It’s that time of year again when we have to think of our goals for 2016. Below are my resolutions for 2016. It can apply to all writers who want to improve their craft and make 2016 a successful year.
- Edit my manuscript. After finishing the NANOWRIMO challenge for 2015, I put the manuscript aside for the month of December and will start editing in January. After I have gone through a couple of times to check typos and add and delete, my editor will go through the whole process of line editing and copy editing. Then back to rewriting, finding what is wrong with the book and trying to improve it. Then edit, rewrite, again more edits and rewrites until I feel comfortable with it. You’ll be amazed at how many errors you’ll see as you edit the manuscript again and again. To put my name in my work, I want to have it free of typos and errors. I’m getting much better as I progress through my writing journey. You can have the best story in the world, but if your manuscript is full of typos, it can turn your readers off for good. I hope to finish the final rewrite of my third novel, my 2014 NANOWRIMO winner, and get it published this summer. It takes a year and a half to edit a first draft.
- Read more. In 2015, I accomplished my reading goal at Goodreads. I read 28 books. To make it as an author, you have to read and read what your audience wants to read. I read mostly historical novels and write historical novels. Once in a while I will read other genres just to keep myself knowledgeable of what’s out there. I also read magazines. All the books that I read inspired me to do more writings. This year, my goal is to add 2 more books from my 2015 reading challenge. Since I intend to read some lengthy book in 2016, I feel 30 books is attainable. I’m starting the year with Edge of Eternity, a 1098-page book by Ken Follett.
- Write more. Even with the NANOWRIMO finished and done with, I never slack on my writing. The only difference is I wake up an hour later. During the NANOWRIMO in November, I woke up at 5 a.m. I write better when everything is quiet around me. Now, I still write for 1-1/2 hour before breakfast, then an hour just before lunch, a couple of hours in the afternoon and possibly an hour at night. I either write, blog, do a research, read but there is always something I do towards my writing goal. I’m polishing my third and fourth novel and will start a nonfiction project this year.
- Publish my manuscript. Once I’m comfortable with the manuscript, it’s time to let it go. How do I know if it is ready? After editing it a dozen times, you know in your heart, whether it is ready to publish or not. Then I go into promotion mode before its release. Right now, I have not made up my mind if I want to go through the traditional route due to my time constraint. I have so much idea in my head that there is no time to waste querying and waiting for months for an answer. If I was younger, I might consider it. I love what I do and I feel that the time I will spend on querying is better spent studying to improve my craft. Between taking care of my sick husband, writing, reading, doing voluntary work for my community, maintaining my house and garden and studying my market do not give me ample time to query and wait which takes too much time. I know. I tried it before. I got two rejections. However, I might change my mind later. You never know.
- Marketing my work. Traditional publishers nowadays do not have time to market your book unless you are a celebrity. So I might as well go through independent publishing. I do my own publicity for my book. I have a web presence since 2000 when I was in real estate and have continued to do so, more now that I am a writer. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ActiveRain, Google and more. I have websites and blogs. I know marketing is important. I used to work in the corporate world and know the importance of marketing your product. I will keep on marketing my books through my web presence and word of mouth.
- Enter a writing contest. I entered a writing contest for short stories in 2015 at Writer’s Digest and won an Honorable Mention. I write to educate, stimulate and inspire. My stories are original based on life events. I have won writing contests on my gardening articles before and will continue to enter my articles.
- Update my website. I will keep the content of your website fresh. I have a website and two blogs. My Facebook pages are linked to my blogs and my website. I have an author’s profile at Amazon and Goodreads. I’m constantly updating both my websites and my blogs. I will keep on posting regularly to keep my readers coming.
- Be more active on social media. It’s important to maintain your social media presence. I’m on Facebook but there is one thing I don’t post on Facebook. I still feel strongly that things personal is not a matter of public knowledge. I post mostly about my writings and my reading. Since my website is linked to my Facebook page, my postings on motivation and inspirational tips and gardening tips go right to my Facebook page. I will like other pages and make comments every so often.
- Be active in your community. Get involved in your community and let them know you’re an author. That is one ready market for you. I’m on my HOA board and an active member of a garden club, my church choir and a president of my local rose society. These are other potential markets. Join a local writing group. I joined the local NANOWRIMO writing group two years ago but I must admit I never went to their writing sessions because I like to write in solitude. I joined in their conversation on Facebook. I’m also in several groups at Goodreads, LinkedIn and CreateSpace. Regarding a writer’s conference, I have read conflicting views on whether they help a writer or not. I have not been to one so I have no opinion at this point. When you finish your book, you’ll be glad you have been active in the community that will be excited to read your work!
- Start something new. I always wanted to write a nonfiction book on gardening. After all, I have been writing gardening articles for years before I started writing fiction. I have gotten awards on some of them so I might try to compile them in a book form. It will be my next project this year. I have a great idea in mind and it will be interesting to pursue it.
So what is your New Year’s resolution for 2016?
Until next time, stop and smell the roses.
Get your copy today at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.