Friday, December 25, 2015

Goodbye, 2015!

Unbelievable as it sounds, at least to me, the last post for 2015 is upon us. It’s time to see how I did in meeting my goals for the year. Those were:

(1) free more time to write, without having unpaid bills;
(2) use that time to finish at least the rough draft of The Swan Princess;
(3) copy edit and typeset Some Rise by Sin for Five Directions Press;
(4) read twelve books and interview their authors for New Books in Historical Fiction;
(5) maintain this blog on a regular weekly schedule; and
(6) learn more about marketing, the weak link in most authors’ education, and certainly mine.

So, how did I do?

The first and most important goal, alas, remains elusive. To paraphrase a familiar saying about housework, bills seem to expand to consume the funds available, which remain less than last year’s despite a mad embrace of freelance editing projects on my part. Book sales are also down, despite modest success in a giveaway in June—in part because I published no new novels this year, and in part because the deluge of editing projects made it difficult to find time to promote the books that already exist. At least, that’s my guess.

Even so, I did manage to finish the rough draft of The Swan Princess, which I distributed to a half-dozen fellow writers for comments. I’ve implemented the small corrections already and am doing a bit of background research before I tackle the more comprehensive changes. I managed to find a fabulous book: 900 pages, give or take a few, detailing every surviving document covering the period between 1533 and 1547. I wanted it for Vermilion Bird, which I have already begun planning, but I’m discovering wonderful stuff for the earlier books, too. As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t follow the history exactly, but I do try to stay out of its way. Once I work my way through the 1530s in this book, I expect to return to The Swan Princess with the goal of releasing it in the spring of 2015.

Goals 3, 4, and 5 went pretty well, too. Courtney’s book did appear in March; I did manage to post every week to this blog; and due to an anticipated flood of books near the end of the year, I exceeded my goal of twelve New Books in Historical Fiction interviews. I also learned something about marketing, through trial and error and thanks to Gloria Rabinowitz, the newest member of Five Directions Press. I worked on my blog until I found a design that I love. I moved my website and the press’s website to Wix.com, giving them a more professional appearance. I got better at social media, especially Facebook (Twitter still poses a bit of a challenge, mostly because of the time involved).

Five Directions Press, too, had a good year. Annabel Liu, another new member who agreed to list her memoirs with us, had two excerpts accepted for the WHYY NewsWorks blog EssayWorks; they went online just before Thanksgiving and last week. The press now has six authors and eleven books, with four more on the way, but we have been negotiating with individual writers in the hope of expanding our offerings. We have strengthened our ties with other coops and small presses, most notably Triskele Books in the UK, and have added a quarterly newsletter and two new pages to our site. The first, already visible although still in its infancy, is our More Books Worth Reading page. The second will begin in mid-January as a monthly feature on our Newsletter page, where we will recommend individual books that we recently read and loved. To receive the newsletter, sign up at our Contact page or via the entry page at http://www.fivedirectionspress.com.

Not too bad, altogether. Check back next week to see what I have in mind for next year. And in the meantime, have a wonderful holiday!


Image Clipart no. 109382127.




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