That’s what happens when you have synesthesia! Although my mom would likely say it’s a different color, since our colors don’t always match. 🙂
I’ve set annual writing/publishing goals for myself for the third year in a row. I also set monthly goals, and at the end of each month or year I look back at what goals I met, which I didn’t meet, and what else I accomplished that I hadn’t planned to do.
My main unplanned accomplishment in 2016 was that I discovered story bundling. I met Chuck Heintzelman at the WMG Publishing anthology workshop last winter, about a month or so before he launched BundleRabbit. Putting together a bundle seemed like a monumental task – I figured I could handle the organizational part, since organizing is one of my superpowers, but I wasn’t sure if I could get enough authors on board, and I hardly knew anything about marketing.
Once I started, I discovered there was a lot more that I needed to do and/or didn’t know… But I also discovered that I really enjoy putting bundles together – the Haunted bundle, which launches February 1st, will be the third I’ve curated, I have two more scheduled for 2017, and I’m in the early stages of planning for two more. Bundling short stories is a great way to get stories out relatively quickly. Bundles are also a great way for multiple authors to work together on marketing, and it puts your stories in front of someone else’s readers so you may end up with new readers of your own. Plus it’s really fun to collaborate with the other authors!
One of the other things I accomplished was that I learned that I can actually make my own book covers. Here are all the covers I made for myself in 2016 – and I also made covers for two other authors.
I worked on a few other covers as well, but I’ll hold off on posting those until the stories have been published. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ll want to do something to each one, like move the title by 2 pixels, or change the shade of a color by the tiniest bit, or something. 🙂
I learned a lot about marketing as well – but that course of education will continue indefinitely. One of the things I learned to do was make ‘coming soon’ images for the bundles. It’s super easy to put them together – once I choose the image and font for the bundle, I just create a banner, like these two which are for the next two bundles.
Not only does that help raise visibility at least a little, it’s pretty motivating to me to be able to see something tangible. For example, The Faerie Summer bundle won’t be available until May 1st, and I started planning it months ago, so it’s hard to get super excited about something that’s so far off. Seeing the banner makes it feel more real and exciting to me – and hopefully to the readers as well.
I learned a few things about writing craft as well. In spite of hearing Dean Wesley Smith tell me multiple times that I needed to add a few more newlines to my stories, that didn’t sink in until I was at WMG Publishing’s anthology workshop last winter. A panel of editors was discussing one of my stories, and all of a sudden I thought it needed more newlines!!!!! Needless to say, I hit the return key an awful lot more than I used to. 🙂
Said tags are another craft technique that finally clicked in 2016 – meaning when to say “he/she said” as opposed to try to use other means to make it clear to the reader which character is speaking. Not only do I use said tags much more frequently now, I also usually position them earlier in paragraphs.
And last, I learned that no matter how much ‘free’ time I think I have, I should always, always plan for the unexpected. I do this in my day job just fine, but apparently I had to learn the hard way with my writing. I’ve put together a production schedule for 2017, and I’m making sure to plan plenty of buffer time in. I’m sure I’ll over-commit at some point during the year – it wouldn’t be a normal year for me if I didn’t. 🙂 But at least I will mostly be ahead of schedule.
Here are my goals for 2017:
- Write and/or finish and publish/submit:
- 12 short stories
- 2 novelettes/novellas
- 2 novels
- 1 non-fiction book
- Launch 3 bundles; plan 2 more.
- Outline/plan/research for 4 series/worlds
- Learn as much as possible about writing/publishing, and share what I learn with other authors.
It’s going to be a fun year!!!