Ciao, amici! Happiest New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I spent some time with family. And I spent some time in bed. My husband decided to spread a plague through our family, and we all got sick. Lovely way to end 2018. But 2019 can only get better from there, right?
I, like so many others, use the new year opportunity to look back at the previous twelve months and ahead for the next twelve or more. If you want to see what was supposed to have happened in 2018, you can read this post. And here’s a brief rundown of what actually occurred.
I wrote more words in 2018 than ever before in my career. And I’m not including blogging (although I believe I blogged more than ever before, if you include SE and RU and guest posts). This past year, I wrote five novels, a few novellas, and a few shorts (if I’m counting right). I also published less than usual. It wasn’t supposed to be a transition year, but it was.
As Staci Troilo, I published the last installment of the Medici Protectorate Series, Tortured Soul. I also began a spinoff series, the Nightforce Security Series. (Why I started it is a long story, not relevant enough to explain here. I discussed it in this year-to-come goals post, though, if you want to learn more.) I published two titles in the series on my own and was ready to release the third. Then Kindle Worlds went away, so I pulled the titles down and gave them to my bosses, where they were released under the pen name Keira Beck. But I’m trying to get away from writing romance, so I had them pull the titles down again. I’m getting rid of the sex scenes (which I hate to write and don’t really care to read) and rebranding them (again) as domestic thrillers. I’ll be releasing some of them this year (as Staci Troilo). I have four completed, but they need to be revised to fit their appropriate new genre.
I started working for Sterling and Stone as a writer and editor. I was supposed to write romance under the name Holly Chase. I wrote a book and a half before I decided I just didn’t want to write romance anymore. They gave me a new name and a new genre, and I went to town, writing three and a half novels (as Delilah Cross) before those projects went on hold in favor of a new company-wide push. All staff writers are contributing to the Invasion Universe. Now, as D. L. Cross, I’ll have a series of five science fiction novels coming out this year. I’m super excited about that project. I’m describing it as a cross between Indiana Jones and Falling Skies. More on that at a later time.
So, as you can see, I wrote a TON of words last year. And published almost none of them. But 2019, if all goes according to plan, is going to be a HUGE publishing year for me. And I can’t wait to talk with you about all of it.
- Romance University—I became a full faculty member in 2018. Unfortunately, their attempt at adding new writers to their already experienced staff wasn’t enough to save the site. Posts are now (and will be for years) archived, but little if any new content will be added. That’s probably for the best for me, as I was already stretched too thin. Also, I’ve veered away from writing romance (not that RU was a romance-only site; there’s a myriad of useful posts for all writers in the industry), so it was probably a good idea to distance myself from the “romance author” label.
- Story Empire—SE had a fabulous year. Our readership grew, we won our first blogging award, and we connected with wonderful writers across the industry. We experimented with our format and changed our Friday posts. We had successes and failures, but we all learned and grew from the experiences. We’re hitting the ground running in 2019, and I expect even bigger and better things.
- Personal Blog—I experimented here, too. I moved my links posts around. At this point, I’m relatively certain I’m moving it back to Fridays. That will give readers the weekend to peruse links. I posted some short fiction and found I reached a whole new audience. I’d love to do more of those posts, but I’m struggling with the timing. I’m hoping to host more authors this year and post more reviews this year. Time will tell, I suppose. But those types of posts are reader-centric, so I’m hoping they are value-added for you. If there’s something you’d like to see that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know.
- Twitter—I rely almost exclusively on Tweetdeck to manage Twitter. It lets me manage multiple accounts (and I have too many to manage) and keep track of my favorite users and hashtags with ease. I will continue to use it, but I just don’t get the “social” part of that medium. Seldom do I engage in conversations. The ones people start with me seem to fizzle fast, the ones I try to initiate don’t seem to go anywhere, and the ones I try to join don’t yield successful interactions. My following is growing (slowly but steadily) but I doubt I’ll ever LOVE the platform. (If you’re not following me but would like to, you can find me here: Staci Troilo’s Twitter Account.)
- Facebook—Their policies have become so impossible, I hardly ever go there. I’ve kept my personal profile and keep in touch with family and friends (maybe once a week). I kept my page to share posts on and possibly to run ads from, but FB ads are tanking across the industry, so I’m assuming I’ll let that idea slide. And I still have my group, where conversations are more relaxed, but I’m thinking about letting it go. I’ll update you when I’m sure. (If you’re interested in joining the group, you can find it here: Staci Troilo’s Novel Idea.)
- Google Plus—That’s going away. I’m fine with that. I’ve never figured out how to leverage the platform, anyway.
- Pinterest—I used to love to be on Pinterest. And many users still enjoy being there. I’m hoping to revamp my profile there this year and use the platform more. (If you want to see my boards, you can find them here: Staci Troilo’s Pinterest Boards.)
- Instagram—My daughter is dragging me kicking and screaming to Instagram. Apparently, there are a lot of readers there. When she revamped my profile, I started getting a ton of followers. I’m hoping to continue that trend on my own. We’ll see if I can keep up with yet another media. (If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me here: Staci Troilo’s Instagram Account.)
- YouTube—I know video is the new trend. I don’t see me embracing it, though. It’s something I’ll consider, and I may miss the bandwagon, but I just don’t see it in the cards this year.
I do have a few other goals for the year that I wasn’t sure where to put. So, “other” it is.
- I want to do better with my newsletter. I sent almost none out last year. I believe it’s very important to cultivate a list of readers for various reasons, so I hope to make progress on this front. I’m currently using MailChimp but expect to switch to MailerLite soon. If you want to be on my mailing list, you can sign up here. I’ll be changing my free offerings when I change my provider, so if you want four eclectic short stories before they’re gone for good, here’s your chance.
- I need to start advertising. My bosses will take care of the books I write for them, but I don’t want to give up my own property, and to make a go of it, I have to promote those works. So I’ll be delving into ads this year, maybe going with a promo service or two as well. And I’m hoping to make use of BookBub. I’m getting close to the required 1,000 followers that will enable me to run promotions. If you’d like to follow me there, you can click here: Staci Troilo’s BookBub Profile. I really like BookBub because it’s the least invasive of all the platforms and is completely story-focused. Hopefully I can get more active there this year.
So, that’s it. What I’ve done, and what I hope to do. I’d love to know how you fared with respect to meeting your goals last year. And what your goals for this year are. Let’s talk about it below.