Happy New Year!
Social media has been inundated with lists, lists, and more lists. I won’t bother with the best books I’ve read of the decade, or what all I’ve accomplished or not accomplished. I’m not going to bother ruminating about how 2019 was a dumpster fire in every way (actually, it wasn’t for me) or the million ways I’m going to make 2020 “my year.”
It’s silly to use January 1st to reinvent yourself. You are who you are, and a new date on the calendar won’t help. But that’s not to say I don’t have a few goals I’d like to tackle this year.
In past blog posts I’ve written about the slow sale of my books. It’s difficult to keep up your spirits when you work so hard for so little in return. But this year I’m going to take responsibility for some of that. Instead of being a trout fighting my way upstream, I need to stop resisting and go with the flow.
Part of that is realizing I’m not doing 100% of what I need to do to sell my books, and I have to admit that part of the reason is I’m scared. I don’t have faith in my Tower City trilogy. It’s the first three books I count in my contemporary backlist and somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that they are not good. Book one was chopped and diced to the point I probably should have written it over from the start. But the reviews indicate they’re pretty good, and I should get over the idea that they’re not. Sure, I may have gotten strong as a writer since I published them, but I have to stop thinking they’re bad books.
I have a few reviews of Don’t Run Away on Amazon, and I remember this is the first review from someone I didn’t know. It was a proud moment–there’s even a ToC in it now thanks to formatting with Vellum:
I need to have faith in my ability and not be scared when people read my work.
I also need to start a newsletter. I’m not very active online. My unanswered notifications on Twitter are months old. I don’t update my Facebook author page, and all I post on Instagram are pictures of my cats. (As cute as they may be, they don’t sell my books, dammit!) I need a hub for my readers. Either a newsletter or an active reader group on Facebook where I’ll actually post something, probably both. I know I’m doing myself a disservice not having a newsletter. This means focusing my attention on readers and not spending time on Twitter or using Canva to make pretty Instagram posts the same 10 people will like over and over again.
This year I also want to do more networking in the romance/indie-publishing space. I’ve been writing and publishing for three and a half years. I’ve made a lot friends in that time, lost some too, and some of the writers I know have been in the same place they were three years ago. I’m constantly learning about the industry, always listening for the new thing, I like listening to podcasts and keeping up with industry news. I need to start chatting with like-minded people who understand the value in that. Who treat their writing like a business and put in their 20-40 hours of writing time a week. Writing is really lonely. You’re by yourself with a laptop for hours and hours at a time and I need to find peers who know what that’s like and still do it anyway.
I like the phrase, “Never be the smartest person the room.” I also feel like lately I’m the only writer in the room, and it will be nice for that to change.
These aren’t life shattering revelations, but they’re what I need to focus on moving forward if I want to start selling the books I spend so much time writing.
It’s not a secret that these next few months are a little hard on me. Winter in Minnesota is long and dreary. It’s hard to want to go anywhere because the temperatures are horrible and the roads are constantly clogged with snow. It takes a lot of energy just to get through a day with no sunshine, and I need to focus on releasing my wedding series and appreciating the little things while I wait for warmer temps and the sun to come back.
I do have a selling/marketing summit in May that I’ll be attending with David in Nashville, and I’m looking forward to that. No matter how long winter seems, spring always comes back around.
Just keep moving forward the best you can, and better times will come.
Tell me your goals for 2020. How do you plan to move forward? Let me know!
Great goals for the year ahead! The Newsletter Ninja is an excellent resource and I wish I’d read her book before I bumbled along with my newsletter.
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I’ve read Tammi’s book, and it’s very helpful! If anyone else is interested, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Newsletter-Ninja-Become-Author-Mailing/dp/099821275X/”
She also did a talk at the 20booksto50K conference last November you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/IknKBACoVjk”
Thanks for the resources, Liz! 🙂
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You’ve listed some very attainable goals! Good luck to all of us as we try to make our writing dreams come true! My goal is to provide audio along with every post on my blog, including the weekly chapter releases from my new book. Not sure if people enjoy listening more than reading, but now they’ll have both options to choose from.
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They do say audio is coming a long way in that regard, and doing video readings of snippets is getting to be quite popular! Good luck with all your plans in 2020!
Your post always open my eyes to new things. I’ve been hesitant about a newsletter, but your backlist is bigger than mine, so maybe that’s okay. I do want to up my writing hours to reflect how serious I really am about a writing career. In the Fall of 2020, I’ll be given the option to write full-time without the kids at home all day. I need to embrace that. Winter is hard for me as well because it feels like the kids are out of school for a whole month, and while they can entertain themselves, they are still young enough to need me than when they are teens. I know people say teens aren’t easier, but I’m ready for them to try and prove me wrong, lol.
Anyway, great goals! I wasn’t going to do a goals post this year, but maybe I should. Thank you for the inspiration. I wish you well with your goals. With your dedication they are more than attainable.
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Thanks! I think one of my biggest mistakes is not building my newsletter along with my backlist. you’re in a great position to build both simultaneously. i think of how big my list could be (and how many more sales I would have) if i would have started a two years ago. or even a year ago. when it comes to newsletters, all i hear is that they are necessary and to start one ASAP.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your goals, too!