New year, new resolutions: 2016

Another year has gone. If I think about this 2015, it seems I have celebrated the New Year a short time ago, but then on a second thought, I realise that that day is actually far away in my memory. And pretty much everything happened in the meantime.

The most important thing is that 2015, the fourth year as self-publisher, is also the one in which this profession has become my main source of income.
Yes, you read right: now I can say I live of my writing.
Being a job made of ups and downs, I cannot say for sure that this will continue in the future, but for now it is so.

My big leap came from one of my novels originally published in 2014 in Italian, “Il mentore”, of which toward the end of last year I sold the English translation rights to Amazon Publishing, but while signing that contract I could not imagine at all what would happen next.
The Mentor” was released in the US, UK and Australia last October (in November in the rest of the world) and in a few days it jumped to the top of the charts in the Kindle Store. For two days it was even the number 1 in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com, the largest e-books retailer in the world.
Now, almost three months and more than 850 reviews later, the book has a readership exceeding 160,000 people (in various formats and worldwide) and growing.

It’s a dream come true and for which I must thank those who believed in the novel, especially Alessandra Tavella from the Italian division of Amazon Publishing who brought “Il mentore” to the attention of AmazonCrossing, the imprint of the Amazon Publishing Group for translated fiction. But right after I have to thank my acquisitions editor at AmazonCrossing, Gabriella Page-Fort, who welcomed the suggestion of her Italian colleague and along with the marketing team has made such a success possible.

What I have just described was undoubtedly the most important event in 2015, but at the same time the one on which I worked less, since the work was in the hands of others.
For me, the past year has been a success because I could write 177 000 words, divided into two whole novels, “Per caso” (By Chance) that I published in November in Italy (this was one of the goals that I wanted to reach last year) and “Syndrome”, the sequel to “The Mentor”, of which I have just finished the first draft in Italian (Sindrome), and a part of a third novel, “Ophir”, volume three in the Aurora saga.
The latter two are also the novels I will publish in 2016 in Italian.
I managed to achieve this writing goal using all three NaNoWriMo 2015 sessions (April, July, and November) and in this way I honoured another one of the resolutions listed a year ago.
In addition I translated the first part of the new novel by Richard J. Galloway (I had already translated “Amantarra” by the same author in 2013).

What happened to the other resolutions?
They went quite well. I published the last two novels of “Red Desert” on timeRed Desert- Invisible Enemy” and “Red Desert - Back Home. I completed the editing of “Affinità d’intenti” (Kindred Intentions) and I published it in Italian in May. I read 52 books.
I did not prepare the exact outline of the novels I’ll write in 2016, but I wrote a lot of notes outlining the plots, on which I intend to work later.
The sales trend as self-publisher has not grown particularly, but it is still remained stable at least as average. In 2015, I reached over 4000 copies sold, a little bit more that 2014, bringing the total well over 11,000, of which 1,000 only in the last fifty days, even if there were no promotions generated by external events (that is, that I did not organize by myself). The most important thing of these 4,000 copies is that those with a price of more than two dollars or euros are many more than in 2015. In a nutshell, I earned more.
Of course these numbers seem almost insignificant if compared to those for “The Mentor”, but are important to me, because they represent a measure of the results derived directly from my work, that is the only thing on which I have a direct control.

There are also a number of notable events, but at the same time unexpected, that happened to me in 2015:
- the enthusiastic participation both as a host and as a correspondent for FantascientifiCast at Sassari Comics & Games 2015;
- the interview on Tom’s Hardware and the review of “Per caso”, my last science fiction novel, in the same magazine (Italian edition);
- I was interviewed on the Tiscali portal (which is very important in Italy);
- an interview also appeared on Amazon.it;
- for the first time an article about me and my books appeared on the front page of a newspaper (La Nuova Sardegna), then it continued in the culture section of the same newspaper in which they dedicated an entire page to me (here and here are the two articles in the online edition of the newspaper; they are in Italian);

Considering everything, I couldn’t certainly hope for more for this 2015.

And now it’s time to list my resolutions for 2016.
I’ll start with those on which I have the control:
1) Editing “Syndrome” and publish it in Italian (Sindrome) in May 21;
2) Complete writing “Ophir” between January and April (during the Camp NaNoWriMo), editing and publishing it on 30 November (in Italian);
3) Translate at least another book in English (that may in interesting for you!) and maybe be able to publish it as soon as possible (all depends on the time I can spend on it);
4) Write at least another novel during Camp NaNoWriMo in July or NaNoWriMo in November (if I could write in both months, it would be great). I have yet to decide whether to dedicate immediately to “Beyond the Limit”, the final book in the “The Mentor” trilogy, or do another project before it. I’ll take a decision in conjunction with the Italian publication of “Syndrome”;
5) Complete the revision of the translation for the first part of “Saranythia”, the new novel by Richard J. Galloway;
6) Read at least 52 books;
7) Prepare notes and a rough outline for at least another two new novels;
8) Work hard to maintain an upward trend for sales and especially earnings derived from self-publishing.

And then there are those on which I have less control since they derive from the decisions by other people:
9) See one of my books translated and published in another language and/or maybe sell the translation rights for a publication in 2017;
10) Continue to get a good earning from “The Mentor” directly (while it lasts!) or indirectly (see above), enough to stay tranquil from the economic point of view for the near future;
11) Being able to participate in some events (I prefer not to give details now for good luck). In a particular case, if it goes ahead, there could be an extra non-fiction publication concerning self-publishing.

There would be other things, but they are mostly hopes and maybe I’ll say more about that later on, when they are closer to feasibility.
In general, however, what I hope most is that my creativity remains active and lets me imagine, and make real through writing, stories able to thrill me and that I’d like to read, because in the end this is the greatest desire of a writer: write something you are proud of and that makes you happy.

What do you think?
2015 was the year of change for me, but I know I have another challenging year before me. Whatever happens, I know it will be important. It will be my fifth year as self-publisher (or independent author, but I like self-publisher because it contains the word publisher) and then one in which I will have to draw conclusions and establish whether my business is bound to have a lasting success.
To know how it goes, you just need to follow my adventures and those of my beloved characters.

In closing this article, as always, I want to thank all of you and especially all the people who in one way or another accompany me on my journey in the publishing industry: family, friends, collaborators, and readers.
Thank you for your indispensable support.

Now I just have to ask you to tell me something (here on the blog or in the social networks where it will be shared).
Did you honour your resolutions for 2015? What are your goals and your hopes for 2016?