2020 Marketing Goals: Short Story or Bust

Last week I reviewed my book marketing goals for 2019 and summarized how those went.

TLDR: meh.

But the past is gone and we must look forward! So here are my plans for 2020 on the book publishing, marketing, and selling fronts.

Audience-building has been a pretty big focus for me for the last two years, with mixed results. The short version is that building an audience only takes you so far if you only have one story to sell. I now have one book for sale and one available for free on Wattpad, and that has helped marginally.

So it’s time to shift focus. I like where this site is at given all of the changes over the last year, so I’m content to let visitors, views, engagement, and followers grow organically here.

What I really need to focus on is getting more of my stories out there.

*gestures vaguely*

2020 Book Marketing Goals

  1. Write and publish my new short stor(ies).
  2. Share/own a table at least one convention.
  3. Publish something new on Wattpad.
  4. Sell 50 stories.

Write and Publish New Short Stor(ies)

I’ve spoken in very general terms about a short story I’ve been writing in a real-live journal. Now that I’m a few thousand words into this effort, I’m committed to completing it. I suppose I need a working title for this project if it’s going to be a focus for my writing, publishing, and marketing efforts this year.

Here’s the gist:

After losing everything, a woman will do everything she can to protect her family in a dangerous country.

That’s probably not even the final logline for these stories, but it’s good enough for now. I guess I’ll refer to this project as “Survivor” for now, but that is definitely not the final title.

I am currently writing the first of what I think will be two short stories following the same family. My idea has been to publish each one as separate stories on KDP (and perhaps other ebook platforms), and then publish them as a two-part novella in one print volume, which would be much easier and more cost-effective to sell at conventions.

I’m aiming for around 60,000 words total between two stories, so I really need to knuckle down on my writing in the early part of this year. I hope I can ramp up to publishing fairly quickly once I have a revised draft, but I don’t want to be rushing to get a not-quite-finished version ready for publication in late December. If I only accomplish one goal this year, I want it to be this one.

The pressure is on!

A note on writing goals and WoEL

I want to write 120,000 words this year. That’s 10,000 words per month, the elusive benchmark I was unable to reach in 2019. That gives me six months to draft my short stories, although I honestly want to be done sooner than that.

I have definitely not given up on writing my second novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. My general plan is to get my first draft of “Survivor” onto paper as quickly as possible, rewrite/revise at least once, then send it off to my editor.

That should leave some some room in the back half of the year to work on WoEL. Once I’m in publishing mode with “Survivor”, then WoEL will return to the forefront of my writing efforts. I promise.

Share/Own a Table at 1+ Convention

I’d love to attend another convention this year. Really, I’d like to attend multiple, but that’s probably not going to happen. I sold 12 books at Awesome Con last year, and I only had one story to sell. With two stories, I could easily sell 15-20 books in one weekend.

The only way I would even consider going solo on a convention table (they’re expensive) is if I have more than one printed book to sell. So “Survivor” is a key piece of the equation.

Even if I can share a table with an author friend, I don’t have any firm plans yet, which means I’m basically punting on this goal until the latter half of the year.

I’ll likely start looking into my options for autumn-winter conventions in the next couple of months.

Publish Something New on Wattpad

I’ve said a million times recently how much I enjoyed the Wattpad experience in 2019. I’m still reading and participating in the forums each week, but I’d really like to keep publishing there, too.

With only 95 reads total on my mythic fantasy series, it’s safe to say that I haven’t seen much in sales or engagement from Wattpad yet. But writers with more works tend to get more reads.

I don’t want Wattpad to distract me from my primary stories this year, but I definitely want to write something.

The most likely candidate is some kind of short series for my Dungeons & Dragons character, but it would be completely for fun and just a way to reach other readers. I’ll definitely post about it once I have something new brewing there.

Sell 50 Stories

I only sold 17 books last year out of a (downgraded) goal of 30 total. This goal absolutely hinges on goals 1 and 2. There is no way I can sell 50 stories combined with just one book to my name and zero appearances at conventions.

This goal is currently the Most Likely to be Revised or Abandoned by August if the others don’t go well. Honestly, even if I write and publish my short stories/novella duology, there’s no guarantee I’ll sell enough to break fifty on the year.

But, with some promotional efforts planned around the release of said short stories, I like my chances. And what’s the point of all this if I can’t be optimistic?

Side Goals?

I suppose I should add that whenever it comes time to promote and publish “Survivor”, I want to have a solid marketing  and release plan in place. Free copies, early release, discounts with WoEM, the works. That will all come with publishing, and I’ll lay out said plans when the time comes.

For now, I need to write that story!

Steve D

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