BTS017, I’m Sharing My Business and Writing Goals With You for the Next Quarter
BTS017, I'm Sharing My Business and Writing Goals With You for the Next Quarter
I think accountability is a beautiful thing. And, I realise that’s a super nerdy thing to say. So, what do I mean by accountability? Basically, I’m referring to accountability, in terms of setting and striving towards writing goals.
In this episode, I’m going to share with you my business and writing goals for the next quarter. As you can expect, I’m going to share an update on my successes and failures from the first quarter of 2019. And, I’m going to discuss a new writing-related tool that I’m using to revise Missing.
That tool is new to me but has been around for a while. This tool has evolved over time. As I’m using this tool, I’m watching the help videos, and I’ve noticed the version in the videos is slightly different from the version I’m currently using. It’s good to see the product has evolved over time, which is what you want when purchasing a piece of software.
My Current Favourite Tea
As I’m recording this episode, I’m drinking a cup of Peppermint Tea from a company called Tea2. From memory, Tea2 is a company I discovered when I lived in Australia. I’m tempted to say that it’s an Australian company. And, to my delight, it’s recently been popping up all over London. There’s a huge part of me that’s super excited because they have a range of beautiful teas and different types of teas.
Actually, I think it’s Australian because I just remembered that they have a Brisbane Tea, which is where I grew up. The Brisbane tea is black with base notes of vanilla, and a few other flavours. Yes, I think it’s Australian, but I might be wrong. But, I guess my point is, the stores are popping up all over London, and I can finally get my favourite tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love Laduree, but it’s at the luxury end of the tea market in terms of price. There are a few other French brands that are just as expensive. For an everyday tea, Tea2 is excellent.
What I’m Reading
As of Friday morning, I’m still reading The Visitor by Lee Child, and I’ve managed to finish this book on the day this episode was released, which was a Tuesday. It’s a bit embarrassing because I don’t usually take this long to read a book. And, it’s not the book either. Over the last few weeks, I haven’t had enough time to read. Usually, a book of this length would take a week to read. So, I might have to start reading over the weekends or just before bed to catch up.
The reason why I don’t read over the weekends is because I read for both pleasure and work. I don’t usually let, actually that’s not true, I’m failing at this, but I need to get better. My aim was not to let my author and other business creep into my weekends because that’s the time I have to spend with Roland.
My Thoughts on The Visitor
But, back to reading. On Friday morning, I Reached seventy-seven percent mark the story, and I’m still enjoying the story. Jack Reacher is doing what I thought he would in terms of giving into his nomadic side. And, in The Visitor, you get the hint that he’s tried to do something different and settle in one place and try to have a healthy relationship with someone that I believe that he genuinely loves. Nevertheless, there’s another part of him that wants to be free.
Obviously, Lee Child is doing this because it serves the series. If Jack settles down, Lee has to continually come up with reasons for Jack to leave his everyday world and go somewhere else. It’s much easier if Jack happens to travel from place to place and trouble finds him.
In terms of writing, over the last week, I performed a quick line edit for Missing, before sending it off to the editor for a Line Editing and Proofreading quote. I was using another product to aid with this line edit, and I realised that Grammarly is becoming better at checking the spelling and grammar for fiction. So, I’ve turned to use Grammarly over this other product.
Frustrations with Editing Software
Actually, I will name this product; it’s ProWriting Aid. And, what I found with ProWriting Aid was it was dumbing down my word choices. The software would give you a score out of 100, and I would strive to achieve this. What would happen was, the software would flag the usage of a word that was fine, to begin with; this word was easy to understand. ProWriting Aid would suggest another word that I had already used on that same page of the story. Naturally, I would get flagged for repetition, and I would change it back out of frustration. This leads me to get penalised in the overall score. Long story short, I was super frustrated.
Just a side note, I write to a grade seven standard. So in theory, a twelve-year-old could read my book, that’s not to say I would recommend this because it has adult content. I want to use simple language because I want the words to disappear off the page and the reader to get lost in the world I created. If you use bigger words and more flowery language, then the reader will have to pause and use a dictionary, thus, disrupting the reading experience.
There is a certain Marvel actor who tweets about political issues and his super adorable dog. Sometimes I have to stop and look up a word because I’m questioning his usage of a word or have no idea what he means. I don’t want to create this effect with my fiction because it’s a form of escapism. What I feel this report is doing is dumbing down my word usage even more, and I’m not okay with that. Of course, I realise that you don’t have to follow all of the advice given by these programmes, but it marks you down for not following all of the suggestions. Hence, my frustration.
Using Two Editing Tools Together
At the time I was using Grammarly in ProWriting Aid. So, how did I achieve that? Well, I purchased the premium subscription to Grammarly and the Chrome extension. I’ve also purchased the premium version of ProWriting Aid. Actually, I’m not sure if there’s a free version of ProWriting Aid.
So, I would import a section of my novella into the web version of ProWriting Aid and do the Grammarly pass first, thanks to the chrome extension. After this, I would use the extended reports provided by ProWriting Aid. I just found that It wasn’t helping me. Before I perform those two steps, I ask my computer to read the chapter back to me in Scrivener. Partly because the voice is robotic and will read every literally, not as I intended. For some reason, when I read the story out, I miss mistakes. There’s something about this robotic voice that helps highlight errors. So, that’s how I performed the line edit.
Pain with Revisions
The more I look at the manuscript, the more issues that I find. There’s a part of me that thinks the manuscript isn’t ready. At one stand I thought that I had written the biggest piece of shit ever to be put to paper. But, like I touched on in last week’s episode, this is clearly writers insecurity. I need to wait for feedback from the editor about my manuscript before making any changes. And, I’m hoping the editor will let me know if the manuscript is ready or if I need to do more revisions. The Editor is quite busy, and I’m considering getting another quote from a different company because the editor that I’ve contacted works on her own and not apart of a larger company.
The Holy Grail of Editing Software
Thursday night, when I was supposed to be recording this episode I opened AutoCrit.* I purchased LifeTime access to the AutoCrit software in a black Friday sale. So, I imported the full novella into the software, and it gave me a high overall score. It gives you a score out of 100 based on what the programme thinks needs to be fixed in your manuscript. I was expecting to see a score of around sixty. My score was significantly higher than that, it was eighty-five. And, I’m starting to think, maybe I’m not as bad as what I first thought. Maybe, I’m being a bit of a drama queen, which is not unusual for me.
So, if you haven’t heard of AutoCrit. It’s an analysis tool that highlights the areas in your manuscript that you need to improve. The focus of this software is pacing and momentum, dialogue, strong writing, word choice, and repetition. However, it does not analyse plot, narrative structure, and characterisation, or spelling and grammar. Ideally, you should use this software after an initial round of revisions on big-picture items, such as plot, narrative structure, and characterisation. For the sake of showing you the results that I received and what the programme looks like see the screenshots below. And, just a side note, if you want me to do an in-depth review or interview the guys at AutoCrit let me know in the comments section below.
A Smarter Update
In other writing news, I’ve reached the end of Smarter Goal Setting, and I’m preparing the resource hub that goes along with the book. The access credentials for the hub will be included with the ebook. I think I will have to provide a short URL for the paperback. Along with the ebook and paperback, I will be creating a workbook. So, the resource hub will have worksheets that are designed to help the reader get the most out of the book. I’ve gone through the Resource Hub, and I’ve made sure all of the worksheets are in the right place, and I’ve written introductions for each item. There’s a part of me that’s still on the fence as to whether I will create video introductions or just have text.
In the name of perfection, I’ve decided to perform one more revision round of Smarter Goal setting after this short break. And, It’s purely to add in a list of actionable steps at the end of each chapter. On top of all of this, I’m considering purchasing a professional beta read for Smarter Goal Setting. But, I’m not sure because I think I might be considering this out of insecurity. A professional beta-reader isn’t that expensive, so in light of the word length, it might cost me fifty dollars. It might be worth it but only if I can find the right person.
How Did I Do Last Quarter?
By now, you’re wondering whether I hit my business and writing goals and targets for the last quarter. There’s no way of dressing this up, I fell behind in podcasting, but I’m slowly catching up. Last week, I foolishly planned to release three podcast episodes, and then I realised how spammy this would look in the podcast feed. So, I saved the last show of the Hero’s Journey Mini-Series for this week. That episode will contain tips on how to structure a story using the hero’s journey, recommended reading, and examples of the Hero’s Journey in film and literature. Part four will be the next episode after this one.
Publishing Schedule and the Omnibus Edition
As I was working through the quarter, I decided to change my publishing schedule to a rapid release schedule that starts in July. Because there’s no point on slowly releasing these books as they are ready. From a marketing perspective, it makes more sense to release the novels in quick succession. And, a slow release is not going to give my published fiction author career momentum. I’ve made that mistake with the first edition of Smarter Goal Setting.
To this publishing schedule, I’ve added the first book in my archaeological thriller series and the James Lalonde Prequel Omnibus edition which will include Missing and Silence. In the latter half of this year, I will publish five books plus the omnibus edition. An omnibus edition is two books packaged together as one. The paperback version of this is referred to as a boxed set because traditionally the individual books are packaged in a box. You cannot call at ebook with multiple books a boxed set because it’s a virtual file. Therefore the ebook version needs to be referred to as an omnibus which is where we get the word “bus”.
Publishing at the Right Time
Because I changed the publishing timeline, I’ve pushed back book five in the James Lalonde Series until early 2020. I’m not sure how I feel about that because the novel is set around December. In light of this, I need to publish the book in January, so the snow still makes sense. To be honest, I have no idea why I’m so hung up on publishing a book set in around Christmas during the Christmas period.
While we’re on the topic of me being behind in stuff, I’m behind with my reading goal for 2019. I’ve read ten books instead of eleven. But, I’ve almost finished The Visitor by Lee Child; I believe that I have three hours of reading time left. So, I should finish that book over the next few days. At the moment, I’m reading a mixture of writing-related books and thriller novels.
A Writing Tip Email
As I looked back over the quarter at what I achieved and did not, I decided to change the writing tips email from weekly to once a month because it’s a lot of content for me to create. By creating a monthly writing tips email, I’m going to be sharing quality advice as opposed to four emails a month. Choosing to hone in on one topic and share actionable steps will lead to a better experience for the subscribers. Obviously, this is convenient for me because one email a month is less work, but I genuinely believe this will be a better experience for my subscribers.
An Extra Goal
During the first quarter of this year, I’ve been working on an extra goal that I didn’t initially set. And that goal was, creating a second edition of Smarter Goal Setting. At present, I’m happy with this second edition. I’ve changed things that needed to be changed, simplified the steps, and the next step after the final revision round is a professional line edit and a proofread.
What Are My Goals for the Upcoming Quarter?
The goals that I’m about to share with you have been broken down into a list of tasks. And, some of these tasks I will go into a little detail about the steps I need to take to achieve it. Just so, it makes sense, and you understand why I want to do this now and not in the future.
- One final revision for Missing in April.
- Finish the last revision passes for Silence in May.
- A final revision pass for Immunity in June.
- Outline book one in my archaeological thriller series.
- Fast Draft book one in the archaeological thriller series.
- Write a short story for my mailing list of around 8,000 words.
- Create a marketing plan and book launch strategy for Missing (Rapid release, exclusive to Amazon until I hit a certain number of reviews, 99 cent launch, free days, Silence as a Pre-order and maybe Immunity, and Create a Content Marketing Strategy).
- Commission a professional copy edit and proofread for Missing.
- Commission a professional copy edit and proofread for Silence.
- Design the ebook cover for Missing.
- Write a book blurb for Missing.
- Format the ebook for Missing using Vellum.
- Design the paperback and large print covers for Missing.
- Format the paperback and the large print editions for Missing using Vellum.
Podcasting and Blogging:
- Write three blog posts for The Authorpreneur Blog.
- Write three blog posts for my thriller author website.
- Script, Record and Edit four Writing Tip Episodes of The Authorpreneur Podcast. There will be a break between season one and two, last writing tip episode for season one on April 18, Season two commences on July 11, more details on season two later, BTS Podcast Diary Episodes will run every week between season one and two)
- Produce thirteen episodes of the Behind the Scenes Podcast Diary. Why thirteen? The Diary is going weekly.
It appears that I have a lot of tasks to complete over the next quarter. However, many of these tasks are larger goals broken down into tiny steps, just to make things a little easier for me. What are your writing goals for the next three months? I want to hear from you Let me know by sharing your goals in the comments section below.
Thanks for listening and happy reading and writing, everybody.
* DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links (marked with a *), which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. The commission helps support the blog and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for your support. 🙂
I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.