Things I Achieved in 2015 And What I Learned From Them

Better a little late than never. It’s still January. It counts 😛

I published 13 Conversations Between Writers. 

  • I wish I’d done more of them, but I’ve found that people are more likely to accept an invitation than to volunteer themselves or others. I’m going to have to get better at inviting people to do them as well as reminding people they can volunteer themselves or suggest someone. (Hint: You can do that here)

I did 5 Fountain Pen Reviews

  • This has largely tapered off as I haven’t gotten a lot of fountain pens because I’ve got more than I can actually use at this point. I have I think, three, I own now but haven’t reviewed.
  • Also I did a lot less handwriting in 2015 because I was mostly doing revisions and edits on The Shattered Ones.

I applied for and received a major collections grant at work.

  • As many of you know I work in Museum Collections. We’re working toward upgrading all of our collections storage and this is the first major grant relating to Collections we’ve gotten in the 8 years I’ve worked there. It is A Big Deal. Also, as I am now implementing the plan that won us the grant, it is the first time I can show real demonstrable changes. My job is a lot of whittling away at a glacier, so it’s nice to hack off some icebergs and uncover new ground.

I made my short story reading goal for the year.

  • My goal was to read 365 short stories during the year. I read over 411 (I’m still sorting out my notes and things, when I count podcasts it might be closer to 450) without counting slush.
  • However, I feel like I read basically nothing for the year and all of the important stories I still have yet to read.
  • I am starting to realize that I will never feel like I am caught up on my reading, which makes it hard to focus on because it feels a bit of a pointless exercise.
  • I know it isn’t, but I feel really discouraged and I’m still trying to figure out what actionable things I can do to make my reading work more for me rather than feeling like I’m working to read.

My very first novel, TAKE ON ME was published in September.

  • The weird thing about hitting milestones is that the goal posts always move. I spent all this time writing and making the book, but it’s very much out of my hands and I’m in the throes of the next goal, the next problem, by the time it gets read by readers.
  • I’m really happy that many readers are enjoying it and indications seem to be that more people will discover it as each book is released and I think there will be a big jump in March when the third one comes out. *fingers crossed*
  • Going over copyedits was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be. I am VERY VERY lucky in that I get the same copyeditor for all three books, so the process dropped in difficulty by a huge % for the second book as we now knew a lot more about what the other was doing.
  • If you are publishing a book involving vampires you should probably find out when the 10th Anniversary of Twilight is and not release a book on the same day if you didn’t mean to do so. …Seriously it did not even occur to anyone to check this.
  • Also, if you are using song titles for book titles it helps to not release a book the same week of a major anniversary so that your book is extremely hard to search for on all platforms. …another thing no one thought to check, cause… what are the odds?
  • Getting reviews (both good and bad) doesn’t take up as much of my brain space as I thought they would. A lack of people talking about it or reviewing hurts more than any bad review. Also, no review is ever going to be as mean to me as I am inside my own head.
  • Getting a book publishing seems a bit like getting married. Bear with me… ultimately getting married didn’t change my relationship as it was between us, however, it did change how the government and other people treated our relationship. Getting a novel published didn’t change anything about how I write, how difficult things are for me, the speed I write, the insecurities I have- it just changes things that are external to me.
  • I wrote a good chunk of an unrelated novel and one short story outside of The Shattered Ones in 2015. I managed two submissions but zero sales. The novel business sucked up well over 2/3rds of the writing year even with completed manuscripts (there were a lot of rewrites and I did have to add a large chunk to Book 3, plus edits and copyedits)
  • A lot of people still don’t buy ebooks. Many of them are my relatives. 🙂

My second novel CRUEL SUMMER was published in December

  • Some stuff gets easier with books coming out closer together, a lot of marketing gets more difficult. How many reviewers will read Book 2? Do you promote Book 2 over Book 1, or do you just push Book 1 and mention Book 2? There are a lot of best guesses along with trial and error going on.
  • Putting books out closer together is better for readers but harder on writers and publishers. We knew it was ambitious, but yeah… it wasn’t any of the big things, it was always the little things that just added up and wore us down.
  • I am proud of TAKE ON ME, but each progressive book makes me feel so much prouder. I can not wait for Book 3 to get out there. It is slowly killing me that it isn’t out yet, because I can not wait for people to read it and see things really hit the fan.
  • Hey, you know all those people you mean to thank in the thank yous when you write a book? I should totally have a document where I write those down as I go, otherwise I’ll forget a few and have to put them in Book 3 which would be really awkward if there wasn’t already going to be a sequel. Cause the moment my editor asked for them my brain totally threw a cog and a document would have been great.
  • Copyeditors are your friends. Copyeditors you get to keep for sequels make everything so much better. It is the difference between a 1st and 2nd manuscript date. Copyeditors who call you out on messing up a geek thing that you swore you checked but clearly didn’t are SUPER HELPFUL even if it means having to cut part of a scene that would otherwise leave you looking foolish.

After I turned in the manuscript for RUNNING DOWN A DREAM, I took the rest of 2015 off.

  • Mind you this was a few weeks, but it was over the holidays and it made all the difference in not having a depressive episode.
  • Do not underestimate the need for rest and relaxation as it relates to writing.


Well, that’s not 100% comprehensive, but I think it’s a pretty good overview. I feel better for having written it down. Without qualifying what I actually did, I always feel like I did nothing. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I focus so much on what remains to be done rather than what is done. So while this post might not have been made in the first week of 2016, I think it is just as valid and useful, at least for me.

Be kind to yourselves and focus on where you are and what you’ve done before planning what still remains.