Happy New Year, my loves! I hope you had the most wonderful holiday season that has ever holidayed.
Let’s address my title image for a moment: 2018 sucked. It did for me, anyway, and I know it wasn’t the best for several of my nearest and dearest. But, in an endeavor not to dwell on the negative, here’s a short list of the positive things that happened in 2018, in no particular order:
- I made some amazing friends.
- I published Alabama Rain, and have received amazing reviews thus far.
- I celebrated 15 years with wonderful hubby. (13 married, 2 dating.)
- I started a new writing project I’m excited about.
I’m afraid my negative list would be far longer. So, I’m not going there.
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve made the rounds across your favorite blogs, vlogs, and social media channels and seen that everyone is doing the obligatory New Years goals posts, or resolutions, etc. etc. and I’m afraid I’m not going to be much different today.
I more or less took a couple of weeks off from, well, damn near everything to reevaluate some things not just in my writing life but in my professional and personal life too and here’s what I came up with.
When I did the DIY book cover series, I asked you to be brutally honest with yourself about what your capabilities are and to be realistic in your approach.
I’m afraid I haven’t done that in certain aspects of this writing career, which has set me up for some failures.
And, friends, I don’t do failure well.
Last year I started laying out a list of ten goals at the beginning of the quarter and sharing at the end of the quarter how I fared. I “won” fifty-percent of the time, and lost so abysmally in the last quarter I didn’t even bother doing the post because I was already so down on myself after the third quarter. (I did update my website, though!)
But you know what? I had a lot of crap piled on my plate in the last half of the year far beyond my control and subconsciously I made some priority shifts and kept putting things off and kept putting things off because the whole three-month system I had going on gave me too much time.
And you may think I’m crazy, but last year I decided I would map out my blogging schedule in advance and I sat down with pen and planner and I wrote out topics for the first six months. This worked extremely well, and I assumed I would figure out the rest later, only over the course of the first six months, I again kept putting that task off to focus on other things and didn’t come back to it. So, I spent the last six months of the year trying to figure out what to blog about. And not that I don’t like spending time on my blog, but it isn’t my primary focus. Fiction is my primary focus.
So, here’s how my blogging will change:
- I am going to a monthly goals schedule, but instead of ten goals, I will have three to four goals and update my word count on my current WIP. January’s will be at the end of this post.
- I have mapped out the entire year’s worth of blogging topics, including my Monday, every-other-Thursday, and once-per-month Sunday posts.
- I have already decided on five dates in the year I will be “taking off” for personal reasons and opened them up to guest bloggers already. If no one is interested, there will simply be no new content on those dates. (Furthermore, I will not freak out about this.)
Ya’ll, I really struggle with social media. I think many of us do.
It’s not that I don’t want to be more active, it’s just a time thing, really. I don’t have a lot of opportunity for sneaking in some social media time while I’m at work, and when I come home I have domestic responsibilities (we all do), and then I have my fiction and my blog—which several of my friends keep telling me is a nice blog, and I do try my best with it.
But my social media presence is terrible outside of Twitter. I have a Facebook page and an Instagram but I do not utilize them well at all.
With Facebook, to be honest, I just forget. I don’t use Facebook personally very often at all—in fact a couple of months ago, FaBo told me that if I don’t post more often it will have no memories to share with me. However, it is still a platform I want to get better at for my author profile.
And with Instagram, it’s a device issue. I do not often use my phone for social media. I know that makes me sound ancient, but I much prefer my computer—and you can’t post to Instagram from your computer. (I’ve tried a few “hacks” that would allow me to do so, and either they don’t work or I’m too stupid.)
So here’s how I’m hoping my social media changes:
- Much like blogging, I have mapped out some social media topics for most of the year—things like interesting holidays, famous authors’ birthdays to celebrate, etc. I’ve also made a note of any weekly or monthly observances to help guide me on the dates I have nothing specific.
- With Twitter, I want to get more active in certain hashtags and be more consistent with my presence. For instance, I want to get back in the habit of using Buffer to schedule tweets for #2BitTues and #1LineWed—and if you have others to suggest, please let me know below.
- With Facebook, I aim to post once per week, using my handy dandy social media calendar to guide me. (Also, if you are so kind, I would love some new followers on Facebook. xoxo)
- With Instagram…I’m not sure how to get around the whole must-use-my-phone thing. But, I still want to post more often. That’s all I’ll say. I’m tempted to say 2-3 times per week, but I feel that would still be setting me up for failure in some way, so I am not at this time putting a number on Instagram.
I stopped fretting over not “keeping up” with others in terms of how fast I write (not type, because I can type pretty darn fast) a long, long time ago. So, I have no lofty notions of producing any faster so long as this is not my full-time gig. Trying to do that would be setting up myself for failure again.
Even coming up with a bullet-point list for this section is difficult. I want to add things like get more reviews for Alabama Rain, but…how? Marketing of course. But I can’t add something like do five ads on Facebook, or do three Freebooksy campaigns. Because I don’t know if I’ll see any results, and I don’t want to waste time or resources. But saying try this, try that makes me feel weak and noncommittal.
I still maintain that without the help of an advertising team, everything I do for the next long while in terms of marketing is going to be one giant experiment, and by the time I get something figured out, it’ll likely be outdated. To hell with it:
- Share more, via social media and my blog, about my work as it is in its earlier stages: snippets, aesthetic boards, etc. etc.
- Finish The Harlot of Blue Ridge by the end of June 2019.
- Seek out interview opportunities.
- Continue experimenting with Amazon ads.
- Do at least one FaBo ad
- Do at least one Freebooksy
- Continue learning.
I realize there is no point of sinking a lot of time or money into marketing until I have a more substantial back list, but that’s sort of why I do a little of it here and there, so I have more of an idea what I’m doing later on.
All of that said, here is what I want to accomplish in January:
- Finalize and submit the hardback of Alabama Rain to IngramSpark.
- Get at least three ladies to commit to a collaborative giveaway I have planned for March (which is Women’s History month. I’ll share more info on that soon—maybe on Facebook! *gasp*)
- Read one nonfiction book which will help me along in my writing journey.
And, that’s it. I have twenty-eight days left. Should be a cinch, right? Well, at least it will be easier than remembering to write 2019 instead of 2018.
And as for you, I hope your year is filled with more happiness than sadness, more laughter than tears, great words to write, and great stories to read, good health, more wealth, and everyday more love than you had yesterday.
See you Monday, my friends. ♥