Looking back: Year seven in the books
Another year of writing is in the books. And as 2019 winds down, it’s time to look back at the ups and downs and everything in between that made up this past year.
Year seven in the books started off great, reading-wise. Among some re-reads and classics, I found a new favorite in Dragon Slave by Cela Day. This was such a pleasant surprise and the best new book I read all year. I hear a sequel is in the works, which is great because the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger and I really need to find out what happens to Stephen, the main character.
I finally read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, which might be my favorite C.S. Lewis book. But it seems like I say that every time I read one of his books. Still, this is one I think every person on the planet should read.
I also read The Silmarillion for the third time, but this was the first time reading my illustrated copy and the illustrations really did add a great deal to the book. I honestly go back and forth on whether I like this better than Lord of the Rings every time I read it. It’s that good.
Not my favorite thing, but I did more of it this year, all for The Last Motley. And, while I sold more books than I ever have in a single year, and The Last Motley became my best-selling book and reached as high as #2 in Christian Fiction, by the end of the year I actually lost money on my marketing efforts, so I obviously have much to learn.
I did get some lovely reviews and recently…ratings. I’m not sure what’s going on, but Amazon seems to be posting ratings without reviews. Will it last? And what is the idea behind this change? Your guess is as good as mine.
I also enabled X-Ray on my Chronotrace Sequence books. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a feature on Kindle where you can tap a word to look up its meaning. The glossary for these books is over six pages long and I added around 100 definitions to each of the books.
Though these books have not sold well all that over time, I still have people who tell me they are their favorites among everything I’ve written, so I hope to do a little marketing of them in 2020 and see if I can’t get them into the hands of a few more readers.
Though I failed to publish a book this year (which is rather disappointing, as it is my goal to publish at least one a year), I did finish several drafts of book one of my upcoming fantasy series (currently going under the name Lay of the Glaives) set in the world of Kiln.
I got some great feedback on it from beta-readers, but I decided to delay publication until I finish book two and the prequel.
I managed to finish the first draft of the prequel and am currently on draft two.
Between books (176K), blog posts (20K), and book reviews (9.5K), I wrote over 205,000 words in 2019!
I also became a much better researcher in 2019. So much so, that I even learned to enjoy it.
Finally, I recently started watching some videos on things like plot and scene structure, writing emotions, and other important aspects of the craft of writing. I hope some of what I’m learning pays off in future novels.
This year marked the fourth annual Silmaril Awards and I think I had more fun this year than ever. If you’re not familiar with these “fantasy character awards” you should definitely check them out and come back next September for the fifth year.
I don’t participate in many online blogging events, but I once again joined in on February is Fantasy Month. I’m sure I’ll jump onto the bandwagon again this year. It’s a great event that explores many aspects of the genre mostly from those who write it. But we are all fans as well as writers and mostly it’s just a chance to share our love and enthusiasm for all things great and fantastical.
Finally, on a more somber note. I am still dealing with lingering issues from my concussion. Though I have great stretches at times where I think maybe I’m fully recovered, the doldrums always seem to return eventually. But I believe God is working, even through trials like this. If nothing else, I am more aware of my need of him than ever, and so grateful that, though he has allowed hard providences into my life, he has never let me go.
Something to remember as this decade fades into the half-light of memory and we look to tomorrow with uncertain eyes. May He grant you vision to see His light upon the path.
I’ll see you between the pages.