Monday, January 1, 2018

Looking back at 2017, my hopes for 2018

Over the last few years, I've resolved to do this, or set out to do that, as the calendar turns from the old year to the new one. You can look back at my archives for them.

As we enter 2018, I resolve to do none of that. Instead, I look toward hope.

I'll be honest: 2017 was a rather mixed bag for this author. I was successful in several ways. I achieved my resolution of publishing two books during the course of the calendar year, which is usually an assurance from me; accomplishment, sure, but when I'm doing two and sometimes three books a year, it gets to be old hat. I had a successful Plastic City Comic Con at the end of July, where I sold 20 books, many to local friends who had never bought a book of mine before. And I think I prepared well for it. I found several new readers, all of whom I hope I'll keep as 2018 winds it way toward 2019, and so on.

Where did I fail?

How much time do you have?

Many of my failings occurred due to my financial situation. As a freelancer sportswriter, my income is dependent on the amount of stories I write, as well as the newspaper's budget. If the weather sucks--hello, potential Snowicane later this week--and games get cancelled, I'm out X amount for that day. If the paper doesn't have anything for me, then I don't work. And I only work for one paper now exclusively, plus two one-hour appearances on the local radio station. The radio money helps, but it's not enough to devote extra funds toward making my publishing business as successful as it can be.


I'm also responsible for a certain amount of the bills/expenses here. Let's just say that with our expenses, none of which we can really cut, coupled with a limited amount of sports stories and subpar book sales (only 400 this past year, down from 2016 by about a third), I wasn't able to do everything I set out to do publishing-wise last year.

Buy artwork for covers in order to freshen up the backlist? Couldn't do it. The Obloeron Saga, Royal Switch, Scollay Love, and the Furball and Feathers children's series remain ebook only for the time being, and Furball and Feathers are on the shelf until I can get the money for new covers.

Advertise more? Couldn't do it. Reclaim my audience? You're having a laugh.

With certain entities such as Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select limiting single copy ebook sales (I refuse to go narrow and exclusive, as I have fans that use Nook, Kobo, and Apple), as well as Facebook limiting organic reach on my posts (and with Facebook doing more to limit organic reach in 2018) and Twitter sending me emails every day to spend money to advertise with them, sometimes I feel like I'm pretty much yelling into a funnel cloud when it comes to everything marketing-related. You have to spend money to make money, yes, that's a given... but you can't spend what you don't have. Without large amounts of money coming in the door, I'm just treading water.

So...

I hope to get what I didn't get done in 2017 done in 2018. This isn't a resolution, per se. If I get it done, fantastic. If I can't, well... there's nothing else I can say except for people reading this to buy books, review them, tell people about them, buy them as gifts, and keep buying them, since my outside fiction writing income isn't growing by any stretch of the imagination.

But there's plenty more that I hope to accomplish in the next 364 days and some change roll on.

* I'm in the midst of a new men's adventure/historical romance series--the Glorious series--which I'm planning on releasing under the D.L. Boyd pen name. It's Outlander-esque, but not as long-winded, I hope. I'm about 17,000 words or so into the story, and I suspect the first book will take me until the end of March to write. Of course, I'm trying not to rush the story, so I'm writing about a page or so a day (because the early portion of the series is slow-going, too, and I want to make sure it's right; plus my time has not really been my own, between re-learning how to balance my time after this past fall, as well as dental issues which kept me away from my manuscript). I'm also trying to be careful of minutiae, while utilizing a different voice for the story. If all goes well, book one's first draft, like I said, will be done by the end of March. That's three more months. Book two will take me until the end of July/early August, while the third book should take me through the end of the year. Again, if everything goes right. The release schedule is a little more complicated, but we'll see how everything falls into place. Of course, I could get all three written rather quickly, but I doubt that will happen. Just going by the last couple of years.

* If there's time, I hope to get a few other projects revised and out for human consumption, such as a currently not published princess piece I wrote a few years ago involving my cousin's daughters. They are a little older now, so I want to give them something a little older, and possibly edgier. I need a solid cover for it, too... which involves money.

* With that type of schedule planned, plus all of my other commitments between sportswriting and radio commentary (planning the garden, actually carrying out the garden, taking up a great deal of time and preparation, I may be biting off more than I can chew when I say that I want to do other things writing-wise. I would like to plan out the third Ricky Madison novel, and I'd like to write an erotic thriller, like the old Skinemax late-night flicks of the 1990s (don't lie, you watched them, too). Those two thoughts may get pushed to 2019, dependent on how I do with the Glorious series and other projects.

Definitely on the writing/publishing agenda in 2018:

** Write the first Glorious novel, finishing the first draft in late March
** Publish Scouring Agent: A Thriller in mid-to-late February

** Write the second Glorious novel
** Publish the first Glorious novel (fall)
** Write the third Glorious novel
** Possibly publish the second one by the end of the year

Anything outside of that plan, I'm going to consider gravy.

It's a lot, and I hope I and come out of 2018 happy and accomplished.

Happy New Year, 2018.

www.seansweeneyauthor.com