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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Year in Review - 2014

As many of you know, 2014 was my first year in the writing/author/novel game. Looking back twelve months, I can't honestly tell you what I thought 2014 would bring. But, I can say now that this past year has been fruitful beyond any of my wildest dreams.

Book Sales

In 2014, I managed to sell almost 4,000 copies of two books: WWIV - In The Beginning, and, WWIV - Kids at War. Not bad for a rookie. In dollars, I grossed slightly more than $6,000 from these sales. Again, I'm happy with this result.

What did I expect going into this business? I actually have no idea. I'm a planner, a financial guy, so I should have had some sort of budget figured out beforehand. But the cold truth is, I didn't. I just wanted to sell some books in 2014. Honestly, I can't tell you if that meant 30 copies, 300 copies, or almost 4,000 copies.

I do know this, though: my plan would have been much closer to 300 (one book per day) than 3,000.

For 2015, I'd like to raise my gross sales number to $15,000. To do this, I plan on releasing three more novels (actually two novels and a novella). Total book sales, in units, will reach approximately 9,000, perhaps as high as 10,000. At least these are my goals.


P&L for the Year

Somehow, against the usual odds a first-time writer faces, I made money in this venture last year. While I'm still compiling the final numbers, I believe my expenses, all told, were somewhere around $3,600. That means I made about $2,400 at this business.

The two categories where I spent the most money were editing ($1150) and advertising ($750). The editing expense is necessary in my mind. The first book had one edit, book two had three edits. Most books going forward will have three edits. The way I see it, it's better to have a good product than a cheap product. There are still some errors I find that need fixing. But overall, I want to present a decent product first and foremost.

Advertising money in 2014 was mostly thrown to the wind. I didn't really have a plan, so I had no roadmap to follow. I did a little of this and that, but mostly very little as far as well-planned advertising. I need to do a much better job of this in 2015.


Blogging

In 2014, I posted 65 posts that were visited some 3,600 times. That's an average of 360 visits per month (I began blogging in late February).

I'd like to have better reach in 2015. Perhaps increase my visits to 500 per month. That will give my 52 posts in 2015 some 115 views each week. I realize in 2014 a number of views were bot driven; so if I can, I'd like my 2015 numbers to be real people visiting.

I would also like the content of my blog to be more consistent, more about this writing life I have chosen. While, for the most part, I stuck to that in 2014, 2015 needs better focus on my part.


Website

I have a website. Occasionally, like two or three times daily, that site receives visits. But that's where it ends for me.

My website is a disaster; and absolute colossal failure on my part. I'd invite you to visit the abyss, but it wouldn't be worth your time.

The only improvements I made last year to my site was occasionally updating my 2014 reading list. I need to, I must, do a better job of making this site usable and relevant.


Writing Projects

I created three manuscripts this past year. Books three and four of my WWIV series, and a prequel that will be released soon (and given away for free).

Proofing, editing, rewriting and such took up more time than I had planned in 2014. I can't tell you how many times I read and reread my first two novels last year. I know it was at least a dozen times each. Also, I format my own manuscripts; both for e-books and paperback. You want a time-sucker? Formatting! But I did it and I'm proud of my accomplishments.

Between the small amount of research and marketing, I seem to waste time on, I manage to rob myself of what could otherwise be productive, creative hours. I have so many ideas for new novels. And most of them are just swirling around in my brain, laid down on paper nowhere. I need to do better and create more content. What I really need is a time machine so my days have 50 hours each.

In 2015, I will finish my WWIV series. The last book most likely will not be published until 2016, but I may get it out yet this year. 2016 will also bring the release of book one in my epic series, The Smith Chronicles. I need to spend some time this year being sure that book one, Golden 5, is ready for beta reading later in the year.


There it is, my 2014 raw data and 2015 projections. A person without a plan can never fail, nor succeed. So I challenge all of you, writings and readers, to make some plans for 2015. And maybe even make them public; hold yourself accountable. Develop a plan and work it to fruition.


e a lake


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