And the results are in… (a look back at 2016)

As the year draws to an end, I look back at it with a feeling of both gratitude and satisfaction. Despite global unrest and the amount of stars we’ve lost, I’ve achieved above and beyond (in most cases). I still feel that this is in part due to having set achievable goals for myself, but also because I’ve found energy and motivation to continue from newfound friendships and meeting new people this year. So, I hope you’re ready for some good news for a change. Let’s do this! ๐Ÿ™‚

At the start of this year I set ten goals. I’ve dropped one goal as the year went on, because it lost its relevance. The other nine, I managed to achieve seven of. Not a bad score, eh? So what goals did I set and why were they so important to me to begin with? Well here’s the goals I set:

My 2016 goals at the end of the year

My 2016 goals at the end of the year

The bad stuff

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. As you can see I managed to get a solid 7/9! Which is, all things considered, not a bad score at all. So, I didn’t manage to lose enough weight, but then again I managed to stay around the same weight as I did at the start of the year. At least there’s no regression! I also didn’t reach 500 page likes on Facebook. Instead I’m now at 435 page likes, but at least all of them were organic likes. None of them were bought. There’s a lot to say about those types of likes, because I’m fairly certain those people are genuinely interested in my books and me as a writer. I decided not to advertise my page, because I don’t have any idea what types of likes/followers that will net me exactly and I don’t really feel like those people would have liked my page if they stumbled upon it by chance, or through friends. Instead, I will set the goal again for next year, but perhaps set the mark a little bit higher at 600 or so.

I'm a little bit like Tom when it comes down to it.

I’m a little bit like Tom when it comes down to it. Except that I want people to like my Facebook page because they’re interested in what I do, and want to read my books. It’s better than buying likes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The good stuff

Where should I start, because this was one awesome year for me. And I don’t say things like this lightly. It really was a fucking awesome year. Let’s have another look at my goals:

My 2016 goals at the end of the year

My 2016 goals at the end of the year

So, I finished the storyboard for my book trailer and later this year, we saw the release of it. I’m still proud about how it turned out, thanks in large part to Peter for making the artwork, Niels for animating it all and Patty for doing the voice-over. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. It’s a book trailer done properly, exactly how I think a book trailer should be. Short, teasing and properly thought out. You can check it here:

I advertised my book right after the book trailer was finished on Facebook. Not only that, I also did a couple of contests to win my books. First to celebrate the release of the book trailer, then to celebrate the release of my second book. And I also donated a copy to two other contests. All in all, I think those were investments that needed to be made and I’m happy I did. Not only did the contests help me gain a bunch of Facebook page likes, they also gave me some more exposure, which I’m sure will pay off at some point, or already have.

2016, year ofย  “The Zar’aranos Deception”

This year, I finished the draft of my second novel; “The Zar’aranos Deception”. After that we immediately went into the editorial phase and before I knew it, my second book was released. It was a lot of hard work, but I had great people helping me out. Both for mental support, and by really working on my manuscript. Caroline Kerstens outdid herself again on the editorial work, but my proofreaders also gave me wonderful feedback and some even went one step beyond simply being a proofreader. Arjan van Vliet was one of the best with all of his grammar nazi skills. Patty van Delft gave me some great pointers and comments on situations in the book that didn’t really work out that well. I rewrote quite a bit after processing everyone’s feedback. I am really glad about the end result. The book release party was one of the best days this year, possibly even my life. I would recommend everyone who’s releasing a book to do it. You will not get any more satisfaction from all of your hard work than that! The picture below tells it all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Reading a passage from "The Zar'aranos Deception".

Reading a passage from “The Zar’aranos Deception”.

Personal goals

Of course, all nine goals were personal, but there were a few that were things I would really like to achieve. One of them was reading at least twelve books this year. Not only have I read twelve, I’ve almost read double that number, which feels like a great accomplishment. As a writer, it’s important to read a lot, because it can give you ideas, inspiration and most of all, you can see how others write and if you really like a certain writing style you can try to incorporate some of that into your own work. And vice versa. Important stuff for any aspiring writer!

One of my other goals was to write at least 26 blog articles (one every two weeks). You are reading the 40th. A great score, all in all. I’m hoping to continue the trend next year. I love writing blogs and reviews, so that is something that is definitely happening, although I am considering doing vlogs as well. Time allowing, that is.

Unforeseen good stuff

The best things about this year were the things I didn’t see coming. One of them was pitching my books at Barts Boekenclub in Amsterdam. Patty van Delft, one of my dearest friends got me an invitation to pitch my books and I accepted it gladly. It was a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to being on the stage more often as a writer, but perhaps as a singer as well. I miss being on stage. That’s one of the things I really felt this year. The urge to be on stage again. So who knows what 2017 will have in store for me in that regard. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Patty van Delft and myself. She even made special Shaedon T-shirts! :D

Patty and me. She made special Shaedon T-shirts for my book release party! That’s what best friends do! ๐Ÿ˜€

One of the best things that happened to me this year is finding a great new friend for life in Patty Wijnants – van Delft. I already knew her from my publisher Celtica Publisher, but this year we took our friendship to the highest possible level and I’m very glad we both took that leap of faith and opened our hearts to each other. Of course, you can’t just be friends with a woman, as a man, so I had my fair share of comments from narrow minded people. It was a good way to detect those people and either ignore them, or cut them loose. I don’t have time for people like that. All I hope is that they find whatever it is they’re looking for in their lives. I know I found one of the best friends in Patty I could possibly wish for. And that’s all that counts in the end.

I also started a Quotes page with Patty named “Quotezakken” on Facebook. We post quotes there on a nearly daily basis. If you love quotes, please join the madness there!

I hope everyone else had a great year as well and even if you did, just remind yourself that we’re almost at the start of a brand new book with 365 blank pages for you to fill. Make sure they’re filled with good memories!