A couple weeks ago I attended Pure Spec, which isn’t especially noteworthy because I go to Pure Spec every year. What is noteworthy, however, is that this was the first year I got a table in the vendor room, which made this a whole different rodeo. It was interesting to see the con from the perspective of a vendor rather than a panelist or attendee. Interesting and overall positive.
Our* table looked awesome. You’ll have to take my word for this because I managed to forget my camera both days. But it did.
I met some people.
I sold more than enough books to pay for the table.
I got to chat with some friends.
It was great.
My favourite reactions to our table were:
“Wow. That’s a lot of anthologies.” – this from people who didn’t know me
“Wow. I didn’t know you had this many books!” – this from people who did know me
“Can I take a picture of your scarecrow?” – this from people with awesome taste in scarecrows
About the scarecrow. As you can see from my picture of him, he’s a cute little dude. Both a crow and a scarecrow, I feel like he might be a little bit conflicted about his identity, but I love him just the same. I brought him along to Pure Spec and asked people to suggest names for him. Here are some of the suggestions:
Old Joe Croaker
Ostif (Outstanding in his field)
Bob the Destroyer of Worlds
Tobias, Traitor to all Crowkind
Which one is your favourite? Or, if none of them, what would you name him?
Speaking of scarecrows, just a quick reminder that the sale for Scarecrow, the anthology, ends on the 8th 🙂
Do you see this guy? He’s a crow who is a scarecrow. Dude. It was so perfect I just had to have him, but I couldn’t figure out a way to justify it. We aren’t really the kind of family who uses seasonal decorations in their house, he’s not really outside-friendly and I’m trying to purge as much stuff from our house as possible. Still, despite all that I really wanted to bring him home. Then I hit on an idea–pure gold. I could bring him with me to my vendor table at Pure Spec and he could hang out there as sort of a mascot for Corvidae and Scarecrow. What’s more, I could hold a contest for people to help me name him. So that’s what I’m doing.
I have a vendor table at Pure Spec this year. If you’ll be attending you ought to stop by, not only to check out all the amazing titles I will be selling but also to suggest a name for my friend here. Every person who suggests a name gets $1 off any of my books.
So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.
Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL
So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?
bold = success
tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂
No drinking pop. Period.
Lose 20 lbs
Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, but steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*
This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.
I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.
Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
Complete the edits on Grammy’s book
Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…
First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?
I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.
I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.
I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.
We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.
I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.
A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists,end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.
Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.
Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂
I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂
2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!
Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
One of these may be one of my pen name projects
Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
Complete sekkrit collaborative project
Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
…except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered Mondays
Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.
I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂
I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…
Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…
I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.
Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.
Read at least 50 books.
Have 25% be non-fiction
According to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:
So… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.
Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)
And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.
On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.
I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂