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New Year, New Goals!

It’s another new year here in the Willson household and with it comes a host of new goals and resolutions. I know this post is a solid week and a half after the first of the year, but it’s better late than never. If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you may have seen an email about a few goals I made this new year. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share those here and expand upon them.

First, really fast, what did I accomplish in 2020?

  • I published my first book, Dark Nebula: Isolation. After nearly 6 years of editing, revising, critiquing, beta reading, splitting and restarting, I finally published it. I managed to close the year with 182 books sold and over 10.5k KU page reads. With the book coming in at 490 pages, that’s 22 more books read/sold. So, I broke 200 books sold last year.
  • I published my second book, Dark Nebula: Discovery. I didn’t stop with the first. I know I published the second book on the 4th of January 2021, but none of the work on that book happened after the 15th of December. It was done and dusted last year, so I’m calling that one a 2020 win. That one landed at 455 pages.
  • Add to that Dark Nebula: Generations. Written in 2020, edited in 2020, and being beta read in 2021 just before release on February 4th. It’s close, but on track. It’s going to land around 480 pages or so based upon word count.
  • Stayed focused on my dream to publish. I went big with a series of books and then decided to self-publish them, learn as much as I could, and didn’t let a pandemic stop me. That last hurdle one was the hardest, I’m not going to lie. The news and life was a huge challenge during 2020. I instead gave up 85% of my television time and focused on my writing. It’s amazing how much of a time sync that rectangular panel in all of our family rooms is. If you’re looking for a way to find time to follow a dream or hit a goal, I suggest you start by eliminating or reducing time spent in front of that thing.
  • Participated in the Charlotte Dark And Stormy Critique Group every month. I both shared and critiqued as often as possible. It started in person early in the year and then obviously switched to virtually around March. All in all, it was a ton of fun and I learned a lot from everyone in the group.
  • Reactivated this here blog. To say it was dead in 2019 would be an understatement.
  • Built a newsletter from the ground up ending the year with over 900 subscribers. I couldn’t even have told you how to do that before June, so that was quite interesting. I now have a ton of great readers that I enjoy sharing details about my writing craft with every week.

So, what types of author goals have I set for myself in 2021 and how the heck am I going to top 2020? Here we go.

  • Release 3 additional books beyond the 3 already released. I’m thinking 2 more in Dark Nebula and perhaps 1 in a new series to be determined. This is a pretty lofty goal. Even with my best word counts it’ll be a challenge, but I’m up for it. Remember, almost half of Isolation was written before 2020.
  • Attend 2 author or writing conferences. We all have our fingers tightly crossed that this pandemic will be under control this year. With that, we hope to return to normal. I’m already registered for one in November, and I’m keeping my eye out for another this year. Worst case I’ll do virtual, but I’d prefer to network with my peers in person if I can.
  • Build my community of readers. I’m hoping to hold virtual Q&A sessions, host an AMA, and a bunch of other fun things. If you have anything you’d like to know about me, my series, or future plans, then please drop me an email. I’d be happy to answer it here or in one of those events.
  • Share more of the Dark Nebula backstory. With the books making their way out into the wild now, I’m chomping at the bit to talk more about what inspired me to write certain characters, scenes, or environments. Look for more of that in this new year.

I also have a few others that I set after the above ones were shared with my newsletter.

  • Stop spending so much time worrying about advertising. I’ve fallen into the usual rut of any new author and refresh my amazon sales page far too many times per day. I’ve also dabbled in Facebook and Amazon Ads and thus far haven’t even come close to finding a hot audience. I need to focus on building my back catalog and taking smaller baby steps throughout the year in terms of advertising. I have one last push coming up to the Generations release, and then I’m pulling back, way back.
  • Price all of my books at $4.99. This is the case for my second and third books, but I’ve held my first book low at $2.99 since the middle of December. I have a Kindle countdown deal planned around the Generations release, but after that, I’m going to stop discounting my work. I’m setting false expectations around what my readers should expect. I do not want to be a $0.99 author. I write 120 to 135k word books, not 40k novellas.
  • Zero in my focus on my craft. I have a critique group I’m a member of, but I’m not getting everything I need from that. I need to branch out and find a deeper audience of writers who are hungry to help each other more. My current group only allows 2k words once a month. That would take me 65 months or 5.5 years to get my book critiqued if they let me do it every month, which they do not. And that’s only one of my books. If you know of any voracious and honest critique groups, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m sure there are other things I missed and should have set goals for, but that’s what I have in mind right now for 2021. They’re some high goals, and I didn’t even talk about my personal fitness goals for the year. I’ve been trying to keep this blog focused more on my writing. But I’m like most people during this pandemic. Covid-19 turned in to the 19 pounds added to my weight this year and that’s not healthy at all. I’m not getting any younger folks!

I hope you had an amazing 2020 and set just as aggressive and lofty goals for your own personal development in this new year. Don’t sell yourself short. Now is the time to take your future into your hands and make the most of it.

Reinvent yourself!

Make a dream a reality!

Do something you never thought you could do!

Trust me, it’s in you. You just have to find it.

Happy 2021! I’ll talk to you again soon.

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