Forward

This post, by Steven Ramirez, originally appeared on his Glass Highway site and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission.

No, this isn’t about last year’s campaign slogan which by the way was a huge #FAIL for me since the geniuses who dreamed it up thought it would be better to be grammatically correct and add the period. Forward, then stop? Hey, here we go! Wait, there’s a period. Aww… Anyway. This is about actually moving forward in 2013 as an author. That means assessing the past year, figuring out what worked and what didn’t, and setting new achievable goals.

Looking Back In 2012 I had seventeen titles on Amazon and sixteen on Barnes & Noble. Now I have nine and eight respectively. Wait a minute, what? Yes, you read that right—I have fewer titles now. Why? Because on reflection I didn’t feel that everything I put out there was my best work. Kind of hard to admit, I know. Especially when I really enjoyed writing those other stories and couldn’t wait to share them with the world. Anyone else out there done that? Please leave a comment.

At the beginning of last year I had few than five hundred Twitter followers. Now I have more than two thousand, so yay me. I must be doing something right. To be clear, Twitter is a work-in-progress. The key for me is to give more than I take. That means consistently providing useful information while occasionally promoting my own work.

Last July I launched this blog. Though I don’t have tons of subscribers and my bounce rate is high, I still feel it is worthwhile—especially since I share it with guest bloggers, which I love doing. In fact, I hope to do more of that this year. If you are an author—or screenwriter—and you would like to share something, please leave a comment.

By mid-last year I had completed the first draft of my new zombie novel. Now I’m in revisions, and am targeting publication in the summer.

Highs and Lows Overall I would say that I achieved my goals in terms of building my platform. I’m no social media superstar but I do interact with quite a few folks around the world via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The encouragement has been amazing. It’s one of the things that keep me going.

Earlier I said I finished a first draft of my new novel. That’s actually not true. Currently I have no actual ending, though there are definite ideas knocking around in my head. So, while not a low, I would have liked to say I finished the whole thing once through.

2012 Goals that Still Matter I know you’ve all heard this before but creating unrealistic goals is a big, fat waste of time. Here are things I believe I can do. But first here are some things I laid out last July when I launched the blog.

Write better. Okay, this is a never-ending process. I’m confident that Stephen King still strives to write better each day. I do believe that I am a better writer now than when I began. By this time next year, I hope to say that again.

Master the publishing process. It was stupid of me to say this, although to be fair I did not put a time limit on it. First of all, I have yet to publish a novel. Most of my titles are short stories and one is a short middle grade novel. Publishing a real novel is another thing entirely. I’ll get back to you on this one.

Master digital marketing. Again, no time limit. Am I better than I was a year ago? Absolutely. But there is so much more to learn—especially around gathering and interpreting metrics. What I really need is a data person. Good luck to me. Have you seen what social media consultants charge to crunch the numbers?

Help others whenever I can. This one is easy because it’s what I love to do. I may not be the world’s greatest author/publisher/marketer but I am always happy to help those who are just starting out. In fact, that’s one of the value propositions for this blog. Ask me anything in the comments, and I will do my best to get you a solid answer. Really.

2013 Goals Publish my novel as an eBook in 2013. I really wanted to say Summer but, again, let’s make this realistic and achievable. There are many steps associated with publishing a novel—it’s a big job. First, I must “assemble my team.” Then I need to create a marketing campaign and begin marketing the book six months prior to publication. I haven’t decided whether to also publish a print version. I may delay that. I would love to hear the pros and cons of doing this in the comments.

Grow my author platform. This is an ongoing activity. It involves attracting more follows in social media and popping up as a commenter and guest blogger wherever I can. As far as Twitter is concerned, I’d like to double the number of followers. Hey, maybe that’s one of those unrealistic goals.

For those of you who are on a similar journey, what do you think? What’s missing from this list? In the meantime, here’s to an unbelievably awesome 2013. Forward!

 

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