2022 in Review: Writing

Although the year is not quite over, it’s about time to start wrapping things up and examining what worked, what didn’t, and how to move forward. I intend to do this in bits and pieces by looking at different aspects of my life through the year. Naturally, I’ll start with my writing.

Releases

It’s difficult to believe I actually started writing The Switchgrass Crown in April 2021, but that is the doc’s creation date, and looking back, it makes sense. I was shopping GoMP and by February/March of 2021 had realized that, despite coming close, I was not going to have an agent. (Those were dark days for my mental health.) At the same time, I began tinkering with a Merlin fanfic that began to bloom into something else. I set it aside, though, to do final edits on GoMP and prep it for self-publication. So I didn’t really start working on TSC in earnest until fall of 2021, and it was finally released on December 1 of this year. I did not even try to get an agent this time because of the terrible impact the last round of querying had on me; I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be the right fit for “traditional” publishing.

Still, it seems I’m not entirely the right fit for indie publishing either. TSC did not do as well out of the gate as I’d hoped–certainly not as well as GoMP did, and I think that’s due to a couple factors. 1. Time of year. GoMP came out in October of 2021, which was the right time for the subject matter. TSC coming out during the holidays when it’s not a holiday book (it is, in fact, set during summer) was probably a misstep, but I didn’t want to not have a book at all in 2022. (Now it looks like I won’t have one in 2023.) 2. Subject matter. GoMP was easy to explain: two ghosts solve a murder. TSC is more complicated and I don’t like to try to explain it because I don’t want to give twists away. That makes it a harder sell, I think. It’s a blend of genres that isn’t easy to encapsulate.

On the plus side, I can hope that TSC finds its readers over time. But I’m largely disappointed with its launch. I wouldn’t release a non-holiday title during the holidays again. But I’ll probably keep writing weird genres because that’s what interests me.

Meanwhile, I wrote an unplanned novella over the summer titled “One Night in Wildcat Woods” that did better than I might have expected. This story sprang up from my love of Stranger Things. I was traveling and started playing around with the idea of two Eddie & Steve types lost in the woods, and… ta-da! I put it up for free, so that might be a leading factor in its popularity. That and the fact that I think just as many people love Stranger Things as I do. I’m now working on a holiday story for Drew and Rayze that will be up just in time for Christmas if all goes according to plan. (Yes, there was supposed to be another story besides, but it needs more work, so I’ve had to postpone its release.)

Those are my only writing releases this year: one novel, one novella, and one shorter story planned. February was my best month for sales, though December is currently in second and may surpass February if TSC catches on sooner rather than later.

Events

I did participate in a couple of events this year. For one, my local library invited me to return (I had spoken there in 2018) to do a Q&A for their writing group. I had so much fun doing that, even though I talk too fast.

And, speaking of talking too fast, I was a guest on the Creative Writing Life podcast. I love, love, love doing stuff like that and was so flattered to be asked.

I’ve also signed up to participate in Literary Love Savannah next July, so I have that to look forward to! We’re going to do karaoke, have round-table discussions, a big masquerade ball… I certainly hope some of my supporters will come out to see me and all the other great authors, and I can’t wait to meet my readers and fellow scribes!

That covers my writing life in 2022. I’ll discuss what I read this year in another post (and probably also in a YouTube video), I’ll talk about travel I did (and didn’t) do, and possibly recap my social media stats as well. If there’s a topic you’d like to see a summary of in terms of the year in review, let me know in the comments!