The Importance of a Plan

For various reasons, 2020 hasn’t gone according to plan. Quite an understatement, actually.

I did accomplish at least one of the things I’d planed, namely, I’ve published a novel, or at the very least a novel-length collection, once a month, every month.

I’m proud of that accomplishment. 2020 did turn out to be a shitty year in terms of sales. I can’t control that. I set out to publish a novel a month and I did.

Generally, sometime during August/September/October, I come up with a plan for what I’m going to publish for the following year, or at the very least, the first half of the new year.

Now, as I’ve said, I haven’t written as many words or books as I’d planned in 2020. So I am not going to be able to follow up in 2021 with a novel a month.

I have been following the Amazon “pulse” for the last three years. Basically, on the 21st of every month, I publish something I’ve written. (I publish one of Blaze’s works on the 10th of every month.)

I don’t know how much good it does me. I figure I’m higher in the algorithms because of it, that my author ranking is higher. It is nice to get those emails from Amazon, announcing that I have a new book out.

You do know that if you follow yourself on Amazon, they’ll show you all the nice marketing emails they send out on your behalf, right? Because I publish something once a month, they always send out those emails.

I didn’t want to lose the Amazon pulse. However, I had no idea what I was going to publish next year. I had nothing on the calendar except for MCM and the Uncollected Anthology short stories.

Yesterday, Blaze and I had a publishing meeting. We figured out his schedule, both writing and publishing. Then I brought up my issue, and how I didn’t know what I was going to do.

He came up with the brilliant suggestion that I publish a mystery every month. Doesn’t have to be long, could just be a short story. But this is one of the ways of “teaching” the algorithm that I write mystery in addition to fantasy.

This turned out to be a brilliant suggestion. I hadn’t realized how unsettled I’d gotten without a publishing schedule.

I know the first five stories I’m going to publish. Possibly the first eight. I have covers for the first three, and branding for the set. I’m pretty excited about this.

I won’t just be publishing mysteries next year. I’m writing two series currently – a space opera and an epic dark fantasy. I’ll finish those sometime next year, then will publish them as well.

It’s just so good to have a plan, to be able to move forward. I’ve already started warning myself that there’s a good chance that 2021 will continue to be a shit show, no matter who wins the election in November. So many people are unemployed. So many have died. It’s going to take a long time to recover from that. 2021 isn’t suddenly going to be all rainbows and puppies.

But at least I have a plan and can move forward with one of the things I can control: My publishing schedule.

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