Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Wrap Up

Well, I suppose there are a few hours left for me to make a post in December, so I'm going for it. Although, to be honest I'm still in a holiday daze and I don't even really know what to write about, but I can't very well let December go by without a single blog post. Can I? Well, maybe I could, but it feels wrong.

So here I am. To tell you, what, precisely? Well, I can report that I finished the first draft of Victoria Marmot book 4 back in November, but I've stalled out on the revision because I need to figure out a couple of series-wide plot points in more detail than I had previously bothered with in order to make sure I get the pacing and flow of the last 2 to 3 books right. Right now, I'm not even sure if there are going to be a total of 5 or 6 books (though I had originally planned for nine, then revised down to six) just because everything keeps happening so quickly. Anyway, I need to do some serious thinking and note taking in order to fix things and I haven't had the headspace for it over the holidays (and with all the unpacking in our new house). Oh yeah. We bought a house. Did I mention that back in November? I'm not sure if I did.

All of that means that I'm still technically on track to release book four in January, but I need to get my revising butt in gear if I want to actually meet that deadline.

Meanwhile, 2018... on a personal level it has been a pretty good year, but on a world wide level it has been a complete dumpster fire so... call it a wash?

I'm very proud of the Victoria Marmot books that are currently out in the world. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet and you enjoy reading fast-paced, somewhat-humorous, urban fantasy, you should check them out: 

They are really quite different from my Chronicles of Gensokai series, so you won't necessarily enjoy them just because you enjoyed Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope, but I really enjoyed writing them, and a number of reviewers over on Goodreads have referred to them as "brain candy" so if you need something that fits that description, they might be worth a try.

If you're wondering, I felt the need to give the new series another mention here, because, well, you know, my whole year has kind of revolved around getting those books written, revised, published and selling, and then getting to work on book four. So far, it has worked relatively well. My launch for the new series was more organic than my previous launches, I spent way less money and time focusing on paid advertising and instead have worked on being more active on social media, just interacting with folks as myself instead of blasting "buy my book" posts everywhere, and hoping that people check out my profile to find links to my books and buy a copy of their own accord. It seems to be working fairly well. Oh, and I've done a ton of Newsletter swaps with other authors, which has been very instrumental in generating sales.

Looking back on 2018 in terms of sales the biggest thing that happened was clearly the BookBub I got for Blade's Edge in June. It was huge for both sales of Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope. The effects of that sale have finally worn off, but I am hopeful of getting another one in 2019, preferably for Victoria Marmot Book One, once I have books four and five out. For that to work though, I will likely need quite a few more reviews on Amazon, so if you do happen to pick up a copy of the books and feel like reading a review after you've read them it would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, another big highlight of 2018 for me was going to Seattle for GeekGirlCon. I was honored to be accepted as both an artist and panelist at GeekGirlCon in 2018 and had a great experience there over the course of the weekend. If you ever have a chance to check out GeekGirlCon I can't recommend it enough. I, for one, will doing everything in my power to make it back there in 2019.

In a way, I accomplished everything I set out to do in 2018 professionally. Yet, at the end of the year, it falls flat somehow. I'm not sure if it's imposter syndrome, all the successes feel like they're just random happenstance and not actually due to any talent or hard work on my part, or if it's just that while everything is moving along as hoped, nothing has pushed me into the realm of "all my books just sell without me doing anything to promote them," and that is my secret ultimate goal. Of course, that's a ridiculous goal, as no one's books sell without any promotion at all, and that's not my actual goal, but it's more that I want my books to sell enough from me announcing them to my newsletter to make my money back on covers and editing etc. without me having to push them much otherwise. Regardless, at the moment that goal feels lightyears away, even though I'm much closer to it than I've ever been before.

I suppose part of the feeling of frustration comes from feeling like I'm trying all the tips and tricks that I've read from successful indie authors and it still hasn't pushed me into successful mid-list author territory. But thats a silly way to think, as I've always known this would be a long haul, and I'm definitely making progress. Every launch is more successful than the last, the books meet with pretty good reviews (although the Victoria Marmot books are running into more criticism than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope ever have, but I expected that, as the books are cast at a decidedly narrower audience than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope), and I've gotten much better at a number of the pieces of publishing over the past five years, so each launch is a bit less stressful than the previous ones.

I guess all of this is to say that 2018 has been a successful year, but feels like it fell short of where I'd hoped it would go. Still, 2019 has the potential to be a breakthrough year if I stick with my publishing schedule. My publishing goals for 2019 are as follows: release Victoria Marmot book four in January, Book Five in April and Book Six--if it exists--in July, and then write Chronicles of Gensokai Book Three in the fall with a plan to publish it in the middle of 2020. The crazy thing (for me, who is terrible at planning things) is that this has been my plan since the beginning of 2018 and so far I've actually stuck to it. If all goes well, I'd love to be at GeekGirlCon 2019 with a completed Victoria Marmot series, and at least a basic outline of Chronicles of Gensokai book three.

On a more personal level, my goals for 2019 are to be more active (I did not get out as much this fall as I'd hoped, and my running and climbing both took a backseat while I focused on releasing the first three Victoria Marmot books and then got caught up with moving into a new house and writing book four). I want to prioritize my overall health (both mental and physical) next year by making exercise a priority. I always feel happier and healthier when I make time to run or go climbing, and I need to remember that I'm way more productive creatively when I make the time to exercise regularly than when I don't. I also want to make more time for reading. I only read around 40 books this year, when my goal was 52 and I'd like to do even better next year. Before I had my daughter I used to read around 100 books a year, and I wouldn't mind getting closer to that total if I can. I also would like to make better use of my local library as I pursue that goal.

Ok. For a post that started with me not being sure what I wanted to say, I sure have said a lot. I hope it didn't bore the pants off of anyone. Thanks for reading this far, and I wish you a fun, adventure filled, healthy, and happy New Year! See you in 2019!