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Thursday, 2 January 2014

What Will 2014 Bring?

Last year, around this time, I produced a blog post on my writing activity during 2012. Because I find it useful to detail my activities, and it may interest those who follow the blog, I’m repeating that exercise today for 2013.

It’s been a peculiar year in many ways. Socially and professionally there have been many events and changes. I retired from employment in April and celebrated my 65th birthday in May. In September, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and, in the same month, our daughter reached the milestone age of 21. In December, my aunt reached the great age of 100. So many reasons to celebrate, and the freedom to do so in terms of travel and time.

I changed from PC to desktop iMac, an investment I’ve really appreciated in spite of a few disappointments (Apple’s definition of ‘intuitive’ is clearly not the same as mine!). But, in many ways this has been a positive change. I’m still learning, though. And, possibly the single most irritating aspect is the lack of a # on the keyboard, an exclusion that makes hash-tagging Twitter and Facebook posts far less simple than it otherwise would be: Apple take note!

I spent a good deal of time editing the first 2 volumes of my fantasy trilogy, since Fantastic BooksPublishing have accepted the work and will be publishing volume one, A Seared Sky – Joinings, soon. I also spent a lot of hours writing book 3 of the series. This year will see the editing of that volume, of course.

I wrote a few short stories and entered a couple of contests, though fewer than I intended. I made a start at writing poetry, and this is an activity I intend to increase over the coming years: it’s a different skill from prose writing and has a beneficial effect on that, developing the understanding of metaphor and simile as well as encouraging brevity.

On the admin side, I’ve continued with research and compilation of details of writing contests and you can find this regularly up-dated information under the Writing Contests tab above. Hope it’s useful.

Much of December I spent in experimentation on social networking. (The chart illustrates the portion of time spent on this) Really, I did this to confirm suspicions I acquired last year about the effectiveness of such activity for an author. It seemed to me that the apparently ubiquitous ‘author platform’ may be less than effective in actually garnering readers and selling books. This year’s activity has confirmed those suspicions and I shall be curbing my social networking activity this year to concentrate on writing, submitting and publishing stories, since it’s apparent that those writers who achieve wide readerships are the ones who publish more work. As I enjoy the actual writing more than any other of the activities that surround authorship, it will be a pleasure for me to take this turn.

I’m also intending to read more. I read 53 books in 2013 (most of them I reviewed as well) and I’ve set myself a target of 52 books over the year, using the Goodreads Reading Challenge as incentive for this.
I do, however, expect to exceed this target.

The chart at the top of this post shows the proportion of time I’ve spent on the various activities during the year. It’s noticeable that the activity on which I’ve spent most time is networking. Whilst there’s some satisfaction and much pleasure to be gained from interacting (not to mention the way it can help others), I have my doubts about its real value in relation to the activities of an author. The coming year will see a great deal more actual writing, editing, submission and publishing. I’m a writer, and writers write, after all.

So, to the comparison figures, where I list ‘achievements’ for the year. I gave a list for 2012, which I’ve repeated here, so we can see the comparison with 2013. Please note, it’s the left hand column that shows this year’s activities.

2013                                                                            2012

Published work:
None!                                                                          Sensuous Touches, an erotic anthology.
Heir to Death’s Folly, a gothic horror short story.
Rebirth, my contribution to the sci-fi anthology, Fusion,  published by Fantastic Books Publishing.

Writing Contests:
2 entered. No success                                                 4 entered, 1 short-listed.

Social Networking as at the end of each year:
2013                                                                            2012
1181 posts                                                                  1062 posts
491 followers                                                              447 followers
181,769 page views                                                    85,511 page views
29,250 visitors identifying location                           18,882 visitors identifying location

Author Page: 569 ‘Likes’                                            379 ‘Likes’
Personal Profile: 1,795 Friends                                  1,599 Friends

1,001 books listed as ‘Read’                                       882 books listed as ‘Read’
177 Reviews written                                                   130 Reviews written
125 titles in ‘to read’ list                                             136 titles in ‘to read’ list
3,231 Friends                                                              2,118 Friends

2,958 Contacts                                                           2,274 Contacts

1,123 Followers                                                          662 Followers
7,305 Pins on 33 boards                                            4,774 on 32 boards

559 in my circles                                                         336 in my circles
413 circles including me                                              183 circles including me

8,759 Following me                                                    5,110 Following me
8,758 I Follow                                                            5,012 I Follow
22,033 Tweets                                                            11,823 Tweets

As you can see, my social networks have all expanded quite significantly. However, this increase has had little impact on the number of books I’ve sold, which is you can expect less social activity this year and more in the way of writing. I’ll continue to record that here on the blog.

By all means add me on your social networks: I’m cutting down on the activity, not stopping it completely! Let’s see what 2014 has to offer, shall we?
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