Happy New Year — Happy New Decade — 2020
I don’t watch the news much. In fact, I don’t watch it at all. My main source of information comes from social media and brief discussions about the happenings in the world with colleagues at work, followed by a quick flurry of activity on Google and briefly reading up on the subject (if I’m arsed, that is).
But, one thing I do know, for sure, is that it’s a New Year. Better, a new decade. It’s scary to think that ten years have just gone by so quickly.
It’s even crazier to think that, ten years ago, I was nothing but a chubby little 13-year-old, just entering the early stages of puberty, who enjoyed spending his time playing violent video games that were far too age-inappropriate for him. (Although, granted, playing games like Call of Duty, Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto, might be the very inspiration behind the violence that features in my books... crazy how the world works, isn’t it?)
But, what’s even scarier, is to think that, in another ten years’ time — by 2030 — I’m going to be in my thirties. Thirties. The big three-oh. I don’t want to grow up.
(Although, after speaking with some people at work, having spent several seconds complaining about it, they said that one’s thirties are the best years. And, considering we’ll in the roaring 20s — Gatsby, we’re coming for you — it could be a good thing.)
Nevertheless, it makes me think. I’m getting older (as are we all, unfortunately), and I don’t want to be doing this 9-5 gig any longer. My ultimate goal is to be writing full-time by the end of the decade? Doesn’t sound so difficult, does it? I don’t think so, especially with the amount of content readers can look forward to in 2020/21 alone...
^more on that later.
But, with the way things are going, we might not even make it to 2021. Celebrating New Years is about looking forward to new things, trying new things, taking on new and exciting adventures and tasks, forgetting about what happened the year before and moving on. What I didn’t expect — and this links back to my earlier point about watching the news, for the eagle-eyed readers out there — was to find the WWIII is trending on the internet within a few days of entering the new decade.
I know nothing about it, so I’m not going to comment, but I think it also highlights a pertinent point. At the moment, the world is burning — the devastating and terrifying bush fires in Australia are testament to the fact. Millions of animals are dying, and people are losing their homes and lives. Just like that, something can be taken away from you. And if we don’t do something about it soon, then it’s only going to get worse, and then we’re all going to suffer.
Which means we need to make the most of the short time we have on this planet. Work hard, play hard, in the immortal words of Wiz Khalifa. Simple.
In preparation for this post, I had a look at my 2018 Review Post. It made for interesting reading. It highlighted what I’d done in 2018, and what I was looking to do in 2019.
And, what it made me realise, was that I had achieved almost none of what I’d said I was going to do.
For example, I said I was going to do the following in 2019:
Publish Floor 68, the second instalment in the Jake Tanner Terror Thriller Series
Publish the first two instalments in The CID Case Series (if you need more information on what this is, find it here.)
Write a few Jake Tanner short stories to be given away to readers on my mailing list
Organise book promotions every quarter
Massively improve my engagement and time spent on social media, interacting and connecting with you, the fans
What did I actually accomplish?
In short, the first and third bullet point — publishing Floor 68 and writing a few short stories.
Now, this may not sound a lot, and it may sound like I’m being self-deprecating (which I am), but it doesn’t necessarily mean to say that I’ve been doing nothing during the rest of the year.
Like a news bulletin, there are two sides to the story. I was busy. I was doing something. A lot of writing. Most of it I just didn’t publish as a final product; that’s to come this year.
Now, giving myself some credit, publishing Floor 68, as well as a two-book box set of Standstill and Floor 68, were the highlights of the year. But I didn’t give them the launches that they deserved. My attention was elsewhere.
On what? I hear you ask.
On The CID Case series.
I spent the majority of 2019 writing the first four seasons in the series, and editing the first three. Each season varies in length from 70,000 - 110,000 words, and so far, the first four seasons total over 350,000 words. That’s a lot of words for someone who didn’t do a lot of other stuff.
I was so engrossed in the series — and I still am — that I neglected everything else. My social media engagement was poor, non-existent; I organised one promotion in the year, which was a success and sold a few thousand copies; and I wrote a couple of short stories, which is no biggie, really.
All of this has culminated in me realising the following: it’s made me more determined to be productive in 2020, and for the next decade.
The benefit of writing so many stories in one go, is that I’ve now got a back catalogue — a bulk of content — that I can now focus on, and dedicate some decent time to launching.
For example, by the middle of the year, I will have completed the first drafts for all six seasons in The CID Case Series, edited three of them, and begun publishing the first one. After that, the rest of the series will be published one after the other, like a revolving door of content.
In addition, there are some other things I’ve been working on in the background:
A fun interactive Facebook Messenger “whodunit” series, where you become the detective, called On The Case
Some more Jake Tanner short stories that are only available if you join the mailing list here
Recording my own audiobooks (more on that later)
These will all be released throughout the year, whenever I have the time to release them.
Am I giving myself too much work to do? Maybe. Maybe not. But me telling you this now, is so that it keeps me accountable (and, not to mention it’s a digital version of everything I aim to do, so if I lose my notebook that contains everything listed here, then at least I have a back up).
If you thought that was busy, wait until you see the full list.
In 2020, I aim to complete the following (future Jack, if you’re reading this, and you’ve completed over 80% of it, I’m proud of you; anything underneath, please find a new home).
CID Case #1: write, edit and publish
CID Case #2: write, edit and publish
CID Case #3: write, edit and publish
CID Case #4: write, edit and publish
CID Case #5: write and edit
CID Case #6: write and edit
Launch a new episode of On The Case every month
Write a Jake Tanner short story every quarter
Write and publish a blog post every month
Write and publish a newsletter every month
Write and publish (maybe) a new character profile every fortnight
Record and edit my own audiobooks
SO15 Files #1: edit
SO15 Files #2: edit
SO15 Files #3: edit
Holy. Shit. I’ve got my work cut out for me. But I love it. I love what I do, and I’m really looking forward to the exciting things that are to come.
Shall we have a look in more detail about the things I’ve mentioned in the list, but haven’t already covered in this post? Well, we’re going to even if you don’t want to.
Character Profiles in the Jake Tanner universe:
In the Jake Tanner universe, there’s a plethora of characters, each with their own stories to tell, their own quirks, secrets — which is why, a while ago, I decided to write mini character profiles on them, featuring the information I use to create the characters in the first place. There’s a section on my website where you can Meet The Characters. You can meet the characters from certain books, certain categories, and even filter them by A-Z. If, for example, there’s a character you adore, and you want to find out more about him/her, or which books he/she features in, then you can. There are also little PDF versions that contain the information in a more creative style — in a notebook.
Because there are so many more books and stories to come, there are more character profiles — and more characters — for you to meet. I first got the inspiration for it from Pottermore. There’s a whole breadth of information on there, and I wanted to create something similar. Think of it like a Wikipedia page for the characters.
Recording And Editing My Own Audiobooks:
A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to record and edit my own audiobooks. Why? Because it helps add to my brand, and you’ll be able to put a voice to me, the author!
Now, I have little experience in it, and that’s OK. It’s an experiment. First, I’m going to start small by recording a short story and then The Red Viper, and then see how I get on. If people like it, then I’ll move onto Standstill and the first instalment in The CID Case Series.
I’ve purchased myself a microphone, I have the software, all I need now is the ability to perform and act the story out.
With any luck, I should have the audiobook trial for The Red Viper completed by the end of the year — it’s a lengthy process and not one of my priorities. (Future Jake, if this is the 20% you miss, fine.)
SO15 Files — what are they and what are they doing here?:
If you’ve read the post explaining the reading order for the Jake Tanner series, then you will know that the SO15 Files series is a series of nine novellas featuring Jake just as he’s starting in the counter-terrorism unit. The series is set after the CID Case Series, and before the Terror Thriller series. The beauty with them is that they can be read separately from The CID Case Series, and they lead nicely into the Terror Thriller series. Their varying lengths are between 20,000 - 40,000 words, and they’re lightning quick, full of non-stop action. I can’t wait to share them. But first, the gritty CID Cases first.
So, there you have it. My 2020 in a nutshell. It’s going to be a busy one, but I like it. With this job, there’s always something to do. Not to mention advertising the books and engaging on social media (which is going to be the biggest struggle of all).
I’m so looking forward to sharing all of the content with you, and I thank you for being there every step of the way with me. By the end of the decade, I think I could be doing alright for myself. And I hope you do, too, whatever walk of life you’re on.
That’s assuming we don’t all die before then.
Happy reading and Happy Writing.
Your Friendly Author,