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The Year of Having a Plan

The Year of Having a Plan

This will be my year of having a plan. I'm more of a look-forward kind of person, so I'll recap 2017 briefly and tell you about my author-related plans for 2018.

my year of having a plan, and happy new year
My your new year surpass the last one in all things good, and lag far behind in all things bad.

I'm a look-forward kind of person. (Good thing I write science fiction, eh?) I'm lamentably bad about remembering past events, whether blissful or traumatic. I've had multiple people tell me we went to high school together, and my usual answer is, “I went to high school?” It's a joke, but not far from the truth. I don't look back, and the pleasure of reminiscing is largely lost on me. I'll likely be a blissful blank slate when my mind turns to Swiss cheese in my old age.

Therefore, my 2017 recap is pretty short:

  • I wrote two stories for a new paranormal romance series. I started on a secret urban fantasy project. I wrote and published a prequel novella in my Central Galactic Concordance space opera series. I updated the look and feel of my website, which now has a nifty new gallery of books. Shiny!
  • Oh, and I wrote a space opera novella (“Pet Trade”) for the Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 science fiction romance anthology that made the USA TODAY bestseller list, which makes me a USA TODAY bestselling author. It doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I enjoy celebrating the small wins, because the big ones don't come along very often.

Plans for 2018

My 2018 plans are ambitious, but achievable, if the author gods are smiling on me:

  • Finish book 5 of the space opera series. It kicked my author butt in 2017, and I'm determined to return the favor in 2018. <dons flexin armor, picks up hellrail rifle, and jets into combat>
  • Write two more stories in the paranormal romance* series. Publish them all this summer. The competition is fierce, but the readers are hungry; I will entice them with cookies.
  • Finish the secret urban fantasy project and unleash it on the unsuspecting world. <MUAH-ha-ha-ha!>
  • The Year of Having a Plan, and a winged lionPublish “Pet Trade” as a standalone, and write another novella in the space opera series, maybe for an anthology, or maybe for series fans.
  • Recognize that stress is the mindkiller, and that I should cut myself some slack and allow myself some zombie days if I experience it. If I caught the flu, I wouldn't expect to be at 100% the next day, so I shouldn't expect catching stress to be any different.
  • Get help with creating and following an actual, strategic and tactical marketing plan (thus, the Year of Having a Plan). This is opposed to my prior method, which consisted of noticing flagging sales, tossing my books into promos, and hoping for the best. As you might imagine, the “throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” technique has distinctly uneven and unrepeatable results.
  • Go to a close-by conference or two to meet fans and other authors, and learn from them. I'll be at Whimsy Con (Denver) in March, probably RWA (Denver) in July, and very likely Fort Collins Comic Con in August. Someday, maybe I'll get to an RT convention, but hoo, baby, the price, size, and logistics are daunting.
The year of having a plan, with a photo of Carol Van Natta and Melisse Aires
Me on the left, and lovely author buddy Melisse Aires on the right, at Fort Collins Comic Con 2017

More Plan-Having Activities

Because this is the Year of Having a Plan, I expect to be more visible this year with posts (you can now subscribe to my blog—see the purple box in the top of the right sidebar).

You might see me in some videos, too. I'm a silly person, or so my friends tell me, so I figured I'd share that silliness with you. To quote a line that was edited out of the movie Buckaroo Banzai, you're invited to come along for the ride, as long as you keep your feet on the ground.**

Bonus extra credit will be to collaborate with some of my author buddies to come up with new “rising tide floats all boats” activities that help us all get ahead. I like being on a team where we all work toward a challenge.

*Why paranormal romance? Because it's a chance to stretch several of my muse's legs, and have some fun. The series will have action and mystery, and on-the-page romance, if you catch my drift, but will be more lighthearted than my space opera series.

**According to star Peter Weller, anyway. I met him in the late 1980s at a charity event. He loved being a part of that film, and was disappointed the scene got cut, because it was one of his favorite lines from the W.D. Richter script.