Thursday, December 29, 2016

An Author's Resolutions, 2017

Over the last few days (hell, the last month), I’ve begun thinking about not only the 2017 business plan, but also my resolutions for the new year.

I have to be honest: I didn’t do well with my 2016 resolutions—I will blog more in 2016? Blogs were down from 41 to 29, not including this post. Significantly reduce my time on social media? You’re having a laugh—and I wondered if I would even do a list of resolutions because of this. Besides, I already did a post in early August about my goals for the next 12 months. I didn’t really need to do one.

But the great thing about setting goals and resolutions is that you have the ability to re-evaluate them at certain intervals, adjust things, and move on. And that’s what I’m doing today. Away we go:

I will write 250,000 words in 2017

I wrote approximately 219,000 words in 2016 over the course of two-plus books (the last 17,000 or so in The Peg-Legged Privateer, plus 101,437 in Ticket Agent, and the first 100,000 in Persuaded By The Reflections). I expect I’ll get another 25,000 words in Persuaded written before I wrap it up, but at 70,000 words I thought I would need only 50,000 more to finish; we can re-evaluate that when we get closer. It’s quite possible that Persuaded will surpass Redeemed in published words (132,000+), and maybe even Redeemed’s first draft total (140,177); I think it might. I don’t really know where the count will end up, and I’m hoping the first draft will be done by the end of February. That’s not a drop dead deadline for the book, but that’s my hopeful ending point. The end of February will mean a late summer edit, i.e. July or August, and a late December release. For March through June, I’m planning on writing the ninth Jaclyn Johnson novel, and I’m still up in the air about what I want to do in the second half of the year. Quite possibly the new series I mentioned this past August.

I want to publish two books, along with freshening up some of the back list, in 2017

Ticket Agent is currently with Kim—it’s her birthday, by the way, so happy birthday to Kim!—and I’ve given her until the end of January to get back notes and corrections to me so we can have a February release, much like we have had for Chemical (mid-February 2016) and Ticket (late January 2015) in recent years. Persuaded won’t be ready until late 2017, but I’m not going to publish it until it’s absolutely perfect. I’m also not going to go up against the holiday season. My hope is that the book will be published before the year is out, though. It could need some work after I do the editing, or it could be one of the greatest things I’ve ever written (after taking seven months to write the first draft, it might be). But not only that, I want to take some time to freshen up some of my older work; I may give Royal Switch a pass-through, mainly to see if I can fix the opening to the story and move that sluggish info dump somewhere else. I want to go back through two of my old John Fitch V titles and see if they can be fixed up and brought into my current writing level; I also want to freshen up the cover for A Galaxy At War, and possibly re-title it. And I want to get Furball & Feathers re-issued by the summer, too. I’ve done a sketch of potential cover art for it, but is it good enough to be published? I’m not too sure.

I want to learn how to do wrap-around covers for paperbacks in 2017

You’ll recall in August I declared that all of my work needs to be in paperback following my successful appearance at the Plastic City Comic Con on July 31. The second one is coming on July 30, 2017, in my hometown of Fitchburg. So far, 12 of my titles, including the entirety of the AGENT series, are in paperback, and I wanted to have the entire catalogue out in paperback by Thanksgiving in order to sell for the Christmas holiday. That didn’t happen, and that’s my fault. Honestly, I should know how to do a wrap-around; I can do a flat cover easily, and do it on the cheap, but not making it look cheap. So what I need to do is look for a tutorial in my spare time—what’s that?—and learn this important book creating tool.

I want to have The Obloeron Saga out in single copies for ebook and paperback in 2017

Pretty easy to do. I need covers for those, and I need the money to buy the artwork. That will happen when I can afford it.

I want to do better convention prep in time for PCCC in 2017

This will be some of the things I do in the first half of the year: get the Square credit card reader, get book stands, and, little by little, buy product for the event, i.e. ordering 10-15 copies of Zombie Showdown by the end of January and having them on-hand and ready, buying X of Ticket Agent and all the others, etc. In order to have an even more successful con, I need to have all of these things ready to go.

I want to get the rest of the AGENT series out in audiobook in 2017

Not exactly something in my control: this is akin to wanting 10,000 or more book sales in a year, because that’s something I can’t control. Laura Jennings has done a marvelous job on the first five audiobooks in the series, and I’m hoping she’ll continue in 2017.

I want to advertise more in 2017

I’m still here. I’m not going away any time soon. But still—my sales numbers do not reflect the numbers a full-time author should make, but again, that’s something that’s partially out of my control; I can’t rip people’s arms out of their sockets and make them buy my books. While I can turn a phrase with the best of them, my marketing skills are dreadful. I’ve relied mainly on word of mouth, Facebook links, Twitter, and—before 2012 and meeting my wife—ebook advertisers in eReader News Today and Kindle Nation Daily to varying degrees of success. I heard recently that one author got a BookBub ad without the pre-requisite review numbers, and I’m hoping I can do the same this coming year. Also some Facebook ads to encourage mailing list signups, Amazon ads, Twitter ads, and ENT/KND/BookGoodies/etc. I desperately need to re-claim my audience!

We’ll re-evaluate as the year goes on.