2011 was the year of amazing possibilities.
2012 was the year to realize that my writing was a business.
2013 was the year of arriving at a whole new level of taxation.
2014 was the year that I looped back around to learning.
If you follow many self-published authors, you've probably already heard how pretty much ALL of us are way, way down this year. There's a lot of factors tied to the downward spiral--the flooded book market, the intruduction of the Kindle Unlimited program, etc--and we're all feeling the hurt. I'm no exception.
My shock in everything changing was two part: first, I realized in about Feb that all the marketing tactics I had been using for the past few years weren't as effective as they once were. My methods for reaching readers wasn't working as well. The market, social media, everything was shifting, and it didn't take very long for me to get "out-dated." So I had to re-evaluate everything I was doing. The market today is not what it was six months ago, and I've realized that it won't be the same in six months from today. Everything takes constant reevaluation.
The second part didn't come until this summer. My sales were down. Even though I had more books out, my income was taking a dip. And for a while I started panicking, thinking I was doing something wrong and why was this happening to ME. But then I started hearing everyone saying the same thing.
I kind of feel like I backslid about 3 years...
But it's taught me to remember one important thing:
Not because of the money it brings/has brought to me.
Not because I want to get famous (though trust me, this isn't a motivation to me...)
I write because I love creating worlds, characters, words.
This year I wrote 4 entire novels. For some authors that's no biggie, but for me that was CRAZY, and so much work. It was 258,833 words between Feb. 28 and Dec. 16. 291 DAYS.
I was working on something else before I started The McCain Saga. It was a big project with a really complicated plot, a lot of characters, and a TON of world building. And I hit a wall. I was already exhausted from it and I was only 40,000 words in with 2/3 left to write. So I took a step back, and started on something that was just for ME.
I never had any plans to publish my fun, light little project. I just needed something that felt like therapy. I just wanted to write this story about a corporate shark who wore amazing shoes and was everything I both loved about a power hungry woman but was also kind of afraid of. And this man who pretented to be overly confident but really was scared of this woman too, but also totally in love with her.
This year I learned to write what my heart took me to. And it was amazing.
I didn't break the New York Times or the USA Today lists. I didn't become world famous or get a movie deal. My income took a big 'ole dip and things got pretty terrifying for a minute as I adjusted.
But I'm not quitting. I'm not moving on to other ventures. I'm not saying "I'll try it again when the market stabalizes." I'm still doing this. I'm still creating worlds. And living many lives. Metting amazing characters.
2014 was a year of learning and a year of harsh reality. Don't worry, I'm nowhere near financial ruin. We're fine, it was just an adjustment.
It's also been a reminder year. A reminder of my humble beginnings, of reminding me that I don't really know much and that I am always a student. And a reminder of how much I love my supporters. Thank you for always being there for me.