In 2015 we need to try new things. In terms of our personal lives, and also in terms of the writing career we pursue.

What do we do when what we’re doing now isn’t working? Like most old dogs, we know we need to learn some new tricks. Not always easy, but often necessary.

First, you need to keep an open mind. In order to be more successful, we need to learn from others who have demonstrated success in the past. A proven track record of accomplishing things is what will help you to learn what to do with what comes next. We need to look realistically at our behavior and minimize the things that are broken. After all, isn’t the recipe for insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Identify people who have achieved the success you crave, and ask questions.

When you reach out to promote yourself or your work, be confident about the work you do. The confidence comes easiest when you do the work. Analyse what works for others, compare your audience to theirs, refine the statistics, and keep working until you get it right. In other words, do the work.

You need to identify your target audience. Now I am not suggesting you write specifically to a target audience, it’s always important to tell your own story. But knowing your audience is key to success. You must know who they are and what they read in order to tailor your story with enough appeal to create the desire to read your work. This is how you build an audience.

When people–and I do mean other successful authors–tell you what isn’t working, don’t waste your time (and theirs), by telling them they’re wrong when they try to help you. This behavior is a waste of your energy and their expertise and goodwill. Oh, and you’re still wrong at the end of the day.

Police yourself on social media. Please, I am begging you, for the love of god, to please edit what you write every time. Incorrect spelling and poor grammar mark you as a writer who doesn’t care, and doesn’t know enough to care about what you put out there permanently. Now, who wants a big black mark on their permanent record?

I know when we first start out, especially as independent authors, we are always on a budget. Sometimes we need to remember there is no free lunch. Sometimes, it’s important to recognize free is not a good thing. If your free cover looks like it was crafted by a four-year old with a box of broken crayons and took multiple hours away from your precious writing time, it wasn’t really free, now was it?

There is one phrase you don’t want to use in the new year. “That won’t work for me”. It’s easy to dismiss the input from others, but don’t be fooled. People who can see you from outside the box are less likely to be confined by old ideas. Even if you’ve already tried the tool or tactic they’re suggesting, it just might be time to try it again. Different strokes for different folks. Remember timing is everything. You could find success with old ideas that you drug out, fluffed up and reinvented.