News Progress Post

Progress Report 2024 Week 01

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a safe holiday. This week, I not only look back on what I did (and didn’t!) do last week. I reflect on 2023 as a whole. I also reaffirm my desire to go toe-to-toe with an old foe. But before we talk about any of that, let’s look at the numbers!

Progress Report 2024 Week 01 By the Numbers

Holiday weeks are great for my word count! But the normal work schedule comes back this week, so please don’t expect me to hit these numbers for a while!

I have to say that writing 14,058 words for the week felt great! I’d love to be able to do that routinely. Maybe I’ll be able to after I retire, but until then, I’ll celebrate last week as an accomplishment.

The proofreader finished with Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities last week. I took delivery of the edits yesterday. Next, I’ll incorporate the edits back into the manuscript and start shopping for a cover. If all goes well, there’s a chance I’ll publish before the end of the month! I can’t promise, though, because I’m still in startup mode on my new job, and it takes precedence.

Accomplishments for 2023

In 2023, I published two novels:

  • Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target: April 11, 2023
  • Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus: August 20, 2023

A combination of Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) and Real Life work Events (ELWEs) pushed Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities into 2024. Fortunately, the RLFEs and RLWEs didn’t delay my writing by any significant factor. I lost a day here and there, but the words continued to flow.

With the help of Writing Wives, I laid the foundation for my Evolution’s Hand Facebook ads campaign. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I have the basics down, and the ads are helping sell books. How helpful were those ads? I started running ads midway through 2023. In 2023, I sold 9x more books than I did in 2022.

I should mention that Facebook wasn’t the only platform I tried. I also explored Robin Reads, Book Barbarian, and The Fussy Librarian. They accounted for as many sales as Facebook.

I doubt I can manage a 9x growth in 2024, but I’m not going to dismiss the possibility. And that brings me to the next point.

Overall Goals for 2024

Of course, writing is the number one goal. I’ve almost finished The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning (see below for more details), and I have two more books planned in that series. In 2024, I hope to publish:

  • Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities
  • Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak

Beyond “merely” writing, though, I have to continue the battle against my ancient nemesis: marketing. I think I have a working understanding of the ad process. In addition to The Writing Wives, I’ve also learned to fill in additional details from David Gaughran. I know at a ten thousand foot level how the pieces fit together. Now, I’m going to focus on optimizing the effectiveness of each step for my books.

I started getting serious about advertising and marketing in June 2023. You can also see where I throttled back in December, 2023.

The people who read my books like them, at least according to the ratings and the feedback I get from editors, beta readers, and paying readers. I need to find out how to get my books in front of more readers — which is the same problem all indie writers have. I’ll keep studying and evaluating how other writers (like Chris Fox) approached the problem (or opportunity) of marketing for their genres.

I think the core issue here is that being good at marketing requires a point of view I’ve not been able to adopt. I enjoyed a lot of success as an application developer because I saw how all the parts worked together. Writing novels is the same way. Even if I lack skills in certain areas of writing, I can improve those skills because I understand the context. Marketing, though, still feels like an unknowable realm.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here were my goals from last week:

  1. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 Part 1: Done!
  2. Write Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint: Done!
  3. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 Part 2: Done!
  4. Write Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2: Done!
  5. Write Owen Payne’s Pre-Resolution Chapter: Done! This turned out to be the second part of his Plot Turn 2 chapter.
  6. Receive the proof edit for Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities: Done!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 01

Here are my goals for this week:

  1. Write part 1 of Ira Malhotra’s Resolution
  2. Write Luisa Brunner’s Resolution
  3. Write Owen Payne’s Resolution
  4. Write part 2 of Ira Malhotra’s Resolution
  5. Send The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning to an alpha reader
  6. Begin incorporating proofread into Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities (stretch objective)

What Do You Think?

Do you conduct your own marketing? Did you hire someone to handle it for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences — please feel free to share in the comments!

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