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I finished writing the third book in my Crow Investigations series and I’m cautiously pleased with it – huzzah!
It’s called THE FOX’S CURSE and will be out on the 26th November. I love the series branding created by the talented Stuart Bache at Books Covered, and think he has done another wonderful job on this latest instalment.
I’ve been doing lots of research on author branding and marketing and here are the resources recommended in this show:
If you can spare a few minutes to leave the show a review on iTunes (or whichever podcast app you use) that would be really helpful. Ratings raise the visibility of the podcast and make it more likely to be discovered by new listeners and included in the charts.
As regular visitors know, I’m a massive fan of setting goals. During the last couple of years, I have aired mine in public for some extra motivation (accountability!) and as an exercise in ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’.
So far, this year feels like my most productive ever, but I know there is still so much I want to do! Also, I want to make sure I don’t let my motivation or progress slip over the second half of the year.
Time seems to be flying past faster than ever and I know how easy it is to lose weeks – or even months – if I don’t stay focused on my main goals. It’s too easy to get caught up in the latest ‘shiny thing’, in learning about all the possibilities in this exciting publishing landscape, or just in the day-to-day ‘busy work’ of running an author business.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to do a halfway check-point to see if I’m on track. I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit nervous…
I set the goal of writing two new novels and finishing, editing and publishing the Worried Writer book.
Writing two new novels… Um. Not started, yet. Need to prioritise this for the remaining five and a half months of the year.
My initial thought is ‘Argh! I can’t write two novels in under six months’, but some quick calculations shoot down that objection… Let’s say I have five months. That’s 20 weeks.
2 x 80,000 words = 160,000 words
160,000 divided by 20 = 8000
8000 words per week is 1143 words per day.
That sounds much more manageable, doesn’t it?
I will, however, have to get strict about prioritising writing new words, though. I find it frustratingly easy to let writing slip down my to-do list even though it’s the most enjoyable and fulfilling part of what I do, as well as the most important!
I planned to rewrite and publish Beneath The Water and my supernatural book, and to get The Secrets of Ghosts made into an audio book.
I landed a new publishing deal with Lake Union for Beneath The Water and have just finished the structural rewrites. It will be published early 2018.
I am currently working on the editorial notes from my agent for the supernatural book and am planning to have that finished by the end of next week.
I did get an audio book made, but I chose my novella, The Garden of Magic, instead… The narrator, Tracey Norman, did a fabulous job and was a joy to work with.
Also, I have decided to attempt the narration for the audio version of Stop Worrying; Start Writing. I’m going into the studio next week!
I have been consuming less and creating more, which is excellent as I think I’ve been skewed in the wrong direction for a long time! I’ve still read some brilliant books, though. One really useful ‘craft’ book I discovered is Alexanda Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks For Authors.
On the business/marketing side, I’m working my way through Mark Dawson’s Ads For Authors course. Even if you aren’t ready to spend money on his paid training, he offers loads of information (and a mini video course) for free, and his Self Publishing Formula podcast is excellent, too.
I still haven’t started scheduling ‘artist days’ to refill the creative well. Must do better!
Walking isn’t strictly ‘creativity’ but I do think it helps me to think (as well as having health benefits) and I’ve been sticking to my daily habit of a morning walk. I would like to increase my stamina and distance, though, and maybe add a second walk in the afternoon (or a yoga session).
I planned to keep up with my newsletter for my mailing list subscribers and I wanted to increase the size of my list.
I also planned to continue with the monthly episodes of the podcast and to add more content to this site.
I created a ‘perk’ (a free short story) and have been giving that away via Instafreebie to grow my list.
I’ve been keeping up with my newsletters, sending them every 4-6 weeks, and have had some brilliant conversations with readers which feels amazing!
If you are interested in hearing about my fiction releases, giveaways and exclusive content, sign up here!
It might not make interesting reading (sorry!) but I found it so useful to set out my goals last year and the added terror of putting them in public was truly motivational, so I’m doing it again! Also, I love reading about other people’s plans and goals and find it inspiring and useful; it feels only fair that I join in…
Under ‘writing’ last year, I set the following goals:
This year I want to finish the supernatural book and get it ready for submission.
Finish my WIP (working title: Beneath The Water).
Write the first draft of a completely new novel.
In other words, by December 2016, I want two completed novels and one brand new first draft.
The supernatural book is finished and being read by my agent and BTW is finished/rewritten and under consideration by my editor at Lake Union. I didn’t, however, manage another new draft.
Even though I didn’t manage three new books last year, I’m going to set it as my goal for 2017.
I am going to learn from my mistakes and work on managing my time. Mainly, I need to remember that I can’t work on more than one (fiction) project at any time, so I need to speed up on my rewrites/editing. First-draft writing always stops when I’m rewriting something else and I need to accept that this will happen and schedule my work more effectively. I spent a lot of time doing rewrites/final edits in 2016!
So, my goal is to write two new novels and to finish/edit/publish my non-fiction project – the Worried Writer book.
I will edit (as required) BTW and my supernatural book and get them out into the world, one way or another… I’m hoping for favourable publishing contracts (and would love to work with Lake Union again as the experience has been AMAZING) but that it not in my direct control, sadly!
Get The Secrets of Ghosts made into an audiobook.
As above, publish the Worried Writer book and, possibly, record the audio version, too.
I really enjoyed the productivity course I did last year and the (many!) webinars, podcasts, blog posts and books I consumed (on both writing business and craft). I will continue that this year, although I am also going to be more careful about getting overwhelmed.
I attended a webinar last week with my heroine/mentor, Joanna Penn, and she offered a great tip for avoiding information overwhelm; take note of the things you come across in a digital file somewhere (with the links and so on) and then, once a quarter, go through the file and consider what you want to act upon. This way, you can measure the tools and tips against your goals/overall strategy and decide whether they are a priority, and you stop yourself from jumping from one ‘shiny new thing’ to another and never really following through on anything. Genius!
This is another ‘roll-over’ goal from last year. I am going to continue to make time for reading and research and walking (which is good for both creativity and health) but also book in some ‘artist days’ into my diary. While staying focused and working hard, I need to make sure I’m also taking time to fill up the well, get away from the screen and live!
I have been truly blessed in 2016 with the support and friendship of so many lovely people in the writing community. As I said in my recent podcast, the conversations and messages that I’ve had through The Worried Writer have been wonderful and I am truly grateful.
I had so many plans for The Worried Writer site last year which fell off the bottom of my to-do list, so I am putting them back on for 2017.
I would like to make this site more useful to you guys, and to build my audience/get more interaction with the podcast. I’m still cogitating exactly how this will look, but I will let you know as soon as I know!
I will also attend at least one ‘real life’ bookish event this year, as I loved the blogger/writer meet-up I attended in 2016.
One of my goals last year was to send regular newsletters and run giveaways, both of which I did (yay!).
I have been bowled over by the support from my lovely mailing list subscribers (thank you!) and I want to both improve my newsletters/perks for them and increase the size of my list.
I’m also intending to get to grips with Facebook. Twitter has always been my social media hang-out of choice, but I know that Facebook is beloved by many and, from a marketing perspective, I need to make more of an effort.
Okay – that’s it!
Your turn! What would you like to achieve in 2017?