New Year, new resolutions: 2015

Here we are again. 2014 is about to come to an end. For what concern me, it was a year rich of events and it almost seemed longer than the previous ones, which looks like a good sign, as it means I’ve been occupied with many different activities, more than those normally characterising a typical year.

As I scroll down the list, I see I accomplished several of them; it didn’t go so well with others, but I had the chance to add new unexpected events, so I’m more than satisfied by the results.
Let’s see them in detail.

I successfully completed the editing and published “Il mentore” (a thriller in Italian; trans: “The Mentor”) during spring and “L’isola di Gaia” (trans: “The Isle of Gaia”) by 30 November (exactly on the 28th).
I read 53 books during the year, one more than the number I had wished.
I had hoped to sell at least 3000 copies in Italy and, instead, I sold almost 4000 (more than those sold in the two preceding years together). But what makes this result really amazing is that approximately half of these copies were sold at a price over 2 euros, thus showing that I’m succeeding in my intention to transform my activity as an indie author into a real source of income. And it was possible also thanks to the fact that I’m dedicating over 80% of my time to it. In other words, my worry about the difficulty to sell books costing more than 1 euro has revealed fortunately wrong. This happened partially thanks to the fact that there was a significant increase in the digital book market in Italy in this last year and, in the meantime, I succeeded in reaching a different target of readers, by exploiting the internal promotional mechanisms of the retailers (Amazon, but not only). The biggest surprise was that “Il mentore” became the one of my books having the more lasting and constant sales in the first five months after its publication, so much as to draw the attention of someone who asked me to acquire its translation rights in English and German. Concerning this matter, I’ll tell you more in the very next future, since an English edition (expected, indeed, in 2015) should be of some interest to you, but for now I still prefer to keep a little secrecy about the details.

Unfortunately I couldn’t fulfil a few resolutions. I didn’t participate to NaNoWriMo, also because I was in holidays for two week in November, to I had to postpone the writing of a new novel. For the same reason, I didn’t succeed in writing 200 thousand words during the year, but only 135 thousands of the re-writing of “L’isola di Gaia”.
But you must add to it the translation of three full books from my “Red Desert” series (approx. 140 thousand words), and I’m working on the last one right now, which I should finish by the first days on February. Meanwhile, I’ve published the two first books, “Red Desert - Point of No Return” and “Red Desert - People of Mars”, whilst the third one, “Red Desert - Invisible Enemy”, is scheduled to be published on 2 February (my proofreader is working on it).
Moreover, as you can see here, I’m still working in extending my readership here in the English market. Next year will be particularly relevant for what concern this aspect. But what makes me hope for the best is that my books have been liked so far.

My account of the past year becomes even better if I consider the results I’ve reached, which I wasn’t event aiming at.
Here they are:
- I was awarded by Wired Italia as one of the 10 best Italian self-publishers;
- I was a guest at the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, the most important Italian book fair, in May and then at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the international book fair of Frankfurt (the most important European book fair), in October;
- the omnibus of “Deserto rosso” (in Italian) hit the first position in the Kindle Store on (yes, the top of the big chart!) for two days;
- I received fantastic reviews of the Red Desert series both by Wired Italia and Tom’s Hardware Italia. The latter also reviewed my latest Italian novel “L’isola di Gaia”;
- this latest novel was the most sold book in the Kindle Store on during the days of the launch (in the charts only counting the sales in the previous 24 hours) and it continues selling well, beyond my expectations;
- I also gave a speech at two more interesting events: one was in Todi, during the a national series event concerning publishing and involving all Italy (titled “Maggio dei Libri”); the other one was a conference at the Università degli Studi dell’Insubria (in Varese) concerning science, science fiction and self-publishing.
All that happened in spite of being subjected to an operation at my right hand in February, which kept me partially out of them games for almost two months.
In a nutshell, I’m satisfied by my achievements.

And now it’s the time to state my resolutions for 2015.
1) Publishing “Red Desert - Invisible Enemy” on 2 February (it’s almost done) and complete the translation of “Red Desert - Back Home”, to be published in summer.
2) Editing and publishing a thriller titled “Affinità d’intenti” (trans: Kindred Purposes) in Italian by May.
3) Writing at least two novels, a science fiction one (possible title “Per caso”, i.e. “By Chance”, in the subgenre of space opera) and a thriller (maybe “Sindrome”, i.e. “Syndrome”, a sequel of “Il mentore”), and writing at least half of “Ophir”, the third part of the Aurora saga, which also include the “Red Desert” series, by exploiting the two sessions of Camp NaNoWriMo (April and July) and the regular NaNoWriMo (November). I intend to win all of them. In general, given than I won’t have to do any translation of my own books (for once, someone else will do that in my place at their expenses!), I want to dedicate most part of 2015 to writing.
4) Publishing “Per caso” by the end of November.
5) Reading at least 52 books, like I did in 2014.
6) Outlining the novels I’ll write in 2016, which will go from science fiction, thriller and even possibly Egyptian fantasy, and maybe something else. Who knows?
7) Finally, for what concerns my future sales, I just wish to keep the growing trend of the latest seven months on the Italian market. I also have very good expectation for the English market, thanks to some recent commitments I took in October, which will hopefully be the triggering event for a first leap.

What do you think?
2015 will be my forth year as self-publisher. The moment to look back and take stock of my accomplishments will be the end of the fifth year, but I’ve just passed the turning point with very good expectations, so next year will be crucial in giving important indications on I’m getting along with this difficult job. I won’t hide you that the idea to make a living as an author is becoming a possible target. It wasn’t so one year ago, because the requirements were missing, but recently this idea is starting to become more realistic, even if I still have a quite long road, but maybe not too long, in front of me.
As usual I must thank my friends, collaborators, and readers for what I could do up until now. Without you I wouldn’t have had the motivations to get thus far, and I know your support will be essential again in the next twelve months of this journey of mine in the publishing industry.
Together we’ll see what happens.

And now tell me about you. Have you fulfilled your resolutions for this year? And what are your resolutions for 2015?