2014 Year in Review

I’ve never been one for resolutions. I’ve always thought that if you wanted to change things, you did it. Don’t wait for a specific date or time to start working out, reading more, sleeping more (or less), or taking up a new hobby.

This is how I live my life. When I want something, I go after it. No, it doesn’t always work. I’ve had my share of failures. But overall, this philosophy has served me well. A friend’s favorite quote is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I agree with her. If you want something bad enough, MOST of the time, it’s possible to make it happen (there are obvious exceptions…health challenges, car accidents, truly irrational people doing bad things, etc.).

Looking back, I had one key goal in 2014: grow my writing career. To that end, this is what I did that worked and what I did that didn’t work.

Publishing multiple books

This was the key to my success. I’ve heard from many independent authors that the key to success (making money at least) is to have at least six books out. I’ve definitely found that this is true. My sixth book, A Shift in the Water, was my most successful book yet. I think this magic number is due to a couple of things.

  • Having a catalog that fans can burn through if they discover you and want more of your writing. How many times have you discovered a new author and then groaned or screamed when you finished their first book and couldn’t find anything else by them? More than once, right? Well, if someone finds A Shift in the Water, they can see other books I’ve written and try another series.
  • Getting comfortable with your writing style. This is something that isn’t talked about too often, but I think that around book four or five, you get some confidence in your own style that you might not have had with books one through three. You’re still trying to figure out who you are as a writer in those first few books. Once you hit book four or so, you know who you are and that confidence can really help you take your writing to the next level. You take risks. You try new things. And this is where the most brilliant writing typically comes from.

I published three novels, two novellas, and one short story in 2014. My goal is to do the same thing in 2015.

Hiring an assistant

This is probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life other than marrying my husband. Seriously. Granted, that was at least in part due to the particular assistant I hired. Samantha is now a trusted friend, confidant, my marketing manager, and my business partner in PageCurl Publishing and Promotion. I hired her right before the release of By the Fates, Fought. With a few weeks, she’d helped me create teaser graphics, come up with a plan for future book launches, and helped me pick a cover model for In His Silks. And this is the beauty of an assistant.

  • Samantha can see things that I can’t. There are times that we, as writers, are too close to things. We can’t see that our cover image looks like two unicorns having sex in a space ship. All we see is the scene we were trying to depict. We don’t see that all of our social media posts are non-interactive because to us, we’re interacting fine.
  • Hire an assistant with different skills than you have. Are you a whiz with graphics but terrible at social media? Find an assistant who will manage your Twitter and Facebook presences. Do you chat constantly on Twitter and Facebook but can’t draw a stick figure to save your life? Then look for someone with graphic abilities.
  • Sometimes you just need a second opinion from someone with your best interests at heart who knows the industry. An assistant will do that.

I will continue to work with Samantha for 2015. At this point, I can’t imagine my life without her in my corner.

Being brave

When we write, we have to tell the story that demands to be told, not always the story that the readers want to read. Sure, you should try to do both. Keeping readers happy is, after all, part of a writer’s job. But sometimes you have to take some risks, kill characters, torture them, or put them in situations that make readers uncomfortable. I made a very hard decision in one of my books this year – I killed off a character I loved. It wasn’t the most popular thing to do, nor the easiest. But it was the right thing for the story.

This past week, I took another risk. I put a large part of myself in one of my stories. This particular story won’t be released until 2015, but I’ve gotten feedback that it’s the best thing I’ve written. In part, I think that’s because it’s something I put everything into. I didn’t hold back because of fear. I’d been trying to tell this particular story for a year in various ways, but never quite got it out there. This time, I did. So that’s my wish for all of the writers out there in 2015. Or really, anyone. This advice goes for live as well as for writing. Be brave. Be strong. Be true to yourself.

1 Comment

  • Anna Posted December 29, 2014 1:00 pm

    I can’t wait to read that particular story!

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