Hmmm, yes. The Plan boiled down to hitting an average word count and finding better ways to publicise my work. The Aim, separate from The Plan, was to make enough money to fund trips abroad and other mini adventures which could double as research for future stories.
So how am I doing?
Terribly, if I’m honest.
The target was to average at least 500 words a day, preferably 1000, over the year. As of today, before I do any writing, the average is half the lower target (253.9, to be precise). For a while towards the end of February, I broke through the lower boundary. That was whilst I was working on Slashed, when I had a fairly good idea what needed to be written.
Since finishing Slashed I’ve not really known what to write next, and have had a couple of false starts. It’s become a bit more obvious in the last couple of weeks where the two front-runners, both Irwin tales with similar themes, should go. You And Me Against The World started out as a rambling piece of naughtiness about a dirty weekend then became a tale about baggage from past relationships wrapped up in grifter shenanigans. Throw in some espionage and MI6 style witness protection and I had a reason for Irwin to get involved. Art For Art’s Sake (previously A Death In Didsbury, a title I’ve gazumped for a different story) features characters from So Much To Answer For a few years down the line, getting mixed up in art theft and smuggling, forgery and murder. Again, Irwin doesn’t instigate any of the shenanigans but comes in to lend a hand, strictly off the books of course.
I’m researching art theft and smuggling for Art For Art’s Sake at the moment, then I’ll have to find two scams big and complicated enough for You And Me Against The World. Then, hopefully, I can hit my writing stride again. Beyond that I’ve thrown a few scene notes and background into yWriter for the next Garth Owen project, working title Post, which will flip a few of the zombie/virus outbreak tropes on their heads. I’m also planning to do a few stories in the universe I created for the Mongrels mini comics I did a few years ago, starting with a novelisation of Who Let The GODs Out?
So, when I get writing again, I have plenty of projects to get on with. As I recognised a long time ago, it’s the promotion where I need to work out what I’m doing. I’ve looked into getting business cards, or maybe bookmarks printed up, though the latter don’t really work when most of my publications are electronic. Getting mentioned on Daily Cheap Reads last week didn’t have a huge effect upon sales, though I guess it is one more link to my books to help them get found. I’ll keep trying to get onto other people’s blogs to build up a presence, but I don’t hold out a lot of faith in the effects. Press releases to the local press and contacting the local libraries will carry on as well.
I have come a long way from when I first formulated The Plan. I’ve written two novellas and published them and a bit of my back catalogue. Sales are in double figures, which isn’t much but is far more than if I’d just sat back and waited for something to happen. All the books are out there for as long as I want them to stay available, so when people start searching for me there’s a far larger rack of books for them to find. And that rack is going to continue filling, though maybe not as fast as I’d like it to.