Designing My Path Through 2022

For a number of years, my first post each January has been a review of the previous year’s writerly achievements followed by my plans for the coming twelve months. I always try to put a positive spin on the first part, even if I’ve not hit every target. And in the second part, I usually set out such a long list of goals that it’s quite clear from the beginning I ‘m going to struggle with them – and will have to put a positive spin on the results the following year – again! And so we come to my first post of 2022 (not the first Monday of the month, but that’s another story). What do I have to say this time?

Objectives for 2021 and outcomes

Today I am re-opening the file on Murder at Mountjoy Manor with the aim of finishing the final edit this month; and hopefully launching it in March or April.

I didn’t launch it in March or April, partly because I found switching from thrillers to cosy/cozy crime much harder than I expected. And partly because of what I learned in Women in Publishing School – more of that later. But I did finish it and it was launched on 19th October. So I’m counting this as achieved.

I am about to sign a contract with a traditional publisher to co-author the second edition of a text book I wrote in 2002. It’s still selling eighteen years later, but is seriously in need of an update. As am I; so there will be lots of research involved in that project.

The contract was signed; the chapters were divided between us; we delivered them on time; and the book is coming out in April 2022. A definite success (under my real name this time).

For years, I’ve been storing up short stories and other pieces of writing; I now have over 200 on file. This is the year I start bringing them out into the light; I predict there will be some collections of short stories and some travel shorts added to my portfolio at some point this year.

In the end, I identified twelve of my best stories, rewrote them in the setting of Coombesford, the village in which my cosy/cozy crime is set, and gave one away free each month with my readers’ newsletter. The first year’s worth will be published in April 2022 as Coombesford Calendar v1 once I’ve sorted out the cover. I didn’t do anything with my travel shorts. So this counts as a partial success.

And this is the year I finally, finally get to grips with online marketing.

After joining the Women in Publishing community as both a speaker and a delegate at the Summit in March, and then subsequently taking the four month Women in Publishing School courses, my latest book launch was my best ever. I sold more copies of Murder at Mountjoy Manor in three days than I sold of Corruption! in three years. I’m well on my way to achieving my stretch targets for the first year of publication. There’s still a way to go with this. But I’m definitely taking this one as a win. (And I’m diving back into Women in Publishing once more in 2022.)

In my spare time (!) I will continue as Director of Exeter Literary Festival; as Treasurer of Exeter Writers; and as Secretary of Chudleigh Writers’ Circle. All this while going with the flow and having fun. Can someone pass me the manual on upgrading to the 36 hour day?

ExeLitFest went ahead in November 2021, and despite the ongoing pandemic, it all went off very well. But it was far from a part-time activity. For several months it took up more than 50% of my time, and for the last few weeks, 100%. It was a hugely rewarding experience and I am really glad I did it. But I’ve now handed the baton on to the new team and am reveling in all the extra time I’ve now recovered.

Exeter Writers and Chudleigh Writers’ Circle remain an important part of my life and we even managed a handful of face to face meetings during the year.

So all in all, I’m feeling quietly pleased with what I managed to achieve in 2021.

Objectives for 2022

As in 2020, my plans for the coming year are overshadowed by another operation looming. On Thursday 20th January (that’s the day after the day after tomorrow, gulp) I’m having my second knee replacement. Last time, I stopped writing for four months! I’m really hoping to be less of a wimp this time around. But I’ve made allowances for that in my scheduling. So here goes:

Coombesford Calendar to be finalised and launched in April. Low key launch. No physical party, but hopefully a bit of a splash online.

Coombesford Chronicles #2 (title yet to be finalised) to be launched in October. The usual physical and online parties, following significant pre-launch activities.

Coombesford Chronicles #3 to be drafted in November during NaNoWriMo.

Planned marketing campaigns to be carried out for each series of books, using different tools and platforms to maximise my learning experience.

A marketing campaign for the pharmaceutical text book; after all, I put a year into writing it. Now I need to help sell it.

And that’s it. I desperately want to add something about travel writing. But I’m going to be sensible and leave that out (although I might be whispering it in my head).

Have a great year, everyone. Same time next year?

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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