Happy New Year! I have the honor of writing the first post of 2017. It’s a daunting responsibility, but this week’s topic is to discuss how this year will be different (my suggestion). Since I’m preparing a presentation on goal-setting for my writers group, I’ve actually been thinking this for awhile. One personal difference will be due to the natural progression of time: this summer, I’ll officially join the ranks of senior citizens when I get my social security card.
On the writing front, I want to step up my output this year, and I want to improve the way I market my books. I’m at a point in my life when I can dedicate more time to this – barring unexpected roadblocks – so I think I need to implement a plan for both.
A task like this needs a theme song. I don’t often listen to country music, but Slim Dusty recorded a song called “Looking Forward, Looking Back” that works. Here are a few verses that caught my attention:
Looking forward, looking back
I’ve come a long way down the track
Got a long way left to go
Making songs from what I know
There are strange days
Full of change on the way
But we’ll be fine, unlike some
I’ll be leaning forward to see what’s coming.
So in order to effectively create a plan for 2017, I need to look back and see what worked – and what didn’t work – in 2016. Here’s a partial list:
- I finished one novella and one short story (much less than previous years).
- I participated in several online promotional events: Facebook events, blog hops, guest blog appearances (mixed results – December was good, because I put more effort into them)
- I attended one book signing in Chicago (dismal results – no sales, but met several well-known romance authors)
- I organized an online promotional event (Facebook page hop) that was different from previous events I’ve done (feedback was good!)
- I read 50 books, mostly by people I know (both in person and online)
- I lost 20 pounds
Looking at that list, it’s much easier to create my to-do list for 2017:
- Finish at least two novellas (three have been started, and two are half done).
- Participate in at least 10 online promotional events, but spread them out through the year.
- Attend at least one book signing, but closer to home. Go prepared with promo materials (people asked for bookmarks, even though many admitted to not reading print books!)
- Learn from the feedback on last year’s online events to organize awesome opportunities for authors.
- Read another 50 books (one a week is doable for most of the year!)
- Lose another 20 pounds (okay, I’ll be happy with 10 more!)
So now that I know what I want to do, I need to break these goals down into manageable chunks, and put those tasks on my calendar. January is going to be busy, because one of those novellas has a deadline that I need to meet. Another song on my playlist that motivates me is “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules:
I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.