I'm not an expert on either publishing or writing. Not even close. The best I can offer is that I have been writing for most of my life and have read pretty extensively on both traditional and indie/self-publishing, so at the very least I can offer some informed opinions on those matters.
All that being said, I'd like to talk a bit about goals.
Personally, I have modest goals for my writing and my career (at least, I hope they're modest!): to write as much as I can, publish as much as I can, and if I manage to make a few bucks (or pick up a few fans) along the way, well, awesome. My goal for many MANY years has been just to finish a book, any book, and get it (or anything, really) published. In 2014, after years of dreaming, I finally made that a reality when A Slave of the Bird Men and Fallen Saints were published.
So, with that out of the way, what are my goals now?
1. Publish two books and two short stories in 2015. Last year I accomplished a major life goal by having one short story and one book published. This year, I hope to double that. I'm pretty sure I know what stories I'm going to focus on to accomplish this goal too, which is boosting my confidence a whole truckload.
I've already started the first book of 2015: Earth Refound, a science fiction/adventure novel that, much like Fallen Saints, was a project I started a while back (in this case, Summer 2013), abandoned, and have now finally returned to. I'm very happy with the progress I've made so far, though considering my issues with productivity (see Goal #2) I've no clue how long it'll be before it's finished. The book I'll write after that is up in the air, but at the moment I'm interested in writing a thriller.
I'm much more set in the short story department! I've already begun a science fiction/mystery short story titled Snake Crime that I'm excited to work on. After that, I'd like to finish a sequel to A Slave of the Bird Men that I started a couple of years ago - I have pie-in-the-sky ideas of collecting the two into a single volume some time in the future.
If I can accomplish this goal, my confidence in my ability to turn this from a hobby/dream into an actual career will multiply! Time will tell, though.
2. Boost my productivity. This is a much more nebulous goal than the previous one, but it's an issue that has always plagued me. You see, I'm naturally lazy. It's easily my fatal flaw, the thing that has and (unless I conquer it) always will hold me back. It took me years to write Fallen Saints when, in my opinion, it should have taken only months. I wrote all of A Slave of the Bird Men during the time it took me to write that book! I need to spend much more time sitting and writing than I do now. Even just an hour a day would be a huge improvement! I suppose this is more of a long-term goal than something I can accomplish in just this year, but it's definitely an important one.
3. Get my work into more markets. This is probably the easiest and most concrete of all my goals for 2015. I'm already blown away by how many markets Fallen Saints has turned up in, but there are some key places I'm not available in yet. The next wave of markets I want to target is the remaining major eBook stores: Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, and GoodReads. I also want to, eventually, produce an audiobook for Fallen Saints - it's a portion of the market that I, myself, have never been interested much in but I'm convinced it's big enough that I shouldn't ignore it. Another area I'd like to expand to is foreign languages, specifically Spanish. Half of my family is of Dominican descent and, despite being good enough with English that I can write books, my Spanish skills are pretty terrible. I'd love to get my work translated into Spanish, just for that personal reason. Beyond that, I think German, Chinese, and Hindi are probably going to be important if I really want my work to be accessible outside the United States and Anglosphere. The audiobooks and foreign languages are much more distant goals, things I probably will not do in 2015, but they are on my mind.
The future has opened up so much for me this year, so many things now seem possible and within my grasp, it's hard to focus on just the tasks right in front of me. I'll do my best though and, if I'm lucky, maybe all of this will pay off. If not, ah well, at least somebody will be happy to read my work. ^_^