Welcome back, Sci-Fi fans. Thanks for checking out my blog. This posting celebrates the New Year, and as such I thought it would be fun to revisit my goals from last year and see how I did. I’ll also share my goals for this New Year, as well. For those of you that are interest, you can check out my 2021 author goals in last year’s posting. Here’s a brief recount of how I did.
So let’s see how I did against last year’s goals.
- Release 3 additional books beyond the 3 already released. I wrote this resolution with Contact, Isolation, and Discovery already released into the wild. After that, I released Generations and Beacon and that’s it. While I wrote another book, I haven’t finished editing it yet. So despite having written 3, I only released 2 for you to read. MISSED, but so close.
- Attend 2 author or writing conferences. I optimistically set this goal with the hopes that the pandemic was going to be over (or at least controlled). While I made it to 20Books Vegas between Delta and Omicron, I didn’t attend any other conferences this year. MISSED…
- Build my community of readers. While I didn’t set a quantifiable goal, I wasn’t sure it made sense to, either. I’d rather build quality over quantity. I feel like I hit this one. My subscribers have grown, and you as a reader seem to like what you’re reading. You’re participating in surveys, clicking links, and sending me emails with your thoughts on my books as well as my newsletter. I’m calling this a HIT!
- Share more of the Dark Nebula backstory. Throughout the year, I shared with you numerous cut scenes and Dark Nebula motivations, and your response was great. I’m going to call this one a HIT.
- Stop spending so much time worrying about advertising. Easy win here. I stopped trying out Facebook and Amazon ads as well. I toyed with BookBub ads and regularly run newsletter ads, but spent little to no time on them. I figured if I’m going to find my new readers, it’ll be through writing good books, delivering compelling followup content, and generally doing what I love. Write. Counting this as a HIT.
- Price all of my books at $4.99. This one is subjective. My first book in Dark Nebula started at $2.99 > $4.99 > $2.99 > $0.99 > FREE. It was my test book and I used it to figure out what works in my genre and what works as a wide author. Except for this first book, and an occasional sale on book 2, all my books have been priced at $4.99 all year. I’m squinting and calling this a HIT!
- Zero in my focus on my craft. Good writing means good books. Great writing leads to great books. I’ve been constantly reading and iterating on my craft this year. I feel like I’ve learned a lot, but at the same time I have tons to learn. Overall, a HIT.
That tallies up to 5 HITs and 2 MISSES giving me a grade of 71%. Not ideal, but not bad either. I’ll take it a C-, all things considered. The most important goal of all was moving my writing forward and having fun. I achieved those in spades this year.
So, did I accomplish anything else this year?
- Sent 36 newsletters. The first few months of the year I was weekly and then I switched to bi-weekly.
- Posted 6 blog posts. I know this is a sad number. I’m planning on posting a lot more here in 2022. You can see above that I spent a lot of time on my newsletter this past year.
- Sold 515 ebooks. This is all ebooks that were not free.
- Gave away 7,779 free ebooks. All Dark Nebula Isolation, as you can imagine.
- Passed 1,500 newsletter subscribers. Considering I was around a hundred at the start of the year, this is pretty remarkable growth.
- Published all of my books WIDE. I started out only on Amazon KDP, but in early March I took all of my books wide on all ebook platforms.
- Ran 16 paid newsletters. I’ve narrowed it down to only a few that really work. Again, all part of the learning.
- Tried hundreds of AMS ads. Gave up counting, but not a single one of them got any quantifiable click through or spend. Amazon refused to even spend my money.
- Tried 81 BookBub ads. Again, like AMS, none were successful. They, however, were happy to spend my money.
- Tried 7 Facebook campaigns w/68 ads. Again, like BookBub, none were successful, and they happily spent my money. I enjoyed all the tweaks and audience customizations I could do here, but I couldn’t get anything to stick.
I hope you found some of those accomplishments and failures interesting. If you’re a new author like me, you have to start somewhere. Here are some pretty charts to show you the progress as well.
Now, let’s get on to some new goals heading into 2022. Let’s get to it!
- Publish 2 books in my new series. I want this to be a very precise goal. I don’t want only 1, and I don’t think I can handle more than 2, not with my Dark Nebula series in the works as well. I’m a 3 book per year author based on my writing and editing cadence. So, here’s to a new year with a new series coming soon!
- Publish another book in Dark Nebula. It’s titled Graveyard and is up for pre-order on all the major retailers. The scheduled release date is August 3rd, 2022. While I haven’t written much of this yet, I’ve finished the complete outline this past week, the cover starts next week, and the opening chapter is in the bag. Now, it’s just a matter of knocking out the words.
- Share my character bios. Whether it’s my new series of characters, or my existing books, I’ve built a huge encyclopedia of details on each of my characters. I want them to have deep backstories and compelling motivations. The more rounded they are as people, the more believable the stories are. I’m planning on sharing some of these character sheets with you this year in these newsletters.
- Get one of my books into a local bookshop or library. I know it’s hard to do, but I would love to see one of my books on the shelf in a bookshop. Knowing someone could pick it up and read the blurb would be super exciting. It doesn’t have to be a bestseller. I’d be happy just having shelf space for a few weeks. My goal is to find a local shop and have a chat with the owner to see how I can make this possible. I’d also settle for a library here, as well, but that seems just as hard.
- Read more. I know this seems counterintuitive, but some of the best writers are the most voracious readers you ever met. Books keep the creative engine fueled by sparking new and unusual ideas. They’re also great for stress relief. There’s no better cure for a bad day than ejecting reality and burying yourself in a good book. If I can find more time to read, I’m confident I’ll both write more and have more fun doing it.
Those are my top five goals this year. While I’m planning on attending more conferences this year, I’m not about to set a goal that may be out of my control. So, I’ll take those as they come.
Overall, I want 2022 to be about you, the reader. I want to get my books in your hands, and the hands of an entirely new audience of readers. Techno-thrillers are a brand-new genre for me, and I have a lot to learn. I’m really hoping this developmental editor I have taking on book 1 of the new series in January pushes my writing to new levels.
I really hope you had a great 2021. We were all dealt shitty hands this year with the pandemic. Some of us were able to deal with it in ways that others couldn’t, and that’s fine. If you didn’t achieve your goals this year, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do your best to move forward and keep on keeping on. Just don’t lose sight of your dreams. They’re out there for the taking, they’re just hard to see sometimes.
If you’re having trouble coping and need someone to talk to, please reach out to a professional. There are people and groups that can help you through these difficult times.
I hope you have a Happy New Year in 2022!
Thanks for reading.