Into 2015

When I look back, 2014 was the year in which I approached the cusp of achieving my professional goals. I published Keepers of the Flame and sold War Crimes, exceeding my goals of 2014. I’m working on other projects, pursuing my other interests, and one day I hope I can share them with you here. In 2015, I intend to build upon my successes, to carve out a space for myself as a professional writer and to fortify myself for greater heights.

Far be it from me to guess at the shape of things to come. I do, however, have a few ideas for 2015, and a plan to guide my personal and business decisions. Here’s some of them:

1.  Publish the sequel to Keepers of the Flame. I actually finished writing it before publishing Keepers of the Flame. Titled I, Eschaton, it’s the second novella in American Heirs that bridges the gap between the first and second novels. I expect this to be complete by the end of Q1 2015. Ideally.

2. Publish more stories. While War Crimes might have been my first professional short story sale, it’s not the only story I’ve submitted for consideration. I’ve got a handful of others tucked away, either submitted or awaiting editing, in genres ranging from crime noir to hard science fiction to historical fantasy. I hope some of these will see the light this year, either sold or self-published. I also have a few ideas percolating in my brain, waiting to be born.

3. Complete the current novel. My muse is taking a break from American Heirs. Now I’m working on the first novel of a new series, tentatively titled Once a Conjurer. This is a pastiche of different genres: urban fantasy, crime noir, science fiction, and thriller. Think cyborgs, next-generation weaponry, magic guided by technology, summoned creatures from myth and legend, and an old-school re-reinterpretation of the preferred UF races. Think Shadowrun crossed with The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077 with Divinity: Original Sin, Deus Ex with Warcraft, and toss in Marcus Wynne, Jim Butcher, Marcus Sakey, Barry Eisler, Larry Correia, Myke Cole and Lilith Saintcrow.  More details in the coming months.

4. Deliver a working demo of Odyssey. Back in June I described the computer game I was working on. Odyssey: Remnants of Terra is one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to handle. The main events of the entire first act has been more-or-less scripted, and we are working on implementing mechanics and mapping. I am confident we can deliver a vertical slice by the middle of the year, and hopefully the first act by the end of the year. We are still looking for talent, though. If you are an artist with expertise in pixel art, a coder familiar with RPG Maker VX Ace and/or Ruby Game Scripting System 2, or a writer with a touch for sci fi, we’d really like to hear from you.

5. Explore other marketing options. Facebook is tweaking its algorithm again, this time reducing the visibility of Facebook pages with promotional posts. Unless, of course, the user pays for advertising. This makes it very difficult for indies on a minimal budget to advertise on Facebook. Furthermore, my page analytics shows that my personal Facebook page reaches much more people than the professional page, by orders of magnitude. There doesn’t seem to be much value in maintaining my author page in the future, at least in its current form. The question is how to adapt, and that is something I need to answer. I will also be looking into implementing other marketing tools, from pricing to pre-orders to an author newsletter.

6. Expand non-fiction writing fields. Long-time readers might know that I write for EastieBrekkie, the Pwee Foundation and Mothership.sg. Hopefully I will be able to find more clients this year and expand my repertoire.

7. Blog more often. I guess there’s no point in maintaining a blog if I’m only going to write about something once a month. To make full use of this blog, I intend to blog about something at least once a week. Be it politics, fiction, lessons or anything else that comes to mind.

8. Establish partnerships with independent presses and magazines. Working with Castalia House on War Crimes was an educational experience. I hope I will be able to work with similar publishing companies to produce more stories of great value. That, of course, ties back to publishing more short stories.

9. Establish partnerships with local bookstores. I’m contacting local independent bookstores and distributors, asking them to stock my books. Fingers are crossed; I’ll keep you updated in the future.

10. Teach the craft of writing. For the length of my professional career I have emphasised the importance of the craft of writing, as opposed to the art. I think it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is. In addition to blogging about it, I am planning to organise workshops and panel discussions to pass along lessons from the road.

I want to make 2015 the year in which I can take the first concrete steps to being a professional writer with sustained sales and a market share. Here’s hoping things pan out.