2012: The Shape of Things to Come

I don’t do New Year resolutions. Telling the world what you intend to do might feel good, but it’s not the same as getting things done. It’s not the same as working towards what you want to do. It might actually be counterproductive.

That said, I have planned a few writing goals for 2012. I’m already working towards them, have been for the past year, and now that I’m a certified author I reckon it’s time for me to share them. With deadlines, too.

Q1 2012

1. Start up my website

Conventional wisdom says an author can afford to wait a little before he gets a website. Normally I’d agree – start-up costs run into the thousands of dollars for a professionally designed and hosted website, and that money has to come from somewhere. But conventional wisdom doesn’t apply to an author who publishes on the Internet, and interacts with his readers primarily over the Internet. A traditionally published author has many ways to interact with his readers: book tours, book signings, writing in to magazines, getting book reviews, etc. But ebooks are not (generally) sold in physical stores, so there are no physical locations for me to pop up and talk to people. That means I need to focus on web-based marketing and promotion tools for the time being, and the main conduit for reader interaction is still the Internet. Therefore, I’ve been searching for cheap website solutions – have been for the past week. I’m coming close to resolving this; I just need to pick the best option and execute.

2. Finish and publish the next two stories in the Michael Chang series.

I’ve finished writing the sequel to Eventual Revolutions, and I’m working on the third Michael Chang story. The former is a short story titled Watchman, the latter is a novella, working title Games of Magi. In Watchman, Michael is watches over a pair of women in a nightclub. A group of hardcases try to muscle in on them, and Michael has to protect the women – and along the way re-align his sense of right and wrong. As for Games of Magi, Michael meets a fellow magician, and he has to decide whether to treat him as friend, foe, or otherwise. Watchman is in the editing stage. Games of Magi is in the writing phase.

Q2 2012

1. Write and publish the fourth and fifth stories in the Michael Chang series.

Self-explanatory. Once again, they are a short story, and a novella. I don’t want to spoil anything just yet – especially when they are still being planned and might change at a moment’s notice. But I will say this: the short story is tentatively titled Night Hunters, and the novella Necessary Wounds. And Necessary Wounds is the climax of the first Michael Chang cycle.

2 . Expand into audiobooks – if feasible

I’m looking into creating audiobook versions of my stories. I’m still studying the various options available to me, but it does seem like a legitimate option for my writing. If this line of approach works out, I might just be able to produce audiobook versions of my stories in the foreseeable future, starting with Eventual Revolutions.

Q3 2012

1. Put together a Michael Chang story anthology – in print!

I’m not going to write ebooks forever. At some point I’d really like to sell my works in print. For all the hype about ereaders and digital publishing, there are and probably always be plenty of people out there who like a real book in their hands. When I finish the first set of Michael Chang stories, I’ll have enough stories to put together an anthology of sorts – and that anthology would be economical to print and sell on paper. I’ll probably call it Dawn of the Magician or some such. I already have the solution – I just need the material to make this feasible.

2. Work on a non-Michael Chang story

I don’t think of myself as a mystic thriller/urban fantasy/insert-genre-here writer. I’m just a writer. I think about what I want to write first, and everything else – character, plot, setting, genre, etc. – follows. At any given time I have at least a half-dozen story ideas floating in my head (you’ve already seen four of them). When I finish the Michael Chang anthology, I want to take a break from it and work on something else. Right now, it’s a flip-up between a military science fiction story like Ghost in the Shell (the manga, the anime and the movies) meeting The Unit (American TV series), or an occult noir story loosely inspired by ‘traditional’ urban fantasy, H. P. Lovecraft, and espionage thrillers. Or I might do something else altogether. More details to follow when I have something viable.

Q4 2012

I can’t say for sure what the future holds here. I’ll be coming to the end of my course at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a couple of massive projects that would eat up a lot of my time. That said, it would be nice if I can start placing the Michael Chang print anthology in bookshops. Maybe indie bookshops in Singapore. And I might be able to do an actual book signing/book tour too.

Year-long Goals

1. Blog more often

When I was in Junior College, I wrote blog posts maybe once a month. It wasn’t ideal, but it was all the time and energy I had for after schoolwork, studying, and writing. Now that I have more time and energy on my hands, I’m thinking of blogging more (we’ve already seen that in December) regularly. At least once a fortnight. In addition to everything else I’m doing. That way, I think, I’ll be able to better promote my brand while simultaneously getting my thoughts out there for public consumption.

2. Spend time promoting the stories

The world is inundated with books, and more and more books are published every day. No matter how talented she may be, a writer won’t be noticed if she doesn’t promote her stories. So I’ll look for ways to promote myself, online and offline. Off the top of the head, I’m thinking book reviews, interviews, price experiments, online book groups…and of course, more posts.

3. Graduate!

I’ve always disliked formal education. For all the talk about ‘Teach Less, Learn More’, the school system is still inadequate. The entire academic system is still based on tests and examinations, and schools concentrate their efforts on getting students to pass these tests and exams. Preparation for the rest of your life is secondary, if it is ever considered. For all that, though, to someone who knows what he wants, the formal education system does pass on relevant skills and information. My current course teaches skills and techniques that, with some adaptation, can be applied to the writing biz. If I pass a module, I get to move on to the next module, which teaches me more information. To get the full benefit from this course, I need to graduate. Preferably as quickly as possible, so I don’t spend more time and energy and money than I have to.

So here you have it. My 8 writing goals for 2012. Time to get cracking.

2012: The Shape of Things to Come
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