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2017 Round-Up and 2018 Goals

2017 has been a pretty good year to me (though health-wise it might have been a little kinder ;p ).

This is a long one, so the TL;DR highlights are here and my goals for 2018 are right down the bottom.

Apart from writing 78,400 new words and a whole bunch of self editing some of the highlights were, I had three short stories published: Hanabi to Kitsune, Mudgerwokee, and Glass Bones. I received two new honourable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest for Mermaid In A Jar and Foxworth.

There were a few exciting firsts for me such as receiving my first rewrite request(when you submit a piece instead of a rejection they say ‘hey if you fix up these couple of problems again you can send it back to us for reconsideration’, usually once rejected you can’t ever send that piece back to that place(it’s considered rude at the least and it’s against the submission rules at a lot of places)). It was also the first time an editor approached me to do a story for their anthology(instead of me submitting work to them).

I applied for a grant for the first time, and while I didn’t get it I got told I was close and got some lovely feedback on the sample I’d submitted.

The Troll’s Toll rolled along nicely, gathering up a decent number of very lovely reviews and only one of those reviews is by someone I know(and it’s only an acquaintance, not a friend who might feel they owe me a good review). All the rest are legit strangers who found my book and liked it. I do wonder about the couple of one star reviews on Goodreads, I don’t care so much about them being one star, it’s that they left no review beyond the star rating. I want to know what they didn’t like so I can gauge if there was something I should have done/done better or if they were someone who is outside my target market so I really truly don’t care at all ;p

In personal things my right arm had a run for it this year: oil burns down the inner arm (right where it brushes on laptop edges or desk edges when typing >.< ), a random weird swelling (assumed allergic reaction to a bug bite), and my Christmas present to myself, a bread knife slicing through my pointer finger right before Christmas. I’m certainly glad it was my right arm not my left since I’m a leftie, but typing does slow down dramatically when you’re down to one arm (cue bad internet jokes… we all know the ones I mean ;p )

This year also saw Xander starting to use some more words. He also verbalises more when signing and requesting now (even if the noise he’s making doesn’t really sound like the word he’s supposed to be saying). At school he’s also using some new PECS systems which seem to be working well and we’re hoping to get our hands on a PODD book for him this coming year so he can use one at home. It’s amazing to see how much he’s improved. He also got his first real haircut this year and both he and the barber survived ;p (we’ve been cutting his hair while he slept until now, which doesn’t result in too bad a look when you have wild curls like our little man)

Harley, on the other hand, has hit the ‘terrible twos’. Terrible is DEFINITELY the active word in that sentence. Time might have dimmed my memory, but I’m sure she’s worse than Xander was at that age. Partly because if she tantrums for something her sweet prince of an older brother gives it to her 99% of the time, reinforcing that tantrums get her results >.< We’re trying to teach him he can say no to her, and hoping that will help.

So, how’d I fair against my 2017 goals?

Goal #1: Publish at least three more of my Retailored Fairy Tales. I’d chosen this because I keep calling myself a hybrid author (which means I both traditionally publish and self publish), but 90% of my work was traditionally published. However, I recognised by my mid-year re-evaluation that I’d be rushing out poorer quality works if I followed this goal. There was no way I was going to let my self published stuff be of lower quality than my trad stuff, so I cut the actual publishing part out. Instead, I just worked on the production/revision/beta feedback/editing portion so I could have some polished work and revive this goal for 2018. I’m very on track to follow through on it in 2018 now.

Goal # 2: Finish first draft, complete edits, and get to beta readers ‘Skeleton Romance’ (also give it a real title ;p ). This went swimmingly. I finished it, did my self-edits, and gave it the title Lovely/Lonely (which I’m hoping my betas will let me know of the aptness). However when it came time to give it to betas, four other people in my beta-reading circle had asked for critiques on their novels just before Lovely/Lonely was ready and it was a safe bet everyone either wouldn’t have the time or would be all betaed out, and then it was December and Christmas, and as our friend Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins is wont to say ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’, so I decided to ask in mid-to-late January 2018 for betas instead.

Goal #3: Continue writing and traditionally publishing stories. This also went wonderfully. Not only did three stories get published, but I had my first case of an editor approaching me and asking me to do a story for them, but I also got my first rewrite request – and from an SFWA qualifying market too! I also got two more honourable mentions in the Writers of the Future Competition. I’m starting to rack up a lot of them ;p I also have one more short story under contract for next year, and several out there doing the rounds looking for homes. I also completed and wrote six new short stories and have the first half-two thirds of ‘Alone Time’.

Goal #4: Continue learning. Through the course of the year I’ve read 8 books on writing craft (and I’m part-way through a ninth), you can see which ones on Goodreads if you’re curious. This year I added some new podcasts on craft, marketing, and/or indie publishing to my existing feed including The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, The Sell More Books Show, The Worried Writer, Write Now, and Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast. I also added several fiction podcasts to my feed as well including Apex, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Podcastle(all markets I’d love to sell my fiction to too, so I can call that market research while listening to great stories ;p ). I also went back and listened to five years of back episodes of the Writing Excuses podcast (which I already listened to since season 9, so I’ve only got three more years of back episodes to listen to ;p ).

I also signed up for the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course (back when it first launched and it was only $25, it’s gone up since then ;p ) and have completed the first six months of work (it’s a five year course of course ;p ).

I also attended a short seminar by Joanna Penn (if you’re an indie author you know who I’m talking about!), as well as a couple of courses from the QWC, and attended the Brisbane Writers Group Convention (which is becoming much more about the craft and selling/marketing than finding a writers group).

Goal #5: Continue being an awesome president of Vision Writers Group. Well if being voted in again is any sign I must be doing well. This may be the last year I do this because I think there are some people waiting in the wings who would like to try their hand, I’m doing this for love and fun, but I think they have goals this role could help them toward, but let’s see how this year rolls.

Goal #6: Write at least three more Retailored Fairy Tales. I completed Charming Rivals, and have done the first third of Nothing Charming. I got the completed Glass Slippers off to betas but haven’t quite done the revisions yet. I partially completed this one but fell just short.

Goal #7: Complete a novel (as in to the point I can resume submitting to agents). I chose this because I have several half complete drafts and a couple of completed drafts in need of editing and revision. I chose Written By The Stars since it’s one of the oldest completed and is a standalone with a teensy bit of series potential. However it took me months to get through just the first third of the book (where as the first draft of Lovely/Lonely‘s edits took about a week, and they are similar length) and I realised it’s a lot bigger job than it appeared. I’m putting a full rewrite in my goals for 2018.

So that’s four goals brilliantly done, two partly done and being revived for 2018, and one being rolled into another 2018 goal with some other things. Not a bad result

And now, without further ado, my new goals for 2018:

  • Publish the Charming Series. This includes getting the first 3 out (Charming, Charming Rivals and Nothing Charming) and writing/revising/(hopefully)publishing The Handrell War, which will be the first novel length Charming for Hire story.
  • Get beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely, revise it with the feedback and start submitting to agents/publishers/competitions.
  • Continue writing and publishing short fiction in traditional publishing markets. This has never seemed to be hard for me ;p I already have several lovely stories I completed at the end of ’17, and several planned to do this year.
  • Take my back catalogue of short stories that are out of their exclusivity periods and self-publish them.
  • Start working towards creating a monthly fiction podcast. Uncertain yet whether I will be serialising a single story or just doing some short stories. I blame this goal on listening to and enjoying so many other fiction podcasts ;p
  • Continue being a good president to Vision Writers Group. We’ve recently had a turn over of sorts, several of our old regulars have gotten busy or successful and moved on and we’ve had a massive influx of talented newbies and I want to foster their growth and encourage them. I also hope to do more with the website, including (as I’ve recently started doing) making the images more ‘pinnable’.
  • Complete one of the unfinished novels (‘Keys’ or ‘Tucca’) and have it at least beta ready by years end if not betaed, revised, and out there doing the rounds.
  • Continue learning. Listening to podcasts, reading craft books, reading books in my genre, researching markets I want to sell to, researching successful self publishing, researching book marketing. All things I already do, all things I plan to continue doing. I’m also enrolled in the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course, and have been following it pretty closely thus far and intend to continue on with that.
  • Rewrite Written by the Stars. I think she might just need a complete rewrite, but that *seemed* like too big a job – such a waste to cut all those words – but the recent slog through editing it makes me think it might be the easier way actually. This is my stretch goal for the year. The stretch on my stretch goal is having it betaed and revised with that feedback and out doing the rounds (a girl can dream, can’t she?)

 

The following are not so much goals as things I’ll be doing:

  • Another website overhaul. I also want to make some lovely landing pages just for my books/book series.
  • I’m going to add to the end of my round-up posts links to my Goodreads reviews of any books I read that month too, both fiction and non-fiction, and depending on my enthusiasm for that book, maybe a short snippet of a review.
  • Up my listening speeds. I’ll start with podcasts then add audiobooks. I want to be listening to podcasts(and comfortably absorbing all information in them) at 2x speed by the end of the year and audiobooks at 1.5x (If I can get to 2x that would be nice but I do partly feel fiction is a little nicer to dwell in). The reason behind this is I want to consume more, and the less time I’m listening to podcasts the more I am to books and I’d love to be polishing off more books every year.

Here’s hoping 2018 will be a healthier, less tantrum-filled year ;p Have you got any big goals for this year? If you’re thinking of making some goals but haven’t quite gotten around to planning them out yet I suggest you check out this blog post by the madly organised Talitha Kalago (author of Half A Million Words In Nine Months).

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