I’m usually pretty hesitant to set yearly goals. Like I never ever do any New Year’s Resolutions. I only occasionally set other goals unless they are very major and I’m committed to accomplishing them, or they are very minor and I can do them quick. Anything else and I either get bogged down or lose interest and end up going in some other direction.
I’ve tried to be careful about setting reading and blogging goals, though in 2019 I set like ten which was way too much. But no matter how many I settle on I maybe accomplish half of them. This year I thought about not setting any goals and just see what happens. I mean you can’t fail at your goals if you don’t have any right?
OK fine, that’s not a great way to look at things I admit it. So instead of no goals at all I’ve come up with a handful I think I can accomplish and which build upon things I’ve already been doing.
Meet My Goodreads Goal
This I can do. This year I set my Goodreads reading goal at 36 books which is the same as last year. For me that’s a pretty attainable number. I know it isn’t as many as a lot of my other blogger friends, but with my work/family schedule this is what works for me. Sometimes I can read a book a week, sometimes it takes ten days or more. Sometimes I can read one a day (novellas). Last year I ended up reading 42 books and I can probably get close to that again this year. But I’m not setting my goal higher because to be honest it just feels good to reach the goal and well…36 is easier.
If you don’t already follow me on Goodreads and would like to my profile is in the link below.
Post Twice A Week
I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to be better about posting to the blog more often this year. In 2020 I was doing good to post once a week. Some weeks I didn’t post at all. I really want to drive up engagement on the blog and the best way to do that besides having great content (another area to work on) is to have a little MORE content.
The problem for me in this area is again my work/family schedule. I can’t help the former, and don’t want to reduce the latter. But this often leaves me tired and worn out during the week which means I typically post on the weekends. I can usually only manage one book review a week at most. So if I’m going to attempt two posts a week then I need some additional content that isn’t as time consuming to create and doesn’t tax my brain. I have some ideas on this and we’ll see how it goes.
Reading More Indie/Self-Pub Fantasy
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I’m a fan of indie/self-published fantasy. I read multiple self-pub books a year and have hosted (or co-hosted) Self-Published Fantasy Month for the past three years. So to say I want to read MORE indie/self-pub may seem like an obvious goal, but I want to really increase the number I read.
This year I’d like for at least fifty percent of the books I read to be indie/self-pub. There’s just so many great indie/self-pub books out there, and so many great authors telling stories, and I want to share them with you. The only way to do that is to read more of them. Indie/self-pub authors don’t have the level of marketing and sales help that traditionally published authors do, and if I can help spread the word about a great book and help an author out so that maybe they can write more great books, well then I see that as a win/win for everyone.
This isn’t to say anything bad about traditionally published books and authors. I still love them and will keep reading them. I just want to show some additional love to self-pub.
Last year I decided to try reading more novellas. This turned out to be one of my best decisions in terms of reading goals. I always kinda knew I was missing out on some good books, but didn’t realize how many. There are some really great stories being published in this format, both traditionally and in self-pub. And not only are they great stories, but I discovered I can read them in 1-2 days tops. So not only do I get to read a damn good book, I get to pad those reading goal stats! This year I decided to carry this goal over and see where it takes me.
Self-Published Fantasy Month?
Of all my goals this one is the one I’m least sure about at this point. When I started Self-Published Fantasy Month in 2018 I really didn’t have long-term goals for it. I really just thought I’d be dedicating a month to reading and reviewing self-published fantasy and maybe have a few others join in the fun. It grew a little in 2019 and then in 2020 I asked for some help from some of my blogger buddies. And WOW. Self-Published Fantasy Month 2020 was so much bigger and better than I could have ever hoped or imagined. That being said it was also a lot of work, not just for me but also for the three others assisting me who put a ton of effort into planning, webpage development, and content creation. There’s no way I’d want to go back to what I was doing the first two years, and there is no way I could recreate what we did in 2020 alone. So IF I move forward with Self-Published Fantasy Month again in 2021 it will have to be with help once again. But first I have to decide if I want to put in the effort myself…and it’s still too early to know. But maybe…
A New Review Format
Truth be told every year I’ve had the blog I’ve played with the review format. I still haven’t settled on one I like. I do feel like my reviews tend to run too long but I have a hard time cutting them down. For a while I made sure I touched on the same topics in every review (Plot, Writing and Pacing, Characters, Magic Systems, World Building, Themes, etc). For a while I quit separating each section out but still hit on each one. For a while I just wrote what was most on my mind. I haven’t really liked any of them. This year I’m going with a plan that acknowledges some readers like longer reviews and love the details, while others prefer shorter review with highlights. So I’m breaking my reviews into an intro section (hopefully with something that hooks you), a section on What I Liked, a section on What I Disliked/Struggled With, and a Conclusion section. In the What I Liked and Disliked sections I start with bullet points and then flesh them out with details in the paragraphs that follow. IDK…maybe people will like it, maybe they won’t. I still don’t know that it’s what I like yet.
In addition to the review format itself I’ve changed how I present the book in the banner pic. For a long time I was placing the book in front of my fireplace and snapping a pic of it and using that as the banner. This year I’m taking the book cover and superimposing it over a zoomed in and slightly blurred image of the cover with some additional text based on the post. I’m really liking these new banners and they are pretty easy to make so I think I’ll keep them.
Well, that’s about it for my goals update. If you’re still with me I’m impressed. That must mean you’re actually interested in all this stuff and I appreciate it! The only thing I didn’t really talk about was cleaning up the blog and doing some maintenance to it. That’s a goal I always have that I almost never get to so I figured why waste a paragraph to it. Maybe I’ll surprise myself.
Check back at the end of the year to see how much I kept up with and what I decided to slack on. And who knows, maybe I’ll have added one or two things I haven’t thought of yet.