Welcome to 2020! I can't believe we're back in the 20s. I have big things planned this year, but before we get to that, let's look at my goals for last year.
1. Work on three Work-In-Progresses at once
The three projects I wanted to work on were The One and the Other Volume One, Poetry Book #1, and my NaNo 2018 novel. I didn't really complete this goal. I did finish The One and the Other Volume One, wrote some poems, and wrote the first chapter of my NaNo novel, but I didn't work on them all enough to claim I reached this goal. I said in my 2019 goal post that I wanted to have finished 90% of the poems in Poetry Book #1, but I didn't accomplish that.
2. Hit 100 subscribers on YouTube
When I made this goal, I honestly wasn't sure I was going to reach it. Out of the four goals I made, this was the only one that was somewhat out of my hands. I was shocked when not even halfway through the year, I not only met this goal but far surpassed it. As I'm writing this post, I'm sitting at 825 subscribers. I'm almost to 1000! My growth has not been because of how much I've been positing but what I've been positing. I've focused on filling the gap of the poetry advice videos in the YouTube market and it's paying off! Thank you to everyone that has subscribed!
3. Promote Sensuality.
I'm not sure I promoted this as much as I originally intended when I made this goal, but I did enough to consider this accomplished. When I reached 100 YouTube subscribers, I hosted a giveaway where I gave away three signed copies of Sensuality. One of the recipients ended up leaving me a review! The first review is a huge accomplishment. I didn't end up soliciting for any other reviews from book reviewers, though.
I have been posting excerpts on my Instagram from not only Sensuality.'s poems but also other poems I've written. I've been growing a small following there, and the platform is proving to be a cool place to share my poetry with my friends. I don't usually talk about my poetry since I find it difficult, so I'm glad that I'm able to share my love for poetry with the people in my life this way.
4. Start Monthly Newsletter For My Email List
I did not do this. I sent out one email this entire year. Crafting an email takes time, so I often don't want to do it.
One thing that's stood out to me is my changing mindset when it comes to social media and marketing. For the longest time, I felt embarrassed at the idea of marketing my writing because I didn't want to spam people or I thought that my friends would think it's ridiculous. I chose to share my poetry on Instagram anyway, and the response from people has been fantastic. I no longer see posting as some spamy way to get followers but as a way to share what I am working on with the people that are close to me (and other people on the Internet who stumbled upon me). I hope to take this mindset shift with me to email marketing and send out more emails this year. I'm shifting the focus of my emails to be less about getting people to engage with what I'm already posting and to be more about giving people a sneak peak into my projects.
Well, that's 2019, and Time has demanded we move onto a new decade.
Instead of doing a goals post, I'm going to try something different. I haven't read any of Brandon Sanderson's books (yet) but I love reading his State of the Sanderson posts he does at the end of every year. That dude is such a productive writer! I can only dream of producing as much content as he does one day. In his State of the Sanderson posts, he gives updates on all the projects he's working on, and I decided to do something similar.
I'll start with the obvious candidate:
The One and the Other Volume One
I'm finally publishing it! I really could've published it at the end of last year but I was too overwhelmed by the process to start. But this year I've accepted that now is the time. I'm also graduating college this May, and I fear that if I go off into the real world still without having published this book, I won't have the means to publish it for a long time. Also, there's no reason to wait. It's finished. The plan is to publish in the spring.
I finished my last line edits a couple of weeks ago and have just sent it off to my proofreader. I've also commissioned a cover designer but they won't be able to work on it till end of February/early March. I'm hoping to reveal the cover and official release date soon after, so like mid-March.
I'm announcing the title on my Instagram this coming Monday! I'll finally be able to call it something other than The One and the Other Volume One [which is such a mouthful]. You can follow me here. I'll also be sharing updates about my novel to my newsletter subscribers before anyone else. They already heard the title last Wednesday. If you want this upcoming information before anyone, you better sign-up!
In the new couple of weeks, I'll also be releasing the finalized back cover book blurb and a YouTube video with details about the novel.
There's a lot of work ahead, but now that I've started the process, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. I've been preparing for this for years by researching all that I could about the process. I can do this!
Poetry Book #1
This isn't anywhere close to having a title, so I'll be calling it this generic name for a while. This year, I wrote a handful of poems for it, revised some others, and cut down ideas for unwritten poems that I've discovered would have been unnecessary or combined two ideas into one. I'm less than 15 poems away from finishing, though this is not counting revisions. Once I publish The One and the Other Volume One, this will be my main project till I finish the first draft of all the poems. I would love to have a completely finished manuscript by the end of the year. This is a project that I'm considering traditional publication for. Poetry is a vehicle for me to express opinions about things I care deeply about, so traditional publication appeals to me because of its larger reach. Self-publishing is still an option, though.
I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo 2018, re-outlined, wrote the first chapter, and haven't touched it since. Don't get me wrong, I love the world, the characters, the plot, etc. Just between everything else, I don't have the time or focus to devote to it. For now, it's regulated to a project that I'll work on for the brief moments where I feel like it.
The Rest of The One and the Other Series
The One and the Other will be a five book series. Since I've finished the first volume, I started fiddling around with an outline for the sequel and realized that I need to write a novella between volumes one and two. This novella will be a prequel that occurs over 180 years before the first volume and will revolve around an important figure mentioned in the first novel. I've already sketched out an outline, so really the next thing to do is to start writing whenever I have time.
But before I put pen to paper--or more accurately fingers to keyboard--I need to create a series bible for The One and the Other. If you don’t know, a series bible is a document or a collection of documents that has all the information about the plot, characters, settings, etc. that have made an appearance so that way the author can use it as a reference guide. It’s a must have tool if an author wants to avoid continuity errors and wasting time looking up what they wrote in previous books when writing the new one. I also want to make a series bible in order to remember which small plot threads I need to weave into the sequel's plot. I'm going to try to do this before I go too far into outlining volume two.
2020 is going to have many awesome things! This is the moment I've been working up to for several years, and I'm overjoyed to share my novel with you. Sign-up for my newsletter, follow me on Instagram, or head back over to this blog soon so you don't miss any exciting news. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
Mary K Gowdy