I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. I think knowing how little I accomplished this year. I know I did what I could. And I know that if I hadn’t been pregnant and had a new baby I could have completed more. I don’t regret having a baby, don’t get me wrong. That little angel brightens my everyday and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I just needed to come to terms with where I am now. And remember that I can’t do as much. So, without further ado here are my author goals.
And that’s it for my author goals. Keeping it pretty small cause a book a month is really more than enough to accomplish.
As for Amphibian Press, here are my goals for that:
Well, that’s it. In an effort to follow the SMART Goals I will be recapping these goals in March (end of the quarter). By then I should have written three books (or be close depending on when I post the recap), published How to Hunt a Hunter, and at least started posting the vlog.
What are your goals for 2018? Was your 2017 a success? Tell us about it in the comments.
Earlier this month I made a joke to Cameron about when we do these in vlog format how my goal recap will mostly consist of me staring down the camera with vacant eyes and saying “nothimg” when she asks what I accomplished that year. And as much as this made me giggle, it’s hard when it feels like the truth. So here’s a review of the goals I set for 2017. Stay tuned for what I have planned for 2018!
These are my professional goals, broken into Writing, Publishing, and Marketing (which Cameron tells me I should maybe start doing more of, instead of hiding in a hole). Asterisks mark my stretch goals or an alternate project if I get totally stumped on another one.
Finish the final draft of Madness and Gods
Draft one of my romance novels
*Draft Blood and Mercy
Ok, I didn’t do so badly here! Madness and Gods is almost complete, and I have a sensitivity reader and a specialized editor lined up for the manuscript in Jan-March. This book proved to have a lot more in store for me than when I first set out to work on it this year, and I’m really pleased with where it’s going. Strangers is about 50% complete, and while I didn’t win NaNoWriMo (which is what I was using to help that drafting process) what I did write I feel really good about. I also wrote and finished “Disciples,” a Nel Bently Universe short story that will be published in our sci-fi anthology Beamed Up!
The stretch goal of Blood and Mercy was just that, a stretch-goal, and I didn’t get that far. Romance didn’t happen either (writing-wise at least!) for me this year, but I’ve done a lot of outlining and am excited about where my Victoria Spencer brand is headed.
Publish Madness and Gods
*Publish Romance novel
This, right here, is where I vacantly stare. I’m sure you’ll see these on my next post about goals for 2018. While I didn’t get to any of these, like literally, any of them, I did publish my Reforged-world short, “The Tempest” in our dark fantasy Out of the Darkness, and submit another short “Familiar Waters” to a queer “under the sea” themed anthology, which I’m hopeful about! I received a significant promotion during the last few months of this digging season at my day job as an archaeologist, which I was thrilled about. This also meant, however, that some of my time after work is spent doing field director tasks, as opposed to writing, and I’m more mentally tired than I used to be. I’m hoping I’ll figure out a good schedule this coming season as I get used to my new work load.
Run marketing campaigns every other month for one of my series and for my mailing list.
Run promotional campaigns before each release.
I did do better on marketing this year, which would be impossible without the genius of Cameron’s marketing abilities. I was able to run a few campaigns, and I’ve done well with my Reader’s List newsletter. I’ve also had good luck networking, both virtually and at comic-cons, which we hope to return to next year as well. I plan to do more automation, and get my new releases out with more of a bang. Though I was disappointed with how little publishing I accomplished this year, I think I’ve learned a lot to help make next year much more successful. I’m looking forward to sharing those goals with you!
V.S. Holmes is the author of both fantasy and science fiction. Smoke and Rain, the first in her epic fantasy quartet, and Travelers, the first Nel Bently Book are now available on Amazon. She can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Alright! It’s that time again. I get to revisit my goals from last year and let you guys and to a large extent myself, know how I did. I’ll be adding next years goals in a future post.
Those are my writing goals. You'll notice all of them should be done by or before the end of March. The first quarter of the year. At which point I will evaluate where I was successful and adjust. Hopefully coming up with all new goals for the second quarter. Second quarter will be the hardest for me as far as writing because I will have a new baby girl. I plan on taking time off to be with her and help my family and myself adjust to the new addition. As a result I doubt my goals for that time will be very ambitious.
So, even though I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, I did my best and kept moving forward. How was your 2017? Tell us in the comments!
This time of year our social media pages and author groups are abuzz with word counts for National Novel Writing Month—how many words we need today, how many until we win, or (if you’re like me) how many words you are behind. When we’re drafting our work it’s easy to just say “get the words down, worry about length later.” And that’s true to an extent. But what about when you’re revising? Planning your series? Developing your marketing strategy and brand? Manuscript length ties into four of the biggest things to consider when you’re a professional author: genre, target demographic, series or stand alone, and format. Here’s a handy list on manuscript lengths and what to call them (remember page-count is entirely dependent on formatting):
Microfiction: < 500 words
Flash fiction: < 1000 words
Short story: 1000-15,000
Manuscripts longer than 100,000 words are only typical in non-fiction, historical fiction, and sci-fi/fantasy.
Genre is a huge factor in determining where your book should fall on the length spectrum. Each genre has it’s typical range (for novel-length) which is where that huge variation in “Novel Length” above comes from. For simplicity, we’re just going to talk about the broadest of genre categories. Understand that different sub-genres create additional variation, which is why there’s a range. While these are usually defined by the traditional publishing sector—and while we’re all about sticking it to the Big Three, those lengths weren’t pulled out of Simon or Schuster’s dark orifice. Some of it is based on the demographic the genre is marketed to, which we’ll get into later, but it’s also dependant on the pacing, worldbuilding, and other norms each genre entails. Books with one or two main plots, limited world-building, and/or fast pacing like Romance or Thrillers are often under 90,000. Fantasy, science-fiction, and historical novels require more words to develop their settings and are therefore typically longer. If you factor these into sub-genres you can see that a historical romance would be longer than a contemporary, and urban fantasy shorter than an epic fantasy.
Commercial Fiction: 60,000-100,000
Literary Fiction: 80,000-100,000
Science Fiction/Fantasy: 80,000-120,000
Demographic and genre have some heavy overlaps, but in this case we’re mostly talking about the age of your target readers. Let’s assume you haven’t written a picture or children’s book. Your tone and themes are going to determine your audience, but now that you’re revising, what should you aim for?
Children's Picture Book (0-8): 750-1,000
Middle-grade (8-12): 25,000-40,000
Young Adult (12-17): 45,000-90,000
Adult (18+): 50,000-100,000
Another factor that affects where you aim length-wise is whether your piece is a stand-alone or a series. The first books in a series and stand-alone novels should adhere pretty well to the ranges listed above. Later books in the series, however, are often a different story (pun entirely intended). Later books—especially the last in a series—are often expected to be longer. There are more main plots and sub-plots to conclude, and that takes words!
The final factor in determining your target word-count, though not the most important is the format in which you intend to publish. Print books are typically expected to be a certain thickness (though again, this is dependant on formatting). A quick browse through your local bookstore will show you that there are clear trends in each section. Formatting a 230,000 word book in a standard 1.5 inch thick 5x8 cover while still maintaining readability is impossible. Trust me. I’ve tried. (OK, it was only 140,000, but you get the idea) If you only intend on making your books available digitally, and not in paperback, your target length is more a guideline.
We only touched on novel-length norms today, but look for a post on shorter fiction soon! While word-count is an important part of writing, focusing on it early on can cramp your creative voice. Challenges like NaNoWriMo are great ways to establish writing habits, and crank out the first chunk of your manuscript, but drafting isn’t always the place to worry about word-count. Just because you didn’t reach 50,000 doesn’t mean you don’t have a marketable piece, and likewise, 50,000 may only be half of your story. Revisions are where you really need to focus on what you’re goals are—and the story you’re trying to tell.
*Note: Ranges differ slightly from source to source. These ranges are the most common among several sites and have remained fairly consistent as industry standards for the past decade.
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