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Editor's Notes #18, December 30,2004 --Writing goals. I share mine and offer support for yours.
December 30, 2004

"About your New Year's resolutions...
Are you going to stick with the list you made in '82
or will you try some brand-new ones this year?"
--Reader's Digest January 2005 p. 173

Usually this newsletter is on the terse side. Not this time. If you don't have a few minutes, save this one until you can sit back with a mug of something hot and relaxing and savor the year gone by and consider what's coming up.

Looking back on your writing goals? How did you do?

If you're like me, you had some successes and some challenges. In the spirit of camaraderie, let me share the main features of my literary/publishing life over 2004.

A book I had hoped to have in production in the summer of 2003 is still waiting for one last piece of writing. That piece of writing is waiting for one last piece of information. That last piece of information is waiting for one last interview. And that one last interview is eluding me. Although I'm frustrated by the road blocks, I am so committed to the quality of my book, that I will not go to print until it's as good as it possibly can be.

After losing money on a newsletter publication in 2003, I tipped it into the black in 2004. I had hoped to take it from provincial to national distribution, but just didn't have the oomph to do the marketing I needed. Maybe next year. I have definite long-term plans to turn it into a book. No deadline, but definitely on the back burner.

My editing took an unexpected turn when I realized that Web site owners are self-publishers. (Considering that I'm one myself, I'm embarrassed by the time I took to get here mentally.) This has led to amazing new ventures. First, I've been editing Web sites. Second, my own site leaped into the top 1% of sites World Wide, according to Alexa. It is even featured as an example at this page. Click on Miscellaneous business. (More on this topic below.) Third, I became a moderator in a Web forum for small businesses with a Web presence. Finally, I've got plans for a whole new section for my own site. That's also below.

A client kindly gave me the means to change the look and feel of my Web site. So when you go there, it will look different. All the same good things. Just a cleaner look. And there are two new features that I think you'll like. (I put them there for you so I hope you like them.)

Since the site is getting so big, I've put a search box on my home page. So if you want to know if I've written about POD, for example, you can just put that into the search box and it will take you to all the pages that mention POD.

The second is a link under the navigation bar on the left side of the home page called What's New. That will show you the pages I've added or changed most recently. That way you can keep up with what's happening on the site without having to check out all the pages. The site is getting so big I get lost on it myself.

I planned to have at least two on-line writing courses done by now. Happily I asked you what you wanted before I wrote what I thought you'd want. That saved me from writing something that may have languished unused. But it did set my schedule back a bit as I've had to rethink the plan. The courses are still on the way, but will take more time than I imagined they would.

I promised you some time ago that I would have a new POD resource to announce. I began researching the company because I never want to recommend something unless I'm sure it's of the highest quality. Unhappily, although the company looked very good on paper (and on-line), they failed miserably in the communication department, falling so low as not even to reply to my queries. I can't recommend someone who doesn't do even the most basic business things correctly. I was actually going to post a warning about them in my newsletter and on my Web site. I got busy and just this week, I've had someone from the company approach me to try to repair my view of them. I'm still not satisfied that they are worth a recommendation, but at least I'm not posting a public warning.

On that topic, if you ever plan to use a POD company, you absolutely need The Fine Print, the e-book I featured in the last newsletter. Here is the link again in case you need it.

On my Web site I've added an author story that should inspire you to keep at your writing. When you think you've got problems getting your words onto paper or a screen, think of Alice. You can read her story on this page.

I've nattered on from time to time in this newsletter about how much I believe writers need Web sites. I'm more convinced than ever. My time in the forum I mentioned before has been most instructive. There are thousands (make that millions) of non-writers out there making money with their clumsy and inept words on the Internet. It's a great place for me to be as an editor. Those people need me! But I keep thinking, Where are the writers? More specifically, Where are the self-publishing writers? The people who already know how to string words together to good effect.

If you didn't check out my listing in the Web results, do that now. But this time, look at the topics others are building sites on. All of those people are making money from their sites. Compared to the cost of putting out a tree book, a Web site if all but free.

Like any publishing endeavor, it does require work. But work is what writers are good at. Especially work with words. And self-publishing writers already know that marketing is important and understand they have to work at that. Or they should. The Web is a huge market-place. People click all over the world without getting off their chairs. Why not let them click on you? I don't want to get into all the ways to make money from those clicks, but I do suggest you at least investigate this for yourself.

And right now, the Cadillac of small Web business support companies has a two for one sale that lasts until January 5. I do not suggest you buy yourself two Web sites. Not at first, anyway, although lots of people do own multiple sites. But if you know anyone else who could do with a little extra cash in exchange for some focused work, you won't get this value for this money again. Do at least check it out.

Then you'll be happy about the new section I'm planning for my Web site. It's going to deal with how writers, in particular, can use the Web. The first page, on how to improve Web page readability, will hopefully be launched by the end of January. I will also be providing links to writers who have their own sites. This is a high value service as links in to your site are vital to getting you traffic. It's like having your book visible on the bookstore shelves. And if you can get your book into the window, so much the better. With my own good traffic, I can help you build your own traffic. (You'll need to get many more links than mine, but even one good link--and mine is a good one--can get the ball rolling.

Getting the Web site section going is one plan. The other current plan is to produce at least one e-book. Two years ago I thought e-books were nonsense and I didn't want to be bothered with them. I've been researching--and buying and reading--e-books and I've changed my mind. Talk about cheap publishing! And there's a huge market out there. Next month I plan to share an excellent resource for that, too.

I've also created a writing support page. You submit your writing goal and you will get follow up reminders to keep you on track. I've taken the plunge and put my own goals out there for all to see. (You will get the reminders even if you don't want to make your goals public, but we all know how much commitment goes up when it's public.) Do check this out and post your own writing goal.

Best wishes as you pursue your writing.

If you are not able to click on the URLs above, cut and paste the one you want into your browser.

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