Another new year is upon us! I hope 2018 holds some sweet memories and learning opportunities for you and I hope you're looking forward to 2019!
Every year I set new goals for my writing life. They help me to put some thought to my priorities. So here we go.
I'm so excited about the books I want to write. Retiring from my big day job really set my muse and imagination loose and I actually have my next SIX books partially planned! It's the first time I've ever entered a new year with more than my very next book planned.
1. Set up a regular release schedule so readers can consistently expect new books from me. At this point I want to release 3 books a year, in spring, summer and fall.
2. Complete the Murrells Inlet Miracles series. Release Capsized (Book 4) in January. Write and release Book 5 (featuring Aunt Gloria from Crescendo) in June/July.
3. Release super-secret multi-author anthology project, currently scheduled for mid-May. Get my contribution, a historical/paranormal/inspirational novella ready in time for group release.
4. Start new series for fall release!! Although I'm not ready yet to reveal what the series will be about, rest assured I have an awesome new idea simmering for a new 5-book series that I'm really excited about. I'd like to use a unique release schedule for this one. Here's a peek at what to expect:
-- Fall 2019: Release a prologue novella introducing characters and premise of series. Follow a month later with first full-length novel.
-- Spring 2020: 2nd full-length novel.
-- Summer 2020: 3rd full-length novel followed a month later by epilogue novella wrapping up the series.
There's so much more to the business of writing, besides writing. There's the whole publication and promotion side! I made a "deal" with God when I began writing Christian fiction exclusively, that I would write the stories HE wanted me to write, if He would guide the right people to them for meaning and inspiration. So, my business goals have less to do with making best-seller lists or making a bunch of money. Instead, my business goals have more to do with clearing the way for God's target people to read my books. Of course, if lots of people read my books, the chances of making a list, or making dollars, is greater. But the intent that God and I agreed on was reaching people for the sake of leading them closer to Him.
So ... keeping that in mind:
1. Continue to refine and improve my release plan for each book. Follow the processes that have proven to be successful, and adjust based on what I learn along the way. Try new things and determine if they're worth continuing. Be intentional about the advertising and promotions I employ.
2. Continue to build relationships with the bookstores that carry my books. Network to expand into more bookstores and libraries across the country.
3. Transform my current newsletter subscriber list into supportive fans who are excited about each new release. Monthly newsletters should be fun, entertaining content that make subscribers feel like they're part of a family. Not "sell sell sell" content.
4. Join American Christian Fiction Writers national organization and engage in the local chapters. Learn more about the Christian fiction market and network to form relationships.
5. Evaluate each travel opportunity (conferences, booksignings) from a profitability perspective.
1. Remember that I'm retired. I write because I love to write, and because I consider my novels to be my primary ministry in the world. Resist the urge to replace my time-consuming, stressful job with another one. I will continue to do this as long as it brings me joy.
2. Remember this is my dream job. I've worked a long, long time to be in this position. I live at the beach and write novels, and I've longed for this my whole life. Don't EVER take it for granted. Don't forget to thank God for it.
So that's it! Thanks for being here!