Thursday, January 3, 2019

My 2018 Writing in Review

My usual disclaimer: It is time once again to put forward my writing summary for the past year. As always, the facts and figure I provide here aren't meant to be boastful - I provide the information so that others can have an understanding of what I've done, what works, what doesn't work, and everything in between. I sell more books than some, and fewer books than others, and that's that.

In 2018, I sold 2,149 ebooks and tracked 700,444 Kindle Unlimited ebook pages read of my material. This is down a little more than 400 ebook sales and 9,000 KU pages from last year. As mentioned in 2017's WiR, I didn't put out anything new last year, so going into 2018, I saw my sales continue to steadily decline. I ran a small freebie promotion of my non-WW2 short story material over the summer, which resulted in a minor boost to my KU numbers for short fiction during that time, but overall, non WW-2 material still continued to sell terribly all year long.

In late July, I finally published Book 6 of the Commando series, Operation Eisen. The book has actually sold pretty well, despite some mixed reviews. I was called out by several reviewers for the book's ending, which they didn't like, and this was a major wake-up moment for me, because I had fallen (I feel) into something of a trap, thinking that by this point, as long as I wrote about the same characters and put into the book the same sorts of elements, readers would carry along as usual. To some degree, this was the case, but the book's ending (which was something of a cliff-hanger) was hated by several reviewers, who thrashed me quite severely over it. Lesson very much learned.

Despite all that, the book has so far sold over 600 ebook copies, and tallied 126,000 KU page reads (equivalent to another 500 or so full read-throughs). Not only that, but the addition of another book in the series significantly boosted the sales of all books in the series. That is something very important to remember - even the first Commando book, published six years ago, saw very significant increases in sales and reads with the addition of a new book in the series. Series sells.

In addition to writing, I've continued to teach adult/continuing education classes on self-publishing, and I recently got to speak about writing historical fiction at a small writer's workshop. These might be low-level gigs, but it makes me feel good to be able to educate others based on my experiences over the past seven years. 

My goals for 2019 come down to two interconnected points - keeping myself writing, even if it is only a small amount every day, and putting out new material on a regular basis. 18 months between titles was way, wayyyyy too long a wait. Hopefully, in the next month or so, I will release a new Commando: Short Bursts novella, and after that, I'm going to dive back into several larger, novel-sized projects. I've made myself a daily word-count spreadsheet in order to help track my productivity, because I need some kind of accountability. I'll follow up with how that's going in a month or two.

Well, there you have it. Sales were slow in the first few months - slower than they have been for a long, long time - but my mid-year release helped me bounce back, and I just need to...wait for it...

Always be closing.