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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Plan for 2014

People at writer's conferences like to talk about author career planning. Until recently I thought it was some kind of silly mind game:  Tell them career planning is possible, and then watch while they plan and struggle and see it all collapse in smoke. Fooled them, ha-ha!

Publishing is such an odd business and only a small part of the business decisions are made by the author. Once the publisher gets a signed contract, in come marketing, cover design, layout people, promotions, yada-yada-yada. It's enough to scare many talented people out of the game.

But the rules are changing. It's been most of a decade since a writer colleague sent me an article called "An Author Needs a Publisher Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle." The article extolled the virtues of digital self-publishing and how an author can have full control over all her own publishing, marketing, promotional decisions, cover design, etc. All she has to do is take all the risk and do all the work. No biggie there.

I still see advantages to traditional publishing, especially with the Big Six in New York. Have a book published by Random House or Doubleday or [fill in the blank Big Publisher] and the odds are you'll reach a much bigger audience with a broader range of backgrounds and interests. That's no small thing. Still I have finally jumped into the world of electronic self-pubbed novels with the release of MAGGIE RISING and RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK in the last three months. With that in mind, I've cautiously made a plan for 2014.

The Basics
First comes DANNY'S GIRL, the eighth book in the highly successful Rainbow Rock series. Readers who have eagerly inhaled the first seven books are looking forward to seeing what kind of woman Danny Sherwood needs and wants. That book is well on its way, expected for an early spring release, and there will be further books in this series since I love returning to Rainbow Rock.

Next comes the yet-untitled second book in the Maggie Rising Case Files. We left Maggie at an interesting place in her life  at the end of MAGGIE RISING. Now we need to move her forward, letting her become a young adult, cheering her on as she discovers new talents and abilities.

There's a new series in the works, one I hope to market to the Big Six. Set in a medical center in fictional Hope Creek, California, the series will focus on the private lives and romances of the doctors and other medical personnel who live and/or work in a former Gold Rush town in the Sierra Nevadas. I'm having great fun with the early-stage research and writing. Somewhere in the next year, I also hope to make time to continue developing my novel set in the Italian Renaissance and featuring Lorenzo di Medici. (Can you see me crossing my fingers?)

If you've enjoyed the books so far, you can help in a variety of ways: (1) Drop me a note. Tell me if you might enjoy being a beta reader for an early manuscript of one or more books and which genre you prefer. (2) Review the books you've already read, especially on Goodreads which is fast becoming the major book reviews site since being acquired by Amazon. (3) Tell your friends, neighbors, mail deliverer, life-long enemies and people you meet in the grocery store about the books you've enjoyed most. Encourage them to read and review. Word-of-mouth advertising is always the best.

The Goal
My ultimate goal for 2014 is to be successful enough with the books to greatly reduce time spent at the day job and greatly increase the time I spend writing. That's what I've wanted since I was nine years old and started my first novel on a yellow legal pad. It stands a chance of coming true in the coming year.

For you, faithful friends, I have another plan:  May the New Year bring you your fondest goals, dreams and wishes and may it be a happy, healthy and prosperous time for you and those you love.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels now available for ebook readers. A 12th is scheduled for publication in June 2014. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd and 23rd grandchildren are expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at (sign up for the newsletter too) or @SusanAylworth

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