It’s January 1. It’s raining. Therefore it must be time for the New Year’s Resolutions / life goals for 2018 post!
Last year’s goals:
- Market new and existing books and stories to maximise their return
- Walk/run 1000 miles
- Aim for work-life balance and spare capacity
How did I do? Let’s say it was a year of ups and downs, goals-wise. 😉
I did get better at marketing. I started using Amazon ads at the beginning of December 2016, and they consistently show a profit. I also started a twice-monthly newsletter, began doing newsletter swaps with same-genre authors, and at long last, set up a Facebook page. I also have a clearer idea now of things that don’t work, and I’ll be cutting those in 2018.
Something else that helped was starting to write in series; the books I thought were standalone all turned out to be first in separate series! Murder at the Playgroup was the first book I wrote knowing that it was going to be the first of a series; that might explain why I’ve managed to publish the follow-up book *only* 7 months later…
Work-life balance, spare capacity and exercise – not so good. I tutor part-time for the Tutor Trust, a nonprofit social enterprise working with schools, and while that’s great in terms of flexibility and being able to spend holidays with my kids, I find myself cramming book stuff into any spare moment. Basically, I’m goal-setting as if I didn’t have anything to do but write and publish, and therefore I haven’t felt as if I’ve had any spare capacity. Then again, I’ve filled it with extra projects. I decided it would be a great idea to write 2 50,000-word books back to back in October and November. So that’s probably just me being me.
So a distinct ‘could do better’ on 2017’s life goals … what do I have in store for 2018?
- Work smarter, not harder. This year I want to plan better, and actually have some sort of release schedule and a launch strategy. Currently I have 3 books in draft, which I want to get edited and published this year (these don’t include the children’s books I’d still like to try and find a publisher for). I also want to write at least 2 new books, so that I have 3 in series for Halloween Sherlock, Sherlock & Jack, and Pippa Parker Mysteries. At that point I plan to do 3-book box sets. So this year is less about writing lots and lots of drafts, and more about getting the work out there. But if I can continue to improve sales, that reduces the pressure to get everything out YESTERDAY.
- I also want to try some new things – co-writing, for instance. I might write something in a different genre, just to see how it goes. Plus I’ll try some new ways to market existing books. For instance, I’m thinking of putting together a Spotify playlist to go with my latest book, Murder in the Choir. I might try Facebook ads too – though I’m apprehensive! I’ll report back on that as I go.
- The push to do and do and do has also meant that my resolution to get fitter has fallen by the wayside. Again. So it’s back for 2018. Fewer sandwiches for lunch, fewer packets of crisps, more fruit and veg, more fish, less meat, better snacks, more exercise (I’m not sure I *could* take less exercise than I have been doing lately!).
And there you have it. Hopefully by next year’s post I will be relaxed, fully scheduled, and also a bit smaller.
We shall see!