My dad was a scientist, and two of my brothers are well qualified in the life sciences. My mom was something of a scientist too, in that she was always experimenting. If a recipe was good as written, would it be better with a little lemon extract to go with those blueberries? A different pie crust? Some ice cream?
I absorbed this habit of thinking experimentally, but I had not realized it until I joined some author loops. Much of the discussion is around effective marketing and promotion, and many of the questions asked are a version of, “What works? What boosts SALES?”
Some authors are vehement supporters of the idea that the first book in every series should be free. Other authors are equally convinced that approach devalues the brand and the content, and attracts people who expect something for nothing all along the way. Some authors swear by Facebook ads, other authors will go to the mat for Amazon ads.
One thing we know is true: If there were a magic formula, we’d all be following it (in which case, it would likely lose its magic in a hurry). My approach to the whole discussion is: Try it. Try making a book free and see if the series sell-through gets a boost. Try running some ads. Try focusing entirely on the writing. Life is long, take some time to mess around with this and that marketing approach…
I am the same way in the saddle. Does the horse react when I shift my weight from one seat bone to the other (not dignified, but it is effective)? Am I a better rider when I keep my eyes up? (YES.) When I keep my gaze soft? (Double YES.) Is the horse peppy today or just not feelin’ it? Did he get that vibe from me?
I try new routes, I read new authors, I pick up every craft book I can find, because who knows where my next authorial light-bulb moment or story idea will come from? Going through life like this means paying attention to results, to cause and effect, to the impact of my decisions on me and on others (especially my horse).
But I also like the sense of life being a big adventure, or maybe an on-going experiment around the question of how to improve on my current schtick. Maybe the quest today is to decide between coriander and cumin for a particular dish. Maybe it’s joining a reading group, or painting one wall of the living room green to see if that warms up the vibe.
Give it a try. Pay attention to the results. If you don’t like ’em, try something else…
Do you run little experiments? Big experiments? Has doing a trial run or a beta test ever served you in good stead? I’ll add three commenters to my Lady Violet Investigates ARC list. (That’s NOT the final cover, but I do love me some flowers.)