End of year review – some successes and some… learning experiences.

2016 feels like my best year ever. Publishing went well. Work went well. I wrote more words than in any previous year. I also published more than any previous year.

Novels

My goal this year was to publish nine novels. I got eight. Failed at my goal, but, well you know… eight novels out there, so more successful than any other year so far.

 

Seven science fiction, one thriller (Taken by Surprise – but I hope that’s obvious from the cover). Three novels from my Karnish River Navigations Series. I feel like I learned a whole lot about the writing process and how to become prolific (I’m still not there). I feel like I’m making all my blunders in public. Busking away as I try to learn to be a better writer.

All of the books are available in print and ebook from most regular retailers. One thing for me to work on next year is maximizing the availability. My personal favourites are Athena Setting and Night Operations.

Submissions

I’ve been working to keep my stories circulating (unsurprisingly, my stories don’t always sell to the first editor. Sometimes they don’t even sell to the tenth). I’ve made almost 150 submissions through the year (145 as I type this – I hope to get an extra few by year’s end).

I had around six acceptances, and seven publications, plus one reprint:

  • Scour in New Myths (a Karnish River Navigations story, so ties in with some of the novels above).
  • Penny of Tharsis Montes in Amazing Stories (this was my Gernsback Amazing Stories contest co-winner).
  • The Bubbcat in Cirsova Issue 4
  • The Root Bridges of Haemae in Aurealis
  • Wakers in Asimov’s
  • Go For The Dome in Perihelion
    Kernel in Digital Science Fiction (reprint – originally published in Aurealis)
  • Ink for a Verbal Contract in Ad Astra (this was my Writers of the Future contest finalist from a few years back – nice to see it find a home).

Also, my story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” made the cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Asimov’s. It came out on December 20th, so I’m unsure whether to count it here or next year. Maybe both. 🙂

With that last story, I’ve had to make my final entry into the Writer’s of the Future contest. I’m now, for the purposes of the contest, considered a professional writer. Next year a change up too: except for a couple close to my heart, I’ll be targetting only pro-paying outlets. Seems obvious really.

Currently I have about thirty stories out on submission.

I had the good fortune to be a finalist for four awards. My novella “The Molenstraat Music Fesival” (Asmov’s September 2015) for the Aurealis Awards (won by Garth Nix), the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (Octavia Cade) and the Asimov’s Reader’s Awards (Michael Swanwick and Gregory Frost), and my short story “The Harpsichord Elf” (Capricious, Issue #1) for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (Lee Murray).

Also music – I worked with Kendall on some new Shadows on the Snow material. I think I should do a separate post about that elsewhere.

Failing to success is a term I got from Dean Wesley Smith – my take on it is that while you might miss reaching your goals, you still achieve something in that striving. While I didn’t quite make all my goals, I feel like I shot high.

Next year

Still thinking about how to approach next year. I do think I’ll shoot for ten novels. I have a few at various stages of the editing process (as in four complete manuscripts, copyediting, formatting, etc. to do). I’ll be doing some traveling too, so that might impact my writing time. I have some strategies around that. Pretty sure I won’t make the 150 submissions. Travel, and focus on novels means I’ll have fewer stories to circulate. Some of these old ones have burned through their potential markets. Likely I’ll bundle them up into a collection or two and publish that myself.

All the best for your new year. Reach for your goals: it’s a whole lot of fun.

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