Year in Review: 2016

It’s easy to think that you haven’t really gotten far when you’re constantly looking at the next step forward. The end of the year is a perfect time for reflection over what you’ve accomplished in the last 12 months.

Mine have certainly been very busy. While I’m not where I want to be just yet, I’ve come a long way since December 2015.

Accomplishments:

  • Published seven titles
  • Sold over 800 books in 2016 alone
  • Increased my mailing list subscribers tremendously
  • Completed 27 formatting jobs
  • Got my books into four local stores
  • Participated in three local events

All of the goals I set for myself for 2016 have been accomplished, and I’ve done even better than I thought. Looking at my monthly sales graph, things really took off in August when I got the third book out and properly ordered my series. The Full Moon became my bestseller (over 350 sold) since it’s the series starter.

Another goal I set for myself as my sales numbers started to increase was to sell 100 books in a single month. For two months, my numbers reached just below that line (87 in July, 97 in August) until finally, in September I sold 135 books. The next month, I sold 153. That lowered a lot in November and I didn’t cross the 100 books mark, but I crossed it again in December without even really trying.

Getting my books into bookstores was surprisingly very easy. All I did was ask. And okay, my sales numbers there aren’t huge with bookstores (15 sold the last time I got in touch with them in October), but it’s another avenue for discovery. Not only that, it allowed me to accomplish another one of my goals: local events.

The first event I did was kind of a dud. I gave out a couple bookmarks, talked to a few interested people, but otherwise sold nothing. The next one I did was at a Barnes and Noble, which obviously attracted more people. I sold eight books. The next month, I had another one lined up and sold four books, one of each.

Not huge numbers, but it’s nice to get out and act like a real author with real readers. Hopefully I can do a couple more next year.

Goals:

  • Sell 1,000 books in 2017 alone
  • Break even each month
  • Write 200,000 words
  • Sell 100 books a month (or close to it)
  • Don’t give up

If I had sold 60 more books in 2016, I’d have reached 1,000 sold in my publishing career. I’ll cross that threshold next month, but I want to sell 1,000 books in a single year. I’ll obviously exceed that if I reach another one of my goals: sell 100 books a month. Who knows? Maybe six months in I’ll bump it up to 200 books a month.

I thought I didn’t do much writing in 2016, but looking at my word counts, I actually wrote roughly 50,000 words more this year than in 2015. Without even really focusing on writing! I have two novels to write in the next six months, so that’s at least 100,000 words right there. I still need to figure out my publishing schedule for 2018, so I’m not quite sure how many books I’ll need to write in 2017, but 200,000 words seems like an achievable goal.

Don’t give up. I’ve thought about it many times, but this is what I want to do. And it’s amazing to see how every little effort comes together to help you build the foundation of a career in publishing. Every little bit counts. As long as I keep my goals in mind, I just have to figure out the best ways to reach them.

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