Monday, December 21, 2015

2016: The Year of the Writer

I am not a person who thinks New Year's resolutions are a good idea. I've discussed this before--you may have motivation because it's a new calendar year, but by February there's nothing left to keep you going. Careers, however, need to have goals. And implementing goals at the beginning of the year can work if you plan well. I have a few goals so that 2016 will become the Year of the Writer in my book. Hopefully you'll come along with me on the journey.

In 2016 my goal is to...

Finally Publish In Another Life

I checked my keywords and I've been talking about this book on my blog since May 2013--at least with the title. I was probably talking about it long before that. The time has come to finally get the revisions into high gear and get it out there. I don't plan on rushing the process, but I think giving myself up to a year to get it out is more than enough time to make sure it's the best it can be.

And I'm going to need your help. I've used Amazon's Write On community to work on one book, and though that first experience was a little lacking, I want to try again with a different genre. When I start uploading the first few chapters, I will let you know and hopefully you'll check it out--and tell me exactly what you think is wrong with it! Criticism is  more than welcome. It's the only way any writer can get better and improve their craft.

Submit a Book to Kindle Scout

And my In Another Life goal leads to this one. I want to try my luck with Kindle Scout. I think that In Another Life could be a contender for a contract. But again, I'm going to have to call on my friends, fans and completely random readers to help.  I'm still studying the process and seeing what a book needs to win, but I'm finding out that a strong fan base is essential--so marketing is going to be a priority for me in 2016.

Resurrect My Neglected Blogs

I don't know if you know this, but I actually have five blogs. There's this one, Book Review Bin (book reviews), Ancestry Musings (genealogy), Showered in Beauty (wellness/beauty/fashion) and College Chronicles (my comic/graphic novel). All of them pertain to other creative outlets and interests of mine, but I haven't been updating them as often as I should. Some haven't been updated in months.

Not only will keeping these blogs a priority help me to keep writing every single day, these blogs could very well be another income stream. Although I haven't had any luck yet with my first Fiverr gig attached to Book Review Bin, I know that the only way I can make advertising, guest posting and other features lucrative is to provide useful information and be consistent to build an audience--and get that ever-important page rank up. Truths of a Shy Writer doesn't even earn income on a regular basis as a PR3 blog, but the occasional sponsored post does come up, along with getting free products in exchange for reviews (which significantly helps on the monthly budget). I realize that I need to offer much more to earn more, and that's just what I'm going to do.

Continue to Advocate for Better Treatment and Better Pay for Freelancers

This is a no-brainer. I don't make nearly enough money freelancing, even during the months when work is abundant. Publishing fiction independently doesn't bring in much more with a small reader base. I'm lucky enough to have help so I don't have to live in a cardboard box, but that help won't always be there. I want that feeling of true independence back--I miss having that.

It would shock most people to learn just how little writers make--even ones with name recognition.  So the only way to make sure that writers and other freelance creative services now and in the future get the pay they deserve is to keep speaking up about it. I'm also sticking to my vow to not take jobs that equal to well below minimum wage. It's been two years since I worked for anything less than $8/hr. It's not worth it to go below that with the skills and research I bring to the table, and it gives clients all over the world an easy excuse to continue mistreating freelancers.

I fully support the #FreelanceIsntFree movement that the Freelancers Union is working on. Even though most of the work the organization does typically benefits those in the New York City area directly, what's implemented there tends to sweep the country. So the sooner they get ahead, the better for everyone.

And speaking of support...

Along with the freelancer fight, I'm also going to promise to be a better reader. It takes a lot of courage to publish a book. And being on the receiving end of the occasional unhelpful review and ratings without a reason, I know that I need to be more active in leaving helpful reviews for authors, especially on Amazon. While Goodreads may help writers find a more niche audience to consider their work, Amazon is sort of the king for independent authors trying to make a sale. If I can help that with my review, I'll make a point to do that, and I won't hold back if the book simply isn't worth the time spent reading it.

This is just the start of making 2016 a great year to be a writer. There are so many other projects I have in the pipeline that I shouldn't have any excuse to slow down. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season and I'll see you again in 2016!

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