2018, better than last year

It’s time for my annual assessment of the past year. It was noticeably better than 2017, but it almost had to be. This isn’t to say that it was good, just better.

In 2017, I did something to my back that I still can’t figure out. I spent weeks unable to do much more than complain. My back is sore every day now, but I haven’t had any kind of relapse.

All of the pets are alive and well, unlike last year. Otto had a bad back last year too, but glucosamine and drugs seem to keep that in check. We lost a puppy last year too, and never want to repeat that process.

I released two books in 18, and am content with that schedule. As a general theme, nothing that used to work for promotional purposes seems to work any longer. I used to run the occasional Facebook push or Amazon ad, but they seem to do nothing today.

I hired a promotion company when I released The Hat. This worked extremely well, and the cherry on top was access to Net Galley. This turned out to be my most popular title, and has the most reviews too.

When it came time to release The Yak Guy Project, the promotional company was gone. I couldn’t find their website, and they never responded to emails either. Unfortunately, that seems to be a common thing in promotions too.

Both books were released with an extensive blog tour on my part, and that always helps. Still, Yak Guy did not perform as well as The Hat. Everyone who read it seems to have enjoyed it, but I’d like to have gotten it in front of more people.

As a positive sign, both books were well received. I don’t have people burning yaks in effigy or anything like that.

I blogged less in 18 than any other year, at least on Entertaining Stories. My blog stats are slightly down too. The most popular posts were all Lisa Burton Radio posts. This makes sense, because it’s a regular slot. I suspect there are people who come by only on Thursdays to check these post out.

There are a few things I’ve always done that remain moderately popular. The Idea Mill posts perform well, but not as well as I like. My October micro-fiction has its fans too. None of these are huge, but they perform well.

My stats show a good lifespan for older posts. This means some kind of Google connection exists, because people still find them. I got a great number of people coming from StumbleUpon and Flipboard in the first part of the year. StumbleUpon stopped operations earlier in 2018, and became Mix. Flipboard just stopped working for me. I smell some kind of new algorithm I haven’t figured out yet. I still share many posts to Mix, but haven’t seen a single visitor to my blog from that site. Mix is likely a waste of time, and the interface isn’t easy to use either.

My blog auto-feeds to many places. Google Plus is one of those, but they’ve announced they are stopping. I still get visitors from Twitter and Facebook, but Google Plus never did much anyway.

I didn’t post as many tales from the writing cabin. These are the ones where I interact with Lisa Burton, my assistant. Other guests are my Muse, the raven of Doubt, and occasionally characters from my books. These were always popular, and I should get back to them.

On the other hand, instead of taking the time to write about my progress in a fictional environment, I posted drips and drabs about my next book. These were popular posts, and there are people interested in reading Voyage of the Lanternfish when it comes out. (Soon.)

Is there a happy medium between writing cabin posts and just writing about it? Could there be a sweet spot where turning those same posts into a writing cabin post would have performed better? I’ll never know, but maybe I should try this. It wouldn’t have been too hard to have the writing cabin overrun by root monsters, or take a boat out looking for the gigantic jellyfish.

Some of this could be due to my participation at Story Empire. The writing cabin posts were a bit of fiction, but designed to illustrate one author’s struggles and growth. Story Empire is all about helping others, and many of my ideas go there now. Let’s face it, I only have so much to share at any given time.

In 2017, the Boyacks lost about half of our income. This was based upon a small mining royalty that is gone now. This means where we are now is the new normal. It’s been an adjustment, but one we must make. It means budgeting has to go into new Lisa Burton posters, book covers, and promotional expenses.

I’ve recycled some of the blog art this year, but let’s face it, one post a year ago shouldn’t render the posters useless. I have a bunch of them, and may do it again.

All in all, 2018 was better than 17. Two good book releases, and none of them were collections or anthologies. I’m not saying collections or anthologies are bad, I love them. I’m just saying these were more extensive works. They were both well received if not wildly successful.

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58 Comments

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58 responses to “2018, better than last year

  1. I used to think life was getting harder because of my age, but these days I’m not so sure. Everyone seems to be reporting an increase in difficulty, and I have a feeling this will continue. I would love to be proved wrong, so come on 2019, play nice!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I enjoyed both The Hat and especially, The Yak Guy Project, which is still one of my favourite books of 2018. I am looking forward to your new book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad 2018 was a better year for you, and hope 2019 will be a good year too, if not even better still.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing you all the very best for 2019 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on having a better year. Too bad that promo company disappeared. Those things do seem to appear and disappear pretty quickly. Good luck in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Craig. 2017 was not a good year for me although I did publish The Fall of Lilith which did well. This year began as very promising and I did have some great moments and accomplished a lot but was beyond rough near the end. But all’s well that ends well. I still think 2018 was better than 2017 and I’m looking forward to 2019. I’m looking forward to making it my best year ever. You’ve accomplished a lot this year, my friend. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy New Year with lots of love, success and good fortune. ❤️xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t looked into it yet, but hear Xpresso Book Tours have a NetGalley opportunity, Craig. Might be worth checking out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you did better in 2018. Kensington put my first mystery in a 100 copy giveaway on Goodreads, and I’ve had a lot of luck with that–85 ratings and 59 reviews on Goodreads. One of my friends paid for the giveaway, though, and didn’t get as much feedback, so I guess there’s no guarantee. I think it helped that mine was the first in a series. I tried a Facebook ad and got nothing from it. So hope you hit on something that works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. From my point of view, I think you had a great 2018. Of course, I’m an outside observer. I will be glad to kick 2018 to the curb. Not my best year by far. Happy New Year, Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It was a good year, Craig! Releasing two books is really good. Nothing to be sneezed at. An Indie author’s budget is always on a shoestring (or at least the Indie authors I know) and promotion gets harder and harder as we go. Part of that is because of the large number of authors all vying for the same attention. It’s tough out there. You have to love what you do for sure! Here’s to 2019! May it be prosperous and filled with new story ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: 2018, better than last year – Where Genres Collide

  12. Fascinating read Craig. I’m not trying (yet?) to monetize my writing, but have several folks encouraging me to do so. I simply don’t think I have anything that merits a spot competing with the few reader dollars out there. That said, I’m enough interested in the business of indie publishing that this discussion was carefully consumed by me. I had a great time with both my purchased copies of Yak & Hat and hope they ultimately become the fuel that collects the readership and money you’d like to see for all your work.

    Best wishes for 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed it. It isn’t really about money as much as readership. My goal is to entertain more than profit. I think I’d be happy if each book could cover its own expenses. Each bit seems small, but they add up.

      Like

  13. Wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and blessed New Year.
    May 2019 exceed your expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Formats and websites come and go so fast, don’t they? I’ve felt comfortable having WordPress feed to Twitter and Twitter feed to a Facebook author page, but that wasn’t doing much for me in terms of sales. That’s why I think I need to explore some more sites. I can also be more persistent with my e-mail newsletter.

    I’ve heard both Amazon and Book Bub ads can be helpful, and that a lot of authors are on Instagram. I need to learn exactly what those are, and what makes them different. For instance, If I’m on Pinterest, will Instagram be too repetitive?

    One thing I’ve always gotten a good response to is snippets from my current work. I may explore how to turn those into more interesting graphics that I can post on sites like Pinterest and Instagram, since they both focus on images. And use it in my newsletter, blog, etc.

    Once I generate a snippet/image, I can post it everywhere at more or less the same time. So I hope, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ddstoryteller

    Hi Craig, pleased to hear you’ve had a good year. I got the blogging itch again and had to scratch it. So I’m back. We’ll see how it goes. Here’s to 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I also thought 2018 was better than 2017, because no one died and I was only out of work 3 weeks. That’s a good measure, I’d say.
    If I cared about stats, this would not have been a good year. I don’t blog for exposure, but more like a chat among friends. I didn’t know how much I needed it until I went without it, though, so that’s good.
    I am so pleased for your book releases this year and for your examination of patterns. Brain power. You has it!
    All the best to the Boyacks in 2019 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I always like to read year in review posts. I find them helpful to me in that I find people in the same boat as me. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when you aren’t actively looking for similar stories (and people aren’t necessarily sharing).

    Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Craig. Two books in one year is nothing to sneeze at. I’m also betting you picked up new fans.

    I struggled with my 2018 release this year too, even though I dumped more promo into it than I ever have in the past. I wish there was a magic solution for getting our books in front of people.

    I am a huge fan of Lisa, the Idea Mill, and your Macabre Macaroni. You always manage to keep your readers entertained.

    Wishing you a successful, happy and healthy 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I enjoyed both of these books, Craig. And Facebook and Amazon ads did nothing for me, either. Advertising is still a mystery to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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