New year, new resolutions: 2022

We’ve come to the end of a year again almost without realising it, right?

I must say that this 2021 has been very peculiar for me in various respects. My publishing activity is certainly one of them. At the end of 2020, in fact, I had decided to not write anything new for at least a year, since I had no more pending projects and, above all, I didn’t want to. And it certainly was very easy to follow this up!


I must say that from time to time over the months, even recently, the thought of telling some new story entered my mind, but the idea of going through the writing process and the prolonged commitment that it requires made me run away from such a thought. There were other things I wanted to do, although no less demanding in terms of time spent, but certainly lighter and more pleasant on a mental level (at least for me).
Creating an invented reality is exhilarating, but the unknown factor that must be faced every day in pulling something out of nowhere that is interesting and that works, and that maybe entertains those who read it, can be exhausting and anxiety-inducing. Instead, when it comes to return to what has already been created and defined (so there is no longer that unknown factor) and propose it again in another form that allows it to reach a wider audience, at least in theory, everything becomes more measurable and controllable, and therefore relaxing, despite the hours of work dedicated to it every day.

I’m talking about translations.

If you look at my resolutions for 2021, you will see that they included the translation in English of the two remaining books in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy.
Well, I did it! And I managed to do it within the schedule I set over the course of the year.
I completed the translation of “Sindrome” (Syndrome) by May and that of “Oltre il limite” (Beyond the Limit) by November. At the moment, the second book of the trilogy, after being edited, is in the hands of my proofreader, while I have just sent the third to my editor.


It was a long job, and I was struggling to see the end of it. And it was made even more difficult by the knowledge that the text I was working on would become a published book in a fairly distant future (more on that later) and, as always, with uncertain results. All long-term commitments require perseverance and discipline, and carrying this out for 12 months (starting December 2020), without having a minimum of short-term gratification, wasn’t easy.
On the other hand, however, the process of transforming my novels from their original form in Italian to that translated into the language spoken in the place where they are set (London), and “hearing” the characters speaking in that same language, was exciting at times.


To do it in the best way, during these 12 months, I only read novels in British English (I have started reading in Italian again a couple of weeks ago), I watched almost exclusively TV series and films in this language; in a nutshell, I tried to create a sort of full immersion for what concerned fiction in general. And I liked it, of course I liked it. If it were up to me, I would spend all my time studying and practicing foreign languages (not just English), because I enjoy it so much. Maybe I prefer to do it without deadlines, but I fear that the latter are essential if you want to translate books!


In short, I achieved two resolutions from those listed a year ago.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I did for the others.


I partially managed not to get stressed out, at least in certain periods, but then I realised that, if I hadn’t at least set deadlines, I wouldn’t have been able to translate the two aforementioned books. And with deadlines, inevitably a bit of stress arrived. However, in the last few months I managed to slow down and this December, despite some unexpected events (including my main PC that made a short stay in assistance), I managed my work in a way closer to the goals that I’d set regarding my personal well-being.

As I said a year ago, it makes no sense for me to concentrate completely, even on an emotional level, on my publishing activity, if in the end it doesn’t make me feel good. And I have every intention of staying true to this principle in 2022 as well. However, I realise that it is a gradual process that requires a certain organisation and the ability to distinguish, among the possible goals I intend to achieve, those that really matter and that have a minimal chance of being achieved, even if a remote one (where there’s a will there’s a way!).
Unfortunately, you cannot do everything. If I had to listen to all the ideas that come up in my head and all the projects that tickle my creativity, I would end up paralysed in the face of the impossibility of pursuing them all. It would take maybe ten lifetimes, if not more, to do it.
On the other hand, putting off indefinitely those few that I really care about, waiting to find the time and the means to dedicate myself to them in the best possible way, means never getting to do that. So, I might as well decide once and for all to program them and start working on them. If at the end of each of them I don’t achieve the desired results, it doesn’t matter. It means that I have tried and then I’ll be ready to devote myself to the next project, with no regrets.


Another purpose that I have only half completed is to continue to write on my blog dedicated to self-publishing on Medium, i.e. Self-Publishing Lab (it’s in Italian). I did it until June, then I started a holiday period that isn’t over yet.
The reason is simple: I didn’t know what to invent anymore.
Obviously I could have written about one of the thousand existing topics on self-publishing that everyone is talking about, but this was not the purpose of the blog. My intention was to create a virtual place in which I could offer a different, original point of view, and useful and applicable suggestions for one’s publishing activity that no one talks about, at least on the Italian market, precisely because they are roads less travelled. But, in order to do this, it’s necessary to experience firsthand what you want to talk about.

The translation of the books in the trilogy, especially of the third (about 120k words), didn’t leave me enough time to further deepen my preparation on publishing marketing, much less to put this in-depth study into practice. I decided to give priority to the completion of the translation, completely putting aside any other promotional activity both on the Italian and foreign markets, except, at least until November, Facebook Ads (which are now paused, too).
Managing multiple things together and taking care of myself at the sale time just wasn’t sustainable.
And for what concerns avoiding stress, I realised that an effective way to do it is stop trying to carry out multiple projects at the same time, risking to do it in an approximate way and dragging them for long periods, and instead try to dedicate myself to one of them at a time, but finishing each one more quickly.

However, the blog won’t be abandoned forever. As soon as I have something else to say, I will add new articles. But I must, first of all, update for the umpteenth time the bookSelf-publishing lab. Il mestiere dell’autoeditore” (again, in Italian), of which the blog can be considered a companion, with the news relating to the self-publishing market that have accumulated since last July.
Also, I would like to leverage the blog content in a creative way (i.e. recycle it), so that it can reach more people. I have some ideas on how to do this (including something for the English-speaking market), but I will only talk about them if and when I decide to put them into practice.


In general, however, I believe that I must somehow carry on the didactic aspect related to self-publishing, because it’s evident that there’s a need to learn by those who approach this publishing model. Proof of this is the fact that, despite having paused all the advertisements and, in fact, the same blog on the subject, “Self-publishing lab. Il mestiere dell’autoeditore” continues to be purchased spontaneously and, apparently (from the messages I receive), appreciated by those who buy it.
Moreover, I continue to do so with the university workshop that I teach every autumn at the University of Insubria (Laboratory of self-publishing in multimedia systems). Unfortunately, this year too it was taught remotely, but reached a new frequency record, although I have put a tighter limit on registrations than in 2020.
As usual, the students proposed some truly original publishing projects (see picture above). Some of them are really thinking of turning what was just a simulation into a real publishing product, while just recently I learned that a student of mine from last year self-produced his first book and is carrying out very interesting offline promotional activities with excellent local feedback.
I obviously hope that in 2022 I’ll be able to physically return to Varese and teach the workshop to the students in person again. We’ll see.


Then there are two more resolutions not completely fulfilled.


One is about exploring new possibilities to exploit the rights of my books. And to tell the truth I did some research on it, especially with regard to audiobooks. It’s an aspect that I would like to investigate, but I realise that it requires investments, and having to invest money in it implies making a commitment to have an adequate economic return. All this is possible only if there is a very specific publishing and above all promotional project behind it, which I don’t have the time or energy to deal with at the moment.
On the other hand, as regards other types of exploitation of my rights, I postponed any investigation entirely to 2022.


The last resolution was to improve my image on the web.
Last January I changed a bit my Italian blog. Although it isn’t mobile friendly, I have improved its usability on smaller screens by increasing the size of the texts and icons.
Then I found suitable templates for my main (static) site. I really like one in particular. But then I didn’t go on and, as I turned around, the year was already ending!
I’m aware that updating my sites is the first fundamental step to take. If I intend to improve my activity on the web in such a way as to increase the organic traffic on my sites, I have to create a welcoming and functional virtual place, but at the same time I don’t want it to appear the same as a thousand others, at least for those who have the ability to view it on larger screens.


So, summing up, this 2021 didn’t go too badly. And this is even more true if I add that there is another activity to which I have dedicated myself during the year: I have translated into Italian the new book by Richard J. Galloway, “Saranythia Part 3. The secrets of the Margspakr” (which is already available in English).
I completed the first draft in early December and am now editing the text. Some beta readers from my publishing team will work on it in January. And I believe the book will be published in February!


What else have I done this year?

I attended two MOOCs (massive open online courses) on FutureLearn. Few, to tell the truth. But it wasn’t for lack of time or desire. Rather, I think I’ve already attended almost every course that interested me in this platform, so I’m having a hard time finding more. However, there are some still in my wishlist and I’m waiting for them to be re-started. Indeed, one will start in late January.


I had a nice holiday in the La Maddalena Archipelago last July (see picture above), but above all, after 24 months, in November I finally left Sardinia again to go to Turin to see the ATP Finals! (And I was even lucky enough to see a match with Djokovic. The photo below was taken by me.)

I must say that, even if I have always liked tennis, this year, thanks to the presence at high levels of several Italian players (in particular Berrettini and Sinner), I’m really passionate about it. Someone (?) calls me a tennis addict! I think it’s not bad at all as an addiction and I’m glad I have it. What do you think about it?

Moreover, since I was in Turin, I was a bit of a tourist and went to visit some places I hadn’t yet been to in my previous stays, such as the Basilica of Superga, the Royal Museums and the Palace of Venaria, and in particular the Mufant (it’s a science fiction and fantasy museum). Yes, I know, for an Italian science fiction enthusiast it was a serious lack, which I finally remedied (see picture below).

Well, after chatting for a long time about the things I’ve done and the things I haven’t done, it’s time to talk about resolutions for the year that is about to begin.

To tell the truth there is only one, which can undoubtedly be called my primary goal of 2022: complete the preparation of the English version of the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy. And by this I mean:

1) prepare all editions, i.e. ebook, paperback and perhaps also hardback (to be evaluated). I’d also like to produce an audiobook edition, but it’s an investment that requires further thought;

2) study a marketing plan for the launch and promotion over time of the trilogy on the English-speaking market;

3) schedule publication. In 2022 (perhaps in November) I’ll publish at most one, i.e. the new translation of “Il mentore” (The Mentor). The other two will follow approximately three months apart in 2023. The actual timing of publication depends on the previous point (without a marketing plan it makes no sense to publish). Also, I would like to write, and translate, a short prequel (a novella, of which I have already a title and an outline for years) to be used for promotional purposes, but I still don’t know if I have any desire (!) and time to write it, and then translate it. We’ll see.


Everything else, including the things I told you about in this article (and more that I keep to myself for now), will come later.
Hopefully, at the end of 2022 I will draw conclusions again here on the blog.


For now, however, I’ll stop, also because this post has become very long. In fact, I just don’t know how you got to read this far!

As always, I want to thank all of you, my family and all relatives, friends, readers, colleagues, collaborators… am I forgetting someone?
Thank you very much for your appreciation and support.


If you want, let me know what your 2022 resolutions are.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a good ending and, above all, an even better start of the year!

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