Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The 20-by-40 goal: I did it!

A lot of times, goals change. We try to do something, that doesn’t happen, so we try to do something else. Or, we amend the goal and accomplish it in a different way. (This is actually the case with one of my goals, but that’s for another blog post.)

For me, I have a “book goal” with the books that I write. My very first goal was to get an agent – and I DID get an agent. (Sadly, it turned out to be a bad agent, so the book she represented never ended up with a publisher.) So from that, my amended goal was to get an agent AND have a book placed with a major publisher thanks to that agent. And for a while, I tried to make that happen.

But then came the winds of change, taking me along with them to focus on other goals. Get a book picked up by a traditional publisher? Done. Co-write a book? Done. Get a children’s book published? Done.

Eventually, after accomplishing a string of goals, I came to this one: The 20-by-40 goal. Basically, have 20 books published by the time I turned 40.

I turn 40 next weekend, and I am pleased to report that I have accomplished this goal. I did it! I have written and/or co-written 20 books by the time I turn 40. Hooray!!

My latest book, the second in the GHOST Group series, was the 20th book. But it seems there will be 21 books by the time I turn 40: My latest poetry book, Remember the Soldier, just came out on Kindle. (It’ll be available in paperback soon.)

So, that’s 21. But I still managed 20 before I turn 40, and that’s pretty awesome! I know I could not have done that if it had not been for self-publishing. I know I have gotten flack from others for self-publishing through Createspace, but almost all of the books I have self-published are poetry books and children’s books. After getting poetry books published by GMTA Publishing, and then them turning around and saying, “We won’t publish your books anymore because you won’t work for us anymore. Goodbye!” there was NO WAY I was going to leave my poetry books and children’s books in someone else’s hands. (Though I do trust Gypsy Shadow Publishing but, sadly, they stopped publishing poetry. At least they haven’t removed my poetry books!) No, I took the reins of those books and I’m happy I can self-publish them. (Thank you, Createspace!) I know people still thumb their noses over the whole thing, but this is how I want it to be. Same thing with my daughter’s books. I won’t ever again let somebody else have that control. That whole mess is WHY I returned to self-publishing with those particular books and also why I will STAY with self-publishing with those particular books -- even if some people don't like it or think it's the wrong choice for me to make. It's not up to them, it's up to me.

Accomplishing this goal also meant A LOT of hard work. For a long time, I’ve been toiling away with these books, constantly working on them and working on them. It’s meant missing out on some things and not having a very active life (which is now going to change, by the way), but I had to put in A LOT of time, effort and dedication. I did not just wish for these books to get written. I sat down and I wrote them and I worked hard to make them publishable.

And, ultimately, I have so many people to thank for making it all happen. I know I thanked everyone personally on Facebook, but I want to thank them all again: Beth Ann Erickson, Angela Hoy, Denise Bartlett, Charlotte Holley, and Ruth Mary Thompson for making it all happen. Thank you also to my co-writers Martha Jette, Jernnifer Wilson and Usko Ahonen (though I did not work directly with him, he is one of the co-authors on one of the books). Thank you also to Kate Tenbeth for her guidance as I reentered the world of self-publishing.

Thank you for accepting my work. Thank you for working with me to make these books the best they could be. Thank you for teaming up with me to write a book. And, above all us, thank you for trusting me.

And now, here are the 20 books:

365 TIPS FOR WRITERS: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat the Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents

Love is Like a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion

Songs of the Dead

TOTALLY SCARED: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses
(with Martha Jette)  --  NOTE: This title is currently out of print. We are working on getting it back into print.

The Yellow Rose

DOGS FOREVER: Poems for the Dog Person
(with Jennifer Wilson)

Follow That Dream

On the Wings of Pink Angels: Triumph, Struggle and Courage Against Breast Cancer

A Million Doughnuts

Hunter's Upcycling Adventures

Satyrs Are Cool: Poems of Mythological Creatures (with Jennifer Wilson)

The GHOST Group, Book One (The Ghosts of Sarah Travers and The Crying Valentine)

Touched by Fire

Shadow of Samhain

Terror In The Night I - Alien Abduction Exposed!
(with Martha Jette and Usko Ahonen)

The Warrior Way

Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent

April Showers

The GHOST Group Book Two (The Ghost of the Irish Setter and The Ghost of the Missing Hiker)

I did not count The Perfect Christmas because it is more of a short story.

I do have some other books coming out this year and I also have some other work I need to do on other books. I have quite a lot of book work still going on. I am going to be making some changes with my schedule beginning this summer and basically slowing down a bit (instead of working on books for several hours every day) but I do still have many more on the way. I won’t be planning on reaching “40 by 50” (as this year marks my 10th anniversary as an author), but I’ll be staying busy with books all the same.

The winds of change have come upon me and I have a new book goal. I WILL once again try to get an agent who can get my novel published by a major publisher, but that is not my focus at this time. Right now, I am focusing on something else with my novels. Meanwhile, until that one’s accomplished, I’ll be revisiting an old writing goal I had once upon a time, one that I never managed to accomplish even after 10 years of trying. (!) But with circumstances being what they are (I have no work for the months of July and August), I have decided I will give it another go. More on that later.

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