On Writing,  publishing

Step One of Getting Ready for a New Year

Looking Back (for only a moment)…

Step one of planning ahead is to spend just a little time looking back at the past year, see how you did, how the actual production matched up to your goals last January.

I did that as much as I needed to. I know, without even looking hard, that my year sucked by my standards.

For the first time in three or more years, my total word count approaching the end of the year is just under a million words at around 970,000 words. So the final total will depend on what I do this last week. Not sure if I can hit thirty thousand words in the last week. Not really going to care, since I am looking ahead now.

Either way, that total is very low for my normal over the last four or five years.

But even though I had my worst writing year since I started back into indie writing, I still published a decent amount of books. That’s a positive.

In fact, I had twenty-seven books published in ebook and paper and managed to get about forty of my short stories into stand-alone form as well in ebook.

So in a bad year I managed about 67 new titles up under my name, more than most writers do in an entire career.

Not counting any of the short stories or the edition of Fiction River I edited, the twenty-seven major books, in order and by category, that I published in 2016 are:


Bad Beat: A Cold Poker Gang Novel
Star Mist: A Seeders Universe Novel
Heaven Painted as a Cop Car: A Ghost of a Chance Short Novel
Star Rain: A Seeders Universe Novel
Grapevine Springs: A Thunder Mountain Novel
They’re Back: A Poker Boy Short Novel
An Easy Shot: A Golf Thriller
Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Novel
The Idanha Hotel: A Thunder Mountain Novel
Death Takes a Partner: A Mary Jo Assassin Novel
The Taft Ranch: A Thunder Mountain Novel
Freezeout: A Cold Poker Gang Novel
Star Fall: A Seeders Universe Novel
Laying the Music to Rest: My first published novel.


Smith’s Monthly issues #26 through #36.


Heinlein’s Rules
A Novel in Seven Days

In Summary:

Looking back is what you have to do to understand what needs to be changed when you look forward, at least to start. Ask yourself what went wrong, what went right?

For me, I just flat didn’t give writing the focus I needed to give it.

Very simple and very deadly.

I was occupied with starting a new brick and mortar store, then some moves, then the election, then another move. Not excuses, just where my focus went in 2016.

But I still had a decent (not as good as the previous years) in numbers of titles out, but got a hunch with some focus on the writing, that will change as well in 2017.

But going to have to plan that, and that’s the topic of some coming blogs.

But first like I did, look back, see how you did with your goals.

I wrote just at a million words, or will be close by January 1st. Pulp Speed One. Slow for me.

And I had some goals to do more short stories and didn’t do them the way I had planned last January.

So I failed what I wanted to do starting into 2016.

But I failed to success. My failure point in one year is many writers entire careers. I understand that. But I have been doing this for a very long time and I hold myself to a higher standard.

2017 I fix the focus and have even more fun with the writing.

Now ramping up to the next level in 2017. Stay tuned.


  • Vera Soroka

    I didn’t meet my goals this year. I failed at getting what I call my backlist out. I had distractions. The one distraction is almost dealt with but the other one, I will have to deal with it and move forward. I have to shift my focus back to the writing and art. It’s not going to be easy for me. It will be a battle at times dealing with that other distraction but I have to try really hard.

  • Sheila

    Good advice!

    I’ve been looking back at 2016, and while I wrote and published a lot compared to the previous few years, it wasn’t the sort of things I needed to do. So that will be my main focus: to write more consistently, and to publish more. And to keep loving writing, no matter what.

  • Cora

    It’s been an unsuccessful writing year for me as there have been a ton of life events. But on the other hand I have been completely successful with another non-writing project were I’ve logged an 86 day streak. I’ve now got a plan worked out to tack on some writing time to the time I’ve already carved out for this other project. Total Success! Bring on 2017.

    So thanks for the constant inspiration Dean.

  • Vera Soroka

    I’m reading right now Bob Mayer’s Write it Forward. Wow, is that a tough book. It’s a real kick in the ass slap the side of the head book. lOl. He tells it like it is. And all that military background. Wow.
    He talks about goals which makes you think about what the goals should be about. Good book so far and I recommend it.