Looking Back and Planning Ahead

by Kristy Tate

Here’s a confession. I didn’t go to business school. My husband, on the other hand, graduated top of his class with an MBA. He loves numbers, charts and spreadsheets. I do not. Mostly, I’m okay with the lack of numbers in my life. Although, because I would like a few more zeros on my checks from Amazon and Draft2Digital, about this time each year I pause to rethink my business strategy. I find it useful and interesting to look back on what I thought I’d accomplish and what actually came to pass.

(You can read more about me at kristytate.com and kristystories.blogspot.com)

As you’ll see, I surpassed my goals in some areas and didn’t even make a showing in others. I’ve glommed together blog posts written about this time each year. I hope you find it useful—not in a this-is-what-you-should-do way, but in a this-is-what-one-person-did-and-look-at-where-it-landed-her way.

But first, here’s my goals for 2019. They may be complicated by family trips and obligations. For example, I have trips to Israel, Egypt, and Russia planned and paid for in the spring. I’ll be attending my daughter’s out of state university graduation in April. I’m sure I’ll be visiting my elderly father a number of times (he lives about 1200 miles north of me.) And I want to go to Boston and Maine in the fall. Yes, all of these things will detract from my writing time, but they’ll also add to my living, give me something to write about and photo opportunities for my blog.

Also, you may notice that in 2015 I had a five-year goal of having 20 published novels and now in early 2019, I have 26 full-length novels and five novellas. I’ve already exceeded my five-year goal, but not, sadly, my financial goals. I still don’t have that house on a lake.

Planning Ahead – My Goals For 2019

Write 5+ Novels
3 Destination Romances
1 Christmas novella for the annual Authors of Main Street Box set
The seasons series, my collaboration with Greta Boris
Flesh out the novella The Music of You and Me turn it into a novel and publish
Rework and republish early mysteries and create pen-name and promotion schedule. If this goes well, create a romance           pen name separate from my YA books

Have a free day once a month and book promos.
Make all books into paperbacks.
Make all series into box sets.
3-4 blog posts for every free book, including:
· Excerpt plus recipe.
· Excerpt plus research.
· Excerpt plus writing craft.
· Excerpt plus story’s origin idea
Take AMS course (January 7th)
Experiment with Facebook ads

Foothill Ranch Library (February 5th)
Goleta book club (March 5th)
Get more involved in RWA
Go to two writers’ conferences

Outline all books and create vision boards

Looking Back – Revisiting 2018

What I planned vs. what actually happened

Create 3 blog posts a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
     This seems like a totally doable goal that I did not do. Why not? Is it something I should do going forward?
Newsletter 2x a month
     Because I started doing newsletter swaps, I actually started doing two newsletters a week. Since then, I’ve decided                to cut back to a newsletter a week and I feel really good about that decision.

Publish something every 3 months (novels, short stories, etc.)
Contact 2 reviewers a day
     I don’t think I ever contacted a reviewer. Hmm…should I do that? I now send out a read and review request to my                  newsletter list. For my latest soon to be released novel, I had about 40 people offer to read and review. We’ll see how            many actually post reviews.
Rewriting Rita (published)
Clockwork (published as The Tick-Tock Between You and Me)
Nora (published as Dreaming of You and Me)
Blog Book (not published)
The Music Between You and Me novella (published in the Authors of Main Street box set, but since I want to publish it as a        novel, it’s gone dark until I have time to look at it.)

I didn’t have these planned:
That Song in Patagonia (novella, published)
The Billionaire’s Beagle (published)

So, a total of four books and two novellas. Plus, on a personal note, one wedding and two new grandbabies, and one unexpected hospitalization and surgery.

You can also read about:
2017 2016 Wrap-up

2016 2015 Business Plan and 2016 Projections

In conclusion, I hope that this gives you an insight into the somewhat scattered mind of a writer struggling to also put on a business hat. As I said, I’m not holding this up as an example of what I think you should do…in fact, if I’m looking back while wearing my business hat, I would say to my earlier self, you should have picked one genre and stuck with it. Your books are all over the place…but you know what? I loved each of the stories. I can’t regret writing any of them. I learned something about myself, and I created something from nothing.

That’s still really cool, if not especially lucrative.

Maybe someday I’ll get the business end reined in. Maybe this is the year I become disciplined enough to look at my numbers daily and be consistent with my marketing. Or maybe not. Even if my marketing and promotion schedule remains as haphazard as the rest of my life, at least I’ve written the books.

And here are some things that can’t be measured by numbers:

  • The joy of presenting at a school or library and watching a kid’s face as he helps create a story.
  • The letters I get from readers who love my books.
  • The interaction with the people on my email list.
  • The reviews (most of them).
  • The friends I’ve made and the cool people I get to meet because of my writing.
  • And, most importantly, that exhilarating rush that comes from grabbing hold of a good idea, capturing it on the page, and writing it down so you can share it with the world.

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Kristy Tate, AuthorKristy Tate – YA, Romance, Women’s Fiction

Kristy Tate lives in Southern Orange County with her husband, son, and her Schnauzer, Grendel. She studied English Literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU’s international center in London. She is an award winning, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author. Learn more at http://www.kristytate.com/.

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