2018 Lessons Learned and 2019 targets

Happy new year!

I was a little nervous to look back at my 2018 targets because I didn’t feel like I had a very good writing year. But it turns out, I did better than I thought I had!

The 2018 targets were:
1) Learn and apply marketing
– Well, I’m giving myself a C on this one. I definitely learned several things, but I couldn’t manage to generate a positive return on investment (ROI). I was getting close near the end, but eventually, I ran out of money and had to pull the plug. It was disheartening, but not unexpected, to watch sales taper off. I actually feel reasonably good about applying lessons learned from this to future books, so there’s that.

2) Spend at least 10 hours a week on writing (including drafting, editing, and marketing)
– Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, right, that was serious. I have no idea whether I hit this or not, as I didn’t find any consistent way to track that. I suspect I might be close though, since I spent most of the spring and summer doing research for a new novel and prepping the Alternate history steampunk novel for submission, and then starting a new novel in the fall.

3) Polish, write supporting material, Book 1 in alternate history steampunk series and start submitting it
– Done!

4) Outline book 2 in alternate history steampunk series
– Eh. I didn’t write an outline for book 2, but I have a pretty good idea where it needs to go. I’m still declaring victory on this one, since I did work out and plan a new novel with what I consider a difficult concept. I spent a ton of time reading and researching the new novel, and came up with the setting, characters, and plot (see next target).

5) Write 50% of Book 2 in alternate history steampunk series (may not do this, since book 1 on submission)
– Again, I’m declaring victory on this one, even though I didn’t write a word of book 2. I decided it was a bad idea to write book 2 while book 1 was on submission in case a publisher wanted some revisions. Instead, I started writing book 1 in a new series and wrote most of act 1 before the new year. I’m pretty pleased with the progress, as well as cracking the difficulties I was having with the concept, so again, I’m declaring victory here.

6) Read 10 fiction books
– Smashed! I read 23! 19 of which were audio books.

7) Read 10 non-fiction books
– Surpassed! I read 14! 3 of which were audio books. There definitely seems to be a trend with how I use audio books.

With all that in mind, my 2019 targets are:

1) Finish zero draft of current novel.
2) Apply to a workshop with completed novel.
3) Set up at least two promotions for Sunken City Capers.
4) Read 10 non-fiction books

My priority in 2019 is to finish the zero draft of my current novel. I’ll give a more detailed update on that next time, but for now, I’m really excited about this project. I need to have it finished, since there’s a workshop I would like to go to in 2020, but you have to apply. So I need have the novel finished to then be able to put together an application.

While my marketing efforts in 2018 weren’t out-of-the-park successful, I did learn some things and I need to do some promotions for my current novels. So, I’m aiming to lineup and plan at least two major promotions. The first one should be in the first quarter of 2019. I’ll see how that performs and come up with a plan for the second one at that point.

Since the discovery of audio books, I don’t feel like I need a reading goal anymore. I originally started a reading goal because I had gotten away from reading and I missed it. That’s no longer case. I do still think I need a non-fiction goal, otherwise I think I would default to reading all fiction. Non-fiction is great for research and mining story, character, setting ideas, so I don’t want that to drop off.

So there you have it! Personally, I like the way 2019 is shaping up (spend all year writing [not editing or business stuff]? Yes, please!).

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