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Did You Meet Your Freelance Writing Goals Last Year? Here’s How I Fared & What’s Up In 2016

Here’s the post I promised a couple of weeks ago. Sorry it’s late. The book I’ve been working on for the trade publisher has been kicking my patootie! But better late than never, no? 🙂

I have a love/hate relationship with making freelance writing goals. As I wrote in this post in December 2014 when I decided to set a goal for 2015:

I haven’t made any freelance writing goals for the last two years, but for 2015, I’m going to. While I like NOT having any specific goals and just working my tush off every day, I think I’m more proficient when I have some.

My only problem with making goals is that my Type A personality usually means that I overload my plate with too much to do. So with this flaw in mind, I’m trying to be laser-focused. Following is my ONE freelance writing goal for 2015 . . .

My Freelance Goal for 2015

So what was that goal? … Getting my new publishing company up and going. What new publishing company?

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that I self-publish my own line of ebooks. This is my non-fiction line of how-to ebooks that cover a range of topics related to freelance writing, eg, self-publishing, internet marketing, social media, etc.

In 2013, I wrote my first romance novella. I decided to make this another income stream, because the money was so good from Amazon. It was like taking candy from a baby (a lot has changed with this, which I’m going to detail when I update the How to Make Money Writing Romance ebook, which I’ll be working on this weekend.

So Inkwell Editorial Publishing is for my fiction line of ebooks. Since that first one in 2013, I’ve gone on to write almost 40 more romance novels, with plans to continue to add to the line.

How I Fared with My Freelance Goals

Following is a breakdown of what I said I was going to do, and how it all shook out (click graphic for larger view).

2016 Freelance Writing Goals(i) Get InkwellEditorialPublishing.com live: I registered the domain name in November of 2015. The site went live on December 26, 2014. I was off and running!

Grade on Reaching this Goal: A

(ii) Set up social media accounts for it (FB and Twitter): I did this. The Twitter account is at  @AnInkwellPub. The Facebook account is at Facebook.com/InkwellEditorialPublishing – and it has over 200 Likes; better than I expected since I didn’t spend that much time promoting the page over the past year.

What I was doing though that was very effective was buying Facebook ads, until my account got disabled (ie, I’m unable to boost posts on Facebook). Facebook sucks in this respect. This looks like it’s going to be permanent, but what can you do. Thank goodness I do a lot of other types of marketing, eg, blogging, writing guest posts, social media and just being active on the web in general.

Grade on Reaching this Goal: A

(iii) Start subscriber list: All this will require is adding an AWeber subscription box to site once it’s live: I did this. Just had to cut/paste a bit of code. FYI, for any type of business you start, start collecting visitor email addresses as soon as possible. Freebies work great as incentives.

For example, when you subscribe to Inkwell Editorial Publishing’s list, you get three free romance novellas. So far, I have 54 loyal subscribers. No one has unsubscribed. Yoohoo! This is not a lot, but it’s a start.

Grade on Reaching this Goal: A

(iv) Sign on 2-5 recurring ghostwriters: I tried a few writers, but this didn’t go well at all. I found myself having to rewrite a lot of the material, so it wasn’t a good investment – time or money wise.

To be fair, I wasn’t paying that great either, going with writers who offered what was within my budget – but you truly get what you pay for, especially in fiction.

I used two writers that I liked a lot whose writing were excellent, but the stories didn’t sell well (one was a paranormal romance and another was a firefighter romance).

I actually loved the paranormal story, but again, the book didn’t do that well and since I don’t know how to write in that genre, I won’t be piercing that niche anytime soon – if ever. The firefighter story, while well written, was just a bit dry for my liking. I punched it up a bit, but again, it just didn’t suit the tone I was going for for my line of novellas – which I like a little on the spicy, dramatic side.

So all of this was a lesson. I may one day go back to hiring ghost writers, but only when I can afford to pay significantly more to hire higher-quality writers. For now though, I’m going to stick to writing my own stories – which I quite enjoy.

I just wish I could publish more. For a while there, I was pumping out 3-4 a month (about one a week). But when Amazon’s restructuring caused my income to take a major hit, I pulled back and turned my energies back to internet marketing and my non-fiction line of books.

I’ll talk about this more when I update the romance writing book. I’d planned to do so this month. In fact, I’m starting today, but it won’t be finished for a week or so, so it’ll be out in February.

Grade on Reaching this Goal: C (Even though it didn’t pan out, I tried it, so now have a better understanding about what I need to do to make this work).

(v) Widen my distribution network: My normal three outlets are Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomanceEbooks.com. I finally got all of my titles on Google Play, and over half of them on Draft2Digital.com (D2D). So this goal was largely accomplished. I still have 15 to upload to D2D, which is so easy it’s ridiculous.

I uploaded my first title there in October. Sales haven’t been that great – I’ve only sold 8 books there, and this is with 25 titles currently uploaded, so it’s slow going. But I’m in this for the long haul, so am not sweating it.

Sales have been a little brisker with Google Play, where I actually average about 20 sales per month – and those tend to be for higher prices, which means I earn more on each sale.

Again, I’ll get more specific about this when I update the romance writing ebook.

Grade on Reaching this Goal: B-

(vi) Break the $10,000 per month mark just from self-publishing income: Came nowhere near this. A lot of it can be directly attributed to the pinch a lot of self-published authors felt when Amazon introduced its subscription model. It literally sunk my romance sales like a stone. At one point, I was earning $2,000-$3,000 per month just from romance sales almost on auto-pilot.

And my non-fiction ebooks sell for a lot more, so it would have been a relatively easy target to make had this not happened.

But, c’est la vie, no? I still earn more than half of my annual income from my self-publishing efforts. It made me glad to have a line of books like this to fall back on. I was slowly moving away from self-publishing non-fiction to publishing fiction exclusively. This made me rethink that.

And, with the publishing contract I landed from the trade publisher, it underscored that continuing to write across stratums is not a bad way to go for now. Plus, I ALWAYS have an idea or two for a good non-fiction, how-to ebook in the back of my head.

Grade on Reaching this Goal: D. I didn’t give myself an F because I gave it the old college try; it just didn’t work out due to forces beyond my control. But I learned a lot, which makes it worth it.

Conclusion

Looking back over how I fared with my freelance writing goals from last year was fun. It definitely kept me on track – and added a consistent stream to my income, one that will only grow as I add books to the line.

Also, it made me eager to set goals for this year. So, here’s what they are. Mindful of my efforts to overload my plate, I’m going to try to keep it simple.

2016 Freelance Goals

(i) Launch New Internet Marketing Site: I started this back in September (2015) so have done a lot of work already (registered the domain name, wrote a lead magnet book, determined who my target market is, designed the ebook cover and put together a marketing plan and budget).

I’ve been an internet marketer since 2008. I do okay, but I’ve never been consistent about it, other than placing ads now and then on backpage. So I came up with a system to formalize this income stream to increase my earnings.

Goal for having the site live: Mid-March. Update: 3/24/2016. Have yet to start this, because I needed to update NewMediaWords.biz, my SEO writing company site. My thinking was — finish one thing before you start another. I finished updating New Media Words today, so now I’ll turn my attention to getting this done — before 4/15 so I still stay on track.

Update: 8/16/2016. Am almost finished this. Site (GetaMobileCareer.com (GAMC)) will be live July 15 Sept. 15th. FYI, there’s a subscriber box on the page. For now, you get the same free ebook as when you subscriber to this site. But, there will be a new FREE ebook you’ll get once the site is live. And, this subscriber list is separate from the one on this site.

Update: 11/2/2016. New goal for having site live is December 2nd. Now that the redesign of this site is complete, I can turn my attention to FINALLY getting GAMC live.

I’ve been sending out emails to subscribers on both lists for a while now. But, once the site is live, that practice will cease. I want to send emails only to those who are interested in email marketing from that site, and to those who are only interested in freelance writing from this site. So if you want the internet marketing emails, be sure to subscribe from GetaMobileCareer.com, ok?

Update: 12/31/2016. Pushed launched back to January 2017.

(ii) Revamp My SEO Writing Company’s Site (NewMediaWords.biz): It’s a hot mess! I’m embarrassed for anyone to go there, but the funny thing is, I still get leads from it. All I can say is, “God is good,” and he blesses me. Goal for having the site live: April 15th (yes, tax day – makes it easy to remember).

Update: 3/24/2016. Ahead of schedule. Finished this today. Yes!

(iii) Update Non-Fiction Line: I’ve already updated a few of my best sellers. I’ve written a lot of non-fiction, how-to ebooks, so I’ll be streamlining the line too.

Goal for having all the ones I want to update done: September 1st – just in time for the busy fall season (I only have maybe half a dozen more that I plan to update).

Update: 3/24/2016. Have updated 3 titles so far. Have 3 more to go that I want to update (I scaled down the ones I’d planned to update after looking at my sales numbers).

Update: 7/1/2016. Have updated 4 titles so far. Targeted about 4 more that I decided to tackle. Will have these done by Sept 1st, in time for newly redesigned launch of InkwellEditorial.com.

Update: 11/2/2016. Will only be updating two more titles. I’ve decided to focus primarily on my fiction writing, as these books don’t require any updating. As I’m trying to build passive income streams, this will mean less work moving forward.

FYI, I was nervous about focusing so heavily on self-publishing non-fiction because of Amazon’s kick in the teeth back in 2014. But now that I’m writing regularly again (and distributing widely; ie, not JUST with Amazon), I see there’s still good money to be made writing romance in particular. So I’m going full speed ahead.

Update: 12/31/2016. Transferred to next year to finish updating the two additional titles I talked about in the 11/2 update.

(iv) Add to Fiction Line: I’ll be publishing one romance novella per month (down from my previous goal of 3-4 per month). Romance sells, and the thing I like about writing it is that it never has to be updated. And the more you publish, the more you ostensibly earn. Also, when you publish a new one, you tend to pick up new readers who go back and buy a lot of your other novels.

So although Amazon kicked the s**t out of this stream of income when they announced their subscription service in the summer of 2014, I still earn a consistent $400-$500 per month from books I never have to touch again. And to put that in perspective, it covers almost all of my monthly expenses here in Jamaica, ie:

Rent: Approx $252/month with conversion to American dollars right now.

Cable: Roughly $55

Cell: About $10 month (I usually spend less cuz I communicate with friends and family via Facebook; and with clients via email mostly);

Electric: Evens out to about $30/month.

FYI, this is one of the main reasons I moved to Jamaica – to be able to save more for retirement.

Remember, it only takes one “hot seller” to earn you thousands in a month – and the more you write, the better your chance of that happening. But even if I never get that, I’m happy to see this stream of income just rock along, creeping up by a hundred here or a couple of hundred here.

Ebooks are forever … and the distribution outlets are only expanding. To my mind, it’s an evergreen way of making money.

Update: 3/24/2016. Haven’t written one romance novel so far this year. I’ll turn my attention to it in May or June, and make up time by writing 2 per month ’til year’s end to reach my goal of 12 for this year (1 per month).

Update: 7/1/2016. Have completed one romance novel so far this year, and another one is about half done. Running behind on this goal, but hope to make up for lost time when internet marketing site is launched.

Update: 11/2/2016. Have completed two more romance novellas (for a total of three this year so far). Nine (9) more to go. Aggressive goal? Yes. Possible? Yes — if I work my patootie off, which I fully plan to do.

Update: 12/31/2016. Count stands at three for the year. Got bogged down in preparing to launch my internet marketing site.

See 2017 Freelance Writing Goals post for more info.

How About You?

While I do have a love/hate relationship with setting goals, my business is more profitable when I have them because it keeps me focused throughout the year, especially laying them out publicly like this. Could setting goals help you increase your income year after year? Just something to think about.

How did you make out with your freelance writing goals last year, and what are you goals for this year? Please share in the comments section below. Declare them publicly so you can stay on track!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. 🙂

Post Coming Soon: Writing a Book: Lessons I Learned as a Self-Published Author Writing for a Traditional Publisher Update: It was published!

Freelancing along 7-Mile Beach in Negril, JamaicaP.S.: Online Writing — A High-Paying, Mobile Career You Could Have Too!

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    Comments

    1. Clair Marquette says:

      Found this on MSN and I’m happy I did. Well written article.

    2. Your writing style is so inspirational to me and I would like to follow your strategy each and every step of my online activity.

    3. Wow, I had no idea the new system with Amazon just killed all the fiction writers! Yikes, I am so sorry that happened to you, but as you said, having diversity in business is good, as you’re not ever putting all your eggs into one basket!
      Laura recently posted…Striking a Balance: Hiring The Right Freelancers to Help You Without Strangling Your ProfitsMy Profile

      • Yeah Laura, AMZ killed income for a lot of writers. I was rolling in the dough for a minute there, but then they screwed it all up with their algorithm changes. I learned years ago though to never put all my income eggs in one basket, as you point out. I’m always nervous when I see a big spike in income from an outside source. The only time I’m comfortable is when sales of my products from my website increase. That’s the only “basket” I know that’s steady enough to hold my fragile income eggs (to beat a metaphor to death — lol!).

        I STILL believe there’s good money to be made in writing romance simply because it’s the largest fiction genre of all time. It’s just that you have to be in it for the long haul. I’ll be detailing it all when I update the romance writing ebook.

        Thanks for dropping by.

        FYI, checked out your site when you sent in your submission for the freelancing book. You’re GORGEOUS and smart. Hard combination to beat. You remind me of that TV chef, Giada “something or other Italian last name.” 🙂

        Continued success.