According to the almighty Google, the mid-point of the year is July 2nd. Which… was apparently four weeks ago? Huh. Weird. I guess that makes this a very late mid-year review.
As I like to do every year, I’m checking in to see what progress I’ve made on my writing goals. I also want to talk about last month’s release of Ghost of a Chance. And, of course, it’s time for a status update on the twenty-five ton elephant in the room: this year’s swiftly impending release of One TIn Soldier.
2021 Writing Goals – Mid-Year Report Card
As usual, I’ve included the original goals below1, along with a grade and an explanation for that grade. Let’s see how the first seven months of 2021 have gone!
Finish the third novelette set in the post-Break world, A Sure Thing.
Grade: A. A Sure Thing was released back in February, and people seemed to enjoy it. The audiobook is nearing completion; I can’t wait for you all to hear it!
Edit and release the next two books in The Many Travails of John Smith by late spring/early summer.
Get back to writing the poetry that seems to fall by the wayside whenever I get deep in the weeds on a new book.
Grade: C-. I’m part of a very small poetry group online that has monthly themes or challenges… and it’s a good thing, because those are literally the only poems I’ve written in the past six months. Too much fiction, not enough poetry!
Continue blogging every month. / Have more writing-focused posts to counterbalance all the ‘hey my new book is coming out’ hype posts.
Grade: C. Yeah, I’ve had posts every month, but that is mostly because I’ve had so many releases to hype. Assuming OTS doesn’t kill me, I need to get to some more regular blog posts in the second half of the year.
Buy less whisky.
Grade: What?!? Who came up with this one? Were they drunk? Utterly ridiculous! He who controls the whisky controls the universe!
Grade: Incomplete. It’s coming. It’s late, but it’s coming. God help me.
Don’t screw up the previous goal.
Grade: Incomplete. We’ll see what my beta readers think in a month or two. God help the beta readers too.
Reserve December to write another novelette, either Fire of Unknown Origin or Tea with Grannypocalypse.
Grade: I have no idea what I’m actually going to write in December. I might just get a headstart on editing The Italian Screwjob, (The Many Travails of John Smith, Book 4), so I can release it earlier in 2022
Learn ASL (American sign language).
Grade: For the second year running, I completely forgot this goal.
Stop writing 2020 instead of 2021.
Grade: Until this post, I’d done my best to avoid writing dates entirely. I’m an overachiever that way.
Figure out what the hell I am doing on Instagram, leverage it to take over the world, and then give everyone free cake.
Grade: Yeah… not so much. Instagram remains a work in progress. Which is a shame, because the world could use some free cake.
So… some good grades, some bad, and a lot of incompletes. Pretty much like my actual report cards when I was in college.
Ghost of a Chance released a month ago, and I’ve been very pleased with its reception. It’s sitting at a score of 4.6 stars2 on Amazon, with 49 ratings so far. Goodreads is about the same, with a score of 4.51 and 39 ratings.
Even better, the release has helped stir up interest in the series as a whole. While The Murder of Crows remains far and away my most popular series, The Many Travails of John Smith has had a very solid month. Sales and page-reads are up by ~20-30% for those first two books. On Goodreads, Investigation, Mediation, Vindication now has 111 ratings, while Blood is Thicker Than Lots of Stuff is not that far behind with 76. On Amazon, things have gotten a little weird; Blood has 85 ratings, while IMV has 69. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a second book in a series have more ratings than the first book, but it’s pretty cool!
Sales and ratings aside, the best part of July was having so many of you reach out to tell me you were enjoying the series. John is a ridiculous excuse for a human being, but he and his increasingly oversized cast make me laugh, and I’m glad my readers feel the same way. To my surprise and relief, nobody seemed all that bothered by the darker turn this book took. Instead, people just wanted to know when the next one would be available.
On that note… I had originally planned to release The Italian Screwjob in June or July of 20223, but I’m going to do my best to have the cover commissioned early, so I can release it in Q1 of 2022 instead4. It’s a monster of a book–by far the longest of anything I’ve written–but I really like it. Hopefully, you will too! I’ll put it up for pre-order as soon as the cover is finalized.
One Tin Soldier
And speaking of pre-orders… One Tin Soldier has been up for pre-order for a little bit more than a month now. With the release still four months away, total pre-orders have already more than tripled Ghost of a Chance’s numbers5. That’s pants-on-fire insane! It means a lot to me that so many of you are looking forward to the book, and I’m doing everything I can to make the end of Damian’s trilogy a satisfying one.
So… how is the actual writing going? Well, I’m not quite halfway done with it, which puts me several weeks behind schedule. Unless I can make up more ground, I suspect I will be sending out pages to my beta readers in late September instead of August. That should still leave plenty of time for the November release, but I’m kicking myself for letting things slide this far. That’s another reason to release The Italian Screwjob earlier next year… doing so will give me more time to work on whatever it is I’m going to release in Q4.6
As soon as I finish this post, I’ll be back to working on the book. Thanks as always to my alpha readers for keeping me sane, and to my beta readers who have no idea what’s in store for them later this year!
So… that’s my mid-year review! It was an extremely busy first half of the year and the second half looks like it’ll continue that trend. Stay safe out there, and keep reading!
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- In case you’d forgotten them, just like me.
- Long-time readers will remember that my books almost inevitably end up at 4.6 stars on Amazon. I have eight releases, and seven of them are scored at 4.6. Weird, but I’ll take it!
- That’s when my cover artist has availability.
- This is for you, Cubertnine!
- Which were already a personal record.
- It’ll be an entirely new series, but I haven’t decided which project to tackle just yet