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Scoring 2014 and Setting 2015 Goals

What a perfect coincidence that 2014 ends on a Wednesday - just in time for me to update my blog.  Time for me to look back at the goals I set on January 1st and see how well I did.

1) Send at least 15 queries to literary agents by June 17, 2014.
Done!  I actually made good on this one, believe it or not, but I stopped talking about it (outside of the frustration at reading condescending advice) because I was feeling too depressed.  Turns out wallowing in your own insecurities isn't very good for progress.

2) While I'm at it, let's go ahead and finish A Tale of 100 Stories by June 17, too.
Ugh.  Didn't even touch it.

I'm pretty psyched about this book.  It's a little bit gimmicky at first glance, but I have some huge ideas for it and I think it could be a pretty significant children's book some day with the right marketing and presentation.  But there's so much I can't do on my own - to really pull it off, I'd need a good partner to do over 100 illustrations, and that's going to be expensive as hell.  I could try to get a publisher to absorb that cost instead, but since I've already committed to the self-publication route for the foreseeable future, that really puts me in a bind.

So, long story short, I'll probably hold off on doing anything with this one for a little while longer.

3) Write another novel by June 30, 2014.
Done!  Sort of.  I was about ten weeks late, but I did finish writing "Born Loser" in September.  Considering that I was also revising and publishing I Need a Job at the same time, I'm going to call this one a victory.

4) Write another novel by December 31, 2014.

Less done.  I did write 50,000 words of a first draft of "Bill Roman Is Being Oppressed" in November, and that was pretty close to a complete book.  But since I never actually made good on my promise to finish it before the year ended, I have to call this one a loss.  Damn.

5) Get a literary agent by December 31, 2014.
Nowhere close.  In my original goal-setting post, you'll notice a distinct difference in tone and attitude when it comes to self-publication.  I had at one point thumbed my nose at self-publishers, thinking that it was a shameful way of side-stepping the challenge and validation of having a group of professionals legitimize your work.  But after realizing that publishing houses and literary agents are more than happy to bend over backwards to publish all kinds of horrid shit and I don't have time to wait for somebody to hold my hand, I decided that self-publication was really the only way to go until the rest of the world catches up.

So... fuck this goal.  It screwed up my head and my confidence so badly for so much of my life that I'm only just now recovering. I'm not against having an agent, but I'm not going to bother until one of my books takes off like crazy and I really need help.  In the meantime, I'm content just to know that I've put myself out there for the world to see.

Now it's time to set some new goals for 2015.  But before I do that, I'm going to post an arbitrary New Year's picture.  Not because I feel festive or anything like that, but rather because I only recently discovered that Google+ uses my profile picture as a preview anytime I post a wall of text, and I don't need my fat mug filling up my activity history any more than it already has.

Thanks to HolidaysWishes.Net and/or Google Image Search for bailing me out.

So, here's what I'm hoping for in 2015:

1) Finish writing "Bill Roman" for real by my 31st birthday (March 2, 2015).

I know I said this should be easy forever ago, but I really mean it.  Finishing "Bill Roman" should really not be that much more work.  I just need to get my groove back.

2) Revise "Co-Pay" multiple times and have a basically-final draft by June 30, 2015.

The current draft is really solid considering that it was written in only 30 days, but it needs some major work to be satisfying.  It's got tremendous potential, so I want to make sure I buckle down and focus on this one in 2015.

3) Publish "Co-Pay" by October 1, 2015.

Since I've committed myself to self-publication, I figure I should keep up a schedule of at least one book release a year.  "Co-Pay" is a good follow-up to I Need a Job - still comedic, but a vast departure in tone and content.  It includes a little bit of thriller and science-fiction flavor even though it's not really either of those things.  It should hopefully help me to define my style without pigeonholing me into too specific a genre.

4) Sell 100 copies of I Need a Job by December 31, 2015.

This really is not that impressive a number.  My understanding is that virtually every self-published book hits this number within a few years - 100 copies is kind of like the most basic expectation you can have.  Selling 100 copies is probably another way of saying that your book failed.

As of today, I'm up to 30 copies sold, so this is actually well underway already.  Who knows, maybe I'll have a sudden bestseller and in six months I'll read this post and laugh.

5) Write another novel by December 31, 2015.

I almost did two in 2014, so surely I can get another one in the pipeline in 2015.  I'll need to if I'm going to commit to keeping my momentum going.  Should be doable if I'm not distracted with too many other projects at the same time.

Hope everybody else has a productive and healthy 2015, too.  Happy New Year, Internet!