So, 2018 is finished, and we’re now well into 2019 — thirteen hours to be precise. And it’s time to look back over the past twelve months.
Here's what I'm going to cover;
what happened in 2018
what I'm proud of
what I learned what I could do better
what I'm going to do in 2019; what I'm going to do better in 2019
WHAT I’M PROUD OF
This is a difficult one.
A lot happened.
It's difficult to pinpoint one thing in particular.
After all, I've set up my own publishing company. I've learned how to use Photoshop at an incredibly basic level. I've released a short story. Oh, I’ve graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature with Creative Writing.
You could say I’ve done quite a bit.
But perhaps the proudest moment of 2018 is releasing Standstill, the first instalment of the Jake Tanner thriller series.
It was the story I’d worked so hard and so long on, and I'm really proud of it. Words evidently can't express how proud of it, except for just reiterating the fact that I am proud of it.
(did I mention I was proud of releasing Standstill?)
I originally began writing the story in November 2016, and eventually published it April 2018. Since then, it has been released in ebook, paperback, large print, hard print, and audiobook format. How cool is that? They look phenomenal on my shelf. I never thought I’d hold my own words in my hands. It’s quite surreal, and I can tell you now, I don’t think the feeling will ever wear off.
Aside from writing Standstill, I’ve written many more stories. There is a lot I’ve been working on in the background, which has meant that marketing efforts have taken a backseat — something I’m going to work harder on in 2019. But more on that later.
To keep it short, I’ve written the next instalment in the Jake Tanner Thriller Series which will be published soon (again, more on that later), and I’ve also written six novellas of about 20,000 - 30,000 words in length. These are all part of a prequel series for you guys to enjoy. They will be lightning-quick, and won’t cost an arm and a leg to read, either. But still, more of that later.
I’m a tease, aren’t I?
WHAT I LEARNED IN 2018 AND WHAT I’M GOING TO IMPROVE
This could be quite an honest bit of the post. Because I don’t like it to admit when I’ve done wrong or made a mistake. Does anyone?
I suppose the best place to begin would be with the mistakes I made, and what I could do to stop it from happening again.
The first, being: comparing myself to other authors. Everyone starts somewhere, and the authors that I’m comparing myself to have been doing this for considerably longer. I’m only young, and I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’ve got a lot of time to accomplish everything. The only thing is, I’m impatient and I want to get everything done as soon as possible.
In 2018 I learned to pace myself. Wait — no, that's a lie. I didn't. I need to learn to pace myself. I've noticed I put a lot of pressure on myself to write and publish as many books as I can, as fast as I can. And that's put a strain on me mentally. But it's what I love doing. So I need to find the balance.
In the past year I've written two 100,000 word novels, a 10,000 word short story, and six 20-30,000 word novellas. All-in, that's a shit tonne of words, and after every day I still feel like that's not enough. I still feel like I’m slacking, that I’m not doing everything I can be. I still feel like there are other things that need doing.
I'm in this for the long haul, and I need to remember that I am doing enough, I am completing everything I need to on time.
However, writing all the series in one go has been more a strategical aspect of writing, because I'm going to publish them immediately after the other.
Another thing I learned is advertising. I took a course and am yet to implement the strategies (just because I've been waiting for the second novel to publish). In 2019, I'm going to be making a greater effort to advertise my books, especially while I write the next series.
Perhaps a big mistake I made was publishing without the various levels of editing. Again. It happened the first time round with An Unlikely Betrayal, and then this time round with Standstill.
I was too eager to publish the novel, so I did. Without an afterthought to the poor reading experience it would offer readers. That all changed with The Red Viper.
I got a developmental editor, and I also got it copy edited and proofread. I'm doing the same for the second instalment in the Jake Tanner series. I'm trying to streamline the process as much as possible, and I'm trying to make the most of the free writing time I have while the manuscript is with one of the editors.
All of this adds up to a perfected (or nearly perfected) book. And that's what I want. I want a product I can be happy with (which I am now), and I want products that readers will be happy with, products they’ll remember for life.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN 2019
This is the best bit. This is the nitty gritty. This is the part where I get to explain what's still to come in 2019.
And, believe me, I've got a few good ideas up my sleeve I'm sure you'll love.
Here's a list of them;
More stories again…
Instead of giving you loads of preamble about them all, legs just get into the minutiae of it!
Simply put, there will be more Jake Tanner stories coming your way in 2019. I am currently working through the latest novel in the Terror Thriller series, which is about a terrorist attack in The Shard. An estranged geneticist takes a restaurant inside the building hostage, and endangers Jake and his family. It will be a full-length novel, and it will be the last one in this series that I publish for some time.
Earlier in the year I hit a roadblock. I had decided to come up with two prequel series that better explored Jake and his rise to his present standing within SO15, and this raised the question: what order do I write and publish the books in?
The answer, according to my readers: chronologically.
So that's what I'm going to do.
The two prequel series are: CID CASES, and SO15 FILES. Both are going to be in shorter story form — serials and novellas, respectively. There are going to be six CID CASES, and nine SO15 FILES, and they’ll follow Jake’s progression through the departments.
I’ve been spending the past couple of months writing the entire SO15 FILES series. And I've written six of them so far. It's going well.
Once I've finished writing the entire SO15 FILES series, I'll begin the CID CASES. I realise I'm writing them all in a backwards chronology, but I think that will help me develop the later series because I'll know what's going on and where characters can come into play later on.
With any luck, I should have two CID CASES published in 2019. With many more to come in the future.
It's the same day every year. And it's perhaps one of the most important days of your life: the day you came into existence.
And I think that should be celebrated.
Whenever it's your birthday, you sometimes get marketing offers from companies giving you an exclusive discount. And I thought to myself — why don't I do the same with my readers?
That's when I decided I was going to give readers on my mailing list an exclusive, never before seen Jake Tanner short story. Yep. That's right.
The short stories will be about minor/major events in Jake Tanner’s life: his first day at work, his first encounter with Elizabeth — the lot.
And that’ll be sent to you, on your birthday. How cool is that? There will be more details on it to come in the new year, so keep an eye out. It will only be exclusive to readers on my mailing list, so if you aren’t already on it, then you can sign up here — and you get a free copy of The Red Viper.
More stories again…
I’ve scheduled some of my time to write fancy little short stories for you to enjoy. They’re going to be completely unrelated from any of the Jake Tanner series, but they will be macabre, and they’ll offer a tiny little insight into my weird and wonderful mind. I’ll try to write one every month. So we’ll see how that goes. I’ll most likely post them on Wattpad, Medium, and also my website.
2019 is going to be the year I step my career up a gear. This year has been a bit relaxed — I've been trying to find my feet, trying to get my head around what I need to do to succeed.
Well, in 2019, as part of my desire to do well, I'm going to be running a lot more promotions, giveaways, and entering into cross-promotions/group-promotions with other authors.
Every quarter or so (potentially), I'll be making one of my titles either free or discounted, which will be fantastic for new readers if they've never encountered me before. Think of it like a try before you buy.
Perhaps this is my favourite one, the most prestigious (they say to leave the best till last, right?).
Surprisingly, as a millennial, I don't really like social media. I think it's a massive time suck and a waste of time. Yet I still scroll through Instagram and Facebook pretty notoriously — although, thanks to the new screen time app on my iPhone I've restricted myself to just an hour a day.
The other day, however, I was on Snapchat, and something caught my eye. Big time.
It was like one of those murder mysteries/escape room type thing. The general premise of it was, there is a murder (based on real life) and there are four suspects. You, the listener/reader, has to solve the crime and solve the mystery.
And that's when I had a brilliant brainwave.
I thought to myself, what if every month I do something similar?
So that's what I plan to do. My aspiration for this, is, basically, to come up with at least twelve different murder scenarios, give you four suspects and a series of clues that’ll lead you to them.
How does that sound? Awesome, right?
The platform I intend to use this on is Facebook Messenger. And there will be more details coming soon. But if you haven’t already subscribed to my Facebook Messenger Bot, you can do so here.
Part of this post has been for you, so you can listen and learn and get yourself excited about everything that's to come in 2019. But it's also to keep myself accountable. However, we all know what happens — life gets in the way and things change.
But I'm looking forward to what the year brings.
Here’s to 2019.