January 5, 2012

2012, I Resolve…

2012 resolutions

Beyond losing weight, quitting smoking, paying more attention to my family, here's what I want to do

New Years–a time for rest, rejuvenation and repair. A time to assess ourselves. Do we settle into our life, enjoy where it’s headed, or is it time to grab our purse, our iPhone, our car keys, and get out of there?

Last year on New Year’s Day, I shared my resolutions for 2011. Here’s how I did:


  • Finish my current techno-thriller, Seek and Destroy (although I haven’t settled on a title). I’m in the editing phase. I got a lot done over my two week Christmas break, but not enough. I have another break in February and March, but that won’t be enough, so I’m looking at summer. Unfortunately, I have a writer’s conference in February and Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in January. I’m not ready. I don’t know what to do.  Finished.
  • Market Seek and Destroy when it’s finished–this summer. I have a few people interested. I know (aka, hope) one of them will grab it.  I’m done sending it out. Now, I’ll see if anyone is interested.
  • I have a historic fiction novel, Part I of a series, that deals with paleo times. I’m thinking of jumping into the ebook market with it. I can upload to Smashwords, get them on Apple, Kindle, other ereaders. If nothing else, I’ll learn about ebook publishing, which I can share with you. Check out this year’s resolutions.


  • Finish an ebook I started called How Not to Hate Your Computer (I’m a tech teacher by day, intrepid writer by nights and weekends). I have most of the content collected, but must format and edit. It doesn’t take the concentration of fiction writing, so I think it’s reasonable to complete this book by end of summer.  Finished two ebooks on different topics, so I’ll still stick a fork in this one and call it done. They’re on my publisher’s website and a few other ebook distributors. And they’re selling!
  • Finish an ebook I started on Writer’s Tips. Actually, I’m collecting them from the good folks in my writers group. If they come through with enough tips, I’ll come through with the publishing. So far, the ball’s in their court so I can put this off. Whew.  This went nowhere. It turned out I was the only one who cared to accomplish this. I decided the quickest way to finish it was to kill it.
  • Figure out a better marketing plan for my core stable of books on teaching technology to grades K-8. I sell 80% of my content through Amazon and I know from my MBA program it’s a very bad idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. I’ve tried to expand (I also sell them on Teachers Pay Teachers and Scribd), but those are a drop in the bucket compared to Amazon. I am now selling on Google ebooks, but the digital version of my textbooks doesn’t sell nearly as well as the hard copies, which probably has something to do with that I can’t figure out how to get them into epub format. I’d add the latter as a goal, but I’ve already spent far too much time on that exercise in futility.  Worked on this all year. Amazon is down to 60% of sales–still too high, but better. More on this later.


  • Continue publishing 3-4 posts a week on my blogs, Ask a Tech Teacher, Ask a Tech Teacher Homeschool Edition, WordDreams and USNA or Bust. These are my passion, so they’re fun to write.  Did this. Loved it.
  • Continue with my columns for Technology in Education and Examiner (I write a thrice-weekly column as their examiner for technology and another on USNA). These are a different sort of writing and have become valuable to my overall expertise.  Still doing columns, but I made a few changes where necessary. I want a good fit for my experience, background. Take takes experimentation.
  • Decide what to do with Sizzle in Science. I started this blog out of my love for science, but when I run out of time (which is often), this one suffers. I should make a decision on its future rather than let it languish. That’s my bias for action. I hate inactivity. Still pondering. 
  • Find guest bloggers for my blogs. I’ve reached out a bit, but not enough. My readers would benefit from other opinions. I had some great guest posts! Will continue to look. 
  • Be a guest blogger for others. On that note–anyone interested? This went great–I got more requests than I could handle. I need a better plan for this.

So what am I doing this year? Much of the same, but kicked up. the more I write, the more I love doing it. I need a good blend of day job and writing until I make a decision on my future. Here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2012:


  • Work on the second in my paleo-historic fiction series. This topic is my passion, but has at best a niche audience. I don’t care. It’s drafted, but there’s lots of work before it’s ready. A novel takes me at least two years to write. I’m about 6 months into this one, so reasonably, finishing this one fiction book is all I’ll manage. There is a problem: Usually I write intensively over summer when I’m not teaching, but this year there is rumbling about needing me to work August. I won’t pre-worry. I’ll make decisions about that when the deadline looms.
  • Get my thriller published–either traditionally or self-pub. I’ve collected a lot of names of people who can help me make that happen. I’d rather write my paleo-historic novel (and have an agent take care of my thriller), but I’m prepared to step in if I must


  • I have at least two more ebooks I want to publish, both on technology. I think that’s a doable goal for 2012.
  • Market the technology curriculum I edit. It has a great following among school districts, private schools and homeschoolers. One of the fun parts is interacting with the teachers. I’d like to expand on that.
  • Figure out how to sell books on Google ebooks. It should be a vast market, but my sales are abysmal–5% of overall sales. I’ll research how other authors are making that venue work.


  • Continue publishing 3-4 articles a week on my core blogs Ask a Tech Teacher, Ask a Tech Teacher–Homeschool Edition, and WordDreams (this blog). I want to increase the number of posts on the art of writing. I love reading these on other writer’s blogs and get a lot of ideas from them. I want to return that favor to other writers looking for inspiration, innovation and the introduction of new ideas.
  • Expand the reach of my blogs. I’ve read most of the articles that start “How to Write Blogs That Everyone Reads…” and they don’t work the way the author promises. Time to get creative. I’m at about a thousand readers a day on my core blogs. Where will I be at the end of 2012?
  • Get some of my own writing (meaning, novels, ebooks, etc) on this blog. As I review my 2011 posts, I see I don’t reference my work much. Most writer’s blogs do, so I’ll try it.
  • Develop my social network. I have amazing connections on G+ and my blogs. While I’m fluent in rushing through life, I don’t know much about smelling the roses. This year I will notice the world around me. I want to learn from my efriends, support them, enjoy their successes.

What are your resolutions? I want to learn from you.

Follow me

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing TeachersIMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller Any suggestions? Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.