Saturday, January 3, 2015
An Indie Author's New Year's Resolutions
Most people make a list of resolutions for the New Year fueled by good intentions and enthusiasm, some of which they may be able to stick to for a few gung-ho weeks before losing interest. A few succeed at making lasting changes that become new habits, or complete a task or goal that at first seemed undoable. Most fail. I’m no different. I also look at the New Year as a clean page, a new chapter, in which I can do anything, especially those things I failed to complete or succeed at last year. It often seems like I’m on a monotonous merry-go-round of the same resolutions, tasks, and aspirations year after year. Chalk it up to human nature. But there’s always hope, and so I embark on 2015 with a list of resolutions, some new and completely author-related, and some recycled from the past but with a new purpose designed to support or improve my indie author life. The older I get the more resolved I become to win this resolutions game. So here they are, my Indie Author New Year’s Resolutions for 2015.
1. Write more – It’s always a goal of mine to write more, or to the full extent of what my RSI’s (repetitive strain injuries) allow. I admit I often get sidetracked or sucked into other writer-related tasks (ok, social media, but that really is working) but this year I am resolved to write more, especially when it comes to my short stories and novels. My goal is to complete and publish my work-in-progress Swim Season this spring, and then publish Perfect Match (a novel I started in 2004 which is 90 percent complete) by December 31, if not sooner. I’d also like to publish some of the short stories now languishing on my hard drive on Kindle. Blogging regularly is also a priority.
2. Read more – Reading makes a writer and I’m pretty good at it, but there’s always room for more. I usually have two or three titles going at the same time - mixed genres, digital, audio, and paper – and I finish the majority of them unless they are really bad or boring, in which case I simply drift away from them. I resolve now to make a dent in my to-be-read piles (bookcase and Kindle), especially the titles I picked up from fellow authors and the industry how-to’s I simply had to have but have not yet cracked open. Minimum number of titles to read this year – 50. That’s a good start.
3. Check stats less often – I check my stats frequently, at least once a day. These are stats related to book sales, reviews, ratings, etc. I’m published and active on a number of platforms so I have several sites to visit. The numbers don’t change often. In fact, some rarely change. Kindle and Amazon are the most interesting but even they only need to be checked once a day at most. This should free up some writing time and cut down on the amount of time I spend online.
4. Control social media time suck – This resolution may lead to withdrawal because I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook and a few other sites. I love Twitter and Pinterest and am active in several author groups on Facebook, all of which provide me with a ton of entertainment, education, support, and camaraderie, but valuable minutes and hours can disappear forever if I’m not watching the clock. I pledge to use my time wisely and productively. Poke me if you miss me.
5. Learn more about marketing – With all the extra time I’ll have once I've controlled the social media time suck I’ll be free to learn more about marketing my work, reading some of those books I mentioned above, and implementing some of the advice I've gained from my author friends on Facebook, Twitter, and the internet. And, contrary to number 4, I intend to continue to meet and connect with more indie authors and discover new indie websites to help promote my work and my brand.
6. Watch the money better – I am not good at watching the money and could not tell you how many books I’ve sold or how much money I’ve earned this year without starting a major research project. I’ve got some loose figures in my head but exact numbers? No way. Hey, I’m a writer, not an accountant. But I realize that I really do need to keep better track of my promotions, how much I’ve spent, the return-on-investment, the profit, and how many books I’m selling and giving away. It’s too much work to sit down once or twice a year to figure this out. I resolve to spend one day a month on bookkeeping and to record income and expenses daily.
7. Eat less and exercise more – Why is this on my indie author resolution list? And why is it last? This should probably be number one because it’s at the root of any success I may achieve. Being physically fit and maintaining a healthy weight will give me more energy, improve my sleep, and keep the creative juices flowing. Life as a lazy slug on the couch prevents me from meeting my goals. Over the last few years I’ve put on weight and become less fit and deconditioned due to my RSI’s, and my writing life contributes to this problem because it requires a lot of sitting time. My intentions are good, but I’m not in control of how much I can exercise due to chronic pain and disability. Still, I resolve to eat less and move more, and hope to increase my physical fitness while decreasing my size. Besides, I have to look good when I get the call to go on Oprah, and there’s no time like the present to get ready.
So does this look anything like your list of resolutions for 2015? Is there something I should add? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts. And Happy New Year!