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.