on Fear

Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing, LLC

You guys, I'm starting a publishing company. Sun's Golden Ray Publishing, LLC* *screams* There's a bunch of reasons for it: separating my personal taxes from my business tax, more legitimacy for my books, a new tag line ("Light up your world.") It will allow me to file all the necessary sales tax paperwork for my upcoming bookselling tour and comic-con appearances. It's also a stake in the ground. I am an Independent Publisher and I'm going All-In-Independent. For this series anyways. Honestly, I'm scared out of my mind. I filled out a bunch of forms and I put my name on them and my new publishing company. I paid some $400 for LegalZoom to file a federal tax number and a license to sell books in Virginia. It's all so official and terrifying. But I see a future where I've got a thriving independent publisher. I've hired a publicist/agent for me and my fellow authors. I've got a couple editors on retainer. Between the group of us, we've got a couple authors (including myself) that we shamelessly promote until they don't want to be promoted anymore. We can have company picnics and potlucks and have a chic office space in downtown Pensacola. We use a SharePoint online site to manage our content. I could totally make this happen, you guys. Who's with me? We will be open to submissions at some point --- *So what's this name about? When I first started writing on teh internetz, I was all of eleven years old and I wanted to have a fun screen name. My awesome cousin Nicole was reading something by a chick named "Blood Red Rose" and I liked the three-word thingy. Same cousin (obviously a huge impact on me as a young impressionable thing) had given me a ring with a sun on it, and hence I became Suns Golden Ray (no apostrophe in the original name). Because meta and feels, I opted to go with the same name. As you can probably guess, that is also were the name Suni came from, as my author muse!name.

By |2017-03-20T11:31:00+00:00August 5th, 2014|Publishing Schtuff|Comments Off on Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing, LLC