Looking back: Year six in the books
Six years. Has it been that long? If this was college I should have a Masters Degree by now. And yet I am so far from being a master at writing. More like I’m still sending in my application, hoping to get accepted.
Still, in this, my sixth year in the writing and publishing world, many good things happened. And I am oh, so grateful for them. And even in the failures, I learned important things. So let’s take a look back at year six in the books.
Getting my feet wet
Though technically it happened at the end of last year, the release of The Last Motley really did not hit full force until February of 2018 with the digital release. This was not only my first time testing the waters of the fantasy genre, this was my first attempt at taking all the marketing advice and strategies I’ve been learning to create a really successful, “big” launch.
While it was certainly far bigger than the launches of any of my other books, that’s not saying a whole lot. It did get quite a few initial reviews and sales (a huge thank you to everyone who bought and reviewed the book), but interest quickly faded. I made an attempt over the summer to pour more money into advertising, but not much came of that unforunately.
So what did I learn? Well, that good reviews, a good cover, and an initial spike in sales are just not enough. Either the spike has to be much, much bigger, or you have to have a way to continue to get your book exposure and sales after the launch, neither of which I currently know how to do.
Thanks for the memories
But the reviews were ever so nice. Branching out into fantasy allowed me to reach new readers and many of them were very kind and generous with their support and praise.
Somehow the book even got chosen for the August Book of the Month for the online Fellowship of Fantasy book club. That was certainly one of the high points of the year, even more so because it was so unexpected.
As a way of saying ‘thank you’ to all of those who enjoyed the book, I wrote a companion short story. It covers a few events after the end of the novel. It’s free but it’s only available digitally and only to subscribers of my newsletter. If you’ve missed out on downloading it, click the button below.
Speaking of writing
I also had my first official speaking engagement in 2018. It was for a very small little conference known as Lewolkien, but I had a delightful time. I gave three one hour talks (roughly) on themes of literature and faith, and had great conversations with some of the attendees.
I thought what I had to say was important enough that I made recordings after I came back (the quality of the live recordings was extremely poor). They are a little long, but if you missed them here are the links:
In terms of this site, I did not post as often as I would have liked, but my traffic increased somehow by almost 50%. I have no idea what all these people are doing on my site. It’s not buying books, I can tell you that! But I’m happy they’re here all the same.
I was also part of a multi-author effort to host the third annual Silmaril Awards again this year. That is always a huge amount of fun. We had over 200 votes this year, so thanks to all who made this one the biggest awards yet.
Looking ahead to next year, I’m closing in on about 50,000 words on the first draft of my next novel. This will be the first in a rather long series and I am thoroughly enamored with the story so far. For now, I’m calling this series the Lay of the Glaives, (formerly it was known as the Super Secret Series) but the actual title is still under wraps for now.
Wish I could say more!
See you next year
And that’s a brief look at where my writing journeys took me during the last year.
I suppose the biggest lesson I learned was just to be grateful for the good things, the little victories. To press on amidst setbacks and discouragement. Achieving goals is wonderful, but it’s far more important to bless others with my work and more importantly, in life outside of writing. Maybe that’s the same lesson every year, but I needed it just as much this year as ever.
A special thank you to the regular visitors to this site, especially those of you who leave comments. Most of you are from parts various and sundry, but I am so appreciative you take the time to drop me a note once in a while.
This will be my last post for the year. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And I’ll see you in the books!