I love New Year’s resolutions! I know how weird that sounds, but there’s just something about a clean slate that appeals to me. It’s like a new school year with new notebooks, text books, and journals that have that wonderful new-paper-smell. On a personal level, I never have any trouble coming up with New Year’s resolutions. There’s always something I need to improve in my private life. Okay, there are many, many things that I need to improve in the personal sphere. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I’m going to concentrate on my writing life. Before I can try and figure out what my writing goals for 2016 are, however, I need to be brutally honest with myself about how my resolutions for 2015 turned out. In other words, was 2015 a complete failure in my writing life?
- Update my website. Migrating my website to a new platform has been on my to do list for at least forever. I was starting to think it was going to be one of those things that I was always planning to do but never got around to actually doing. Instead, I got so irritated with my website and the blogging platform which I was forced to use that I actually got my butt moving and started researching website platforms. Of course, the fact that my latest book, Molly’s Misadventures, is about a woman starting a blog made me think that maybe I should have a professional looking blog. Almost immediately after migrating my website (and blog), my website views started climbing. Definitely a win for 2015!
- Blog more often. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: writers don’t have time to blog! It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally figured out what a cop out that is. Sure, it’s sometimes difficult to come up with ideas of what to blog about. And when I’m really rolling with my novel writing, I don’t want to take time out to blog. Here’s the thing. I made a deliberate decision to self-publish. If I’m going to continue down this self-publishing road, then I have to take responsibility for marketing and branding. A good website is naturally part of the whole branding thing, but if there’s never any new and exciting content on that website – what kind of help is that? I made a pledge to myself at the start of 2015 that I would blog once a week. I’m excited that I’ve mostly kept to that, but it’s just not enough.
- Get organized. In my previous life as a lawyer, I was über organized. You learn that stuff quick when you have to account for every minute of your work day. I let the ‘creative’ excuse veer me off the organized path and I paid for it. I had no idea which marketing efforts worked. Heck! Sometimes I had no idea which marketing efforts I was making, let alone how much they cost. And then there are the reviewers. I was determined to get more reviews for my books, but I wasn’t even bothering to keep track of which bloggers were reviewing my books. Obviously, that needed to change. I’ve put together worksheets for marketing efforts and reviewers. Administration isn’t my favorite thing, though, and I often let this type of work slide when my writing muse is riding me hard. Oops!
- Sell more books. Anyone who has taken the time to really talk to me about how many books I sell has heard the speech about book sales not mattering. It’s something I try to convince myself of nearly every morning that I check my sales numbers. Even though I love the life I live – mostly – it would be nice to get some validation in the form of increased book sales. One way to increase sales is to write books in a ‘popular’ genre. Although I’m not one for following trends or being popular, I did think writing chick lit was worth a try; especially after I had a fun idea for a cozy mystery series. Writing a series is another way to increase sales. So, how did I do? 2015 sales nearly doubled compared to sales in 2014. Although that’s awesome, I was hoping for a steeper curve than that.
Well, I didn’t do too bad for 2015, did I? (Don’t answer that!) Obviously, there’s always room for improvement. So here are my writing priorities for 2016:
- Try to blog twice a week. *Gulp* I love my journals and used this resolution as an excuse to buy yet another journal to keep track of blogging ideas. That’s pretty much as far as I’ve gotten. Can we start our resolutions in February?
- Keep better track of my marketing efforts. *Cringe*
- Keep writing. *Duh* That’s a big Homer-face palm but I still haven’t managed to get myself motivated and in gear this year. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. Or next week. Or maybe after vacation.