2018: The Creative Goals

I fell sadly behind on my writing goals last year. I’d planned to publish another two novels and also two astro ebooks – and sell loads of them – and it just didn’t happen.

I drew up my production schedule and, because I didn’t pin it anywhere, promptly forgot about it. I told you the other day how my attention to detail and focus is a tad like Dory’s didn’t I?

That doesn’t, however, mean that 2017 was a lost cause…

What I wrote in 2017

I wrote most of the first draft of I Want You Back – about 60,000 words worth – before ditching the lot and starting again at the end of April. The story just wasn’t working. You can read the post here.

I’ve instead split it into three novels. I’m calling it the Careful What You Wish For mini-series. I Want You Back is the first, then I’ll do Tiff’s story and tie everything up with Alice – completely wrapping up what I started with Baby, It’s You.

That essentially put me about four months behind schedule and I finally completed I Want You Back towards the end of last year. It’s been re-worked, edited, copy-edited and proofread. All it needs is a blurb and some formatting. Don’t ask me why I haven’t released it yet because I wouldn’t be able to give you an honest answer – and that’s mainly because I don’t know myself.

While I was figuring out the story I also wrote a good chunk of Tiff’s book and a few chapters of Alice’s.

Finally, on the novel front, I used nanowrimo to write the first 60,000 words in something new and more grown-up. It has the working title Happy Ever After, but I daresay that will change. If you’ve ever wondered about the trials and tribulations of writing and publishing a novel, I’m blogging it weekly…well, there was a break for Christmas and I’ll be back with an update next week. You can find all the old posts here.

In addition:

  • Between this site, and anyways and the astro site, I wrote over 350 blog posts.
  • I wrote a 3000-word feature article for Wellbeing Astrology on mid-life transits and,
  • I spent most of April and some of May writing 2018 horoscopes for the astro diaries I contribute to.

That’s a lot of words.

What’s in store for this year?

  • Release I Want You Back on all the normal platforms
  • Complete and publish Happy Ever After – or whatever it ends up being called
  • Complete and publish the Tiff book
  • First draft the Alice book
  • I’ve set aside November for nanowrimo and the first in a cozy mystery series I’ve been wanting to write for ages – The Rambling Rose Mysteries. It will be set in Queenstown and brings back Max and Richie from Wish You Were Here – as well as a whole heap of other characters.
  • I’ll also finally package up blog content from the astro site and pop it into a series of ebooks
  • I’ve built in 3 weeks in April and May where I won’t be doing any writing at all. I’m off to France with my husband to visit a friend and have a mosey about…maybe for more ideas? This will be the first decent stretch of time I’ve taken with no writing commitments in I can’t remember how long.

Because I can’t help myself I’ve mapped it into a project plan of sorts. This year I’m printing it out and pinning it where I can’t miss it.

Naturally, dates etc will be dependent on my editor’s and cover designer’s availability, but I tend to hit a certain percentage of a target, so I might as well make the target a big hairy-arsed one!

What about you? Do you set writing or creative targets for the year ahead?

Business Planning for Indie Authors…

businesswoman thinking

So anyways, one of my goals this year is to grow my writing business. Given that it is a business, it needs to be treated as one – and for that reason it needs a business strategy.

I began the process of this in the middle of last year and invested in some marketing consultancy. As an aside, I used Mel Kettle Consulting and she was fabulous. I’ll tell you all about why indie authors need marketing strategies and what to expect from the process in a separate post.

Part of the outcome from this work was an examination of my strengths and my weaknesses – and, most importantly, required me to talk about what it was that I wanted from my business. I have to admit, at the time I hadn’t thought as long and hard about these things as I should have. I threw some figures around, but hadn’t put a lot of science behind them.

Since then, I’ve analysed the data – and developed a longer-term plan. It’s one that has actions and dates and numbers attached to it. Of course everyone knows it’s not a strategy doc until it’s in a power-point presentation, but I consulted with my business partner (Kali, Adventure Spaniel) and we decided we couldn’t be faffed.

In building my strategy I looked at:

WHO I want to be: My vision

WHAT I aim to achieve

HOW I’ll implement the strategy in 2017

WHY I want to do this. What values are important

Ok, here goes:

Vision Statement

To be a financially successful independent author.

3 year Strategy for focused growth

  • Increase product offering
  • Increase independent income to day job levels
  • Begin speaking at conferences and workshops

My Priorities: 2017 in focus

1. Double the number of products offered for sale.

Currently I have 5 products for sale:

  1. Baby, It’s You (Amazon)
  2. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Amazon)
  3. Big Girls Don’t Cry (ibooks)
  4. Wish You Were Here (Amazon)
  5. Wish You Were Here (Ingram Sparks print on demand)

By the end of 2017, there will be 10.

2. Double business income year on year

Despite fiction being responsible for over 80% of my cost base, it accounts for just over 22% of my writing income – the remainder comes from freelance astrology commissions. This needs to begin to even out.

3. Increase email list- both astro and fiction lists

  • Double down on content offerings
  • Develop a calendar for blog posts and schedule in advance
  • Develop a schedule for newsletters
  • Marketplace for astrology list

4. Increase general brand awareness

  • Attend Romance Writers Conference
  • Draft list of potential speaking topics and begin actively seek out opportunities
  • Develop press releases for all new fiction
  • Begin developing networks in Sunshine Coast and Brisbane when relocated

Values – my WHY

Success, for me, is defined as living (or being) the following values:

1. Freedom

  • The financial freedom to travel, explore and create
  • The professional freedom to choose and pursue my projects

2. Independence

  • The financial independence to build my own income and success
  • The professional independence to work with teams of my choice

3. Make a difference

  • Fiction: To be known as an author whose books provide a happy ending and whose stories make a bad day feel better
  • Astrology: To provide readers with the tools to expand their potential and increase their good day ratios

Checking in…

I’ll check in on progress on a quarterly basis – sort of like my own mini-roadshow.

What about you? If you’re an author (indie or traditional), have you planned how you’ll grow your author business this year? What’s your ‘why’?

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