2017 can kiss my ass

Every year, I try to do an assessment of the year that was. I follow this up with something I call a business plan for the new year. This is my assessment of 2017.

I always have a few goals, and 17 was no exception. I wanted to release The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I’m going to declare victory, but it rings kind of hollow.

I released The Enhanced League around the time of Major League Baseball’s Allstar Break. It was a little bit off from the Opening Day release I had planned. Honestly, it sold like crazy… for about two weeks. Then it completely died. I haven’t moved a single copy since the end of July.

Reviews of Enhanced League were all positive. I don’t like throwing a lot of money behind my 99¢ specials, because my royalty is about 34¢ per copy. I view my short form stuff as a way to drive readers to take a chance on my novels.

I knew a fictional baseball league would have a limited audience, so I was aware this could happen. I also know that baseball returns like Spring flowers, and it could have some longevity over the years. (I count down opening day like others countdown Christmas.)

The Yak Guy is a finished book and has been for several months. (Yeah, you can’t read it yet, but I’m looking for something positive about 2017.) I drug my feet here, for a lot of reasons. I waited for a couple of my favorite beta readers to have an opening, and took their advice to heart. I also wanted to submit it to a publisher. This caused me to hem & haw and drag my feet. Yeah, I’m a procrastinator.

I waited for openings with these readers, because I lost my critique group. We held on for years, then everyone kind of drifted away. I found the process very helpful, but there is nothing I can do about it now.

Yak Guy is the story of a spoiled and lazy young man who winds up in an alternate world. He has to learn a thing or two to even survive, let alone thrive. This is the one I based upon the Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Yak Guy meets many mentors along his journey, and astute observers might recognize them from the Tarot.

I fiddled around for a month or so, then submitted it to a publisher. All I have to do is wait around and see what happens. It’s one of those where they don’t reject you, they simply don’t respond at all. I sent a nice cover letter and a synopsis. About two days after I sent it away, I realized they wanted the synopsis in the body of the email. Mine is an attachment, so it’s probably an automatic rejection. How do you do a cover letter if that isn’t the body of the email?

Aside from that Quantum Wanderlust is the the only other thing I had cooking. This involves one short story, Swift Wings, that is part of a larger anthology. I even did a small bit of promotion and commissioned some Lisa Burton artwork to help things along. It seems to be holding its own, but reviews have been hard to come by. There are some fabulous authors in this collection, so you might want to check it out.

That’s my entire 2017 publishing file. One actual book, and one short story.

My blog stats are stagnant. I have almost exactly the same number of views as I did in 2016. In past years, my stats grew exponentially every year. This concerns me, because this blog is the heart of my presence online. There were referrals from all of the popular social media sites, so that’s good. The biggest referrer was Flipboard. Flipboard is kind of strange, because one post can go crazy there, the others can be completely ignored. Facebook and Twitter are more stable.

The majority of clicks on my site were on media. I checked it out and they are all Lisa Burton art. I wish they were my books, but I can handle this. It has to do with that tiny bit of subconscious recognition. Ya’ll come back, there will be more art and you might decide to read something too.

Lisa Burton Radio grew by leaps and bounds. I was nearly able to post every week. The only gaps were ones I caused, and I can live with that. Children’s books appeared for the first time, and overall they were really popular posts.

There are some things I do here on a sporadic basis. The Idea Mill posts and my October event called Macabre Macaroni. These continue to be popular, but not overwhelmingly so. A lot of authors visit here, but not all of them are speculative fiction authors. To them, the Idea Mill might be amusing, but it doesn’t exactly relate to what they write. I’m going to keep doing these, because I enjoy them. I think I’m allowed a bit of fun on occasion.

The Macabre Macaroni that got the best response was the one about the comatose lady who imagined life with the daughter she lost. I never know which one is going to be the favorite from short story to short story.

I’ve been around long enough that my old posts are getting regular action now. This is a good thing. They aren’t all gems, but it’s nice when a few of them have longevity. I like to think I have a chance of gaining followers when they search for something and find me.

Story Empire is a group blog I helped create. This site is growing like crazy, and I’m honored to be part of it. It started smaller, so it’s easier to gain growth. (It’s easy to get 100% growth when you have one follower; that theory.) It’s doing very well. We did a group promotion we called the Bookmobile, and it was a rousing success for me. All we did was post on each others’ sites, but I moved more copies during this event than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, it was the only group promo we did. I hope we can cobble something together again in 2018. (Hint, if the rest of you stop by.)

On the writing front, it wasn’t great. Flat blog stats, only one book release and it was short lived, and one anthology story. The anthology is still selling, so there’s that.

On the personal front, 2017 pretty much sucked. Part of this was the 2016 political landscape. It felt more like the line from Ghostbusters than anything else. “Choose the form of the destroyer.” Nice to have a choice, but a destroyer none-the-less.

We thought we were doing a good thing by adopting two bulldog puppies instead of one. We wanted to save a tiny baby from a cargo flight to Florida. With their short faces and breathing issues, it was a coin toss as to whether she would be alive at the other end. We brought home Frankie and Nyx. Nyx died in my arms on the Fourth of July. She got heat stroke in a shady back yard with access to plenty of water. My son swears she was only outside for about fifteen minutes. I guess she would have been better off trying to go to Florida. There isn’t a day that passes without my thinking of her.

Shortly after that, their older brother Otto hurt his back. He literally crawled around using his front legs and dragging his hind legs for over a month. He woke up in the middle of the night screaming on more than one occasion. Fortunately, many dollars and drugs later he is back to his active old self.

I feel for him more than you know. I did something to my own back in early December, and missed a week of work. There were times when I needed help to get out of bed or to lift the toilet seat. I had my own drugs to help things along, and am still not perfect. I missed an occasional work day even after the first week.

Somewhere along the way, we lost half of our annual income. My goal was to pay off as much as we could before this happened, but it landed about four months early. We’ll be okay, but it is a life changing set of circumstances. On the bright side, we had that income when Otto was in pain. I shudder to think of the choice I might have been forced to make had the resource dried up back then.

I wound up getting some kind of flu on a working trip during the summer. On a positive note, it led to Marissa Bergen to write a song called Vending Machine Imodium. Marissa completely made it worthwhile.

So overall, 2017 didn’t have much to recommend it. I’m going to take it for a walk in the desert. Just look at the flowers, 2017. What? This revolver is for protection from coyotes.

My 2018 business plan will post shortly after the new year arrives, and it’s going to be a lot more positive. I try to assess the year honestly, but my outlook is unfazed.


Filed under Blogging, Writing

59 responses to “2017 can kiss my ass

  1. Hopefully, your 2018 will be much improved. I used to be with a publisher and I can tell you that the one thing you’ll lose if you are deemed worthy is independence. It all sounds great to toss around phrases like “Three book deal and deadline and editor.” At the end of the day, most authors end up with marginal royalties and the need to promote yourself. Oh yeah, you have a publisher but very little else.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Other than the birth of my grandson and the publication of my novel, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO, I’m ready for 2017 to go the hell away. Seems that every year I’m anxious to move on. Oh well. Sorry for the missteps you encountered. There’s always tomorrow…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It really did feel like 2017 was nothing more than an extension of sucky 2016. I’d say this video can carry over:

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So, where’s the link to Story Empire? Sounds interesting. Hint, hint.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hey Craig, maybe your blog posts need more headlines like this one. LOL! 2018 is going to be your year!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. 2017 was a rough year for many, so you were not alone. I am glad that at the end of the day, you are able to look on the bright side and push forward. I always enjoy visiting your blog site, but have to admit the Lisa Burton shows are my favorite. You never know what will happen. 🙂 I wish you the best for 2018 and good luck with the publisher. I am doing the same song and dance right now.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Okay, I “liked” this post, but it’s hard to “like” such a sucky year. And I’m right there with you. I wanted to publish Unknown Reasons in late summer. However, with only a few days left in the year, it’s still not out. The good news is the eBook should be available by the end of the week so I can count that in 2017. Outside of my short story in Quantum Wanderlust, I don’t have anything to show for this year. Story Empire was (is) a highlight of the year. I’m honored to be a part of it. And yes, I hope we can do at least one, hopefully two, promos next year. And like you, my personal life has had some setbacks this year (the death of my husband’s nephew and my health issues). Declaring 2018 to be a better year for all!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Give it (2017) one between the eyes for me?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It can kiss my ass, too. I feel like it wasn’t so much a roller coaster for me, but a tumble dryer. I’d write about it sometime, but I think my readers already know how round and round up and down I was. I sure got the feel for your woes end of summer onward. Or downward. You know.
    Cheers to a whole new year! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I won’t be sad to see the end of 2017 either. Too much damage. The loss of our dog. I’m seeing my critique group fall apart too. No one’s shown in months. I still have one CP but I worry how things will go in the future. I entered two contestants this year and didn’t have luck with either. It makes me nervous about my writing. I did gain some confidence through the blog and the people I’ve met, so that’s been good. I think my writing took a turn for the better as well. My daughter did lose a job and gain a better-paying one. My son’s still trying his luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I should be thinking about 2018, but for some reason, I just can’t. Or I don’t want to… that’s how bad 2017 has affected me. I think I am hoping that Fate will come to my rescue and point the way…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing the post. It’s nice to know what doesn’t work along with what does. 17 was a disappointment in many ways. They say the best promotion is to release your next book. I’ll have some of that happening in 18.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I hope 2018 is a better year for you.

    Oh, and… For the record… I don’t think Nyx would have been better off taking her chances on the trip to Florida. If all your procautions weren’t enough to save her, she probably would have lasted even less time if she’d made that trip. You gave her a better chance, even if it only gave her a few extra weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I think you must have thoroughly exhausted ‘The Power of Three’ so far as bad luck is concerned for 2017, Craig!
    Here’s to a healthy, wealthy and wisdom-blessed 2018 with all your hard work kicking in for good effect, all the way through the next 12 months! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The one thing about getting a traditional publisher is the potential for better distribution. Otherwise, like John said, you still have to do the work of publicity. Hope it works out for you, Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m so sorry you had a bad year. Maybe I can help kick off 2018. I’ve been kicking around an idea for the last few weeks. I’ll email you.

    The Enhanced League was such an awesome book! Highly recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Craig, you already know this as we talk all the time, but I’m with you on the title of this post. I’m so ready to see 2017 go. Here’s to a brighter 2018 for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I was wondering what happened to the Yak Guy. Did you try ramping up your baseball stories promo at World Series time? I still think you’re missing out on a lot of sales by not publishing on paper.

    I can relate to kiss-off years. Since 2015, my having been so sick with so many diseases has seriously delayed my second novel. The cancer thing kept me busy throughout 2016, so that’s probably why I missed the launch of the Story Empire blog (I’m following it now). It looks like there are a lot of good posts. I was interested by one I found there that talks about Audiopub, because now that I’ve finally got my voice back (pernicious anemia can rob one of normal speech), I may be able to dictate my own audiobook recording of my first novel, instead of having to rely on the computerized voice I was editing until illness forced me to put that project on hold, too. At least 2017 was a good year for my return to publishing with a bunch of picture books, some of which have done surprisingly well. There are still a couple more health issues left for me to deal with, but I’m hoping for a continued increase in productivity next year.

    Anyhow, I’m glad you’re still writing and blogging. Best wishes for your 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ran some Amazon ads during the playoffs and series, but they didn’t accomplish anything. Harmony may be onto something with the audiobooks, and I’d like to try that mayself. There are so many out there who are worse off than myself it almost seems idiotic to complain. Appreciate the perspective. (Although people seem to enjoy a good bitch session.)

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I didn’t realize you sent Yak Guy off to a publisher. I have my fingers crossed for you. Taking that step alone is a positive!

    I know you had a lot of setbacks tossed in there too, especially with Frankie. That’s a hard one to recover from.

    I wish you the best for 2018. We’re all going to have ups and downs, it would just be nice not to have them all lumped so close together, I think. And I do hope we can toss out a new promo for SE in 2018. The last one was a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve sent submissions off before, with no luck. If I don’t expect much it will be hard to disappoint me. I hate the idea that if it’s an automatic rejection I have to wait four months to figure that out. With no choice, I’ll play the game. My rollercoaster is no worse than anyone else’s, there just weren’t any real ups to go along with the downs. I’m excited about 2018 and hope we can do another SE push.


  19. Pingback: The Schrödinger effect – Top 10 Guest posts 2017 | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  20. Your 2017 seems to have mirrored mine on some ways. The end seems to promise a better 2018 in a few ways. SE was good to have in the midst of all the difficulties. Here’s to 2018 & better times!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It felt contradictory to “Like” this when it was sad reading about Nyx. I’ve been gone way too long it seems. I hope 2018 treats you better!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m curious that you’ve sent your book to just one publisher. Do they discourage simultaneous submissions? Or was there something about this particular publisher that makes you think they’re a good fit for your novel?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I think you’ve accomplished a great deal in 2017. I too have a great feeling about 2018. I’m feeling very positive. Great things are going to happen for us, I’m sure of it! Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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