It’s time for my contribution to July’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog. The question my fellow writers have been asked to answer this month is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time? Be sure to click on the #IWSG icon at the end of my post and check out the responses from dozens of interesting writers.
When I began writing nearly ten years ago, I’m not sure I even had a goal. If I did, it was to remain sane. I’d taken early retirement, was recently widowed, and I lived alone with my dog in a mountain home that I purchased less than a year earlier. Writing filled my days, and often my nights. Looking back, it’s clear. My goal was sanity.
I met Claudia shortly thereafter. A practicing paralegal and a former editor, she immediately took interest in my projects, polishing my writing and providing valuable feedback and encouragement. My writing improved. I hadn’t published anything by that time, nor had I considered doing so, but that changed. My new aspiration was to finish a novel and publish it.
I completed the first draft of Corrupt Connection in late 2011. It’s a crime/suspense novel about a Central American drug cartel attempting to steal biocomputer technology from a U.S. corporation. The cartel targets the male and female protagonists with the intent to develop futuristic, mind-altering, and deadly drugs.
My latest novel is much better written, but to this day, I think Corrupt Connection is one of my better stories. Even so, I was nervous about putting the book out there for others to read. With Claudia’s help, I self-published the novel in June 2012, and my new goal became finding readers.
I’d spent years in marketing, but I was uncomfortable telling people I was an author. My nervous laugh would typically follow mentioning my writing to friends and family. I realized that finding readers would have to wait. I first needed to become comfortable and confident as a writer. My new objective became learning and applying what I learned to my writing.
I focused on writing contests, author forums, and writers groups, both online and in person. My writing improved. I won a few short story competitions. I’ve become more at ease around other writers, and more confident discussing my writing.
I still sell fewer books than I’d like, but I’m comfortable with what I’m doing. While I have a long way to go to reach the goals I’ve set, I’m proud of what I produce. I’ve self-published five novels and two short story collections, and my objectives are much loftier today. I’m very excited about my new murder mystery, At the River’s Edge, which I plan to publish in August.
For the coming months, I’m turning my attention to marketing my new novel, as well as my earlier books. I’ve been spending time learning about social media (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and the role it plays in successfully marketing books. My goal is to sell thousands of copies, not hundreds.
For the past few years, I’ve been donating profits from my two short story collections to North Carolina animal shelters. It’s not much. In fact, I supplement the contributions to not disclose how slow my book sales really are. My current goal is to develop a marketing plan that works. I’d like to sell enough books that my contributions become meaningful to homeless pets and the good people who care for and adopt them.
I still write to stay sane, but sanity is no longer my only objective.
Many thanks to Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne for hosting this month’s blog hop. To follow more than 200 writers participating in this week’s IWSG blog hop, click on the icon below. You can also follow on twitter @TheIWSG or #IWSG.