Posted on 11/16/2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but it’s not at all surprising that S.M. Boyce has made a career out of writing.
She wrote her first story at age five, had the ideas for her career-making series come to her at age sixteen, studied creative writing in college, and published her first book at age twenty-three.
Oh, and did we mention that she also majored in marketing in college? Again, not surprising that her peers recognize her strength in that area.
We talked to the best-selling author of action-packed fantasy recently about the key steps to her success.
SADYE: What was the very first creative thing you ever wrote, if you can remember?
S.M.: The first thing I ever wrote was this morbid little story I penned at age five.
I don’t remember too many of the details, but I do recall it was about a pickle who was the last in her jar and just wanted to get eaten because she missed her friends. Super gruesome, right? I was a strange child.
SADYE: You sat on the Grimoire Saga idea for years, afraid to start it — what got you over the hump?
S.M.: My first day job! Man, did I dislike software testing.
I have a knack for breaking things — a gift which often causes my husband to sigh deeply — so I figured I might as well get paid to do it after I graduated. But the more I worked in the corporate world, the more I realized I’m not cut out for it.
Sitting in that first job made me realize that if I ever wanted to live my dream and be more than a hobbyist, I needed to sit down and turn that idea floating around in my head (and about twelve notebooks’ worth of world building) into a reality.
SADYE: What do you think was the critical step (or steps) to getting Lichgates to take off like it did?
S.M.: It’s two things, actually: an entrepreneurial mindset and the willingness to experiment.
I was willing to spend a bit of my hard-earned software money on advertising while simultaneously testing the marketing methods popular (and not-so-popular) at the time. I tracked everything I did to quantify results and see what worked and what didn’t.
The “press this button and see what happens” approach to marketing has worked well for me over the years, even better as I start to see and implement new marketing and advertising methods before they’re popular.
Being willing to fail and make mistakes — even mistakes that cost money — has opened me up to taking calculated risks others sometimes miss.
SADYE: Your peers say you’ve done excellent work with mailing lists and marketing — can you tell me a little bit about your strategy/decisions in that area?
S.M.: A willingness to try new things is important. If you do the same thing that always worked for you, you’ll begin to see it taper off in effectiveness as other people catch on and replicate your behavior.
For example, when I started, asking book blogs for review was the way to make it in the industry. Now, most book blogs are closed to requests due to sheer volume. Then it was blog tours, which lost effectiveness when tour hosts began posting five-plus author features in a day to meet demand. ...
As you can see, trends change, and to stay afloat, an author must constantly revitalize and alter his or her marketing campaigns. I call this being willing to constantly innovate — basically, a mindset where you never stop, where you constantly research and learn.
Marketing is a lifelong job where you need to adjust with the market, but I think looking for new methods to get your book in front of readers is really fun.
SADYE: It seems you’ve had a lot of brag-worthy moments, but what has been your proudest one?
S.M.: I’ve been blessed, certainly, and worked hard to be where I am. (Lots of late nights and even an Uberman Sleep Schedule thrown in there.) I’m grateful for all I have.
To pick a single moment that stands out to me, though, I would have to choose the first time someone fan-girled over me. I was at a conference, and a stranger recognized me without my nametag.
I lost my sh*t with excitement. There was giggling involved. I was fangirling my fan. I’m pretty sure I looked like an idiot, but it’s a moment that will always stick out to me as an indication I’m on the right path.
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Categories: Author Interview