Old Year Reflection and New Year Goals

Old Year Reflection and New Year Goals

It’s that time of year again! Time to bid farewell to the old year and hello to the new one. I like to spend the last few weeks of the old year reflecting on the goals I set to see how I ultimately succeeded (or failed). Then, of course, I set some new goals to get me through the new year!

Let’s see how I did with last year’s goals!

Writing Goals for 2019

~Finish Writing Soul of the Sun
~Polish Symphony of the Stars based on beta reader feedback
~Write Once Upon a Dream (the first trilogy in Domerin’s series – the name is not yet final)
~Edit Soul of the Sun
~Write and Edit Book 4 of the Eternity’s Empire Series
~Write and Edit Book 5 of the Eternity’s Empire Series*
~If there’s time; Polish Song of the Spheres*
~Do at least 730,000 Words of Work
~Make 550,000 of those words new creative material

I labeled these goals as ambitious – and they sure were!

It took until midway through March to finish writing Soul of the Sun – far longer than I anticipated. Part of this was because all of my projects seem to grow exponentially after I start them. Part of it was that I had a lot of time to think about the plot over Christmas break, so I knew what I wanted to add without having to wait until the first editing pass. (Hopefully that’ll make my life easier later – hard to say!)

I started editing Symphony of the Stars according to the feedback from my betas during the last week of March. For various reasons, it took until mid-July to finish. A lot of this had to do with the fact that we were trying to buy a house. We made several offers early in the year, though none of them ever panned out. Part of it was probably also scheduling issues, which I addressed about mid-way through this edit by switching how I manage my schedule.

I started Once Upon a Dream on July 22nd, and I’m still working on it as I pen this post. I’m hoping to squeak the ending in before January hits, but I might have to settle for finishing it the first week in January. As usual, the book is a lot bigger than I anticipated. But the major slowdown here was buying a house and moving into it.

This means that I never made it to the Soul of the Sun edits – or any of my other stretch goals, for that matter.

I did write and edit book 4 of the Eternity’s Empire series. But only after I swung back to do a touch up on the previous 3 books in the series. (An unanticipated task.) Which meant the fifth book had to be postponed.

After adding up the totals, I did 821,590 words of work in 2019. 667,156 of those words were brand new material. Despite my struggles with scheduling this year, it’s safe to say I absolutely killed my productivity goals. Considering how much we had going on this year, I’m really proud of that!

Publishing Goals for 2019

~Publish Dreamers Do Lie
~Publish its sequel Life is But a Dream
~Publish the Dream Things True Duology Box Set
~Publish Book 4 of Eternity’s Empire
~Publish Book 5 of Eternity’s Empire*

At a glance, it’s easy to see none of these things happened. I published book 3 of the Eternity’s Empire series on December 10th of 2018.

And that was my last new release. Ouch.

I’ve spoken at length about why this happened. Most of it comes down to the fact that we bought a house. It turned into a year long process. (We finally negotiated an offer on ‘the one’ in August. We closed November 1st. Moved November 16th, but didn’t really hit equilibrium until the second week of December.)

Every time I thought about putting a book out, we found a house we wanted to potentially buy, and I shied away from adding the stress of a release on top of the stress of moving. In retrospect, I’m not sure that was the best decision, and I’m determined to rectify the lack in the new year.

2019 wasn’t entirely without accomplishment, though. Even though it wasn’t part of my original plan, I did update and re-release the first 3 books in the Eternity’s Empire series (Light of Eternity, Soul of the Earth and Secrets of the Past) with new content and brand new covers.

It goes without saying, I’m not pleased with the lack of progress I made toward publishing in 2019. But if nothing else, it taught me that publishing needs to be a priority for me moving forward – otherwise I’ll never go anywhere.

Marketing Goals

~Reach a regular monthly income (currently keeping the number a secret)
~Make X amount of profit for the year (again, I set a secret number)
~Get 1,000 Newsletter Subscribers
~Establish steady traffic to my book pages, newsletter and blog
~Achieve steady sales
~Grow my Facebook Group to at least 250 Members

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I’m keeping some of these numbers secret because I’m just not comfortable sharing them in a public forum (yet). Much like my publishing goals, I didn’t achieve much here.

I have established steadier traffic to my blog than in previous years – and I’m pretty happy about that. But I’m still struggling to find my stride with getting attention for my published work. As with my publishing goals, a lot of the issue here is that I didn’t have as much time to devote to marketing as I wanted to. I constantly prioritized writing above all else because I felt like I couldn’t hit all of the marks I wanted to.

In retrospect, I can see how my major problem in 2019 was measuring and juggling priorities. If nothing else, this year has taught me how important it is to mind the business side of my career, and what happens if you let it slip by the wayside.

While I’m not pleased about my results here either, I’m not discouraged. I intend to pick up the slack in 2020 and try my best to make some of these things happen.

Now it’s time to set some goals for 2020!

Learning from last year’s mistakes, I’m setting more reasonable goals based on calculations of how much time things actually take me instead of how much time I’d like them to take.

Writing Goals for 2020

~Edit Soul of the Sun
~Polish Song of the Spheres
~Write The Beast Within (tentative title for Domerin’s second series)
~Write and Edit The Family We Choose (Book 5 of the Eternity’s Empire series)
~Write and Edit Tales of the Exiles (Book 6 of the Eternity’s Empire series)
~Do 1 Million Words of Work
~Make 732,000 of those words new material

I tried to account for the vacations we tend to take each year. (And I had to guesstimate how long I think Domerin’s second series will be.) But if I hit all of my work periods, these projects can reasonably be achieved.

The only somewhat ambitious goal here is the words of work and new material productivity targets. I really think I’m probably maxed out on productivity (it’s the one thing I don’t really struggle with). But I am changing the way I measure my edits, to better reflect the time it takes. So I might actually be able to do this. And if not, oh well! As we always say in Spades – if you’re going for 9, you may as well go 10 for 2!

The 732,000 word goal essentially accounts for writing 2,000 words of new material every day for a year. (2020 is a leap year, hence the extra 2,000.)

Publishing Goals for 2020

~February: Release The Bond Between Sisters (Book 4 of the Eternity’s Empire Series)
~May: Release Dreamers Do Lie (Book 1 of the Dream Things True Duology)
~July: Release The Family We Choose (Book 5 of the Eternity’s Empire Series)
~September: Release Life is But a Dream (Book 2 of the Dream Things True Duology)
~November: Release the Dream Things True Duology Boxset

Look, dates! That’s how I’m keeping myself accountable this year – I actually have a pre-planned release schedule. And I’m trying to prep well ahead of time so that, even if something comes up, I’ll still be able to get the release out in the month noted.

For a long time, I thought I had to figure out what I was doing before I released any more books. But now I’m back to believing my original strategy was better. I’m going to get my stuff out there in the wild and figure it out as a go. I’ve learned a lot since I started this gig, so hopefully some of that will transfer. If I get a little better every time, eventually I’ll know what I’m doing. (Or so I figure!)

Marketing Goals for 2020

~Advertise new releases
~Promote back catalogue
~Try to get Amazon ads to convert better
~Try new adds (such as on Facebook and Bookbub)
~Get 1,000 Newsletter subscribers
~Get 250 members in my Facebook group
~Reach a regular monthly income
~Make a certain amount of profit from sales for the year

In keeping with my promise to set more concrete goals, here is a tangible list of things I would like to do and things I’d like to achieve. I’m still keeping the income numbers secret for the time being. Someday I’ll write about my journey with the numbers included, but I need to be a little more confident before I’ll be comfortable doing that.

Obviously, this is just a small list of things I’d like to try this year to get better at marketing. But I’m hoping having it in writing will keep me accountable. Since I failed the mark so hard in 2019, I really want to keep on top of the marketing and publishing aspects of my career this year.

I’ve been extremely cautious about taking risks the last few years. And while there were various reasons why that suited the way my life was going at the time, I’ve learned that taking risks is what helps us leap forward. Either we succeed and move ahead, or we fail and learn something. I’ve let this aspect of my career stagnate and I need to break free of that cycle. The only person who can help me with this is me – so I’m really going to motivate myself in this regard this year.

Personal Goals for 2020

As for personal goals this year – they’re quite simple. I want to learn to be a little more spontaneous. I want to spend more time out with friends and enjoying our surroundings. We live in a beautiful place and don’t take nearly enough advantage of that.

I want to make the time and money we spend outside the house feel special instead of just constant stress management. Because what’s the point of working hard if you never take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?

What about you? What are you goals for 2020? How did you do in 2019? Leave a comment and let me know!

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