Jennifer Lyon

Archive for January, 2016

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Friday, January 29th, 2016
Happy Friday

Okay it’s official, I feel like I’m trapped in Groundhog Day. You know that movie where Bill Murray lives the same day over and over? I’m living the same 200 pages of my manuscript over and over.  And yet I can’t move on,  I’ve tried!

But the good news it’s the weekend! Yay! Sunday I’m meeting  a friend for lunch, and I’m so looking forward to that. Otherwise, I’m going to keep working these scenes until I get the story lined up to go forward.

What are you weekend plans? Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
Wednesday Worthy

I found a blond!! Most of the candidates who apply for Wednesday Worthy have darker hair. But I did it, I found a blond candidate! Sure I had to sit through hours and hours of auditions (totally lying, I actually look at stock sites where I can buy rights to pictures, but that sounds pretty boring), but you all know I’d do anything for you guys.

Now whether he’s worthy or not is you all to decide :-)

Handsome, muscular young man shirtless leaning against tiled wall, looking at camera

So time to vote. Is he worthy, aye or nay?

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Creating A Business Plan; Part Two of Three

Welcome to Part 2 of Creating A Business Plan! Here are the 3 sections, including the link to Part 1:

Part 1 Intro and Reviewing 2015 (Post Date 1/18/16)

Part 2  Goals for 2016 (Post Date 1/25/16)

Part 3 How I developed my project maps (Post Date 2/1/16)

Before we get into the Goals for 2016, I’d like to share why I decided to create a business plan.  About half way through last year, I received the rights back on my Wing Slayer Hunters books from Random House. While this is great news (thank you Random House!) it also created a huge dilemma for me. Did I go ahead with my new series I wanted to write, or invest the time and money to re-release the Wing Slayer Hunter Series? I had to choose as I couldn’t do both in 2015. As I struggled to make this decision, I realized I didn’t have a real road map of my plan for the year, or my long range goals.

In order to make the decision, I laid out a plan for the remainer of 2015, beginning with a long term goal. Ultimately, I decided I want to try to write both a paranormal and contemporary series, and therefore chose to re-release the Wing Slayer Hunter Series in 2015, and launch the new contemporary series in 2016. Then I’ll write both series at least until I finish them. That ambitious of a plan meant I had to get very serious about time management and focus. With that in mind, I decided to create a business plan for 2016. **Note that in 2015 I also began diligently tracking my sales by book, month and vendor which has been tremendously helpful in evaluating my goals.**

So my business plan will:

-Set ambitious goals.

-Create the content to meet those goals.

-Create marketing strategies to increase sales.

-Keep control of the tasks by breaking them down into project maps.

-Gives me a clear overview of my goals and tasks so that when I’m faced with new circumstances (like getting rights back from a publisher, or an unexpected offer) I have the information at hand to help me evaluate, change and adapt my plans.

So now here is my 2016 Goals with my comments added for the purposes of this blog in red.

GOALS for 2016

Section A: Financial:

1) Increase 2015 Income by 25%

  • 2015 had a projected but significant drop from 2014. Met 2015 goal but did not exceed it.
  • E-books are nearly 85% of income in 2015, so major focus will be e-books.
  • Print books were only 1.3% with very solid potential to increase sales there.

Note that having a spread sheet that breaks down the sales for each book by month and vendor, gives me a clear view of where my income sources are coming from. However I did not post those spreadsheets here.

2) Strategy:

  • Write/Release 3 full books, one novella (some of that income will rollover into 2017) This is KEY, I must have the content to sell to achieve my goals.
  • Continue with free 1st in series pricing strategy for Plus One Chronicles and WSH (Wing Slayer Hunter) series.
  • Marketing to re-energize Plus One Chronicles around release of Ethan’s novella. That will bring limited income to go toward 25% increase.
  • Big push on WSHs on release of Eli’s book, Primal Magic.
  • Marketing campaign for Rock Star book. Talk to (Name of publicist removed)
  • Make sure books are all in print at release, using Create Space and check out more options. (Ingram Spark and others).
  • Do a Goodreads Giveaway with print.

Goals are awesome, but strategy is where we being to lay out the plan to get from the dream to reality.

Section B: Writing Books/Novellas:

1) Savaged Vow, Book 1 in Savaged Illusions Series (Project #1)

2) Savaged 2, Book 2 in Savaged Illusions Series (Project #3)

3) Savaged Novella, Ethan and Ana’s Novella (Project #2)

4)) Primal Magic, Book 6 in Wing Slayer Hunter Series (Project #4)

Because this is the creating content, I gave it it’s own section. Project Maps (noted in the parenthesis) is where I break each book down to tasks, and “calendar” it. You’ll see that my Projects #s are not listed in order. That’s because I’m going to write them in a different order than I release them. Why? Because Project #2 is a novella that I contracted with 1001 Dark Nights. Since I’m absolutely committed, know what I need to do, and it’s shorter and faster to write, I will tackle that before I move onto the two bigger books. This works better in my schedule.  However I can change around order anytime I need to.

Section C: Social Media:

I gave social media it’s own section in Goals because this is the number one way I connect with readers and therefore very important to me. I am always looking for ways to improve that connection, and frankly to give back to the readers who support me. But I must also manage my time. So I’m listing it here, and I’ll tackle each one as I have time, or in some cases, give it to my assistant to handle. 

1) Street Team

  • Revise to Reader Group.
  • Devise questions and prizes

2) Newsletter—increase by 50%

  • Monthly newsletter begin in Feb.
  • Contests

3) Blog; Add Business Mondays with more content by me and guests.

  • Industry Guests
  1. I removed a list of names I have to ask if they’d like to guest blog on the industry for privacy reasons.
  • Author Guests
  1. I removed a list of names I have to ask if they’d like to guest blog for privacy reasons.
  • Craft Topics (by me or others)
  1. Burnout (writing a book I knew had no chance.
  2. Internal Conflict
  3. External Conflict (Do a series of blogs on internet/external/building stakes, black moment/resolution
  4. Character Flaws
  5. Humor vs Emotional
  6. Best Friend Characters (good and bad)
  7. Antagonists
  8. Definite your storytelling theme (the one thing that repeats itself over and over in your stories
  9. Tropes: How to use them to plan, write and promote your books.

4) Facebook

  • Get fan page authorized
  • Promo 1001 Dark Nights and friends.
  • Run Ads

5) Twitter

  • Learn to advertise.

6) Instagram

7) Pinterest

  • Interests: books, food, desserts.

Section D: Marketing Plan for Releases:

There is not much here yet, but I will fill it in once I make some final decisions on releases. 

Section E: Growing Skillset

1) Develop Workshops

  • Internet/External Conflict
  • Emotion
  • Tropes
  • Developing a Business Plan

This is one of my long term goals actually, to grow, learn AND to share my knowledge.

Section F: Other Streams of Revenue

1) Foreign Markets

  • Pitch WSH series to German market
  • Pitch SI series
  • Explore new options

It’s always wise to be looking at expanding our streams of revenue. The market can change fast, and sometime brutally, and the best way to be as prepared as possible is not NOT have all our eggs (or income) in one basket. 

Link to Part Three: How I created a project map for each book or novella.

Friday, January 22nd, 2016
Happy Friday!

You know what’s weird? Well besides me :-)  I saw my doctor yesterday and didn’t gain any weight throughout all the holidays and even lost a pound. Honestly, I can’t figure it out because I was eating. People, I need to solve this riddle and bottle it!!!  My only guess is that I was so busy I wasn’t eating as much as I think I was?

But now that I’m mostly sitting at my computer, I’ll probably gain and be baffled by that too, LOL!

In other news, I went back to the gym this week. One word sums up my feelings on that, OUCH!!

Now I’m back to the grind, and working so hard, I’m barely online. I’m at the do-or-die stage of the book, totally ripping apart and rewriting the first half so I can write the second half, all while I feel my deadline in a few weeks bearing down on me. It must go to the editor by the beginning of March…I hope!

And last thing, to all of you in the path of the storm bearing down on the East Coast, I’m thinking of you all. Stay warm and safe!

My weekend plans are writing, writing and more writing.  What are you doing?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Wednesday Worthy

The other night, Wizard sat in my office chair so I figured, hey if he comes into my office, he should plot with me, right? So I said,  “I am this turning point in my book. I can either let my heroine win or lose. What do you think? I mean this is really bugging me, I can’t figure it out. It’s been days!”

Wizard steepled fingers and got all serious. “Have you tried plotting naked?”

And I may have laughed…and then I fired Wizard from plotting for the night. Instead I sent my 200 pages off to a critique partner who sent back four, single spaced, pages of critiques. And not once did she suggest I get naked :-) Now I’m tackling this book like a linebacker. I’m all over it! And also, much to Wizard’s disappointment, I am fully dressed while doing it!

And I just have to add — Wizard is great at plotting when most of the time. But sometimes, he’s such a guy, LOL!

Speaking of guys, here is our Wednesday Worthy Candidate:

Muscle man shirtless outdoors in building site. Construction worker

So what do you think, is he worthy?

Monday, January 18th, 2016
Creating A Business Plan, Part One of Three

I’m implementing a new feature on my blog: Business Mondays. Today I’m going to do Part One of Creating A Business Plan. There will be three parts in all:

Part 1 Intro and Reviewing 2015 (Post Date 1/18/16)

Part 2  Goals for 2016 (Post Date 1/25/16)

Part 3 How I developed my project maps (Post Date 2/1/16)

A little background: This is my first foray at creating a serious business plan and I wanted to share my experience with anyone interested. I began with the book:

Your Best Year

I liked the workbook format that helped me focus on what I’ve accomplished in the previous year, articulate my goals for this year and think ahead. Doing project worksheets gave me real sense of how I could develop a project plan that works for me. I didn’t care for some of the touchy-feely aspects of the book and ignored those. This book served as my “base” then I developed out my plan.

My business plan is a work in progress and will continue to be all year long. Nothing is in cement, but it lays out my goals and breaks them down into tasks in the project maps. This is what works for me. You may want an entirely different kind of roadmap for your year.

Introduction: Why do you need a business plan? If you are a writer who is publishing, you are running a business. A plan will help you:

–Visualize all your goals

–Break them down into manageable tasks

–Create a calendar timeline

–Stay on task

–Evaluate your successes and setbacks

–Reorganize your goals, calendar and tasks as needed.

What a business plan won’t do? It won’t sit your butt in the chair and do with work for you. But a business plan can help you stay motivated to hit your deadlines and cross them off your list.

Before I go on, while I wrote up my business plan on the computer, I like a printed copy and a good calendar to list daily tasks. I bought a daily planner type calendar:

daily planner calendar

With both month at a glance and daily pages:

 daily planner month   daily planner with each day

Then attached my business plan to the inside of the back cover of my daily planner:


Business plan attached to daily planner

Anytime I change my business plan, I simply re-print and attach it. This is also easy for me to take anywhere I want. However there are many ways, including keeping it all electronic and accessible on your phone or handheld device.

This is what the cover page of my business plan looks like:

Business Plan 2016

Jennifer Apodaca AKA Jennifer Lyon





Review of 2014

  • Financial
  • Goals, Accomplished, Put On Hold & Revised
  • Successes
  • Setbacks

Goals 2015

  • Financial
  • Writing Books/Novellas
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Plan for Releases
  • Growing Skillset
  • Other Streams of Revenue


Project #1

Project #2

Project #3

Project #4


Now for the Review of 2015. This is important to know where we succeeded, and where we need to improve.  I took out a few things, like my income because I don’t share that information. But in your personal version, it’s a good idea to track the ups and downs of your income. It’s one of the ways we can decide if we are meeting goals, or we need to re-evaluate.


Review of 2015


Income 2014: Removed

Income 2015: Removed

  • Drop in income was projected. Therefore, met projection but did not exceed them.
  • E-books made up 83.5% of income.
  • Foreign sales 12.7%
  • Audio 2.5% (
  • Print 1.3 % (Just started in print, good potential for increasing sales)


Accomplished Goals:

1) Revise Exposing the Heiress at publisher request and submit. Published in August

2) Write Caged Magic. Publish in July.

Put on Hold:

3) Write & Publish Savaged Vows

4) Plot Primal Magic

5) Plot Savaged book 2

Revised Goals:

1) Got rights back to Wing Slayer Hunter Books from Random House. Re-released in both electronic & Print:

  • Blood Magic
  • Soul Magic
  • Night Magic
  • Sinful Magic

2) Re-edited and put in Print:

  • Forbidden Magic Novella



1) 2 new books released, 4 re-releases and 1 re-edited.

2) Receiving a RITA Nomination

3) Hitting USA Today List

4) Hiring a Virtual Assistant

5) Marketing Plan for Wing Slayer Hunters and getting first Bookbub ad.

6) Blood Magic hit #2 overall on Amazon

Blood Magic #2 on Amazon

7) Creating spreadsheets to track each book, very helpful

8 ) Being asked to be part of 1001 Dark Nights Discover Authors

9) Met income projections.


1) Exposing the Heiress being moved out of Indulgence category.

  • Should have made stronger case to keep it there


2) Getting rights back to Wing Slayer Hunter books was slightly unexpected and threw a major wrench in my schedule.

  • Note: this is also a success as the re-launch went very well
  • But a major decision mid-year caused big reshuffling of schedule and goals.
  • Big time & financial investment.
  • No clear way to measure it against what would have happened if I released two Savaged books.

3)  Not launching news series with Savaged Vows.

  • Will launch in 2016

Link to Part Two, How I set up my goals for 2016.

Friday, January 15th, 2016
Happy Friday

My quest to remake myself into a better, faster, stronger writer and business woman continues. I bought this book:

Take Off Your Pants

Amazon Buy Link


To help me write a stronger outlines so I can write the actual book faster. Then I tried to re-outline my current book, Savaged Vows, using this method and ended up looking something like this:

Stressed business woman screaming loudly at laptop in office


So Wizard offered me some wine:

Crazy woman with crossed eyes drinking wine through a straw

I feel better now :-)

Okay full disclosure–at some point in every book I stop writing and re-evaluate. This is the point where I rip apart what I’ve written, and what I loosely planned to write, and DIG DEEP for the real story and the real stakes for the character. This is where I start getting the extra crap out of my story and dig to refine my hero and heroine’s goal, motivations and conflicts–these are the things the drives the characters decisions, and those decisions are often made to avoid the thing the character fears most. Then I must construct a plot that drives them right smack into that fear in an explosive and emotionally powerful story.

Easy, right? LOLOL!!!

This year, I’m trying to improve my methods but the truth is that nothing replaces the sheer dogged determination and willingness to keep digging until I unearth the characters and their stories. But I shall keep trying to improve my process in the hopes that one day it will get easier…I’m an eternal optimist that way :-)

And in other news, we did not win Powerball Lottery. Good thing I love writing!

I’m still working on developing my business plan/strategy too. I share what I learn about that once I’m finished.

So what are your plans this weekend? Whatever it is–hope you have a great weekend!

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