Goals for 2014 – to finish what I started!

I’m delighted to be part of a blog hop run by Ruth Snyder. The group’s first topic is “Our Writing Goals for 2014″, so here goes!

I always hesitate to set goals, simply because experience has taught me to expect the unexpected. For example, when I moved back to Melbourne from Perth in September last year, I never imagined I would still be unemployed in January. My old dog has failed to keep me in the style to which I’d like to become accustomed and is also well past retirement age now. Hence, while I’ve put this extended “holiday” to very good use for my writing and building a social media profile, my priority must remain securing a PAID job!

Tiresome necessary evils aside, my goals for 2014 can be broadly categorised as “more of the same”:

(1) Having self-published the first two parts of my “A Life Singular” serial last year, I hope to finish Part Three in June and Part Four in December. I have abandoned the idea of using a self-publishing company in favour of Amazon’s CreateSpace after Xlibris Publishing censored my work to the extent that the whole premise of Part Two was negated. The CreateSpace experience was not only significantly cheaper but also allows authors complete flexibility with content and design.

[Note on Goal 1: as an e-chick with 28 years in the IT industry (and hopefully more!), receiving the first copy of a paperback with my name on it, my cover design and my words inside was probably THE most significant event of my life! My first e-book was certainly satisfying to finish, but I was totally unprepared for the pride and sense of achievement I felt when holding a printed book with physical dimensions and weight! So, to all authors hoping to publish in print for the first time this year, I can assure you that your soul will not be disappointed with its reward!]

(2) Consolidating my social media platform is high on the priority list too. Currently I run my own website, through which I sell books whole and by chapter and also post news about launches, trailers, etc. However, a recent invitation to renew my web hosting subscription has prompted me to take better advantage of WordPress’ features, which these days allow us to create almost fully-functioning web presences at a very low cost. This will cut down my e-maintenance effort considerably also!

2013 saw Twitter’s coming of age, and indeed it’s now considered the marketing tool of choice for many authors. I can’t help but think of it as spam though, given the volume of tweets that flash past and then disappear before we get a chance to read them. Despite the proliferation of retweets, follows, mentions and advertising clogging up my ‘phone, tablet and browser, I must get over this aversion quickly and worship the little, blue bird as my hero!

In short, the objective of Goal #2 is to find a more efficient way of optimising my time across Twitter, blog / website, Facebook, Pinterest and all the various services which promise to increase my reach. I am experimenting with SocialOomph and Hootsuite to accomplish this without spamming my friends to excess.

So far – and here’s where my cynicism refuses to let go – none of these endeavours has led to an increase in book sales. Perhaps this comes with critical mass, which segues perfectly on to Goal #3…

(3) World domination! No, I am not signing up to fight in Syria and indeed fervently hope for peace in the Middle East as soon as possible… I only seek to continue standing up for the rights of Australian and New Zealand writers. Living on a huge island continent with a tiny population and wishing to break into in the larger markets of the USA, UK, Europe and Asia, I am hopeful that 2014 will see a more integrated global market in Amazon, Goodreads and the like.

Amazon’s Australian outlet, Amazon.com.au, was “opened” a couple of months ago, before which time all Australian and New Zealand books were sold from the US “store”. Luckily, any pre-existing customer reviews were transferred into the Australian “store” with our books. Not so for our Author Profile however, which still needs to be set up for each regional site separately. This in isolation is not a huge issue and actually makes perfect sense for non-English-speaking markets, when it’s important to translate at least part of one’s profile into the domestic language.

However, the segregation of customer reviews is a HUGE issue and a grave disadvantage for new authors from smaller markets, who are more likely to obtain their early reviews from friends and family, who in turn are more likely to be local. Amazon does not make new customer reviews visible across all stores, and consequently potential US and UK readers are not aware of the quality of our work and we do not advance in the search rankings.

Mailing physical books internationally is prohibitively expensive too; it costs AU$56.55 to post one copy of my book to a US or UK address, which is obviously more than the book sells for! Many reviewers, giveaways and competitions are still only accepting books in print format, which I will also add to my campaign for this year!

(4) My last goal is to read more. Again, my unforeseen sabbatical has afforded me time to read as well as write, which I never could have accomplished while working my 50+ hour week. I aim to read a wide variety of books, both to support other independent authors and also to improve my own writing and general knowledge.

Four goals in twelve months is probably enough. Please visit the other blogs on Ruth’s hop and check out their writing goals.  Let us know yours too! Happy hopping :-)

Ruth Snyder's blog hop

13 thoughts on “Goals for 2014 – to finish what I started!

    • Thanks, Patti. Even though I’ve been in IT for my whole career, I’m still very much a fledgling when it comes to the marketing. Introverts make good writers but not good self-promoters!! Best wishes from 43 degrees Celcius…

      Reply
      • Thanks, Sara. I’m sorry to remind you all of summer! At least with cold winters, most of us can put more clothes on or turn the heating up! We’re sweltering in a week of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, people are watching their communities burn down and horrible pictures of livestock dying are all over the TV. Hopefully it passes tonight and we’ll get back to the type of weather that you can be envious of!!!!

  1. You’ve taught me quite a bit today. I’m glad amazon now has an Australian outlet, and I agree that the reviews should go across the board to other outlets. It’s the same with amazon.ca. Reviews posted there don’t appear on amazon.com. Most reviewers don’t mind copying onto other sites, but why it is necessary within one company? I also agree with you re: the thrill of holding your own book in your hands. Makes me want to do that again. All the best to you. I’m glad you joined this blog hop.

    Reply
  2. Best thing about social media – connecting with people all around the globe! Thanks for sharing your goals for the year. So glad you’ve joined our blog hop, even if you are mean to mention how nice and warm it is there :(

    Reply
    • Sorry, Sara, my initial reply to your comment ended up in the wrong place.. The perils of trying to use WordPress from my phone!

      I’m sorry to remind you all of summer! At least with cold winters, most of us can put more clothes on or turn the heating up! We’re sweltering in a week of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, people are watching their communities burn down and horrible pictures of livestock dying are all over the TV. Hopefully it passes tonight and we’ll get back to the type of weather that you can be envious of!!!!

      Reply
  3. Lorraine, I just checked bookdepository.com and A Life Singular is there… If you buy a new copy of your own book through them, there’s free shipping anywhere in the world. That’s what I do (from Canada) when I need to mail a print copy of my novel. It still costs money but not nearly as much. Part of the world-domination-standing-up-for-ourselves is escaping oppressive shipping fees :)

    Reply
  4. Lorraine,
    I’m glad you’ve joined the blog hop. I think most of us writers are muddling our way through social media. I’d be interested in hearing about your results at the end of this year – whether the time you put into social media affected your sales.
    It has “warmed up” to the freezing mark here in Alberta after a few weeks around -30 celsius. I spent the first 10 years of my life in southern Africa and much prefer your type of temperatures to the ones we have in Canada :)

    Reply
    • Thanks, Ruth! Not sure you would have enjoyed last week, but this week is much better! Re. social media, I attended a workshop at Writers’ Victoria last weekend and was disappointed with the complete lack of awareness about book blogging, independent authors’ networks, etc. The US, Canada and the UK are so far ahead of the Australian literary establishment, so I’m really happy to be participating in these types of online communities.

      Reply
  5. I need to add Australia to my list of destinee countries. It wasn’t an option back in September when She Does Not Fear the Snow was first published. Thank you for this information. I also have a problem with divided reviews. I’m from the UK, living in Canada and the US is my main market – I have reviews on all three.
    I do hope you find a job soon, Lorraine. I love your writing voice.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Bobbie, for your reply and for your nice comments! More than happy to suggest Aussie destinations, since there’s such a diverse menu of tourist spots, like the US. I grew up in London, from which you can pretty much get anywhere within a few hours, even western Europe if you’re into underwater trains!! I’ve only spent 24 hours in Canada (Montreal) for US visa validation purposes. I’d love to visit for longer!

      Reply

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