So… January 31st marks the 4th bookiversary of Firehurler. I’ll have been a self-published author for four full years. At this point, I have vague recollections of an office job in some sort of engineering field. It just seems like such a stark contrast from my day-to-day existence now.

I’ve written 22 books now and published 19. I’m writing faster than ever, but now there is more deliberation and patience behind the publishing side of things. I spent a good chunk of 2016 stepping back and taking a look at how I conduct myself as an author. I’ve picked up some new writing habits and gotten out of some old ruts. It cost me some productivity, especially in the middle portion of the year, but at the same time, coming into 2017 I feel unstoppable.

Looking back at my goals going into 2016, how did I do?

  • 4 more Black Ocean missions, the first of which is tentatively titled Syndication
  • Find an agent
  • Secure a publishing deal for Shadowblood Heir

Well, on the first bullet point, mission accomplished. Missions 9-12 of Black Ocean all came out in 2016, along with Mission Pack 3 containing all of them. “Syndication” eventually turned into Adventure Capital, which was a much better title. The audiobooks just caught up with the series as well, which has been a welcome addition to the series. I can’t say enough good things about working with narrator Mikael Naramore.

On the second two bullet points, I had a bit of a revelation: I don’t want to chase publishers. A publishing deal with one of the major traditional publishers might broaden my audience to potential fans who just don’t read self-published work, but that segment of the reading population is shrinking, and the effort I’d put into going that route would cut into the time I could spend actually writing.

So, with Shadowblood Heir still in mothballs, I spent most of the year moving on to different projects.

2017 will see another 4 Black Ocean missions, Shadowblood Heir finally getting released, and another project that I’m really excited about but not quite ready to spill details on.

My goals for 2017:

  • Publish 4 more Black Ocean Missions
  • Publish Shadowblood Heir (and maybe sequels, if it’s well-received)
  • Release my new project into the wild

One of the more nebulous and ever-shifting goals is earning money. Back when I started out, I was working full time and my writing income was enough for a pizza or so a month. When I got laid off and started writing full time, it was only because of my wife’s income that we were able to stay afloat. 2016 was a much more substantial year for me as a writer. I didn’t make it to the average household income (for Americans), but I was closer by far than I had been in the earlier part of my career. For 2017, an improved marketing plan and smoother (and more productive) writing flow should see that increase even further.

This will be the end of the fourth year of my 5-10 year plan, meaning that I could be within a year of hitting instant fame, or as far away as another 6 years. Since the black box of the overnight success process still seems to elude me, I guess I’ll just keep writing more books and making them the best I can.

And who knows? Maybe in 2018 I’ll be writing the follow-up to this blog series from my private yacht.

(P.S. I hate boats. No matter how much money I make, it will not be used for yacht purchasing)