2022, You Really Blew. (2022 Year In Review)
I had big plans for 2022 but they kind of blew up in my face. I'm going to try not to focus on that and think of what I did manage to do. I republished my three contemporary romance novels after creating the Shylyn Ray pen name and adding to the novellas, expanding them into fuller, BETTER novels. I didn't get around to writing the others I'd had planned for the year but at least Shylyn Ray has been launched and those three are out there, getting the sales that had dwindled over the year due to novellas not being as popular anymore.
I wrote a book under my secret pen name and got it out there, pleasing some folks. Not a ton, but hey, if I have readers anxious for a book, I'm gonna try to get it out there whether it's a huge seller or just satisfies a small group of faithful readers.
I FINALLY wrote Immortal Rage. I've had the cover art for that book since 2013. Whew. Both it and the secret pen name book took a lot of time. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But it was worth it. Sadly, the amount of time it took to write those two meant AULD FANG SYNE (Twice Bitten #7) got pushed back. I've never not met a preorder deadline before and this was the first year since LIFE SUCKS AFTER YOU DIE released that I did not release a Twice Bitten book. That really bummed me out.
Now I have 12 days and I'm racing toward the finish line for the extended preorder on that. I hope I make it.This has been the hardest Twice Bitten book to write. I think it's because of the pressure (and the big medical kaplooey that took me out of the game for a month when I really needed to be writing). SO... no more preorders before a book is actually at least halfway written.
Oh, I'm supposed to be focusing on good stuff. I finally got a Bookbub Featured Deal! I got it for the Twice Bitten boxed set I released this year. It brought many new readers to the Twice Bitten series. Unfortunately, there apparently was an editing snafu when the boxed set was put together. Technology, man. Hopefully it's all fixed now.
I got a few International Bookbub deals for the Cook County series (Shylyn Ray) which brought in more wide readers, especially international, so that was awesome for the first year of them being rereleased.
Now, as for my plans going into 2023...
My goal for this year hasn't changed from last year. I want to be an author fulltime. This is what I want to do for a living. I don't want to have to squeeze it in around my day job. I'm just going to keep trying. I'm not going to set preorders to "force" myself to write faster. That backfired. For one, I got stuck writing things I'd rather have written later but couldn't because they were next in the preorder queue. For another, OMG the STRESS.
I took out the ability for readers to send me DM's on Facebook. I have really great readers and sometimes those supportive DMs really helped me. Sadly, there were a lot that were NOT supportive. Some were downright nasty. And even the well-meaning ones could be too much when they were along the lines of "I know you've said the next book will be out sometime in 2022 but can you tell me WHEN? Will it be SOON? Can I have a HINT?" Guys, I appreciate the enthusiasm but getting messages like that every.single.day... was exhausting and way too much pressure. It shut me down sometimes, delaying the books even further.
Between pressure and then my whole medical mystery... 2022 was rough. I want to do more in 2023 but without feeling like crap so :
No buying a ton of cover art for new projects. I'm writing for what I have.
No "release dates" way ahead of schedule. I'm writing what I can most productively write at the time.
No checking reviews.
Limited internet. I love interacting with (NICE) raeders, but I need to make sure I'm WRITING.
No deadlines. Not even self-imposed. I think I'll be more productive just writing what is calling to me the most and not worrying about, "Oh, I haven't released a new book in that series/pen name since _______, I have to do one right now!"
No visiting my professional writing/author groups daily. It just disgusts me too much seeing the "authors" who don't even write their own books living the dream I've spent years trying to earn without lying to readers, and the ones now talking about using AI to "write" their books just gets me so angry it messes with my ability to focus and do what I should be doing. I can't give integrity to people who don't have it. I can't waste time being upset by what others are doing. I can only focus on myself and have faith that eventually my own success will come, and even if it doesn't, at least I've been honest in all I've done to try to get there.
Stop the rush. Write the book. Let it sit for a moment. Edit with "rested" eyes. Upload and announce it. No more announcing releases before they are done and then skipping sleep, eating, etc. to get them done, and then getting depressed if I fail.
That's it. Chill out. Quit worrying and stressing. Do what I can and hope the universe finally let's me have my dream. That's the only "plan" I'm putting on myself this year.
Happy new Year.