We are now rolling along into the wonderful new year of 2015, but over the past few weeks, I've taken many a moment to reflect - from the standpoint of an author - on what happened to me over the previous 12 months. Needless to say, I had highs and lows; there were things I [like to think I] did well and things I did poorly. Hopefully, the next twelve months will see me doing many more of the former and far less of the latter, but for now it's helpful for me to put them on the scales and see how they balance.
Things Done Right
1) I think the main thing I did right is that I continued to write and publish. You'll hear all the time about how most people who want to write a book will never start; most who start writing a book will never finish; most who finish a book will never publish...and so on. Thus, I'm happy that I kept advancing the ball in that regard.
2) I sold more books (and, by extension, made more money) than I did in 2013. Of course, in 2013, I was just getting started and didn't have my fiction out there until around May of that year. Still, although it's not truly an apples-to-apples comparison, I can't help but view this as a step in the right direction. (To be honest, though, I don't know how accurate it is to claim stats like book sales as something I "did," unless you look at it from a marketing/promotion point of view).
3) I came up with lots of new ideas for books (many of which I actually started writing). I even published the first novel, Terminus, in a new series. I feel blessed that it has been well-received by readers and I look forward to getting the next book in the series published.
Things Done Poorly
1) The first thing on this list is an easy one to pinpoint: I only published two books in 2014. Two! I actually posted very recently about how our ability to write and publish quickly is a major strength for indies, so this is completely at odds with my personal philosophy. However, it is something that I definitely intend to remedy.
2) The two books that I finished in 2014 were published roughly seven months apart. Frankly speaking, that's simply too large of a break between books for an indie author. Unless you are selling massively (as opposed to modestly, like myself), it's just too easy for readers to forget about you, even if they are huge fans. That's why my preference is to publish books no more than four months apart, although publishing a new one every 2-3 months would be far better. (If you need proof of how important it is to publish regularly, you need look no further than my sales. Before I published Terminus in November, my monthly sales were the lowest they had been since I began in 2013.)
3) I didn't publish a novel in my most popular series, Kid Sensation, which can almost be considered heresy. I had sincerely hoped to have the next book done back in November, but I had some other things come up that left me with little time to write, if I'm being honest. Still, a successful series is a rarity, so continuing to expand on that achievement is imperative.
Of course, there were lots of other things that can be lumped into the category of right or wrong for the year, but these are probably the primary contributors to any successes or shortcomings I experienced. Naturally, I intend to continue embracing the positive practices while eliminating the negative. With a little luck, the 2015 "right" list will be far longer than the "wrong" one.