Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

It’s become a custom for the first post of each year to be a review of how I got on with the previous year’s objectives and the list of new goals for the new year. And this post is no exception. You may observe me putting a positive spin on the first part, no matter what reality looks like, but what’s the point of working for myself if I can’t be kind to my employee once in a while?

Objectives for 2022 and outcomes

This time last year, I was about to have my second knee replacement operation. Knowing the first one wiped me out for four months, I was reasonably frugal in the objectives I set for myself. I resisted the temptation to add my long-planned travel writing project to the list and kept it pretty simple. In the event, I found the experience much less traumatic second time around and was back at my laptop within a few days. So how did I get on with my objectives?

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

The first collection of short stories, Coombesford Calendar v I, set in the same village as the cozy crime novels, was published on time in April. I kept it low key and consequently, sales were relatively modest. But it’s an addition to the Coombesford library and that was my main aim.

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

Villainy at the Village Store was launched on 18th October, a year to the day after Murder at Mountjoy Manor. We did indeed have another party in the church, complete with live music from local duo The Wayward Pynes. And my friend and Women in Publishing boss, Alexa Bigwarfe, hosted an online party which was great fun and ended up as a YouTube video. The pre-launch activities were somewhat reduced from the previous time, as I decided I was making life far too stressful and complicated for myself and pruned everything back.

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

I completed NaNoWriMo for the tenth year in a row and made a great start on Calamity at Coombesford Church. I didn’t finish the first draft this time around, since I spent the first part of the month sketching out scenes and writing detailed back stories for the murder victim and the various suspects. But I expect to finish by the end of January and the rest of the project plan will fall into place from there on.

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

As usual, I did far more planning than execution; but am pretty satisfied with the progress I made. I’ve spent more than a decade at this indie publishing lark, and am finally making progress with marketing and selling my ebooks (after years of concentrating on face to face sales). I have Amazon Ads for the cozies which have been running all year and are consistently in profit. I have learned a lot more about how to write effective blurb and advertising copy. I have tried a number of other promotional tools and decided they are not for me. I know which of my books need a revamp. Satisfyingly, I have started selling outside of the UK, with particular success in the US. But most important of all, I think I’ve confirmed the old adage that the best marketing tool is to WRITE MORE BOOKS. Every time I launch a new book, it boosts the sales of the other ones too.

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

This is the main failure on my objective list. The pharmaceutical text book finally came out in July after some interesting glitches in the publication process. I won’t go into detail here but suffice it to say, if I needed further confirmation that the indie route is the right one for me, this project provided that in spades. Drop me a line if you would like an off-the-record chat about my experiences.

So all-in-all, a pretty good set of results, I believe. And some definite decisions made for the future.

Objectives for 2023

Last year was not only overshadowed by another operation, but also, much more enjoyably, by a significant birthday, with all the celebrations that entailed. And it made me realise I didn’t have to chain myself to my desk 24/7. I’m not in this writing game to make a living. It’s supposed to be a fun activity, not a burden. Plus, there are other things out there I want to be doing while I have the chance. So I’m simplifying things this year (although it may not be obvious from the list below).

  • Coombesford Calendar v II to be finalised and launched in April. Low key launch.
  • Coombesford Chronicles #3 (Calamity at Coombesford Church) to be launched in October. The usual physical launch party, following some pre-launch activities.
  • Coombesford Chronicles #4 to be drafted during NaNoWriMo in November
  • Marketing campaigns for the various series, based on a reduced list of tools.
  • More writing, based on whatever I fancy doing at the time.
  • Get out there and have more fun!

And that’s it, folks. If you’ve made it to the end of this ramble, I hope you found it interesting and, if you are a writer, maybe it’s given you food for thought. Same time, same place, next January? Happy New 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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