BTS043, Revising a Murder Mystery, Creating a Book Marketing Plan, and Feeling Scared to Self Publish | August Author Diary Update, Part Two


Hello, Writers!


I hope you are all well and are staying safe.


In the last two weeks in August, I started revising a murder mystery novella. Also, during this period, I created a book marketing plan for the Candidate. As I was revising my murder mystery novella, I began to feel scared to self-publish my book. To be honest, I’ve been feeling this way for a while. This month, I purchased a few courses, and I share what prompted me to make these purchases.


So stay tuned for all of this and much more.


About the Episode

Just to let you know, this episode was recorded on Tuesday the 21st of September, so this show is primarily me looking back at the last two weeks in August. If you’re on YouTube, you’ll notice that I’ve gone back to filming a video version of the podcast. At the moment, I’m experimenting to see if I can keep up with the workload.


If you’re new to this podcast, I want to say a huge thank you for stopping by and trying out my show. To those of you who have been faithfully listening, thank you for regularly listening in and supporting me; your support means more to me than you know.


The Candidate

In the last two weeks of August, I added an extra 397 words to the revised draft, but in order to achieve this, I first had to create a revision checklist. The revision checklist consisted of the in-line comments made by the second beta reader I hired from Fiverr* and the issues he raised in the companion report. While reading the in-line comments, I made a few minor edits as I went through the manuscript. So, I had the manuscript open in Word and the Scrivener* file open at the same time.


The feedback I received was not the feedback I expected. To be honest, I never get the feedback I expect; that’s just the nature of the game. Both beta readers didn’t pick up on the super minor plot thread that I didn’t wrap up. This plot thread was briefly mentioned but not resolved. As I submitted the manuscript to the beta readers, I realised that I had made this mistake.


Now, I have mixed feelings about whether I should write a new scene to tie this thread up or leave it.


Feeling Scared to Press the Publish Button

Before I did any of this work, I took two days off to process the feedback. And, I considered whether I should submit The Candidate to another beta reader to get a third opinion. Unfortunately, I’m getting scared that I’m rushing to the self-publishing finish line. That’s what is making me second guess all of my decisions. In light of this, I let my manuscript sit for the next two weeks to decide what do to about the minor plot thread and continue the revisions in September. Now that I’ve said that out loud, I realise that I’ve let this fear push me to make or consider decisions when I should be feeling confident about my story.


This second beta reader liked the Candidate. But, it’s not just about him enjoying the story. While reading, he was able to suspend disbelief to enjoy the characters,  the investigation into the murder, and the story was a puzzle. I didn’t accidentally leave things out as I did with Missing. The reason why I believe I did that with Missing and not with The Candidate is the story was outlined and planned differently. For those of you who are curious, I started with the crime, suspects, and motivations. I feel that the way I wrote the Candidate works for me. This feeling of being scared to press the publish button is starting to take over and I need to find a way to keep it in check.


Book Marketing Plan

As I drawer nearer to pressing the publish button on The Candidate, I started to think about a book marketing plan. In my book marketing plan, I want to include activities leading up to publishing, after, and beyond. My goal for this plan is simple. I want to get more book reviews. But before I can chase book reviews, I need to spread the word about my novella.


Over on YouTube and my website, I want to vlog the physical book creation process with updates to Instagram and Facebook. Once the editing process is over, I want to share an ARC on BookSprout to start chasing book reviews ahead of the launch. For those of you who are not aware, BookSprout is a service that helps you find ARC readers who leave honest reviews on the online stores. I’ve been using the Pro Author Plan, which costs US$100.00 per year. And, I’ve generated a few great reviews for Missing using BookSprout in the past.


From the Launch Date Onwards

Upon launch, I will set the price to 99¢ for a limited time only. At this time, I will send the book to my email list via BookFunnel for free in exchange for an honest review. Shortly after launch, I will do a book blogging tour. I plan on using a service to organise this for me.


During the launch week, I will use the following paid promotions: Book Doggy, Amazon Ads or Facebook Ads. Thanks to the changes to Facebook Ads, I’m considering using Amazon Ads instead. After the book blogging tour is complete, I want to take advantage of the book reviews and have another 99¢ promotional run. To get the most out of this promotion, I plan on using Bargain Booksy.


One thing you’ll notice about this mini-book marketing plan is that I haven’t decided upon a book launch date. The reason for this is, I need to wait until the editing process is over in order to set a launch date for my book. While I could guess based upon previous experience, realistically, I’m not sure how long the process will take. 

Courses I’ve Purchased

Over the past few months, I’ve been purchasing quite a few courses from WMG Publishing, also known as Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch.


In August, I purchased the following courses:

  • Locked Room Mysteries
  • Stages of a Fiction Writer
  • Classic Pacing Workshop


And I’m considering enrolling in the writing with depth workshop, but I’m not sure if I’m going to write the homework assignments and publish my books. The workshop is designed in a weekly format with a homework assignment at the end of each week. I feel that in order to get the most from the workshop, I need to do it as the course is intended to be digested. But, I will still have access to the course at the end of the period.


Locked Room Mysteries

If it’s not apparent,  I enrolled in the locked room mysteries course because I want to write a locked room mystery. Locked room mysteries are a tradition in the mystery genre, and it’s something I want to try. The Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie, the longest-running play on the west end, is a locked room mystery. But I won’t say too much about the story because of spoilers.


Stages of a Fiction Writer

The reason I purchased the Stage of a Fiction Writers is because of curiosity. A while back, Dean Wesley Smith published a blog post about the Stages of a Fiction Writer, and people were up in arms about it, and truth be told, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Essentially, Dean talks about the stage of a fiction writer’s career, including the mistakes and what you focus on in each stage. He talks about what you’re like in that stage then moves on to the next. Dean almost tells you what you need to do to progress to the next stage. I found this course helpful because it highlighted where I was, and I saw the places I needed to change in order to get to where I wanted to be in my author career. To be honest, I went into the course quite sceptical, thinking I was at the lowest level possible but was pleasantly surprised to find out this was not the case.


Classic Pacing

With the classic pacing course, I purchased this because a lot of the feedback I get from readers is my story is a slow burn. And I’m happy with that feedback because I’m writing a mystery, and mysteries are puzzles, so they need to be a slow burn. However, I’m interested in writing stories that are a little more fast-paced. Please understand, I’m not interested in moving away from the mystery genre. I’m just interested in writing faster-paced stories or improving upon that slow-burn pacing.


Other Courses I’ve Purchased

In the previous months, leading up to August, I’ve purchased the following course by WMG Publishing:

  • How Can Your Business Survive the Downturn
  • Making a Living with Short Fiction
  • Heinlein’s Rules
  • How to Write a Short Story
  • Read Like a Writer
  • Writer’s Block and Procrastination
  • Writing Endings
  • Classic Writing Mysteries
  • How to Write a Page-Turning Story
  • Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
  • Point of View


Classic Writing Mysteries

The Classic Writing Mysteries course helped me figure out that I was marketing my stories to the wrong audience. While I figured out that my story was not a crime thriller but a mystery, I still felt that Missing didn’t fit. When I reached week two of the course, where Dean was talking about amateur sleuth mysteries, I realised that this is what I had written. And, my book had an audience.


Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I also purchased a course called “Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”, and I found this helpful. It helped me reframe my mindset around reviews, and it’s a course that I will listen to regularly. While I don’t respond to my reviews, I’m highly sensitive and can get knocked-for-six and not write for weeks if I read them.


Concluding Thoughts

So, that’s all of the tasks I completed in terms of writing, book marketing, and email marketing. By the end of September, I want to submit the Candidate to the same editor I used for Missing. So fingers crossed, everything works out.


If you have any questions or have tips on book marketing that you would love to share with me, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.


With love,


Amelia xx

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links (marked with an *), which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. The commission helps support the blog and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for your support. 🙂

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Amelia D. Hay

Written by Amelia D. Hay

I’m Amelia. When I’m not hosting the Authorpreneur Podcast™️ and the Book Nerd Podcasts, I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Suspicion, the Lawn, and the Candidate.

On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process.

Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Suspicion, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.

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