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Scoring 2016 and Setting 2017 Goals

It's the final week of the year, which means it's time for my annual status review.  Below are the goals I set for myself this time last year:

1) Finish writing the first draft of my post-apocalyptic comedy book before 2016 is over.

I'm making this one a nail-biter.  What the hell, I guess with 2016 being an election year, some part of me was like, "Sure, let's go all-in on a suspenseful and frustrating ending."  I'm not technically done with this goal, but I'm right on the border of it and I still have three days left before I have to call it a loss.

So, let me write both versions of this and you pick whichever one you think works:

Done!  It was such a close call, but I managed to finish my first draft just in time.  I hope I don't end up crunched for time like this again.


Nope.  Didn't quite make it.  I'm about 98% finished with that draft, but not actually done, so this will have to be wrapped up in the first week of 2017.

2) Revise and self-publish my comic heist thriller about gamers before 2016 is over.

Done!  Go buy a copy and leave me a positive review.

3) Promote Bitter People Without Souls on a non-blog campaign.

Done!  I ran a couple of free book promotions and paid for a month of ads on Amazon.  The result?  Utter disappointment.  I generated a total of one sale.

On the other hand, I gave away like 50 copies for free, so that counts for something, right?  You add zero up enough times and it rounds up to one?  That's how math works?

4) Figure out a good daily routine that doesn't turn me into a shitty father.

Gonna have to leave a big question mark on this one.  I can't say I have a good "daily" routine, but I'm getting a better weekly routine.  It hasn't paid off with as much content as I'd like - the blog is only staying on time because I dropped one post a week, and as I noted above, I've been under the gun to wrap up my book, so clearly having two kids has made a big dent in my flexibility.  I guess I would also have to let an outside observer judge whether my parenting is "shitty."  Let's say this goal is about as done as it can be.

So, enough of the past.  Let's look forward to my 2017 goals:

1) Finish and publish that post-apocalyptic comedy book.

I should have no problem sitting on this for a couple months and then using the summer/fall for revisions.  That would keep me on my current routine, which has led to one book a year since 2014.  I'm fairly confident I can keep that up at least into 2017.

2) Run a promotional campaign for Born Loser.

This is easy to do as long as I get a review.  Seriously, guys, just one review.  Preferably positive.  I mean, I guess I could run the campaign now, but I'm worried it'll be a waste - the few people who click on the ad will see what is, to them, an untested product and skip it.

Would it be wrong to pay somebody for a review?  That sounds wrong.  Maybe I shouldn't do that.

3) Finish the first draft of my YA adventure / horror / comedy.

I decided not to give myself a hard deadline for this other than "before 2017 ends."  In years past, I probably would have set this as a mid-year deadline, but I don't want to handicap myself arbitrarily.

If I finish this one, it'll be my first foray into YA fiction, so I'll probably need to sit on it for awhile and revise multiple times to get the tone right.  Looks like I'll also be reading some other YA books for research.  Hope my kids are going to be into it.  Maybe I can get my nieces on board as a focus group, too....

("I know your uncle's a weirdo, honey.  Just pretend you read it and tell him it was good, and he'll leave you alone.")

4) Finish the first draft of the first Teresa Creegan book.

What's this?  I want to finish another book in 2017?  So, seriously, after just barely clinging onto one complete book in 2016, I'm planning on writing two in one year?

It's not as stupid a plan as it sounds.  First of all, a big part of the reason I didn't get as far along with my post apocalyptic book as early as I wanted was because I was working on both my YA book and Teresa Creegan instead.  So, I've already got a head start on both of these projects.  Secondly, the YA book is going to be significantly shorter.  I'm aiming for about 50,000 words for the draft, though I'll settle for 45,000 - and I already have 10,000 done.

It's ambitious, but I think it's the right way to go.  It's nice to have multiple projects to work on at once - when I get frustrated with one, I switch to the other to clear my head.  Plus, it'll be a huge help to have an extra draft in my bank as my schedule gets more and more hectic.  I'd love to have that extra security of knowing that I have a book laying around in case I can't meet my intended book-a-year plan.

Off and running.  Happy New Year, everyone - wish me luck!