As 2019 draws to a close, it's time to look towards 2020 and the start of both a New Year and a new decade. In November, We asked ALLi Members a question: what will you do differently in 2020? There were a huge range of answers, here's some of the highlights.
What Will You Do Differently in 2020?
There were a number of common themes among the comments which is why I've just selected a few. But what was nice about reading them all is the shared experiences we're all going through. Health and ‘not doing it all' is a big one for many of our members. If we want to be here for the long term, we need to look after ourselves, what one thing will you do differently next year to look after yourself? Next in, income was a big topic. Whether it's the desire to increase income streams or stabilise your finances, income is a common theme among members. The last major theme is production, lots of you wanted to increase your output whether it be in a new format like audiobooks or just upping the word count. It looks like next year will be filled with looking after ourselves, increasing our creative output and increasing our income.
“I'm planning to spend much more time writing new books and increasing my rate of publication which has been much slower this year than last – two new books for each of my two series, and some spin-offs (experimenting with a collection of short novellas in a single volume as an addition to my main series). I'll also be seeking the comfort of local bookstores and libraries to restore the balance of too much online time and activity with some real-life reader contact. I also want to spend more time connecting with local bookstores and libraries for their own sake, as vital parts of our local communities, for the good of society, as much as for raising my profile as a local author.”
“It's funny this question should pop up right now. I've had to shift my focus from business and publishing until my degree is over because… put simply, I cannot do it all. My plan is, and has been for a few years now, to get my business, my books and everything connected to them back on track after graduation. I've published 10 books since 2006, written loads more, but some are out of print and some require a refurb as I know more now. But few people who have known me through ALLi know this. Back in early 00s we didn't know half the stuff we do now about self-publishing so having your books judged by today's indie standards is tough. So…after graduation, plan is to get my books how I'd prefer them to be for today's audience. It's been a tough few years not being able to shout out my books but there's been no point. A year from now, I'll get my life back”
Rachel, like Debbie, talked about increased production and that's a common theme among many of the ALLi Members commenting:
“I will probably release my first audiobook. And I'll continue to slowly increase my rate of production – I wrote 4 books last year, 5 this year and hopefully 6 next year.”
Thomas felt the same:
“To actually write more! 2019 has been great for my spin-off illustration career (so much so it's currently bringing in more than the books), but I do need to finish the third part of the trilogy.”
“I plan to be more productive and write more books but also improve my overall writing and publishing craft. I plan to publish a new series alongside my other cozy mystery series. I will be a third of the way through an MA in Creative Writing in January which has opened up new doors and new horizons. I plan to be more involved with the central arts centre at Derby Quad and have been commissioned to teach a Self-Publishing course there. I plan to record my latest memoir myself as an audiobook which will be a first as all my other books are narrated by other people. What I've enjoyed mostly about starting the MA is meeting other people and getting out more. I definitely need to get out more!! I'm also attending my first CrimeFest.”
“This was the year I first earned a full-time income from my writing, so more of the same would be nice. I should hit half a million words written in 2019 by the end of the year, but would like to increase that by at least 25% for 2020.”
“I'm planning to record my own audio book(s). I also intend to start again, with a major SF series, using a new pen name. My target is to publish at least 3 SF books during 2020.”
Alison makes a great point about being kind to yourself and looking after your health which was a key point for several members:
“2020? No operations, no self flagellation because of not producing X number of books and on the positive side, launching the French translation of my first book, INCEPTIO.”
“I'll get up later and go for long walks with Henry, my Border terrier. We're both getting on and time together is very important.”
“My first of many plans for 2020 is to launch a book the right way this time. I put out the first three with zero planning, no NL subscribers much less a review team. And the results I got were a direct reflection of my poor planning. So this time, ARC team is in place, as is a NL of 950 subscribers and growing, and I will be using other brilliant tools that I didn't know about before as well, and come April, I hope to be able to say my results were amazing 😉. Feel free to share any or all of this, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes!”
Income was also a popular focus point for many members:
“I'm trying to stabilize my income some by doing sales of various books in my two mystery series. I'm also getting the one series (the more popular one) done in audio. As that one winds down, I'm looking at ideas for the next series, maybe a police procedural. I also want to finish the two romantic suspense series I started under a different pen name and do some marketing there to try to get some traction going. So the plan is one or two cozy mysteries (current series) coming out in 2020, one or two romantic suspense stories, and maybe the first book in a new series.”
“I increased my writing speed this year and produced more books. I hope to continue that trend next year. I will be also looking at separate opportunities to turn book writing into a sustainable business.”
Maggie McVay Lynch
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“2020 is going to be a year of focused production on fewer books. For the past six years I've tried to do a minimum of four novels and a couple shorts every year, as well as catching up with audio, doing marketing, and running a couple of group projects. This year found me sandwiching all that in with caring for a mother with dementia and my husband who had two surgeries over the past five months.
All this made me realize I absolutely cannot do it all and I need more money to keep myself out of debt and to hire help in these emergencies. I'm at an age where bodies break down and there is no guarantee that I will remain healthy either. So, in 2020 I'm splitting my time between a part-time hourly wage job (20 hours) for consistent income and that has nothing to do with writing, paid blogging on non-fiction topics to diversify my writing income stream, and producing only three novels in 2020 and one nonfiction book (based on my blogging topics). I will continue to catch up my audiobooks as I have time. I have nine completed now and one more contracted in 2020 to finish a series. All others for new series or series I'm still writing, and nonfiction, I will be narrating myself.
This is not exactly how I planned out my retirement and writing business; but life has a way of reminding me I can't control everything and I can no longer weather the ups and downs of sales cycles like I used to be able to do.”
OVER TO YOU
What will you do differently in 2020? Let us know in the comments.
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