Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Retrospective

Overall 2015 was a pretty good year. I hit several milestones and survived some pretty tough times so I'm very proud of that.
  • On the personal side it was a pretty hectic year. My husband got a new job which required us to move to the Midwest. We remodeled the old house and sold it, and  bought a new house, and remodeled it. The kids had to change school which is not easy. The move was a success though. We love our new house and the new schools and the kids made friends pretty quickly.
  • I published the first three books in my Banshee Creek series (this was on my goal list for the year)
  • I was in two different boxed sets in my genre (this was unexpected as I didn't expect to join a boxed set until I'd been published a few years)
  • I broke out of my Blogger-Twitter comfort zone and expanded my social reach by joining Facebook (should have done it sooner), Wattpad (still needs work), and Kindle WriteOn (love it!).
  • I overcame my shyness and started networking with authors in my genre. This was a key feature of 2015 as it opened up many opportunities (including the aforementioned boxed sets and two big group sales) for me.
  • I started a newsletter and built up my subscription list.
  • I found lots of fabulous readers whose support and feedback I'm very grateful for. I love you all!
Of course, not everything went according to plan
  • Sales of my Banshee Creek series are good, but I'm always looking to improve. I suspect brand new covers will help with that. Watch out for a drastic rebrand in 2016.
  • My social reach is still a work in progress. I have to find a way to supercharge my social media strategy. I still don't have a plan (FB group? automatization? hashtags?), but I'm doing a lot of brainstorming about this.
  • My visibility is still...meh. There are SO MANY books out there that it's hard to stand out. I hope my rebrand helps me with this. This is also something I'm brainstorming (book trailers? permafree? boxed set? going wide? Kindle Scout?).
2016 should be very interesting. My goals for this year are:
  • Finish the house (we still have to do the exterior updating), and explore our new area with a couple of road trips (including a Mt. Rushmore trip!). 
  • Rebrand the Banshee Creek series as a light paranormal/paranormal rom com. This is based on reader feedback and market research. Many of my reviews say things like "hilarious," "adorable," and "reads like a cozy mystery." This seems to indicate that the series might be a better fit in the rom com genre. Hence the rebrand.
  • Spin off Banshee Creek 5 as a separate series with more paranormal content and a more marketable paranormal character (witches!). The new series will be (tentatively) called "Main Street Witches" and it focuses on three young women who start businesses in Banshee Creek and find out that the town's magical influence is stronger than they thought. I may try to put the first book in Kindle Scout. We'll see if the timing works.
  • Start a third series. I'm not sure what this series will be yet. If Banshee Creek picks up I might do another spin-off, but if a couple of author friends launch a shared world I might do a shifter series to go with that. I also have a contemporary romance idea that I could pitch to the trad pubs. I won't know what I'm doing for sure until mid-year.
  • Expand my social media reach.
  • Expand my networking.
So there it is, my flexible-but-still-hardcore plan for 2016. How about you? What are you planning for the new year?

Image courtesy of Morguefile.