Friday, December 28, 2018

Farewell, 2018

Incredibly, 2018 is on its way out the door, and this is my last post before the new year rolls in at midnight on Monday. So, in the spirit of the new year and new beginnings, here’s my annual roundup of what I have and haven’t accomplished since January. Check back next week for the goals for 2019. Meanwhile, Happy New Year, everyone!

Below are the writing and publishing goals I set for 2018. Just to mix things up a bit, I’ll give a quick summary of how well I completed them as part of each task. 

(1) Completing my Legends of the Five Directions series with the publication of The Shattered Drum—done, and as they say in job performance evaluations, exceeded, since I also revised The Golden Lynx to make it more friendly to a YA readership and foreshadow events that arise only later in the series, as well as producing two e-book box sets covering books 1–3 and 4–5 of the series.

(2) Producing a rough draft for Song of the Siren, first in my new series, Songs of Steppe & Forest—also set in Russia and the neighboring lands but in the 1540s—which explores individual women’s stories, told in the first person, mostly outside the traditional boundaries of marriage and motherhood—also completed and exceeded. In fact, Siren has gone through several revisions, been typeset and corrected, and is due to appear in late February. I’m also well on my way to completing the rough draft of Songs 2, Song of the Shaman, and hope to have a full text next week, although I expect to go through several more rounds before I have a final manuscript.

(3) Conducting twelve New Books in Historical Fiction interviews—despite a rocky start to 2018 and a few bumps along the way, I did find enough willing authors to put out twelve interviews by the middle of December, as well as additional written Q&A conversations that appeared on my blog throughout the year. Many thanks to all of them for their help!

(4) Maintaining my website and the Five Directions Press website—which means keeping track of the “Books We Loved” posts, expanding the number of titles available, and keeping the news & events page up to date. With plenty of help from my fellow authors, we did produce twelve monthly “Books We Loved” posts, a steady stream of new titles, and up-to-date news. We also added a new monthly feature, “Five Directions Press Authors Dish” about topics both personal and authorial, near the end of the year. My own website gets less attention (only so many hours in the day), but I did figure out how to restore the cross-postings from my blog and updated everything for the publication of The Shattered Drum.

(5) Typesetting/proofing, producing e-books, and in some cases editing the Five Directions Press titles scheduled for 2018—Chains of Silver, The Falcon Soars, The Shattered Drum, and A Holiday Gift, more or less in that order. Although we ended up substituting Joan Schweighardt’s Before We Died for A Holiday Gift, which is still in process, Five Directions Press did publish four titles in 2018 and is on track for anywhere from two to five in 2019.

(6) Posting to this blog every Friday—yep, made it so, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise would say. I also passed 100,000 views  in the second half of the year, which I thought was pretty cool.

(7) Staying active on social media as a way of connecting with and supporting other writers, especially the authors associated with Five Directions Press, as well as reaching readers—well, this one definitely had mixed results, not least because social media themselves fell under scrutiny in 2018. I did better with guest posts on other people’s blogs. Nevertheless, I did manage to get on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at least three times a week for most of the year with blog links or on behalf of Five Directions Press and New Books in Historical Fiction, even though I also closed out my Google Plus account during its recent security breach. I’m taking a vacation from social media at the moment to maximize my writing time, but I expect to be back on a regular basis starting January 4, 2019.

What about you? How well did you do?

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