Michelle Isenhoff

A Look Forward and a Look Back

What a year! There are things about 2012 I’d like to repeat and things I never want to go through again. I suppose that’s like any other year. As far as my writing is concerned, it’s also been a mixed bag. Now it’s time once again to pick out the highlights, celebrate the goals met, and start planning for next year.
Of course my list of accomplishments has to start with the publication of not one, but TWO books during 2012: Beneath the Slashings, which finished off my Civil War trilogy (whew!) and Song of the Mountain, a project that spanned several years. I also released my first podcast and put together my first blog tour. I learned a good deal in both cases. The first I will repeat; the second, probably not. In addition, my blog experienced substantial growth this year as I added over one hundred middle grade and young adult book reviews and shared many posts about the ins and outs of self-publication. I am well-satisfied with all these accomplishments.
One thing I am not satisfied with is book sales. I pulled in just under two thousand dollars this year. While that’s three times the amount I made my debut year, it’s a ridiculously low amount. As my books have been given very fair ratings from strangers as well as friends, I’m left to assume obscurity is the biggest culprit. Second is the lack of enthusiasm among adult readers for children’s literature. I cannot change the latter (and I will not change my genre), but the former does leave room for improvement. I confess my promotional efforts have been pretty much nonexistent. So my first goal of the new year is the implementation of a marketing plan. Fortunately, I have a lot of ideas. I’ve just been lazy in this regard.
My second goal, of course, is publication of my current MG manuscript by summer. I’m not sure that I can also bring my YA manuscript to print this year, but I am setting a substantial word count goal. I also plan to release 2-3 more of my titles as podcasts. I may even dabble a bit at submitting to traditional publishing houses, though I cringe at my loss of control. (Obscurity…control…obscurity…control…hmmm…)

Hee! Hee! I loved this one.
Hee! Hee! I loved this one.

These are some lofty goals that far exceed last year’s. The only way I can hope to meet them is to break them down into monthly and weekly chunks. I’m also giving myself permission to read less and cut my blog reviews to only once a week. While I love to read—and might later give myself permission to write less and read more—it takes a lot of time. This balance is always tricky for me. I don’t want to be a servant to my writing, my reading, or my blog. But I do know if I don’t set some solid writing goals, I’ll have nothing to show for myself next year at this time.
And so I continue to try to turn this hobby into a career. I’m eager to see what 2013 brings!
What goals did you meet this year? What do you hope to accomplish next year?

A Look Forward and a Look Back

7 thoughts on “A Look Forward and a Look Back

  1. You are one of the most prolific writers I know You have published so many books in the last year. I hope you take your trilogy and send it to an agent or publisher and really get that series out there. There are so many publishers looking for middle grade historical fiction — I’ve run across a few who send me books to review. I hope you make that a major goal for next year. I understand the control thing, but it’s hard to promote yourself. There is a small publisher who contacted me to review books, and I have one picture book to review for President’s day. They are just starting to publish children’s books and publish mostly adult. But,the like historical fiction and biographies. Sorry, I’ll stop preaching!

  2. Congratulations!! 😉 TWO books published! 😀 I want to finish T&P (I hope) 🙂 Your books are so good! Sometimes I get books from self-published people and think that they are better than ones published through publishers. Yours are like that! 🙂

  3. Congratulations on achieving your goals from last year and I have no doubt you will exceed your goals for 2013. A friend of mine said “it takes 20 years to become an overnight success” I have come to realize in the world of writing everything takes time, including making money at it. All the best my friend.

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