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  • Beth Daniels aka Beth Henderson, J. B. Dane

A WRITER'S GUIDE TO NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS Part One


A WRITER’S GUIDE TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS Part One

As we approach the cusp where December kisses January amidst the tooting of horns, the tossing of confetti, and the guzzling of whatever best suits your celebratory mood, it also means we’re at the point of deciding what we want for the year ahead.

And frequently it involves not doing something that didn’t work out well in the closing year’s plan.

One thing to look at is what fouled things up in the past 12 months that made it impossible to meet those dreams.

Well, when it comes to writing, that is.

Let’s face it, if you ended up with a major illness yourself or in dealing with a major illness with a loved one, there really was no way around that.

But if you find that what you’d hoped to accomplish fell by the wayside for other reasons, it’s time to make note of them and sort out how to avoid them in the New Year.

For me it was falling down on learning more about marketing and the best ways to do it. Last year my list said: build Facebook and Twitter accounts for social book related platform. To do this, I purposefully bought e-books – more than one on each of the elements I had decided to tackle first.

I’ll confess right now, I have yet to finish reading any of them. Why? Because most of them told me the same things I’d already read but didn’t offer a new or different way to attract attention. Plus, they were dry. It took too long to get to the heart of what I needed to learn. Perhaps I should have skipped to more interesting parts. The problem was, I worried that in doing so I’d miss something I didn’t know in the parts I would be skipping.

I branched out from those dry electronic tomes rather than buckle down, which I probably should have done. Let’s face it, after I read the entire book, if I found nothing worth keeping it for, I could erase it from my Kindle. The only trick would be not ordering it again because it was so forgettable, I would forget in the future that I had given it a try.

But I said I branched out, didn’t I? How, you ask? By taking workshops online. Because there are a great many offered and by a host of different authors and media savvy types, I use the line up at SavvyAuthors.com. This year I took a class on how to use Facebook ads and one on using Pinterest to sell books.

I learned that while Facebook allows you to run an ad for just a couple days, if you don’t catch the automatic final date feature which automatically resets to 30 days, they’ll run the ad 30 days beyond when you wanted it. I didn’t catch it and my budget took a hit. Also know that the “ads” I create to use in postings on Twitter and Facebook regular posts, will not load for a Facebook ad. You can have a book cover but not a book cover worked into a background (even a white one) with a blurb next to it…not even a web address. Having learned that, I’m ready for when I do next want to run an ad…or share running an ad with a friend as two covers could be loaded. This might have been a disaster this past year but it’s a plus for the future.

I already had one Pinterest account (based on marketing ideas from a different workshop a couple years back) but I ended up with three accounts as a result of the workshop taken this past year: one the Rory’s Closet I already had that featured women’s fashion that I thought would appear in the heroine in SUPERSTAR’s shop, catalog, or runway designs; one that focuses on Writing Genre Fiction; and one that features my fictional back titles and future ones (The Well Inked Quill). There’s a lot of duplication on that last one. I learned in the Pinterest as marketing workshop that I needed at least five posts each day in each of the boards though, which means it doesn’t take long to post every one of my fictional titles still available.

Last year’s resolutions said: do better on writing regular blogs. While I wrote some, this basically counted as a failure because coming up with topics seems to be my problem.

Half way through the year I bought a calendar planning book like people in business use for scheduling deadlines and appointments. Within it I wrote family and friends birthdays (as there would likely be at least a dinner or cake eating get-together to attend), when the two writing groups I belong to had meetings (and thus when I would need something to share), when I was either running or taking a workshop on line (if running it, there would be lectures to write), and then day-by-day I jotted down when I added to the Pinterest boards, scheduled posts with HootSuite, needed to write promotional blogs for the workshops I was presenting, and – most importantly – how many words I added to whatever manuscript (or manuscripts, as I tend to work on more than one at a time – depends on what my muse gets hyped on) each day. That included what the total word count was and how many words had been added from the previous day’s total count. Seeing when I crested 1,000 or 2,000 words kept me buoyed up. Even if the word count dealt with non-fiction (blogs, lectures) rather than fiction.

I managed to write two full manuscripts, a 15,000 words long short story, find an agent, edit over 11,000 words from a previously written manuscript to have it fall more within the word count that would make it more attractive to an editor, and reworked my three websites a bit with the future in mind.

Failed in learning how to use Facebook and Twitter better, but did accomplish more in completing stories to send out looking for a traditional publisher’s tender attentions.

It’s good to find what you did manage to accomplish from the closing year’s resolutions when it comes to making the new list. And you can tally things that were pluses even if they didn’t appear on that resolution list. But don’t totally forget what slipped through the cracks. If those oops bits are still things to deal with – and unfortunately, though marketing is boring, it’s necessary – then put some thought into how to accomplish them in the new year. For me that means marketing is back on my list.

This is just Part One on creating writing resolutions. Next time out, we’ll really begin making ones for 2018!

Beth

Click on cover for Trade Paperback edition. Also available for Kindle and Nook.


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