Thinking Back on 2023 (Writing)

Mpepper/ December 13, 2023/ Think Pieces, Writing

We have once again arrived at the time of year where we reflect, usually in the form of lists. Best of, worst of, etc. I’m doing all that on my YouTube channel with the books I read this year, so be sure to check it out. But over here I’m going to look at 2023 in terms of my writing. Or, really, lack thereof.

But for a complete look, we actually need to back a weensy bit into 2022. Last December, I released The Switchgrass Crown as well as a Drew & Rayze holiday story (“One Day at Middleview Mall”). TSC had taken me a long time to craft, edit, and publish; in short, it took a lot out of me. And then failed to sell. And though “One Night in Wildcat Woods” had done surprisingly well, the holiday follow-up was only middling. So I did not enter 2023 with much momentum.

Still, I published two more Drayze stories. “One Night in Wyland High” came out in February 2023, and “One Day of Sun & Sugar” was published in April. Again, neither really caught on the way the first story had, probably because the first is a freebie and the others are not. But between TSC pretty much flopping and there not being as much downline success for Drayze, I burned out on both the planned sequel to Switchgrass and any additional Drew & Rayze stories.

This isn’t to say the year was a complete bust. The Switchgrass Crown won two medals in the spring BookFest Awards and was a semi-finalist in the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Awards. But the lesson here is: winning [small, lesser known] awards won’t help you sell a book.

I also participated in one author event this year, a local “author showcase,” which was fine. I was happy to have use for my swag and a reason to display my pop-up banner.

As for writing, I’m hoping to have the print collection of the four Drayze stories out before the end of this month, but we’re still refining the proof, so… I don’t know. I’m experimenting with Amazon’s paperback publishing, and it’s been a tad frustrating. And after this anthology is finished? I have no idea. I’ve played with going back to my old AElitian projects. I’ve continued to poke at the TSC sequel with a stick, but I can’t tell if there is any life left in it. I’ve outlined other potential projects, but none of them have sparked a desire to write in me. For now, my creative mind remains dormant. I’ll be entering 2024 like a field covered in snow, waiting for a thaw so that I can bud again. Or something.

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