My Annual Assessment, 2020

Well, here we are. We all know what this year was about. Political strife, a global pandemic, and seeing humanity at its worst, with glimpses of us at our best.

With the Christmas holiday, I kind of checked out. We went to our son’s and spent time with the grandkids. Our daughter was here for Christmas dinner, and we’ve been watching movies. I enjoyed myself, despite the restrictions we all face.

This is supposed to be about my annual assessment, so I’d better get on with it. Some of you are probably expecting some doom and gloom, and nobody will blame you, but that’s not how I see my year.

It all started out with such promise. 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I was born on the Year of the Rat. My first publication came out on Chinese New Year, and it features a couple of rats and the parade in San Francisco. It seemed like the table was all set.

Grinders did okay. It has some great reviews, but could use some more. Reviews seem to be harder to come by these days. I think it’s some of my best work and would like to get it to a few more readers.

Performance and reviews are kind of going to be the subject for a few paragraphs. I had an ambitious schedule and succeeded in publishing three books. The next two were continuations of series, which is something new to me.

HMS Lanternfish is book two of a trilogy. It sets up some things that will happen in the final volume, which I’m writing currently. I don’t know what it means, but HMS Lanternfish has less than half the number of reviews than Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I know Voyage has been available for a year longer, so that makes some sense. I also know that it’s a small dataset. Hard to draw conclusions with those kind of numbers.

Rumor has it that with trilogies sometimes the sales pick up after the whole trilogy is available. Some readers have been burned by authors who never finished the job. I understand that, but am working on the concluding tale.

Then there is the Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third entry into the world of Lizzie and the hat. These have all been well received, but nowhere near as popular as the original volume. This is my open ended series, and I intend to keep it going for a few more years. I’m also currently working on volume four of this series.

It’s important to remember that reviews aren’t the same thing as sales. Most books sell more than what they garner in reviews and mine are no exception.

I also took most of the summer off. Three publications per year, for two consecutive years, got kind of draining.

I wanted to post at Entertaining Stories somewhere between two and three times per week. The year started off that way, but in the last month or so I’m lucky to get one weekend post put up.

I will blame some of this on Covid. My blog includes a slice of life along with the antics of Lisa Burton, or my word metrics updates. With Covid, there hasn’t been much of a life at all, let alone a slice worth sharing with the world.

Another excuse is also blog tour fatigue. When promoting three publications, there are a lot of blog tour posts. They fatigue me, and my readers. I keep every post unique, so they’re worth reading, and that is a bit draining.

The Story Empire blog is another pet project. I kept my end of the bargain and covered all my assigned days. I write this every year, but I’m wondering how much more I have to offer over there. I love helping others, and will keep chipping away at it. There comes a point where I have to rewrite and repackage some of my content. New writers are always showing up, so it kind of works. I already have my first January post written and scheduled.

To wrap all this up, I think 2020 was successful. There was a lot to overcome, and we’re all still dealing with it. However, I published three books, interacted with many of you, and met all my goals. In a different year, I might whine a little about low success, but in 2020 I’ll take it.

Once 2021 arrives, I’ll trot out a business plan and we can all converse about that.

Talk to me. How did your business year play out?

27 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

27 responses to “My Annual Assessment, 2020

  1. Sounds like a decent year for you. I’ve heard the same thing about trilogies. I think genre is a factor too. Only because it does appear to ring true in some genres and not in others. Then again, who can predict anything these days? As far as my business plan . . . I had no aspirations this year. 2019 was brutal thanks to my divorce, so this year was going to be a focus on reviving my own self while maintaining some writing. Covid kinda smashed that. Think I’m emotionally where I started or worse. Finished writing the last 3 Nytefall books though, so things may have flipped.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Like you, I was a Year of the Rat, and I did okay but nothing spectacular. I hung in there, though, with decent numbers. I wish the anthology had done better, but I loved putting it together, and I’m proud of the stories everyone wrote for it. I self-published a new Lux book this year, and it did all right. Nothing brilliant, but nothing shameful either. I was happy with the Jazzi series numbers until December, and they really dipped, but if I remember right, the same thing happened last year. Overall, I guess it was a good year. Fingers crossed we both do even better in 2021.

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  3. Looking forward to reading about your business plan, Craig, for I want to do one, but waiting for inspiration to stop by…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is always nice to hear what you are doing. Wishing you the best for 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you had a pretty good year from an authorly point of view, despite the current situation.

    As for my year… The short version is that it started out great, and I even managed to get a book written and published, despite the start of the pandemic hitting half way through my doing so. Then I was dealing with a situation that caused me to have to move home twice in six months during a pandemic, all while dealing with losses of family members, so I’ve been struggling to do much of anything other than attempt to remain sane with dealing with things during the second half of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gwen M. Plano

    You’ve accomplished a lot, Craig. I’m impressed! How wonderful you could be with family over Christmas! I can’t wait to hug my kids and grandkids. Fingers crossed for a joyous 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Despite all the bad stuff this year, a few good things have come. Three book releases is nothing to sneeze at. Doing my wrap-up post on Thursday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds productive, Craig. Like you, I had a good year professionally. Personally kinda sucked with all the restrictions, but there’s light at the end of this dark tunnel. So, I remain hopeful for 2021. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve also heard people say that about trilogies. I’ve never had the patience to wait for a whole series to be released before starting it – guess I prefer to prolong the torture of cliffhangers.

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  10. I think we can all agree that 2020 was a very strange year. For me, getting picked up by a publisher in the middle of the pandemic was huge as I’d been pitching the book for three years. Persistence and patience seem to be the two P’s required with any writing. I still haven’t read Grinders, but it’s on my Kindle. I enjoyed both HMS and Mrs. Molony and hope that including HMS on my top ten list will garner a few more sales for you. All we can do is close the book on the 2020 chapter and move forward. I look forward to your posts at Story Empire. You always provide food for thought. Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow. Craig you had an extremely productive year! Congratulations on being such a prolific writer! I was happy to read about the trilogies since I finished mine in 2020. It was one of the highlights of the year for me. It was wonderful that you were able to spend Christmas with your loved ones. All the best in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Having worked in the same place for over two years, I finally got to the part where I was done playing catch-up with my predecessors and you know what? I closed files I opened, front to back, start to finish and it felt SO GOOD! I am damned good at my job. Huzzah! I also got a great bonus and new responsibilities that include more writing and some social media, so um, work-wise, great year, just like you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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