Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Okay, the obligatory salutation out of the way, let's move on to the obligatory reflections and resolutions, as they relate to me the writer, not me the person (I'll keep the rest of my imperfections private, thanks all the same!)

Reflections on 2013
I'd have to say that 2013 was a learning year.  Much like 2012, as I think on it.  I published my first book in Feb. of 2012, and was sure that I'd be bringing out the second by February of 2013.  So the first lesson was that everything takes longer than you think.  Covers, editing, whatever.  I also had vowed to do a much better job of preparing the way for Return to Skunk Corners (which in fact finally came out in August) with advance publicity.  The hitch is, it's one thing to say that, another to do it effectively.  Let's just say I need practice.  I'll be getting it.

From a writing perspective, however, 2013 was great.  I finished Return to Skunk Corners, drafted Halitor the Hero (due out around the time school lets out, or maybe when it starts up again), and revived and re-edited my first mystery, Death By Ice Cream, which has a tentative launch date of April 1 (a good day for a humorous cozy mystery, I think).  Then I really hit my stride, jumped into National Novel Writing month with not quite enough preparation, and emerged in early December with a 72,000 word very very rough draft of the second mystery in the series, Death By Trombone.  As I am finishing the edits on DBIC and letting DBT stew for a few weeks or months before revisions begin, I'm thinking more about the next Ninja Librarian book, and starting to pencil notes.

So I would say that as a writer, I had a very good year, learned a lot, and made an important shift into making writing my day job.  As a publisher and publicist, however, I came up short.  At this point, there are two ways to go with that: I can either try to shift into the traditional publishing market. . . or I can start educating myself, crack my shell, and learn to do better at the business end.  Since I'd need to learn most of that either way, at this point my plan is to stick with being an author-publisher and just try to be a better one.

Okay, if you just read the section above, you know where this will go. I think I can break it down into two resolutions:
1.  Be a writer: write/edit every day
2.  Learn to market.

I will just toss in that I've made one new step toward #2 already.  I have signed up to take a table in the Children's pavilion at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 15 in Tucson (duh!), Arizona.  I'll share more information when I know exactly where to find me, and hope maybe some of you can stop by and say hello!  This is a big step for me, and I admit it wouldn't have happened if I didn't have a good friend in Tucson who's been nagging me for several years to come and enjoy the festival.  Thanks, Laura!

I could break the second resolution down into steps, and of course will have to do so in order to achieve it.  I know what some of those steps are; others I will have to learn about first.  So steps come later.

I think I'll throw in one more, which is in a sense part of #2 but deserves its own line:
3.  I will submit short stories to paying markets.  No commitment about how many or how much pay, but I will work on building my portfolio by at least trying to do something besides give away my short works.

Notice that one thing I'm not doing is setting a goal or target for sales.  I just don't want to go there.  Either I'll set an absurdly low target that I know I can achieve but which means little ("two more sales than this year!"), or I'll set myself up for failure.  If I succeed even a little with #2 above, I'll improve sales.  And I'll thank you, my loyal readers, for the success.


  1. Happy New Year to you too! Those look like good resolutions. I know my marketing plan for this year has a large "discover the UK market" on it (since I'm in the UK, and my German downloads of the last book outstripped the UK ones! ) but other than that I'm mired in another task of the author-publisher, namely addressing the professional look of my blog...

    1. Jemima, I need to do all those things, too! Sometime in the next few weeks I'll figure out just what my goals require of me.

  2. Always great to do a little reflection and then forward thinking! May the canvas of 2014 be painted brilliantly for you!

  3. Happy New Year! Great goals and I can't wait to hear all about your trip to Tucson - that is very exciting. Thrilled to have gotten to know you in 2013. May 2014 be the best year yet for you and your family!

  4. Thanks, Christine! I'll be sure to share whatever I learn. All I have to do is figure out how we're going to get there!


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