Hello, Writers!


I’m back again.


And yes, it’s been sixteen weeks since I released an episode of the podcast. Between now and November, I took December and January off because it was a busy time of year and I tend to travel during these periods. When I got back from vacation at the end of January, I had caught the flu from a family function.


Guess who didn’t get the flu vaccine?


But I was out of action for three weeks, and I wanted to wait until I got my voice back before I continued podcasting.


In this episode, I look back on 2023 and discuss the highs and lows. On top of this, I share the products and courses that I recommend and am still using in my writing and self-publishing business.


Without further ado, let’s get into the episode.


About the Episode

Just to let you know, this episode was recorded on Thursday, the 14th of March, so this show is primarily me looking back at 2023 and the first few months of 2024.


Thank You

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.


A Writing Update—The Reader’s Digest Version

For me, 2023 was riddled with a health issue that will not end in surgery, and I have mixed feelings about this. I’ll just have to keep going and push on despite these issues. In saying that, I spent twelve percent more hours writing in 2023 than the previous year. These extra hours resulted in me writing an extra 25,000 words in 2023. But I only published one novella-length story, The Locked Room, in April. And I started JL Book Three and a short cozy mystery.


Once again, I’m thankful for my detailed spreadsheet, which enabled me to keep track of my writing progress in both hours and word count. It helped me put 2023 in perspective. Without these statistics, I would have thought that I achieved less in 2023 than in 2022 because I only published one book, whereas in 2022, I published two.


New Fears Unlocked

After the positive reviews I received from Duplicity, I now realise that I got stage fright and overthought everything. In addition, I decided to embrace Writing Into the Dark as my method of writing instead of heavily outlining because I had such a positive experience Writing The Locked Room in the Dark. However, due to my stage fright, I overthought everything and struggled to write book three. While I continued to overthink book three, I started writing a short cozy mystery. It was supposed to be a short story but is now well into novelette territory and heading into novella length.

What I’m Working On In 2024?

At the start of 2024, I decided it was time to write a new reader magnet, so I’ve placed those two projects on hold and am currently writing that story, which is also no longer a novelette. I didn’t want to finish writing book three without a new reader magnet to point readers to at the end of the story.


Also, the quality of my writing has improved since I wrote The Lawn, and I want to show my readers just that. In saying that, the Lawn was never supposed to be a reader magnet but an end-of-book reward for readers of Suspicion because it tells the story of an event that is referenced in that story. Over time, I started incorrectly using it as a reader magnet, and it needs to stop because it’s not a proper murder mystery. In addition, I’m considering taking this book off sale on Amazon and all the other stores.


Struggling to Embrace the Unknown

As I’m pausing the writing of my new reader magnet to write the script for this episode, I’m starting to panic about the placement of the body in the murder mystery. As I approached the 13,000 word mark, the victim has been murdered and the body is about to be discovered, all the reader has to do is turn the page.


In saying that, I’m writing one of those stories where you need to meet the suspects and the victim before the crime is committed so the reader is not relying on secondhand information to figure out the whodunnit. Plus, it’s a short read. I’m laying clues beforehand that hint that something is about to go wrong any minute. But I won’t know whether the story works until the book is finished; that’s the thing with the Writing into the Dark process: there are many unknowns.


So, essentially, I could be panicking about nothing, which is a trend for me of late and is something I really need to stop because it’s not serving me. On a side note, I finally came up with a title for the story—The Wedding Party. 

Enlisting Paid Beta Readers

As of the beginning of March, the story had reached 22,343 words. I decided to enlist the help of beta readers before I finished the story because I was certain that parts of my novella were boring or dragging the story down because of the placement of the body. And I wanted to see how readers were reacting to the story so far. So, I hired a beta reader on Fiverr, thinking I would get the reader’s first impressions as inline comments.


Not What I Expected

But what I got was a one-page report with a few short paragraphs. Sure, I only paid less than twenty-four pounds, but I didn’t get the inline comments I wanted. After questioning the gap between what was promised in the gig and what I got, the manuscript with the inline comments magically appeared. In my manuscript, I got one comment per scene, and the comments weren’t helpful.


Generally, mystery readers will look for clues and try to figure out the whodunnit before the sleuth—that’s the mystery reader. This beta reader didn’t behave this way, I go the odd comment that tried to steer the story out of genre. In saying that, the reader did say that “the pacing was off from chapters six and eight.” But the comment didn’t make much sense to me because after saying the pacing was off, then immediately fixated on the chapter timestamps, then the actual story pacing, and didn’t point out where it was dragging.


So, I wasted seven days waiting for feedback that wasn’t useful. And I don’t want to continue the conversation; I just wanted to end the experience and move on.


A Second Reader

When I hire beta readers I don’t like to point out the issues that I think exist in the story because I’ve realised that sometimes these “issues” aren’t issues but me looking at my manuscript through my own insecurities. So, I got in touch with my favourite beta reader and asked him if he had time in his schedule to read my story. And for another thirty-nine pounds, I got a seven-page report and a tonne of in-line comments. This time I removed the chapter timestamps, and he didn’t have the same pacing issue. Instead, he had pointers about James’s reaction to certain moments and other points to strengthen characters.


I wonder whether I should hire another reader to see if someone else has an issue with the pacing. However, I don’t like to hire too many readers because, at one stage, I’ll start writing by committee, and if I do that, no one will be happy because it’s not possible to please everyone. I know that when I have too many opinions on my work, it will be difficult to drown them out so I can be creative and continue writing.

The Impulse Buy Marketing Strategy

If you’re unfamiliar with my impulse buy marketing strategy, please check out episode BTS055. For the sake of placing everyone on the same page, my first book, Suspicion, was set to free on all ebook stores, and Duplicity, which is book two, was set to ninety-nine cents. I did this in an attempt to encourage readers who downloaded book one to buy book two. During the three-month experiment, I noticed that two percent of readers who downloaded book one brought book two.


So, what happened after that three-month experiment?


Two percent of readers who downloaded book one went on to buy book two at ninety-nine cents, and this percentage continued throughout the year and didn’t change, even as downloads dropped.


A New Strategy

Now that I’ve had a chance to reflect on this experience there’s something I need to share with you. All I did in this experiment was train readers to buy my books at no or low cost. I wasn’t finding an audience; instead, I was focused on the vanity metric of volume. But in a nutshell, I don’t want to write for the free market; it’s not an effective marketing strategy, and I want to focus on finding the right audience for my books and not getting my book in front of as many people as possible.


So, at the end of 2023, I switched back to full price on all my books to start a new experiment in 2024. In February 2024, I removed the leave a review page at the back of all my ebooks because the stores do this anyway.

Products that I’ve used and Loved in 2023

Below is a list of products that I used, loved, and will use again in 2024. The list has been divided into the various parts of my authorpreneur business, and all affiliate links have been marked with an asterisk.


Le Villain Book Covers:


The Authorpreneur Podcast:




Author Business/Admin:

Courses that I’ve used and Loved in 2023

Below is a list of courses that I used and loved. All of these courses were purchased with my own money. I have completed most of them and thought they were valuable.


WMG Publishing Lectures and Workshops:


Other Courses:

Concluding Thoughts

So, that’s all I can discuss in terms of what I achieved and the products I loved in 2023. Also, I’m thinking of setting up a Discord chat for my podcast’s listeners, so let me know in the comments section below if that’s something you’re interested in.


If you have any questions or 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. 🙂


Have you found the blog and podcast useful? Wish you could buy the host, Amelia D. Hay, a cup of coffee. Now, thanks to Buy Me a Coffee, you can!

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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