Why I don’t like goals

I’ve been thinking about goals and habits and systems again. I’ve talked about those things many times in the past, and I have continually chased goals and failed to meet the vast majority of them. I’m really getting tired of failing.

A forum post I read today talked about how binary the whole goal mentality is: succeed or fail. Sure, you can play mind games with yourself and try to remember that you haven’t actually failed if you’ve made progress, but… really? When you set a goal, if you don’t reach it, your brain is going to tell you you’ve failed. And too much failure definitely takes a psychological toll.

Just yesterday I had a talk with my son about how I’d made 2016 sound like my worst year for writing since I’d started publishing. But it wasn’t. It was very close to an average year, and better even than 2014.

2012: 146,821
2013: 268,191
2014: 217,641
2015: 250,011
2016: 220,017

The monthly averages show how close those numbers really are:

2012: 24,470
2013: 22,349
2014: 18,137
2015: 20,834
2016: 18,335

But it felt like a terrible year, all the way around, because I had set such large goals at the beginning of the year and I came nowhere near reaching them. 2016 was the year I tried to write 1,180,000 words in 12 months; it was the year I decided 4,558 was a reasonable number of words to expect from myself most days.

Looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking.

Smashwords is finally about to start paying monthly

Some good news from Smashwords to end the year:

Smashwords Plans for 2017

In broad strokes, below is what you can expect from Smashwords in the coming year.  If some of this looks familiar to our goals for 2016 (most of which we met), it’s because some of these items below will remain persistent themes for us for many years to come:

  • Faster payment cycles – January will be our last quarterly payment round, after which Smashwords is going monthly starting in February.  Yay!

Yay is right. I distribute to Apple through Smashwords, although the day might come when I’ll decide to buy a Mac and go direct (or Apple will finally get a clue and realize they should stop making it so difficult for authors to publish on their platform!) and I sell a few books through OverDrive and LibraryDirect and from the Smashwords’ store itself.

After the mess with All Romance Ebooks, I’ll be glad—ecstatic really—to finally be receiving monthly payouts from all the distributors/retailers I use.

Links and a comment about All Romance Ebooks

This morning I spent a bit of time reading up on the All Romance Ebooks closing. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but I’ve decided to ignore the settlement offer of .10 on the dollar for the $780 I’m owed. On the other hand, I’m still undecided* if I’ll bother pursuing the issue, because I know how that will interfere with my ability to concentrate on what’s important to me in 2017. The world is full of thieves, but it’s also full of really good people, and I just don’t know that I have time to bother with the thieves for that amount of loss. If it had been more money, my reaction I’m sure would be different. But I admit to a feeling of apathy about the money, and maybe that’s a sign that I really do need to concentrate on other things for the moment.

Besides, by not taking the settlement, until or unless ARe goes into bankruptcy, they’ll continue to owe me that money and I’ll continue to be able to go after it at a later date.

Here are some links related to the issue:

December 31, 2016 (Kristine Kathryn Rusch @ Patreon) Business Musings: All Romance Ebooks & Visions of The Future: Part One

December 30, 2016 (Writer Beware) All Romance eBooks’ Sudden Closing: Many Questions, Few Answers

December 30, 2016 (BlogCritics) Court Documents Regarding All Romance E-Books’ Disturbing Business Practices Surface

December 29, 2016 (BlogCritics) Publisher All Romance Ebooks: Closing Hits New Low In Stealing From Authors

December 28, 2016 (The Digital Reader) All Romance eBooks is Shutting Down (I’m the unattributed quote! I don’t remember ever being quoted before, so that’s funny.)

December 28, 2016 (Romance Writers of America) All Romance eBooks Closing Dec. 31

In several comments and articles, people mention the site being down, but I haven’t had any problems getting into ARe’s website. The first day there was a bit of slowness, but it has come up every time for me since. And of course, I downloaded my spreadsheet of sales the moment I received the email and it matched the monthly reports I download, so nothing had changed for me as some people have reported happening to them. In fact, I’ve just gone and made a screenshot now and it still shows the same amount due.

If I come across any more interesting news about it, I’ll update this post instead of writing a new one.

*In the time since I posted this, I’ve decided to accept this loss and move on. I just don’t believe I’ll ever collect enough to make it worth my time or energy to even try. Now that 2017 is here, I’m turning my attention to making 2017 an awesome year for my writing and my income.

Getting back to work

Headache is better today. Now I need to get back to my writing.

I’ve been hoping I would write if I didn’t have a plan other than my 2,000 words a day goal and took some time off from the timers. But so far nothing is happening. Maybe because of holidays and being sick so I’m not going to give up on it yet. I’m tempted, mind you, but I’m not doing it. It’s time to settle in for a longer experiment with this and see what happens.

On that note, I’m going for lunch, then getting started on something. My list of things I want to do today is significant. I won’t get to them all, but it’d be nice if I got to some of them, and still wrote my 2,000 plus words today.

Changes coming to categories and tags

It’s about time for my annual sweep up of categories and tags on this blog. I haven’t figured out a better system for organizing my many posts yet, but as soon as I get a good idea, I’m going to make some changes. I really hate the current arrangement of categories and tags. They just don’t work well at all for me!

Update: I’ve started making changes. They’re small so far, but more are coming.

Update the second: I think I’ve decided to let the old posts rest as they are, updating them as I feel like it, and go forward with the changes I want. That’ll mean a bit of a mess, but not too much of one. :)

The new year… I’m not ready!

Well, back in mid-December sometime, I decided I was going to get myself to 2,000 words a day and stick there so I’d be all ready for the new year and my goal of 2,000 a day. :o

Then the holidays came. Then I got sick. I felt better yesterday, but stuff happened and I ended up doing other things (necessary things, actually). Today I don’t feel so well, because the headache is more present today, and I found out my phone lines were down after a storm yesterday evening. I hadn’t noticed because I hadn’t tried to call anyone and my DSL internet service was still working, although it was acting up a bit.

So, another derail. And as I’m typing this, my connection is gone again. I assume it’s the repairman still trying to fix things. He’s been at it for a while now, because the outage isn’t just with my house; there are several houses in the area that are out according to him.

Still, I think I can drum up the energy to get back to writing today. Only, what I really feel like doing is working on a plan for 2017. Or taking a nap. I could really use a nap right now.

Anyway, all that’s just to say I’m not ready for the new year. I barely got into this one.

All Romance Ebooks is closing, and despite losing money I’m owed, I’m not that sad about it

As a general rule, I prefer to not spend a lot of my time letting negative thoughts go round and round in my head, mostly because I tend toward obsession and I don’t want to obsess over negative thoughts!

So here are some not so negative things about the All Romance Ebooks closing.

I’m going to shave anywhere from 1 to 3 hours off my total publishing time for every book I publish.

  • 5 to 10 minutes to make a wider cover (1:1.5 vs. 1:1.6) that I have to shrink to 200 x 300
  • 30 to 60 minutes formatting a copy of my master book file for PDF
  • 5 minutes to generate a custom sized cover image for the PDF file (because I always forget to export this image when I’m exporting my usual sizes)
  • 10 to 20 minutes importing my EPUB from Jutoh into Calibre, making some tweaks, and exporting as a MOBI
  • 30 minutes actually publishing the files to ARe

If there are issues, or I get caught up in what I’m doing, all these things can take longer. :)

And now I don’t have to do any of those things!

I need only EPUB files and my Word file for everywhere else. Smashwords uses doc files instead of docx, but I use the same file, make a quick save as doc, add one line to note it’s the Smashwords edition, and save again. I do nothing else to my file for Smashwords.

So getting rid of ARe is a real boon to my process.

One more vendor who pays only quarterly is gone.

I hate having to deal with payments like that in my sales spreadsheet, because it’s monthly, and ARe is always off by pennies and I have to make adjustments that annoy me because they aren’t right.

My cover design process just got easier!

I don’t have to worry about making my covers wide enough for the 1:1.5 200 x 300 covers I needed for ARe.

I’ve been designing my covers to the 1:1.6 ratio from the beginning and I like them. That size looks best to me on all my differently sized reading devices and apps, but I always had to make the 1:1.5 covers for ARe because I couldn’t stand stretching the covers and making them look misshapen.

In fact, I’m thinking about using this opportunity to revisit my cover template.

I’m pretty happy about all these things, to be honest. :)

Derailed from writing yesterday by All Romance Ebooks news

All Romance Ebooks (aka Omnilit) is closing and I received the notice yesterday. So instead of writing I spent the day inactivating my books, removing links to them from my author websites, adjusting my sales spreadsheet, and reading reactions to the news.

This led me to doing my receipts and bills which is something I usually do on Tuesdays after my bank posts weekend transactions but didn’t do this Tuesday because I was sick. Then I caught up the accounting for my writing business because I’m going to be out about $780 because of ARe’s closure.

They’re offering to settle to avoid bankruptcy and legal action but I’m undecided.

Accept $0.10 on the dollar?

That’s $78 in lieu of the $780 that I’m owed. Knowing I can sue is worth $78 to me and $0.10 on the dollar is ridiculous.

But my cost benefit analysis tells me I should take the settlement because I won’t recoup the money owed and the stress of suing would not be good for me and my writing.

If I had the money, I’d sue for the principle of the thing, but 2016 has not been my best year. I didn’t publish enough and what I did publish wasn’t the stuff I can count on to make good money.

Priorities, huh?

Maybe I’ll get them right in 2017.

Feeling well enough to write

I’m still in bed, writing this on my Kindle Fire, but when I get up I’m going to need to get writing today. My headache is improved although my eyeballs still hurt when I move them and my head is a bit sore feeling, especially around my temples and neck area. But the fever stayed gone last night so that makes about 24 hours without a fever.

I’ve lost several days of writing time, but I don’t honestly know how much I would have written anyway so I’m just going to put that behind me and aim to do as well as I can today.