2016 Year In Review

January 3, 2017

“Too busy to blog much.” Not only does that cover this past month, but also the year. It may also be a suitable epitaph for my gravestone. Either that, or “Crushed to Death by His To-Be-Read Book Pile.” But I digress.

The major accomplishment of 2016 was finishing my novel (which I blogged about sufficiently.) It’s off to my agent now, and I eagerly await her feedback. As editor, I completed and published three anthologies this year. Funny Fantasy in the spring followed by Humanity 2.0 and Unidentified Funny Objects 5 in the fall.  FF was all reprints, H20 half reprints and half originals, and UFO5 all originals. All in all, I edited 27 original stories this year. So it was rather gratifying that eight of them made the Tangent Online 2016 Recommended Reading List.

After two full-length books in 2015, I only had a handful of short stories published this year. They were (chronologically):

Whom He May Devour – Nautilus – 01/07/16
One in a Million – On Spec – vol. 101 – 02/01/16
Future Fragments, Six Seconds Long – Diabolical Plots – 07/01/16
Forty-Seven Dictums of Warfare – Daily Science Fiction – 07/06/16
Dante’s Unfinished Business – Galaxy’s Edge – 09/01/16
A Perfect Medium for Unrequited Love – Nature – 09/15/16
The Poet-Kings and the Word Plague – Daily Science Fiction – 10/03/16
How Gaia and the Guardian Saved the WorldAmazing Stories – 10/16/16
Masquerade Night – In a Cat’s Eye anthology – 10/22/16
Noun of Nouns: A Mini Epic – Upside Down, Apex Publications – 12/13/16

Okay, so maybe ten is more than a handful. I ain’t complaining.

I wrote only nine new short stories in 2016, totaling just under 30,000 words but I also added 37,000 words onto my novel (it was probably more once you account for rewrites and revisions, but that’s the word count I ended up with.) for a total of 67,000 new words, which is better than last year. Of the nine new stories I already sold six, and that’s keeping in mind that the last two of them were completed in late November and late December respectively. I sell what I write, which is perhaps the metric I’m most proud of.

According to my spreadsheet I earned $2170 from my short fiction sales in 2016, a smidgen less than last year. I expect this to decline further in 2017 as I spend more time on novels and editing. My overall writing-related income (accounting for royalties, anthology sales, workshops taught, etc.) continues to grow steadily.
I made a total of 123 submissions in 2016 (compared to 155 last year) which resulted in 20 acceptances (one more than last year). Most of these submissions were for reprints. It takes very little time to fling a reprint at a market that considers those, and as my ‘inventory’ grows, there’s almost always a story or two that are a possible fit for a venue seeking submissions.

There are a handful of outstanding submissions and a few lost/never responded ones, but I did rack up around 100 rejections this year. (The numbers don’t quite match up as some of the acceptances and rejections in 2016 are from submissions filed in 2015.) Rejections are always going to be there, and while I enjoyed a nearly 20% win ratio I would’ve been happy with half that. Never let rejections drag you down: just keep submitting until the right story finds the right editor!

2017 goals:

  • Sell Eridani’s Crown (my first novel).
  • Write and finish my second novel within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Sell at least one new anthology to a major publisher.
  • Publish UFO6 and Funny Horror.
  • Sell or crowdfund my second short story collection, aiming to be published in 2018.

There’s also the matter of completing The Cackle of Cthulhu, the anthology I’ve been working on in late 2016, but it’s literally a few days away from being done, so I’m not including it onto the list of goals.

And now I’m off to work on one or more of those things!

#SFWAPro

 

 

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2015 Year In Review

December 31, 2015

This has been an excellent year for me as an anthologist, but perhaps a tiny bit of a step back for me as a writer. Here’s why.

I published two new anthologies, both toward the end of 2015: UFO4 and Funny Science Fiction. Year to year the new UFO volume seems to launch stronger than the previous year and swells up the sales of the previous volumes to go with it. UFO4 was no exception — it has launched strong and I’ve enjoyed strong sales on the series in the last quarter of the year. The real surprise however, was Funny SF. It was meant to be a budget project: reprints only, Amazon only, e-book only. It was mostly meant to be a vehicle to help promote the UFO series. But then, selecting funny stories from among the best the last ten years worth of professionally published material has to offer can result in a pretty damn good book, and the readers agreed. It has sold better than any other book I’ve launched to date and continues to sell very well. I am already reading for the Funny Fantasy volume to be released this summer, and will follow it up with Funny SF 2 next year.

I’m also working, concurrently, on three anthologies! In addition to Funny Fantasy, I’m in the early stages of work on UFO5, and I’m also editing a non-humor anthology, Humanity 2.0, for Arc Manor. Which is great, but it also takes up an enormous chunk of my writing time.

And that’s where the step back comes in for me as a writer. I had my first collection and a novella published in 2015. I was nominated for an award. And I still say there was a setback. Why? I simply did not produce the volume in 2015 that I had in the previous two years. I wrote a whopping 24 stories and 66,000 words of short fiction in 2013. In 2014 I wrote only 13 stories totaling 38,000 words. That’s because some of my word count was dedicated to the novel. In 2015, I completed only 11 stories totaling 23,000 words. However, my novel is now at about 60,000 words total, 2/3 of the way to finishing the first draft.

Although I wrote slower this year, I am still selling what I write pretty well. I already placed 6 of the 11 stories I wrote this year, and sold all the remaining stories I wrote in 2014. That leaves only 3 un-placed stories from late 2013, and one from 2012 which is sort-of sold but the contract hasn’t been signed yet.

I earned $2275 off my short fiction writing in 2015 (also about a third down from last year) having sold a total of 19 stories (including reprints). I made a total of 155 submissions, over 20 of them still outstanding, which means I also collected nearly 120 rejection slips, or about the same number as last year. A much higher percentage of my submissions this year were reprints, both because I haven’t written as many new stories and because I have so many more reprints to choose from as the great many stories I sold in 2013 and 2014 are coming off exclusivity.

Looking to 2016, my main goal is to finish the novel (yes, I’ve been saying that for a while now, but progress has been made, however slow, and at the rate I’m going I should be able to finish it.)

Thanks for reading my ramblings on this blog in 2015 and happy New Year!

 


2014 Year In Review

December 31, 2014

This has been an excellent year for me writing-wise. I got nominated (and subsequently won) my first writing award, I wrote some good fiction I was proud of (though not nearly enough of it), and I made a somewhat-decent amount of money from my writing (for a hobby. Definitely not enough money to live on.)

Here are lots and lots of stats, and some conclusions thrown in:

1) I got to the point where I can consistently sell what i write.

I wrote a total of 13 new short stories this year. Of those 13 I already sold 9. (Of the remaining four, two were solicited: one is very likely to be accepted at the anthology I wrote it for, and the other I haven’t sent in yet, as I want to polish it some more.) In fact, of the 13 stories, seven were solicited and I was spared having to shop them around and collect a bunch of rejections in the process.

2) I’m running out of backlog.

There’s only a handful of stories I still have on submission at this point. That’s because while I wrote 13 new stories in 2014, I sold 19 original stories (I also made fourteen reprint sales, and one original sale for a story I translated from Russian.) All of my original sales were to venues paying $0.05+ per word. About a year-and-a-half ago I decided to no longer submit original work to semi-pro venues (with only one or two notable exceptions). I’m happy to say this has not slowed me down. As I hope to spend a lot of writing time on novels in 2015 and do more solicited projects, I expect my submission volume will decrease further.

Which is not to say I’m not submitting. I was no slouch in 2014. In addition to the 34 abovementioned sales, I gathered around 120 rejections! Most of the submissions were for reprints (and in that I include podcast submissions, foreign language magazine submissions, etc.)

3) The money’s getting better.

I earned a total of $1850 from my fiction writing in 2013. I doubled that number for the total of $3755 in 2014. This is nowhere near the quit-your-job money, but that’s not really my goal. Considering this all comes from short fiction sales (this total also includes $600 I got paid for consulting in my capacity as a SF writer) it’s enough to cover the cost of my books, my convention travel, and anything else I spent money on that’s SF-related. I’ll take that.

This total doesn’t include self-publishing income (i.e. money I earned on Amazon etc from my short story sales) nor any money earned by UFO Publishing from the sale of anthologies: this is purely income generated by my creative writing.

4) Editing and publishing continues to be really fun.

I edited two anthologies this year: UFO3 and Dark Expanse. Both have received solid reviews and enjoy reasonably good sales. I also wrote intros and otherwise prepared for publication my very first short story collection, which is only a month away from it’s release date and I’m extremely excited about its release. I have also done some preliminary work on UFO4. You’ll be hearing lots more about it in the spring.

5) What’s ahead.

In addition to UFO4 there’s another anthology project I’m working on. My agent is negotiating with a major publisher for that one. There’s no deal reached yet, and if one is reached the book will likely not hit shelves until 2016, but you will hopefully be hearing more about it in the coming months.

In terms of writing, I am ready to get back to my novel-in-progress and hope to concentrate on it over the coming months. I’ll still produce an occasional short story, because they’re really fun, and I’ll still translate some stuff, but the novel has to take priority or I’ll never get it done.

I will also attend more conventions this year. I already booked my WorldCon and World Fantasy memberships. You will likely find me at Vericon, Fogcon, Balticon, and Capclave this year, and possibly others, too!

So that’s my 2014 writing recap. And as I post it to the blog at 10:30 on New Year’s Eve, my plan is to go back to writing and only stop around midnight. Because they say how you ring in the new year is how that year is going to go for you. Or something like that.

#SFWAPro

 

 

 


2013 Year In Review

January 1, 2014

Another year has come and gone — almost too quickly. It wasn’t as much of a spectacular writing-accomplishments year for me as 2012 was, but it was pretty darn good anyway.

I luuuurve me some data to crunch, so I continue the annual tradition of sharing my submission info with the world. First, I’d like to address my 2013 resolutions, which were definitely a mixed bag:

* Complete at least one novel and begin shopping it around to agents/publishers

Failed that one miserably. I have approximately 20,000 words written on the novel so far, and keep distracting myself with short stories. Definitely must get this done in ’14.

* Continue to participate in the Write1Sub1 initiative and write at least one new short story per month.

Blew that one out of the water by completing two short stories per month instead.

* Translate into English at least two SF/F short stories by Russian authors

Translated one short story (The Ferryman by Siarhey Bulyha) and am shopping it around.

* Attend at least one major SF con (something like WorldCon or World Fantasy) and a few smaller ones

WorldCon accomplished:

Ken's Hugo receives the George R.R. Martin seal of approval.

Ken’s Hugo receives the George R.R. Martin seal of approval.

I also got to attend LunaCon, BaltiCon, CapClave and PhilCon, and will likely be back to all or most of these next year. I  already registered for next year’s WorldCon in London.

And now, to the good stuff:

Short stories written in 2013: 24

This is not counting a handful of stories I started but didn’t complete for some reason. Totaling approximately 65,000 words. 11 of these have already been sold. One I felt wasn’t quite good enough to submit. The rest are out to markets.

Number of Submissions sent out (including reprints, foreign rights, podcasts, translation, etc.): 224

Number of Acceptances (includes stories submitted in 2012 but accepted in 2013):  39

Lost/Withdrawn: 2

Currently on Submission: 18 (with 3 more waiting for specific markets to open in January)

Rejections: 168

$ Earned from Short Fiction Sales: $1850

This is calculated based on what I’ve been paid for in 2013 (i.e. a bunch of stories from 2012, and a bunch of recent sales haven’t been paid for yet).

Non-Reprint Sales: 19

Pro Rates ($0.05+ per word) 13

Semi-Pro Rates ($0.01 – $0.04 per word) 5

Token payment: 0 (the only token market I even bother to occasionally submit to anymore is Every Day Fiction)

Royalty-only: 1 (A story I wrote for an anthology edited by a friend)

I also edited and published two anthologies: Unidentified Funny Objects 2 and Coffee. and began working on at least two more for 2014.

Overall it was a solid year, and I look forward to do more of the same in 2014. I do hope to get my first novel finished (and maybe even a second one if I can find a way to switch to novel mode). Otherwise, my major goal is to break into more of the top short fiction markets that haven’t yet published me.  And, most importantly, continue to have a great time being a part of SF/F fandom.

#SFWApro