Lately, I’ve been contemplating my goals and the steps I need to take to accomplish them. I’ve been reading lots of books on psychology, success, and becoming a thriving artist. One thing I’ve learned is, if you don’t define your goals, put them out there, and define the steps that will lead you to success, then it likely won’t in the way you imagine happen.
So I’ve once again updated and redefined my goals, and now I’m putting them out into the universe to see what happens. My goals are lofty, but I know they’re achievable if I work deliberately.
In the coming year, I have one major goal and several sub-goals that will help me achieve it. Let’s start with the big one.
What I’m listening to while I write this post:
6,000 dedicated fans
When I say dedicated fans, I mean the people who eagerly await my next release and jump on the opportunity to buy my next book. That’s a high number and will be difficult to accomplish. But it’s also a deliberate number.
I’ve read that an artist with a following of 6,000 fans should generate enough income to survive off their art. While I likely wouldn’t quit my job at this point, it would set me up financially to invest in polishing my writing, marketing, and packaging far more than I can now.
Originally, I was thinking of setting my goal lower. 6,000 dedicated fans is a lot, after all. But I’m taking some of the advice from 10X Rule by James Clear which argues that you should set goals 10
I think that’s a smart plan, so I’m setting my primary goal for 2019 high and taking deliberate actions to accomplish it.
What follows are my sub-goals that will support my primary goal of 6,000 dedicated fans in order of priority.
Regular release schedule
The past two years I’ve been working hard on preparing for regular releases. I have several projects in the works that are starting to see the light of day in one form or another.
To keep this sustainable, I plan on alternating release from full-length novels to short stories or novellas then back again. The end game is to maintain a cadence of releasing something every six months or so
This will take a lot of work, but I think with the alternating formats, it will be possible. In fact, I’m currently set up to release 3 books in 2019: The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, Grim Curio, and The Gin Thief: Episode 2.
Build a robust creative team
Of course, publishing content is my top priority. You’re not a novelist unless you publish novels. But building a “creative team” is just as important. Art isn’t created in a vacuum, and I don’t intend to be a solitary author who rarely emerges from the shadows.
I want to create a thriving community of like-minded people. People who actively participate in the creation, production, and distribution of art. And before I sound too snobby, I’m really talking about everyday readers like you.
There are several ways you can participate. To be a part of my creative team, you first need to sign up and make it official. There’s really no commitment, just a desire to read, review, share, or finance my art and in return receive special access and cool rewards.
Fix back catalog issues
I have a few wrinkles I need to iron out in my back catalog. The two big one
Discovering Aberration is held back by an awkward intro and editing issues. I attempted to fix them a few months ago but went overboard on my edits. So starting in about two weeks, I’m going to tackle this problem once and for all! It’s driving me nuts.
Next, I have The Gin Thief: Ep 1 that’s been waiting for a second episode for years. I’m not happy that this has taken so long, but I’ve talked about reasons in the past. Now I’m talking about solutions. It’s time to get a move on, and in the early months of 2019
Part of my new release strategy is to release Early Access content regularly on Patreon. Patrons help me finance things like editing and cover design. In return, they get ebooks, Early Access content, and more.
The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye is the first work to hit Early Access. It’ll have a proper announcement in the next week or two. As long as I keep the quality of my Early Access works high, I think I’ll be able to attract fresh blood.
Most authors focus their marketing efforts online, and as a result, it’s easy to drown in the noise. Of course I’ll use the web as best I can to get the word out about my work, but I believe offline experiences are more important now than ever.
In 2019 I plan on offering offline experiences whereever I can. These may come in the form of mailers, printed and signed Early Release chapters, etc. I want to create cool things that you can touch and interact with.
My first instinct was to write 100 patrons. Attracting patrons is hard as hell. But I need to aim higher than that and work smarter at it. If 1,000 of you offer your patronage at any level in return for free books, Early Access content, and even surprise gifts, I’ll be able to afford extra polish on my releases.
Next year, I really want to schedule a Sci-Fi / Fantasy convention tour so I can meet you in person. Conventions are where I’ve always been the most successful at selling books and attracting fans, so this would be massive. I don’t know if I can finance this on my own, but with enough patron support, I will definitely be able to.
What’s the end goal?
6,000 dedicated fans is a tall order, but it’s just a step on the road to my lifetime goal. By the time I die, I want to be considered one of the best writers of my generation. I want to be known for pushing genre conventions, embracing literary elements, and having created more than one masterpieces. I want my fiction to affect the world.
That’s lofty, I know. But other people have done it before me. Why not I? It’s always been a dream of mine to labeled among the best storytellers. So every year, I need to take steps toward making that happen.
2018 was all about improving my writing. 2019 will be about spreading the word. And 2020? Who knows. All I know is the struggle will continue, and every year I’m getting one step closer.