2017 writing results and 2018 goals
When 2017 began, I thought I should put some goals together, concerning my writing. Just simple goals that were achievable yet beyond what occurred in the previous year. I ended up with one and only one: Finish and publish my book. You see, at the time, it wasn’t the daily writing, the character creation, story structure or anything else that has to do with creating a story that was holding me back. No, it was the finishing. The first draft and second draft for The Ending is Everything, were complete, but I needed to continue and polish it. I was frozen by my own insecurity. If I could see the flaws, then everyone else will see the flaws and then they will call me a hack, and say mean things about it like “just plain crap” (actual quote from an Amazon review of the book). So in January 2017, the goal was to say “F%&k it” and finish it. Publish it. Rinse and repeat.
Now, that 2017 is over, I can say, hey I accomplished my goal. The book is out there in a variety of formats. People seem to like it. Well, most people. And the world has not caught on fire (not yet, anyway) by my audacity to think I could publish a book myself.
But, I needed new goals for 2018. Specific goals. Goals I could accomplish, day after day, month after month. But, first, as any analyst knows, you need to know how you are currently doing before you can create goals for improvement. I put my analyst hat on and dove into the numbers.
1st data set. Words per day.
This is an important number, but not as important as some would have you think. After looking at the numbers, I averaged 410 words per day in 2017. This does not include my writing on this blog. Not bad right? Not great, but not bad. But, as you dove into the data set I realized, I only wrote on 93 of the 365 days in 2017. On those days I wrote an average 1600 words. See the distinction.
My new goal for 2018: Write every day and average 500 words per day. This should be achievable. I just have to set aside time to write something new every damn day. Repetition is essential in writing. When I am on, it flows through me like Yoda said it would, but once I began to slack off or concentrate just on cover design, the blog, or editing, I lose that flow, and it becomes like an anchor pulling away from the most important thing I can do, write fiction.
2nd data set. Book Sales.
Now, this sounds important, and it is, but again, there is more than meets the eye. So, I took a look at the numbers for 2017.
Hardcovers – 22
Paperbacks – 19
e-books – 322
Now, to some, that may seem small, and I suppose it is, but as I said, I didn’t know what to expect, so I am pleasantly content. The ROI on the book has been positive. (Note- if I had hired an editor, it would’ve been about even.) Thankfully I take home more money from my $4.99 e-book, than on either the $12.99 paperback or the absurdly priced MSRP $27.99 hardcover. In independently publishing the money is in the e-book.
But, there is another source of income, and that is Kindle Unlimited. Which is like Amazon Prime video, but for books. The author gets paid an amount, (decided on how? I cannot remotely say), per pages read. It works for me at this time, because I need one thing (besides money)… readers. I need to be discovered, more than I need to sell books.
Kindle Unlimited pages read – 256,133
Which either means 853 people read my book or 256,133 people read the first page and stopped. I think it is somewhere in the middle. A part of me wants to believe, that all of those 853 potential book sales I missed out on and I wish it were that simple. But, I know that is not the case. Most of those people, probably wouldn’t have read it, unless it was a part of their subscription.
What should be my goals for 2018? Since the 2017 numbers only show 6 months worth of data, I should at least double it. I will also be releasing at least two more books this year, so that should help.
2018 Book Sales Goal – Sell 1500 kindle books and get 1 million page reads on KU (5 x the 2017 numbers).
3rd Data set. Subscribers.
As an author, you want your subscribers to be your backbone. The fans who will buy what you put out, the day it is out. But, the question throughout 2017 was: Where do I find them and how do I capture them? (Not physically, of course, because that would be illegal.) I thought I could use my author Facebook page. Oh, the naivete of naivete. Facebook’s algorithm makes it impossible to know if your fans who like your page, will ever actually see your posts. Of course, there is a way to force your way onto people’s news feeds… MONEY!!! So, while the Facebook page seems like the simplest solution, it is not the most effective. Thus, the results for 2017 were simple to gather: NONE. I had no subscribers.
2018 Goal – Get 500 subscribers. This is a doable number, I think. I will be upfront, I hate spam. Hell, I hate selling. I don’t want to be pushy. I want people to love my stuff so much they go out of their way to find me and buy my new works. But, that is just my laziness talking. I know I need to be the one making an effort to get out in front of people in the most inoffensive way possible. I now have a subscribe button on my website. It will be added to the end of all my books. I will be hosting giveaways, where I can add subscribers.
My real 2018 goal concerning subscribers is to have fun with it. Make people laugh and not take it too seriously. Make the content they receive worthwhile.
The final results for 2017 were a success, in my mind. I didn’t become a national bestseller. I don’t have Hollywood offering me money for the rights to my book. But, that was never the goal. The goal is to write stories about characters that people care about. That is still the primary goal and always will be. Now, if I could just finish this second book*. UGhhh!!!!
Final Goals for 2018
Write a minimum of 500 words per day. Every day.
Finish three books. First draft.
Publish 2 books.
Improve sales and KU page reads. 1500 Kindle. 1 million KU.
Blog, at least, weekly.
Find 500 subscribers.
Lose 15 pounds.
Read 50 Books.
Take a grammar course. (Me no need, just an idea.)
Continue to learn the art of storytelling via online videos and courses.