Goals for the new year: 2018 edition

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a fan of resolutions. In 2015 and 2016, I posted a list of goals for the year. I skipped 2017 because I was kind of tired of blogging, but that meant I didn’t have anywhere to talk about which things I accomplished. I did have goals, I just didn’t share them. This year, I’m sharing them, if only for the purpose of having a digital checklist to mark off in 2019. Because I’m all about the lists. So, in no particular order, here they are: My goals for 2018–and there are a lot.

Revise and finish querying Serpent’s Mark.
One of the things that happened last year was the decision to split the first book in my yet-unpublished epic fantasy series into two volumes. There were a lot of reasons for it, but the biggest was that in my first round of queries, agents felt it was far too long for an unknown author. So the book was split, and I queried again. I got farther, sent out some partial manuscripts, but none of them bore fruit. All I can take away from the responses that I got is that it’s just not gripping enough yet, which means revision. Again. It gets a little frustrating–I’m ready for this book to be out. So, hopefully, the eighth draft will be the last one. I’ve got fresh readers lined up for the first installment, so I’ll edit, get reader feedback, and then send out a batch of queries… even though as I detailed over the past two weeks, I’m no longer sure if traditional publishing is the best choice for such a large, already-written series. But I already have a big list of agents to query, so I might as well see it through to the end. I don’t have to sign an unfavorable contract. I have control over the series’ fate.

Publish Her Midnight Hunter.
The third book in my new vampire series will wrap up the core story I had at the beginning. I’ve found paranormal stuff doesn’t always lend itself well to multiple books; the ideas I have are typically larger than a single book can tell (as evidenced by the need to split Serpent’s Mark and Serpent’s Tears into two separate titles) but the convention in paranormal is to continue a series with new characters instead of using the same ones. But I don’t really want to follow rules. My stories are what they are and I’m looking forward to completing the core series. I’m 10,000 words into the first draft and hope to have the book out at the end of March.

Make a plan for the Keeper’s Kin series.
Closely related to the previous goal, I need to decide what comes next. If there’s enough interest in the books, I have plans for 3 or 4 other books in the universe that follow the lives of other characters. Depending on reader feedback, they may be best put on the back burner while I work on other projects.

Write and publish Emberheart.
Speaking of other projects, this one has been on the back burner for too long. This year, I want to write it and get it out–and hey, it’s a perfect title to release as an indie book that can introduce people to my fantasy writing. It’s a portal fantasy. Traditional publishing hates portal fantasies, even though most readers I’ve talked to love them.

Earn $1,000 as an author.
This sounds like a really small milestone. It’s not. Plenty of surveys have been done on what authors earn; the numbers are smaller than most people realize. According to a large survey Digital Book World put forward in 2014, a majority–more than fifty percent!–of traditionally published authors make $1,000 per year or less. Earning $1k would put me in their league. Crossing the threshold into more than $1,000 would make me a minority performer and a “successful” author. I feel like it’s a fairly reasonable goal for someone with the number of books I’ll have out in 2018.

Attend a book/writing convention or conference.
This is one of my 5-year goals and while I didn’t plan on doing it until 2020, there’s no reason I can’t tackle it sooner! While I’d love to make a summer trip to attend the Realm Makers Conference in July, I’m not sure I can afford it just yet and I don’t know how long registration is open. It may close before I can scrape together the funds to travel. But PennedCon is in September and is also in St. Louis. Since it’s geared toward a mix of readers and writers, the cost is lower, so I’d have more time to save up for the trip up from Tennessee and wouldn’t have to put together quite as much.

Read a book a month.
This is a low goal for someone who used to be able to read a book a day, but these days, I have to balance my reading against so much that demands time. A book a month should be a reasonable target to hit.

Downsize craft supplies.
The first thing on the list that doesn’t relate to books! My creativity hoard has been too big for my craft space for a long time. This year, I need to downsize until everything fits comfortably and isn’t teetering on the verge of a mess every time I make something. A good part of this will be paring back on my fabric supply.

Learn to do my makeup.
I’m probably around a third of the way through my life. I should probably figure out how to apply eyeliner at some point. My parents blessed me with a Sephora gift card, so I’ll be starting there.

Create more content for YouTube.
I’ve been holding steady at one update a week for my YouTube channel, but I’ve spent less time working on the dolls that are supposed to represent the characters from my books. I want to get back to that, so I’m wrapping up a few projects and making plans for smaller updates so I can shoot for an extra video at least every other month.

Remember to exercise.
I slacked off in 2017 and boy, did I regret it. It’s hard to get back on the health bandwagon after you’re off, but it’s not like I need to be working out every day. Some interesting recent studies I’ve seen indicate there’s nothing wrong with being a weekend warrior, so adding some Saturday morning yoga may go a long way.

Make stickers.
Stickers? Stickers! I love stickers, man. I use a ton of stickers in my planner, but I have a hard time finding ones I like. So I had a crazy idea. Why not make my own? I’ve got a pack of sticker paper waiting on my desk, so I’m going to make use of it. The goal is to draw a sticker sheet for each of my favorite characters to write and then print them out to use in my planner. This lets me get awesome stickers I know I love, gives me plenty of stickers to use in my planner without spending a fortune at Michaels, and should get me drawing again, too. Win all around!

Draw a cover for Serpent’s Mark.
Whether or not I do this one may depend on how far I get with the very first goal. If I end up signing with an agent, I probably don’t need to draw a book cover. But I have a vision of a cover I think would work for the series and I’d like to take a stab at drawing it, implementing some of the stuff I’ve studied recently. And that way, if I do ultimately decide that traditional publishing isn’t going to work for me, I’ll have an illustration to fall back on for cover art.

And that’s it. Tall order, huh? Do you think I can make it?

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