Tag Archives: year in review

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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100,000 words. So far.

hard at work 1

A slower start this year, but I’ve still hit over a hundred thousand words so far. That’s averaging a bit over 1400 a day. I’d like to be at 1500, but hey. I think that’s a little bit of “failing to success” (Dean Wesley Smith has a good article about that, here, from 2014, but the idea of achieving well, but slightly below your goals is still relevant). My overall posted goal for the year is a half million words, so I’m well on target for that.

I’ve published one novel (The Eye, the third volume in The Hidden Dome trilogy. I’ve also completed the draft of a contemporary thriller, written and submitted a couple of science fiction stories, and I’m halfway through the draft of a Canal Days, the sequel to last year’s Arlchip Burnout. Hope to have that out later in the year.

I’m in the process of prepping the next two sci-fi novels – Gretel and Cisterns, both standalones (at the moment). Should have those out by the end of March and the end of April respectively.

I do need to get on top of print versions. Haven’t got to that for The Eye yet, so there’s a dropped-the-ball moment. Should get that out with print versions of those other two. I should also bundle the three books of The Hidden Dome series so people can get the series as a set.

I’ve had a story in Aurealis and have signed contracts for another couple of stories coming out later this year (one a reprint). More on those closer to the time.

My story “The Molentstraat Music Festival” from the September 2015 issue of Asimov’s is a finalist in the Asimov’s Readers’ Poll and also in the Aurealis Awards. That’s pretty cool. I’m hoping it will also get on the ballot for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award.

As Shadows on the Snow, with Kendall from Decembernightskies, we’ve also had more music come out this year. Feels like something for another blog post.

I do need to update my website. Seriously. Need to learn more about marketing. And discoverability. Also that garden that needs one or two weeds (or more) pulled.

So, even with a few glitches of my own making, I’m happy with this start to the year. How is yours going?

2015: The year that was

japan 1drt6gAs far as writing years go, 2015 was pretty good. I’ve acheived my goals, realized some dreams, and learned a few lessons.

I had numerous publications over the course of the year, and was pleased to be in the pages of Asimov’s Science Fiction and Landfall once again. My second stories in each of those magazines, over consecutive years, and that suggests to me that the first wasn’t a fluke. I may actually be doing some things right.

I also had stories in Perihelion, Capricious, Takahe, SQMag and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. A good mix of literary and science fiction.

Good news on the competition front too. I was first equal in the Gernsback Amazing Stories innaugural competition this year for my story “Penny of Tharsis Montes”. That should be out in the first issue in February.

I self-published numerous short stories, and five novels. Sales of these have been unspectacular. Included in the plans for 2016 is more learning about marketing, discoverability and the like. I’m confident I have a good product: I lack the skills to get it noticed.

I’ve also taken more courses and read more books about writing and business. I’ll continue that next year.

As Shadows on the Snow, Kendall and I had a lot of music come out. Kendall’s brilliant at getting the stuff out into the world. Thanks Kendall!

I managed to fit in a jaunt to Japan (hence the photo), which was fabulous. Almost a month there visiting Hiroshima, Kyoto and Naoshima Island among other places, sampling okonomiyaki (yum) and green tea ice cream (not so yum).

For the fourth year running I wrote every day (including on the trip, albeit slower). Also for the fourth year in a row, I wrote over a half a million words. Funny thing; the goal is 500,000, but I hit that on November 19th. With forty-one days left, I wondered what to do. Why not write another novel? So I ran with that. Athena Setting will came in at around 57,000 words and I’ve just finished it tonight, New Year’s Eve (squeaked in at 11.59). These days, it’s not often I’m up at midnight for new year, but there you go. I celebrated finishing the novel (as I usually do) by starting the next piece. Might even be a new novel.

For the first year since starting that word count, I also published over a half million (about 100,000 over that – not bad). I have more words (should say complete stories/novels) written this year and last, that haven’t made it out yet. Next year.

Next year’s goals remain the same, with clear additions. Write every  day, write a half million words, and publish ten novels. Also; learn a whole lot more around business and marketing and so on.

Happy New Year everyone.

 

2014 in review

2014 in review

2014 has been kind to me. I’ve acheived a couple of lifelong goals: having a story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and winning a writing competition – The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.

I also wrote more than ever before. In 2012 I first took on measuring my output and writing every day. That year I managed around 507,000 words. 2013, still writing everyday, I hit 519,000. Last year I also made sure I only submitted stories to paying markets (that’s a long story for another time).

This year my current count is over 566,000 words and I might even hit 590,000. As well as the two pro “sales”, I sold numerous stories to semi-pro markets (some of these publishers have been very supportive as I’ve developed my writing: I have a soft-spot for them). The second half of the year has seen a slow-down on acceptances, but I keep writing new stories.

As well as numerous short stories and collections published indie, I managed to get out The Deluge, the sequel to The Tunnel in my Hidden Dome universe. Current writing plans have the third book The Eye out next year.

Speaking of next year: more focus on novels; more focus on getting things to publication; still writing every day; still learning about craft; more learning about business; less goofing off – I might have to give up a block of time to the new Tomb Raider game due out in 2015, but writing will still happen :-).

Overall a pretty good year (actually, an astoundingly good year). It’s given me a lot of energy to push on and feel confident I’m on the right course.