With the end of the year approaching, its time to take stock of 2019. Looking back, I had six goals for this year
- To release the new edition of Dark Glass and seriously market the Dominions series
- To release two more Dominions novels
- To go wide with the Shadows series
- To release paperback books
- To dive into dictation
- To start a new project
So, how have I done?
The new edition went live back in February, and judging from feedback the re-write definitely resulted in a better book. I also released a box-set of the first three novels a couple of months after this.
I did some marketing on the series, and had some success—but marketing is still something I need to work on.
This didn’t go well.
Rogue Wolf (Dominions V) was the hardest book for me to write so far. I’m used to books changing as I edit them, but with this one the process involved at least three total re-writes, just to get the story working. Even though I started planning it back in 2018, I only managed to release the finished version at the start of November.
I did manage to publish another Dominions novella, Errant, but the sixth novel has yet to appear. I’m working on it at the moment, though, and I don’t think I’m going to take as long over this one (at least, I hope not).
Go wide with Shadows and release paperback books
From September onward, I got new covers for all three novels (and the novella) in the Shadows series. I’d started pulling the novels from Kindle Unlimited, and these books are now available through Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Tolino, and as many other vendors as I could get them into (as well as Amazon).
I think the new covers look great—very eye-catching, and they give a far better idea of what to expect from the books than the old covers did. I also got paperback covers, and these books are now available in physical form.
I’ve yet to release any of the Dominions series as paperbacks, though. I’ve formatted the internal files, but I’m still considering how to get covers done.
I’ve tried, but this hasn’t gone well. I’m not naturally talkative, so maybe it’s not too surprising that I find it easier to ‘write’ through my fingers than through my mouth.
I’ve tried dictating directly into my laptop, and editing mistakes as I go slows me down. I’ve also tried recording and transcribing, but at the moment this process (including time taken correcting the transcription) isn’t any faster than typing. The only advantage has been the ability to ‘write’ while doing other things.
But I’m persevering. I got a great tip from a recent Creative Penn podcast, where Kevin Anderson talked about using dictation in his planning, simply talking through ideas as they came to him. I’ve been giving this a go for a week or so, and it seems to be working. Talking while thinking is slowly getting easier, and I’ve now got loads of ideas down for a new project (more on that in a moment).
I’m going to continue with this strategy for a while. Then I might try dictating some of my blog posts (because a lot of them are me working through ideas anyway), and hopefully I’ll end up feeling more comfortable dictating fiction.
A new project
Due to the time spent on Rogue Wolf, I haven’t made any major headway on this. But I have ideas.
Okay—I always have ideas. In the spring I wrote the first draft of a novel that was an attempt at continuing the Shadows series, but it didn’t work too well (didn’t have the same horror feel, being more action/adventure), so I’ve shelved that for the moment. I’ve also thought about writing a series following on from Ghost Stream, the novella I had included in The Power Of Words anthology, and while I have a few ideas I haven’t developed any of them yet.
But I also have a brand new idea for a series, and that’s what I’m working on in my dictation practice. The more I think about it, the more excited I get—and that has to be a good sign.
So, some successes and some disappointments, and lots of lessons learnt. I need to work smarter when writing, and I still need to improve in finding potential readers (which is what marketing really boils down to). As far as sales go, 2019 was an improvement on 2018, but not where I want to be.
But I’m moving forward. And in a couple of weeks, I’ll lay out what I aim to achieve over 2020.