This was a transition year for me. It was not a good year for writing.
My mom had to have major back surgery in Feb. There was a lot of fear about her ultimate ability to care for herself, whether she might end up in a wheelchair. She’s had several health crisis in the last two years. This one involved out of state surgery and several procedures leading up to it. I was the person accompanying her to these surgeries, both this year and last year. I built my work schedule around my mom’s care needs. It was worth it, but hard. I took jobs I didn’t like. My anesthesia income suffered. My writing ground to a halt.
By mid-year, my mom was fully on the mend. She was self-sufficient and likely to remain so for years to come. I needed a change. I knew when I left the Pacific North West 9 years ago that I would return someday. I decided that someday is now. I reduced my footprint in FL to the bare minim required to maintain state residency. I took a job at a hospital in Seattle in July. (No, I’m not moving to Seattle, although I’ll probably keep working here for a while. I’m a career locums CRNA - 1099.) I am looking at houses in the Portland area.
I worked hard for the latter half of this year. I needed to set my finances back on the right track. My writing output died for a while.
It wasn’t actually my worst year ever, but it looks pretty crappy beside 2017, which was my best year since I’ve been keeping records. In 2018, I wrote 124,026 words. For comparison:
2017 - 235,058
2016 - 183,194
2015 - 97,294
2014 - 121,490
2013 - 114,300
As you can see, I still did better than 2013, 2014, and 2015, but I took a nosedive from 2016 and 2017. Worse yet, I did not finish anything. Not one story or novel. I worked on The Knight and the Necromancer all year, stopping only to write essays for my $5 Patreon donors. Not finishing any fiction made me feel worse than the low word count.
I did at least publish a few things. They were:
Eve and Malachi complete series in ebook, audio, and paper
The individual illustrated edition of Malachi and the Secret Menagerie ebook, paper, and audio
Incubus Bonded in audio
Incubus Yule in paper
Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 4 in ebook and paper
Ironically, in spite of my inability to finish anything, the financial success of my new pen name continued. It helped off-set my reduced anesthesia income when I wasn’t working much in the first half of the year.
Context: my writing business has made at least some money every year since 2014…if you only look at one year. However, I spent a lot of money at the beginning (2010 - 2014) that the business still hadn’t made back. Overall, I was still in the red.
In June of this year, the overall business quietly sailed into the black and kept going. It made more than twice as much profit as any previous year. Spoiler alert: it’s still nowhere close to anesthesia income or even a living wage, but it’s definitely a part-time job and not hobby money. This was entirely due to the Incubus books. In 1.5 years, they’ve made about half as much money as all my Abigail Hilton books have made in 8 years. So…hurray for erotic romance!
Other things I did this year:
I made a huge effort to educate myself about personal finance and investing. I feel better about my future.
I went to The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin. It was fun to hang out with other pro authors and quite informative.
So things weren’t all bad, but I definitely want to do better in 2019. One thing I’ve decided to do is reinstate the monthly short stories for Patreon, though at the $5 level. I stopped them because they don’t sell well outside of Patreon, and they take time away from stuff that does. However, the stories force me to finish something on a regular basis. That’s good for me and my core fans seem to love them. So I just took a vote, and Percy will get a story in January.
K&N is a fun book that I think will sell if I can ever get it out the door. It’s a gay romance in the same world as Incubus, but a distant time and place. I’ve been publishing chapters on Patreon as I write them. This book was not the problem this year. I was. However, it did kind of hijack my writing schedule. I was planning to write other stuff. This one just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Oops.
Here’s what I’m pretty sure I’m publishing next:
Incubus Dreaming in Audio (this is all done and just waiting for Audible’s QC)
Incubus Yule in Audio (dependent on Lauren’s schedule)
Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 4 in audio (dependent mostly on Rish’s schedule)
Illustrated version of Malachi and the Twilight Zoo in all formats by Halloween
Here’s what I think I’ll write in the order I think I’ll write it:
The Knight and the Necromancer (gay romance, epic fantasy setting)
Christmas Werewolf book (straight romance, paranormal real world setting)
The Cormorant (Refugees Book 3)
Walk Upon High (final book in the Cowry Catchers/Refugees saga)
Finally, here’s a sneak peek of the Cormorant. Happy New Year!