In January 2016, I established 5 goals:
- Draft a novel.
- Apply for 50 jobs in my field (performance improvement/corporate training)… or land one.
- Start an LLC based on the things I can do (edit manuscripts, do crafty stuff, performance improvement projects).
- Make Christmas presents for everyone on my list.
- Research at least 5 different marketing strategies and try at least 3 I haven’t done before.
So… How’d I do?
Goal 1: Draft a novel.
Well… not that great. Moving north, job hunting, and a few particularly involved editing/critiquing projects put a damper on my writing time. I did get a good chunk of a draft started (the sequel to another work) … and then my smart pen died and the OCR work on the text I did manage to record was horrible. I ended up having to start over. Adding to that challenge, I realized the plot I had designed had some holes in it. A friend helped me plug those up again. I also worked with a critique partner on straightening out Bird’s Eye: The Novel Needing a Better Name. It’s back in the queue to be worked on.
I did, however, make progress. I have A Suitable Arrangement, the sequel to Lines of Succession, plotted out to fix the problem parts, and I’ve started the draft. So, I didn’t accomplish the goal, but I did make ground on a couple projects and wrote some short stories.
Goal 2: Apply for 50 jobs in my field.
Pfff… I had that done by March 1. I didn’t land a job in the field, though. Between applying cross-country, teaching kids for 14 years, and not having a certificate you need 5 years of full-time work in the field to qualify for … I amassed a lovely collection of flush letters.
I decided to take a break after I applied for (and got a flush letter for) the 100th job.
I have not given up. Now that I’m up in the part of the world where I want to eventually find that job, I think I have better prospects. In December, I sent another 78 applications out and signed up with a couple agencies. We’ll see how this goes as the new year starts.
Goal 3: Start an LLC
I had that one done by the end of January.
When I moved to Iowa, I had to shut it down. Iowa doesn’t recognize Texas LLCs, and Texas says I have to live there to have an LLC (or have an agent of the company living there, and I do not since I am the LLC).
Will I start another one in Iowa? I doubt it, but we’ll see. The outgo for the company exceeded the income, which makes upkeep the downfall.
Goal 4: Make Christmas presents for everyone
Yes, actually, I did manage it. They weren’t the quilts I had in mind, but I did make cloth origami ornaments and angel ornaments for folks. The quilts are in the works, but to do a good job, I need more time. I didn’t want to slop together some flotsam and call it done.
Goal 5: Marketing strategies
Yep, I got this one, too.
I actually did 6: book trailer, Facebook events, DIY blog tour, DIY book signing at a craft fair, hired blog tour, and book signing at a book store (arranged by my publisher).
Kylie Jude at Frozen Creek Studios put together a book trailer for me to showcase Remnant in the Stars and The Loudest Actions. She did fine work.
I did 2 Facebook events for the two books that released in 2016: Like Herding the Wind and The Loudest Actions. I also took part in a 3rd event for an anthology I was in: Avatars of Web Surfer. The first one, for Like Herding the Wind, was almost immediately after release. A spike in sales was reported by my publisher. The second was a couple months after the release of The Loudest Actions to coincide with a hired blog tour. The third, for Avatars of Web Surfer, was a group effort but unfortunately, conflict with 2 other author events reduced our results. Ultimately, folks had fun, but they were costly to host (especially the first one for Like Herding the Wind ).
The DIY blog tour didn’t go so well. Didn’t cost me anything, but I couldn’t find enough people to play.
The book signing at the craft fair wasn’t too shabby. I sold 6 books and a couple bookmarks. Cost: $10 to set up.
Then Like Herding the Wind’s publisher arranged 3 book signings for me at different Barnes and Nobles, one in Texas and two in Iowa after I moved. One of the Iowa ones fell through when the fellow in charge of organizing the event made a wee error. I handed out a lot of book marks and sold a bunch of books at the first one and only 1 book at the second, but again the cost of the swag associated exceeded the increase in sales.
For The Loudest Actions, I hired Tomorrow Comes Media to arrange a book tour. Stephen Zimmer did a fabulous job of lining people up and guiding me through the adventure. When I get my next royalty statement from Under the Moon, I’ll be able to tell if the ROI is worthwhile. It, too, cost a good chunk of change.
So, in the final analysis, did I see a spike in sales sufficient to overcome the costs? No, I don’t think so, but I won’t know for sure until I sit down with all my royalty statements and compare this 2016 to 2015.
In the end, I would say 2016 was a pretty good year as far as goals go. I hit most of my goals and made good progress on the one I didn’t get to finish.
In January, I’ll outline my goals for 2017.