Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Year of Possibilities

Well, the holidays are over, the new year has come, and I have a desk full of projects to get done and very little time to do them - conditions that usually help me work better. There's something about a deadline - especially a seemingly impossible one - that moves me like nothing else can out of procrastination and into a massively productive mindset.

So here's my list of projects for 2012 and the deadlines to go with. And these are deadlines I will reach, regardless how many nights I have to burn the midnight oil. The past couple years I've made a lot of deadlines that I didn't even come close to reaching and that behavior is being put away in the trunk, wrapped in iron chains, and dropped to the bottom of the Hudson river. Or the Salt River, since I live in Arizona.

Lost Birth - an Expired Reality novel -
This book, the second in my Expired Reality series, has been an elusive project that just hasn't cooperated with me in regards to getting edited and published. I'm happy to say it's finished, ready to be published in ebook format (paperback to come soon), I'm just waiting for opinions to come back on the back cover copy.

Black Earth: Dark Masquerade -
The third book in my Black Earth series, Dark Masquerade (tentative title), is my current WIP (Work In Progress). I wrote out a skeleton draft of DM during NaNoWriMo 2011 and plan to turn the final product (final according to what I can do with it) into my editor's hands in March.

Black Earth: Bridge to Eternity -
The fourth - and final - book in my Black Earth series, Bridge to Eternity (tentative title), was also built into a skeleton draft during NaNoWriMo 2011, and will be worked on starting in late February, once I have the majority of Dark Masquerade written out. I plan to hand Bridge to Eternity to my editor in May.

Email Newsletter -
I've been fickle and wavering in my attempts to keep an email newsletter going over the past couple years, but 2012 will be different. Starting in February, my email newsletter will be back with a vengeance. I plan to release a new issue each month and each issue will be packed with updates to my writing projects, writing tips and advice, links to writing/self-publishing resources, and various reviews on books and video games.A sign up box will be placed back on my website in the next couple weeks and I'll announce it here when it's up. *I want to extend a special thank you to those who have waited out my spontaneous behavior with the newsletter*.

Blogging -
I'm going to be more consistent and serious with my blogging. Before the holidays, I noticed most of my posts were about updates to my projects. I'm going to try and put more substance into my posts from now on. Some things I am interested in blogging about on this blog in particular are writing, self-publishing, Christianity and it's impact in fiction, book reviews, and my thoughts and comments on certain video games. (I'm a huge gamer, I just can't find enough hours in the day to entertain the hobby.)

Reading -
I set myself up with a goal to read 71 books last year. I read four. That's right. It took me an average of three months to read one book. Can't do that again this year, especially since I'm actually a fast reader. I'll set my book reading goals to a more realistic level though, the list of which I will be posting soon, both here and to Goodreads. Needless to say, I will be first reading the books that have been stealing all of the space on my office desk before I go venturing out in search of new horizons.

And, last but not least, the most important project I am going to be working on this year is...

Business Restructure - 
My ultimate goal this year - especially at the beginning of this year - is to restructure my business model. As a writer, when I first started self-publishing, I was (and still somewhat am) overly eager for people to read my stories/purchase my products, with little to no regard to how much money I'm bringing in. The simple fact is, my writing is a career, a business, and this is what I do for a living. I don't have a '9-5' job. My wife works full time so I can stay home with my son and write. I need to treat it as little more than a hobby, despite that some people I know think of it only as such. Sorry haters, but writing is more than a hobby, regardless if one is making money off it or not. However, I need to restructure my business model to start a) reaching more people, and b) bringing in more residual income. Those two things are what I will be focusing on over the next couple months, during which I'll be taking a closer look at what works/doesn't work in my website and blog, how I'm influencing people through my social networks including Facebook and Twitter, and how I can reach more people through product design via Zazzle and my own literary creations.

Along with the business restructure will be a new pricing model for most - if not all - of my books. I'm not going to go with the 99 cent business model for my ebooks anymore, unless it's a novella - in which case I might make an exception. Making 30 cents off every ebook I sell isn't working out too well when I'm still paying off the book's editing and cover design out of that 30 cents, and I'm selling less than 100 ebooks a  month. I'll be raising the prices of my 99 cent ebooks to at least $2.99, and I will also be raising the prices of my paperback novels as well, although I'm not sure by how much yet. As far as the ebooks which are already $2.99, I'm not sure if I'll raise the price of those or not. I kind of like the $2.99 staple. Don't worry though, I won't be charging an outrageous $9.99 for my ebooks like some big name sellers. If one is paying that much for a digital copy of a book, they better be getting a dinner at Jack-in-the-Box to go along with it.

There you have it. My yearly goals - at least for the first half of 2012 - out there for the world to see. As soon as June hits, I'll be reevaluating my business structure and literary progress once again and come up with another set of goals for the second half of 2012.

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