When I look back on 2016, I’ll think of it as the year that I finally got serious about making a career out of writing. Whether or not I’ll actually be able to support myself as a full-time writer remains to be seen, but I feel like I’ve grown and learned an immense amount this year. I also feel like I’m poised to make it if I keep doing what I’m doing and things fall into place.
I wrote about 300,000 words of fiction this year, including 4 full-length novels, plus a 5th that’s almost done. Lightning didn’t strike and I didn’t hit it big. It’s been a slow grind so far, but there has been a slight, steady upward trend. That’s certainly better than the alternative. I have two very straightforward goals for 2017:
- Publish 10 novels. Pretty clear-cut. I know I can keep up the same pace that I maintained through the last half of 2016, and that’s a 50K-word novel about once a month. The common wisdom is that one key to success in this industry is being prolific, with fast release schedules. If you’d told me even two years ago that I could produce that much prose that quickly, I would have said no way. But sticking to a disciplined regimen and planning well has allowed me to write more than I thought possible. I know I can meet this goal and that if I’m going to be successful, I need to meet this goal. Which leads me to the second goal.
- Earn at least $10K from writing. Up until now I haven’t kept very good records, because the dollar amounts are not that serious. But the amount I’m earning from my writing is increasing month-over-month. Going wide already feels like the right strategy, and that’s without even releasing the rest of the Dragonlords series on other platforms. Starting in the middle of January, books 2 and 3 will no longer be rolled in KU, and I can take them wide. I’ll also have the 4th book out at that time. Then I’ll be able to go full-throttle on promoting book 1. Dragon Blue has already gotten a solid amount of downloads on iTunes and Kobo, and I think I can probably do reasonably well with sell-through on those platforms. I wanted to already be making a little more on a monthly basis by now, but I feel reasonably confident that I can start generating between $800-1000 per month once I can release all my books for sale on all platforms.
I think these are good goals because they’re a little aggressive, but not outright crazy. They’re definitely attainable. I want to try to get a BookBub in 2017 as well, and I think that would go a long way towards helping me meet my financial goal.
In addition to maintaining a high word count, I also want to increase the quality of my work. I try to listen closely to what readers are saying about my books, and I want to make them as happy as possible. You can’t please everyone, but you can definitely do your best to produce a high standard of quality. I want to grow my newsletter and friends/followers on all social platforms. I didn’t realize when I started getting seriously into all this how wonderful and supportive a lot of romance readers and writers really are. It’s a great community and one that I’m loving being a part of.
So if you read one or more of my books this year, I just want to say thank you. That’s really what this is all about, sharing stories that make people happy. And if you’re reading this, I hope the end of 2016 finds you well and that you have a wonderful new year.