Since 2011 is coming to an end, here’s a list of my long-term goals and short-term goals for the coming year. I’ve read about goals, both in business training and from my recent Self-Publishing class from Bob Mayer. Goals should be measurable, so that it’s easy to tell if progress is being completed.
Long-Term Goal (5 Years)
- Sell a million copies of books. I thought about “Be a best-selling writer,” but there isn’t a definition of what “best selling is.” Each of the lists is calculated differently, and not always by any metrics.
Overall goal: Finish 3 books by the end of 2012 (Miasma, Hunger, and Hunted). This is extremely aggressive because of problems I’ve had with getting the stories to work (Miasma was started in 2008). To accomplish this goal, I have been rethinking both my creation and revision process.
Each of the books has the steps broken down:
- General research on setting and major elements only before I started writing the book. On Miasma, I spent a considerable amount of time researching auctions for one scene, and the scene was deleted in the final draft. At the same time, I didn’t research the setting, and I ended up doing that in final draft.
- Assemble list of at least 75 last names based on setting before I start writing. During Miasma, if I needed a last name. I stopped writing to hunt for a name. That took considerable time out of the story, and I ended up tossing a lot of characters in the final revision. The last name list uses obituaries, so it can be done a little at a time over months and easily reused for a future story in the same setting.
- Finish first draft.
- Do a fast-pass edit of the first draft. I don’t outline, and my creativity is a lot like throwing paint at the wall. Ideas don’t always come in the right order, and sometimes what comes in obviously shouldn’t be there. This was never more clear on Miasma where I had stubs for over 50 subplots (mostly a paragraph or a sentence), and it interfered with figuring out what was wrong with the story. So a fast-pass editing is sort of like a quick dusting to clean up to make the revision easier.
- Revise the novel in one draft. I spent a lot of time in Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel Course learning new things to make this work. I will also be taking Bob Mayer’s writing course in January for more take aways.
- Do a fast-pass edit of the final revision. The stuff still creeps in there!
- Do a through edit.
- Get professional edit done.
- Proofread, proofread.
Attend four science fiction conventions by the end of 2012 to understand how to leverage for book promotion. I’ve identified about ten, five of which are local. The first is in mid-January. The deciding factor has been cost and distance.
Identify three more books to be waiting in the dugout. Have two already: Aurora and A Soldier’s Diary.
What are you goals for 2012?