2013 in Review and Looking Ahead

Last year, I set forth several goals for myself. In case you don’t want to dig through the archives, they were:

  • Publish Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy
    I accomplished this goal! HUZZAH! It was released on June 9, 2013. I’m really happy with the way this novel turned out; I think it’s my best work to date.
  • Publish Scars of the Sundering
    This goal fizzled. I wrote about 22,000 words and just could not get into the characters. The novel was supposed to, among other things, deal with the meeting, courtship, and marriage of the two main characters (against the backdrop of the main plot), but I could never quite figure out what Vasco could offer Aveline as a husband (other than companionship) that she didn’t already have. They just weren’t all that compatible with each other. An attempt to skip the courtship and have them be married at the start of the story didn’t help, either. I just wasn’t feeling it. I struggled with this most of the second half of the year before deciding to shelf the project.
  • Re-release Wings of Twilight on Smashwords
  • Release Iron Fist of the Oroqs & Zack Jackson & The Cult of Athos on Smashwords
    I accomplished both of these, though trying to get the formatting just right so their Meatgrinder (seriously, that’s what it’s called) software could process it just right for inclusion in their Premium catalog (which includes iBookstore distribution) was such a pain, I never finished it for Iron Fist and Zack Jackson. I haven’t had a sale on Smashwords since 2012 anyway, and I have yet to hit the royalty threshold where they’ll send me a check. I’m just not sure it’s worth my time to pursue this distribution avenue.
  • Release all my novels through Kobo Writing Life
    I did this. I’ve sold two books through the Kobo Bookstore. It’s as good for me as Smashwords, though uploading to Kobo is easier because they don’t make me run my books through a proprietary software that mangles my formatting.
  • Release all my novels through Drive-Thru Fiction (Wings of Twilight was previously offered there with distribution assistance from Rite Publishing)
    I did this. It’s not been profitable for me yet, but it does have an advantage over the other distribution channels: I can tie all the formats together and let customers pick how they want the book. Right now, I only offer ePub, mobi, and PDF, but that probably covers 99% of e-readers. If I wanted to, I could probably set up a POD solution there, too, but I’m happy with CreateSpace for that. Besides, people haven’t exactly been knocking down my door for more options on Drive-Thru Fiction. I think I’ve sold 2 books through that venue.
  • Write the first draft of Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra
    I did this. HUZZAH! The manuscript is currently with the first of my editors. It’s shorter than Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy, but it only covers a couple of weeks, rather than a whole school year. It’s very important to the metaplot of the series, though, and one can begin to see how things may develop. Of course, I’m not going to put any spoilers here, but I have some ideas that will take the series in a direction I think no one will be expecting (and hopefully not take it off the rails totally and leave people thinking “That’s it? WTF, man??”).
  • Get a good start on the first draft of the next World of Calliome novel
    When I wrote this goal, the novel I thought would be next is NOT the one I’m currently writing. Funny how that works.

One thing that wasn’t a goal that I accomplished was the writing of my Seven Galaxies short story, “Forgotten Dreams.” It will be appearing in an anthology being released by the good folks at Fear the Boot, hopefully in the next month or so (it was originally slated for last month, but they’re still waiting on one story from a rather prominent author from the RPG industry…one whom will probably drive sales just by his inclusion, so I get why they’re waiting on him). Once it’s out, it will mean that my fiction is no longer solely the product of self-publishing (I style myself an Author/Publisher these days, thanks to Chuck Wendig). I also managed to get interviewed by three podcasts (Jennisodes, UnderDiscussion, and Sci Fi Pulse Radio, though that last one hasn’t been released yet). I hope to do more of them this year. I hate phone calls, but I love talking on podcasts. Figure that one out!

When I started writing this blog post, I didn’t expect to see so many of the goals I set forth at the beginning of the year accomplished. What a great surprise for me! Of course, I have goals this year, as well:

  • Publish Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra
  • Finish writing and publish the next World of Calliome novel

I know that’s not a lot of goals, but based on how difficult accomplishing ANYTHING was in the latter half of 2013, that’s all I’m willing to commit to at this point. I want to have new things to sell at Gen Con, and I’m confident I can have a third Zack Jackson book out by then. I’d love to have the next World of Calliome finished by then, as well, but Gen Con is only eight months away, not twelve. Everything else, I’m just going to tackle as it comes up. There are a few secret goals in there (like revise & publish my superhero novel and finish Clockwork Cowboy), but I don’t want to jinx myself. (Oops, I guess they aren’t secret anymore, but since they’re not bulleted, I won’t feel bad if I don’t accomplish them :D)

To all my readers, thank you for your support in 2013! All I can ask is that you tell people about my novels that you enjoyed. Maybe throw up a review (it can be just a few sentences) or two if you haven’t done so. Apart from actually buying my books (which, as readers, presumably you’ve already done), it’s the absolute best thing you can do for me, or any author for that matter. Word of mouth helps.

Have a great 2014!

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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