New York Times Bestselling Author Gemma Halliday’s 2013 Writing Resolutions

Last month I gave my 2012 year in review, so this month I’m looking ahead to 2013 and my writing resolutions.

Resolution #1: promote more!

Paid advertising didn’t do much for me in 2012, but social media did.  So, this year I plan to focus on building my social media presence and doing more online marketing.  I will even *gulp* bite the bullet and join Twitter.  Watch for my stumbling tweets soon as I try to figure the site out!

I’ve also joined a new promo-co-op group with a handful of other bestselling authors, so I’m excited to see what kind of things we can achieve as we put our heads together this year.  More on that as things develop…

Resolution #2:  read more!

I realized that my reading has had a very narrow focus this last year.  Meaning everything I’ve read has been in the same genre.  This year I want to read more books and a more diverse group of them.  I need some out of the box stories.  Any suggestions?

Resolution #3: write more!

I have several projects planned for 2013, including…

Secret Bond (Jaime Bond Mysteries book #2)

In this book Jamie will be investigating a very personal case – one that involves the shooting of her father.  She finds old skeletons buried deep in power people’s closets, which causes her to question just how well she knows those closest to her.  She also navigates the muddy waters of her budding relationship with the hot assistant district attorney versus her feeling for her best friend that are starting to grow into a little more than just friendship.

Luck Be a Lady (Tahoe Tessie Mysteries book#1)

This is the first book in a brand new series that I’m super excited about! I’ve been wanting to write this one for a couple of years now and am finally getting the time to do so.  I’ll be co-authoring it with the lovely and talented T. Sue Versteeg.

This book follows Tessie King, who unwilling inherits a South Lake Tahoe casino when her father passes away.  She finds herself suddenly involved with a bumbling arm of the Vegas mob, a cheating scandal that could take her casino down for good, and a sexy FBI agent who just happens to have Tessie on his list of prime suspects for her father’s murder.

Wicked Games (a YA mystery)

Due to some contractual stuff, I can’t publicly talk much about this one yet.  But I’m thrilled to get back into writing YA again!

Hollywood Hideout (a Hollywood Headlines short)

I’ve missed the Hollywood Headlines gang so much, so I’ve been dying to find the right vehicle to bring their tabloid world back.  And I finally got it!  This summer I, along with 9 other bestselling indie authors, will be doing a connected short story collection set on a fiction island off the Florida coast.  So far it’s been really fun working with these other authors to build our fictional town, and I am looking forward to dropping my Hollywood characters there this summer for a little fun, sun, and murder in paradise.

And last but not least…

High Heels book #8

This one is as yet untitled, but it will follow Maddie and the gang into the world of professional baseball – something that Maddie is completely clueless about.  Which should be a blast.  She always has the best adventures when she had no idea what she’s doing.  :)   This one was inspired by my own home team, the SF Giants, and their awesome World Series win this year.  (Go Giants!)  I plan to do plenty of research at the ballpark this spring!

So those are my resolutions.  Who else has some to share?

~~~~~~~ Gemma

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  1. Lois Lavrisa says:

    Gemma- wow! I can’t wait to read all of your new stories:) What ambitious and fun projects you have in store for 2013- and don’t you have a newborn son as well? You are amazing:)

  2. Gemma, you boggle my mind. I love the idea of creating a fictional town in Florida. I’ve done that myself and then moved there. :) Florida makes a great setting with its wacky locales. I use it often. Good luck with all your exciting projects. I love your books.

  3. Glynis Smy says:

    I enjoyed the post, and good luck for 2013, Gemma.

  4. Tamara Ward says:

    Go, Gemma! Sounds like you’ve got a full – and fantastic – new year planned!

  5. Wow – it blows my mind to see authors striving to write more than three novels in one year! I bow down to all who are able to do so.

    I would be curious to know how you slice/dice your time and brain in order to meet that production number. I’m a fast writer, but the post-editing is such a time sucker. Then I find myself mentally gearing into the next story and it is so hard to go back to the last one and do edits when my mind is caught up in the next one. Do you find yourself fighting with that also?

    Best of luck to you in 2013!

    Alex Sheridan (pen)
    Author of Treasure Life and other thrillers

    • It’s always a balancing act. But now that I’m doing a lot more self-publishing, I can focus on one book until that one it done (or off to my editor) before moving on to the next. It really helps. My writing seems to flow better when my focus can stay on one set of characters.

  6. Joe Bruno says:

    I truly believe what best-selling author Lawrence Block said recently. Spending time on social websites like Facebook and Twitter can be better spent by writing. I have over 3700 friends on Facebook and only a handfull ever respond to any of my mobster posts.

    I used to spend a couple hours a day on Facebook, now I give it 15 minutes a day and still feel I’m wasting my time.

    • CVBrown says:

      This is the reality I suspected. I’m Facebook and Twitter-averse and will likely stay that way. More often, I’m reading that friends and followers don’t translate into sales, and when people become saturated with shameless author promotion on social media to the point where they ignore those messages, indie authors who’ve been relying on those passive forms of marketing will be up a creek. There has got to be a better way to get the buzz out without spinning one’s wheels until our eyes cross. Thanks for the post, Joe.

  7. Gemma, your writing resolutions sound wonderful as do all of your books! Since I was born in Florida, I’ve always tinkered with the idea of setting a book there. Maybe one day. :-)

    2012 was a tough year for me, personally & professionally (only managed to write one book), so for 2013 I will most definitely do better & meet all of my goals…or pretty close. LOL

  8. Julie Day says:

    All your resolutions sound interesting to write about. Good luck. I plan to write for more ages and genres this year, and maybe become involved in anthologies. I am currently working on a new series for younger children which I plan to publish as ebooks about a magical school that takes a few of the less confident pupils into a new world where they can become confident in real life. And have started the first in a series of new magical romances about a magical matchmaking village.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Gemma, can you talk more about your experience with paid promotions, what worked, and what didn’t? This is really intriguing (and frustrating) to me because there are so many options and so many price ranges.


    • What worked for me may be totally different than another author, just depending on genre, readership, etc. But I’ve seen the most positive return from paid Facebook promotions on my posts. Not so much on the sidebar ads that you can buy, but just promoting my individual posts to more readers. What I will probably steer clear of this year are big ads. I did a full page ad in RT last year that was pretty pricey. It may have boosted my name recognition – which is never bad – but I didn’t see any uptick in sales.

  10. Florida really IS a great place to write about. I live in Florida and have created four books in the Cassadaga Book Series, which features this historic community where people make a living talking to spirits. (It’s a real Spiritualist community, mediums, psychics, etc.) The fourth in the mystery series, Nightingale’s Nightmare, was released just this week! I’m starting the New Year off right! :)
    Love your ideas! This gives me more inspiration of all that I can do! Thank you!

  11. Debbie Young says:

    Great list, well done and good luck with them all! Re #2 – I’ve found myself reading much more widely and way out of my comfort zone since I resolved to start reviewing other indie authors’ books on my website, and I’ve been approached by quite a few authors whose books I’d never have picked up voluntarily but have then gone on to really enjoy. I do sneak in a “comfort zone” book in between them now and again, but it’s definitely been a new reading adventure for me and I highly recommend it. The indie authors whose books then appear on my website are pretty pleased about it too!

  12. SK Holmesley says:

    #2 – What was the genre you read last year?

    If you want to branch out beyond a specific fiction genre, you might want to try some of the essayists. I tend to lean towards science, so read essays in that area: Stephen Jay Gould (now deceased), Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawkings, Issac Asimov (also deceased), and others. I mention essayists, because their writings are generally very short, can be read very quickly, and the best of the essayists in any field actually write as though they were having a conversation with their reader, rather than simply preaching.

    Also, on the web, while I was looking up the damage a bullet causes, the other day, I found a site about fictional tropes. The article that I ended up reading not only gave me a giggle, but also made me rethink the scene that I was working on at the time where one of the characters shots the gun out of her partner’s hand: ( :-) I found that, but the site has multiple short essays on how things work in fiction vs. reality. It’s an open forum like Wikipedia, so there’s the grain of salt element to the writings, but still it was interesting.

    Not reading, but a good site for just experiencing people and ideas is I thought of this site, because of your blurb on your title “Secret Bond” about Jaime’s father being shot. One of the videos there: was interesting because the talk was about the importance of the father-daughter relationship.

    And there’s always Dr. Seuss — I say that, because my granddaughter at 5 is learning to read, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with children’s authors this past year and he’s one of her favorites. :-)

    • Awesome! Thanks, I will take a look at these. See, essays are something I never would have picked up, but I’d probably find very interesting.

      Last year I found myself reading a lot of indie books… but almost all were humorous/cozy mysteries. Go figure, since that’s what I write. :) I found some great new authors that I’ll be watching for this year, but I do want to read some different things this year.

  13. D.D. Scott says:

    I’m totally with you on the more reading for 2013, Gemma! And cheers to anything goes when it comes to reading in different genres too!

    It wasn’t until last year that I began to diversify my reading. I’d read nothing but romance for almost ten years because that’s what I was writing and was told by industry insiders and my former agent to read what I write in order to stay true to my genre.

    But wow…not until I had the guts to read what I wanted to read – which was a wee bit of this and oh, how ’bout that and doesn’t that sound intriguing have I satisfied myself as a reader AND boy has it really beefed up and broadened my writing style and voice(s) too!

    One of my faves that I recently read was Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches.

    I’m also reading a ton of non-fiction too! Just finished the book by Jackie O’s bodyguard Clint Hill – Mrs. Kennedy and Me. Also, I luuuvvv Ellen Dugan, The Garden Witch’s Books…every single one of ‘em.

    The non-fiction research I’m doing is as much fun as the fiction I’m reading too!!! :-)

    Congrats on a fabulous 2012, and I’m looking forward to all of your 2013 releases!!!

    Happy Reading and Writing, my friend!!!

  14. Amanda Brice says:

    Personally, I can’t wait for Wicked Games. ;)

    (That’s because I’m Gemma’s co-author for it. Whoo-hoo!)

  15. CVBrown says:

    Good luck with your goals, Gemma, (and everyone else!) I’m hoping to launch my first indie book in the first half of the year, follow quickly with a second. Still shopping for a cover designer/formatter/web designer but I’m narrowing my choices. Mind-boggling process, but I grit my teeth and persevere.