This is the first of a series of posts where I look at how 2015 went – my first full year as a self-published author… I’ll be analysing different parts of the journey from publishing, social media, websites and marketing. I’ll let you know the things that worked and the things that proved a waste of time.
First cab off the rank – writing.
I love writing. It’s why I started out on the crazy ride to achieve my dream of becoming an author – one who people would love to read. And now I’m one year closer to achieving that dream…
What’s worked well this year?
- I finished and published ‘The Tangled Web’, a long novella – number 5 in the Deception Series.
- I finished my first historical romance – ‘Isabel’s Choice’. It is now ready for publishing (I just need to sort out the marketing (especially my website) and get it converted to eBook format). It is ready for CreateSpace – cover and all.
- My second historical ‘Sophie’s Promise’ has been edited and is with the beta-readers. I am very happy with this book – it is my personal favourite of all I’ve written so far. It is wonderful to have finished Sophie’s story at last (one of my favourite characters.
- ‘The Secret Life of Eloise’ has been edited and is back with me for corrections (yep – that’s on my ‘to do’ list for the next few weeks). This was a fascinating book to work on as Eloise is so different from my usual heroines – a bit of an anti-heroine. It was wonderful to finish her story though – cathartic in a way. I am excited to have written something that is ‘out of the box’ and can’t wait to see the public reaction
- I completed over 80% of my next contemporary romance ‘The Wedding Singer’. I am hoping to finish that story early in 2016!
- I wrote down a few other ideas for books and have them stored neatly away awaiting their turn…
What didn’t work so well?
- I had actually planned to finish AND publish at least 4 books in 2015, so the fact that I only published one of them was a disappointment. I try to console myself with the number of other things I achieved this year, and that at least I finished the writing…
- A lot of my ‘writing time’ (such as some of the days I took off work to write) were overtaken by other distractions, such as marketing, social media, etc. This is always an issue when trying to cram a lot in…
- I finished a book that I am not happy with – and neither are the betas. But I think I know what’s wrong with it now, and there is work that can be done…
What have I learnt?
- Tricks for time management and avoiding distractions – such as turning off email and social media when writing.
- The more you write (and listen to feedback), the better you get.* Many other writers talk about this and I must say I believe it is true. Certainly, that’s the feedback I’ve been getting from my readers so far – that every book is better than the last, characters become more nuanced, etc. Feedback has been vital for helping to develop my style and grow as a writer.
- The more you read, the better you get. You can learn so much from the good (and even the bad) writers out there.
- The more you think about a book (in all those spare moments between writing), the better the story is likely to be
- When you have a good writing flow going, make the most of it. You may not have another for weeks! Nice as it would be to write consistently every day, for some of us (such as me) it is more realistic and effective to write in concentrated bursts when I’ve had a chance to become fully submerged in the story. I try to be disciplined about doing something related to my writing career every day, but not always creative work. Depends on where I’m at.
*Keep on writing One of the main messages I have really taken to heart is that we have to keep on writing. The more you write, the better you get. I’ve been reading lots of articles about the importance of getting on with the next book rather than obsessing about trying to ‘perfect’ the first, and that is so true. My experience over the past year has shown me that.
That is not to say that my first books are not still good books. I am proud of the stories and the characters, but I can also see that if I was writing the same stories now, the writing style would be different. I feel my style has matured and gained depth. And that’s not a bad thing – it’s natural progression.
I’ve read some of the early books of some of my favourite authors, and some of them are not all that great. You can definitely see the seeds of what is to come, but also the room for improvement. I wonder if one day I might revise my early books and re-release them? I’m not sure. I’m more interested in working on new stories and new ideas at the moment. I guess, I’ll see what sort of feedback I get from my readers.
What will I be focusing on in 2016?
- Becoming more focused when I write. Having more days where I make time and energy for writing and refuse to get sucked in by the enticement of social media.
- Publishing my first three historical novels (including final tweaks and edits based on feedback).
- Finishing at least two of the shorter historical novels that I started this year and will be intrigued to finish. One involves a spy and another a Princess, so I’ll be stepping into some new territory – can’t wait!
- Finishing ‘The Wedding Singer’ and the controversial ‘Seduction in Stone’ (which has needed more rewrites than anything I’ve written, but is getting closer).
- Writing at least one thing that I am not expecting and do not yet know anything about 🙂
What are your writing goals for 2016?
Don’t miss my next post on the good the bad and the ugly of 2015. The topic: Blogging!