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2022 Author Goal Results




Alright, I've got three blog posts that I want to write within the next week or so, so let's get right to it! Last year, I posted a blog about my goals as an author for 2022. Here, I want to examine which of the goals were completed, which of them weren't, and why.



1. Finish Ruination


Status: Complete


Ruination was released in March of 2022. It was my first time using hired beta readers, and I think that they helped tremendously in improving my writing and story structure. For more on how the process went, I recommend reading my Ruination Logs.



2. Begin Decimation


Status: Complete


Not only did I begin Decimation, but I released it in November of 2022, too! :D This marked my first time releasing two books in the same year. Full-time authors probably wouldn't see this as a big deal, but I've been writing in my spare time for a while, now. You can read more about Decimation's development in the Decimation Logs. Though even in those posts, I had some trouble talking about the story. The entire plot of Decimation is a spoiler for Ruination. I was trying not to give too much away! But, long story short, I am happy with how these two novels turned out. Writing a couple of thrillers has completely changed my course as an author, and I feel that it's for the better.



3. Website Improvements


Status: Incomplete


Strictly speaking, a goal like this can never truly be completed. The website is always going to need upgrades and fixes. In five years, it could look horribly out-of-date (Think about how out-of-place sites from the 2000s would look today.)


Still, I did complete most of the listed objectives for this one. The Dark Savior Series Location Guide and glossary. They are somewhat bare-bones, and I think the solution is to have more pictures, but that would cost some serious money. I'm willing to add more, but only after I start making a profit on this series. (Again, more on this later :P )


I made a page for Ruination and created a mailing list that no one wants to sign up for as of now, but the only thing missing is... the dreaded SEO goal. I pretty much talked in the post about how I'm always thinking, "I should look into that!" when it comes to SEO, but I never do. This past year was no exception. I really need to get on that.


I never mentioned this in the post, but I had also wanted to convert the site to a true mobile site for phone browsers. As of now, if you pull this up on your phone, it'll look exactly like how it looks on the computer. This makes the text and pictures quite small, but you can zoom in. It was a temporary solution for what was originally an awful, awful mobile site. Of course, I never even attempted the conversion, but maybe this year is the year?




4. Writing More Short Stories


Status: Incomplete


At the time of listing my 2022 goals, I had already written a short story about one of Gold Fever's antagonists, Wolfgang. Well, by today's definitions, it would be called a "novelette" because it was a little over 10,000 words, but I really dislike that term. I instead settled on calling them "Side Stories". Nice and vague, so I can get away with whatever word count I want! :P


Anyhow, I ended up writing a couple of more side stories: One about Lucia, and the other about Dalton. Both are protagonists in Gold Fever, and I had written in some history that hopefully readers would be interested in. Speaking of which, if you'd like to give these stories a try, you can find them here.


Now, I had also been interested in writing unrelated short stories and releasing them for free on this website. It was meant to give potential readers a preview of my writing; to give them an idea if they would like the flow of my stories, prose etc. But it never materialized. The reasons were twofold:


  1. What are the odds that someone who has never read my books finds this site? Close to zero.

  2. I want to stay focused on free content that drives mailing list sign-ups.


So, I never wrote those other short stories. I'd like to someday, if I can find the time, but for now, they're on the back burner. I won't even be listing them in my 2023 Author Goals post. If I get them done, then it'll be a nice bonus, but I'm not too worried about it at this time.








5. Attend a Writer's Retreat


Status: Never Started


This goal was always meant to be a sleight of hand. I had never intended to attend a writer's retreat. This was instead supposed to be a premise for a crazy idea I had for a thriller; one that would be a multimedia book. That is to say, I wanted to release a book that had both text and video in it. It would have been an e-book exclusive.


I was going to play it all off like it was real, though. Like an ARG, where I'm interacting with people and acting like it had all really happened to me. The book would have been released in first-person perspective. I would attend a writer's retreat at a remote log cabin, and like an obnoxious blogger, bring a camera along to document the experience. Then, fellow attendees start acting weird. Odd chants in the middle of the night, changes in their eyes, sudden outbursts from otherwise calm people... It'd be like I stumbled on a cult. Since I have no phone reception, I start filming the strange happenings and write about the parts that I don't capture on film.


I had convinced some friends to take part in the story. I'd rent the cabin up in the white mountains and we could do a bit of filming. It was all coming together, but then Amazon hit me with the soul-crushing reality: They don't allow indie authors to release multimedia books. I had been reading up on their rules, and in the fine print, they mention that only traditional publishers could do it. Someday, if they decide we indies are worth the trouble and let up on their restrictions, I'll absolutely delete this part of the blog and go back to my original plans. For now, though, no "writer's retreat".



6. Rewrite of Gold Fever?


Status: Complete (In Progress)


After finishing up Decimation in November, I decided that Gold Fever should be rewritten. I'll get more into why it needed to be done in an upcoming blog, but the short of it is that I want the Dark Savior Series to be nine books long. If Gold Fever is a barrier to entry because of its weak narration style, then how can I expect people to pick up more of the books? I could write eight amazing books, but no one would read them if they didn't like the one that came before.


Simply deciding whether or not to go through with the rewrite was the goal, so that's complete. In regards to fixing up the narration, I am about 3/4ths of the way through. Gold Fever is 225,000 words long, so it's a massive undertaking. But in my opinion, it will pay off. I feel that there is a good story tucked behind rough narration.


After my initial run-through, I'll go back through one more time to make fixes/cuts as necessary. I want to keep the story intact while cutting any bloat out. One of the biggest criticisms I got in reviews was that it felt like characters were visiting the same areas too often. So, I want to minimize that issue without compromising the story or character development. But anyway, I'll detail that more in a post that should come later this week.


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Overall, I'm happy with what I accomplished in 2022. I have a clear plan for what I want to do moving forward, which conveniently brings us to 2023 author goals. Look out for a blog on that soon!


- Jim




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