When I look back on what I thought 2015 was going to be like, I have to laugh. It’s one of those “you have your plans and God has his” type years. I thought I was going to be moving to Chicago, getting a new job and a new agent. I ended up staying in St. Louis, loving the way my day job has changed (thank you, new SVP, whom I love) and self-publishing. Never would have expected that, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
These were the goals I set for myself in 2015. How did I do? Well…
- Write at least one book – Nope. Didn’t write anything new this year – I even crapped out on NaNo because of all I was doing to get ready to publish. I ended up spending all year editing my four previous books. But that’s okay. They are stronger now and that’s what matters.
- Write a short story to submit to an RWA anthology – Um, I started it. Does that count? I actually started two short stories, but didn’t finish them. I just can’t write short. That’s all there is to it.
- Continue to blog once a week – I’ve done pretty good at this. I’ve missed a few weeks here and there and my Femina Aequalitas blog didn’t work out because no one had time for it (including me), but that’s fine.
- Attend conferences and speak as possible – I did this! The Historical Novel Society conference in June and the AllSoulsCon in September were both life-changing in their own ways. Plus, I spoke at several local events.
- Continue social media – I succeed here as well. I’m really active on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Facebook and I continue to have a love/hate relationship when it comes to my author account. Tumblr…well, I’m given up trying to figure it out.
But what I did accomplish that I never would have imagined:
- Started my own publishing imprint – Lawson Gartner Publishing is a legal entity and is something I never thought I would ever do. But it’s also one of my accomplishments I’m most proud of. I hope it will be a great success. People keep asking me if I’ll ever publish other writers’ work. Right now, I’m going to say no, but I’ve learned never to say never about anything.
- Finaled in 9 writing contests and won several – The whole list is here. I learned about pre-publication writing contests through my local RWA chapter and was smitten. I’m a competitive girl, so these were right up my alley. And apparently other people like my writing, too!
- Prepped my first book for publication – In the space of three months, I got Daughter of Destiny ready for you guys to read on January 1. Thanks so much to Cassie, Jenny Q, Liz, Morganna and everyone else on the team who helped. Self-publishing is a misnomer; it takes a village of professionals to do it right. And the next two books are being edited as we speak.
- Had fun! – One of the most important things to me is that through all of this, I had more fun than I ever have. I love being in charge of my career and am loving every bit, from editing (even when Cassie makes me think of the whys I don’t want to think about) to creating social media graphics.
My word of the year for 2015 was Valiant. While it didn’t apply the way I thought it would, it was certainly appropriate. It took a lot of courage to part ways with my agent, face rejection after rejection from other agents, and decide to go it on my own as an indie author, not to mention to start my own company. But I did it! And this is just the beginning.
I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!
How did your 2015 go? What are you planning for 2016?
Congratulations on all your accomplishments! I enjoy following your writing adventures. Like you, I also hired Terri Valentine to edit part of my novel. I have a question. Why did you find it necessary to start your own publishing company. Is it part of creating your own brand?
For me it made it easier for tax purposes. It helps keep that income and expenses separate from my day job income. They still cross over a little, especially since I don’t have any book income yet, but not nearly like they would if I didn’t. I also wanted my own imprint so I could list it under the publisher name so it dind’t scream “hey look, I self published,” not that readers really care.
And thank you for the congratulations and for sticking with me!
It all sounds wonderful, what a great adventure!