Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bud's 2014 Annual Review

Soon after the turn of the year, as in other Januaries, I've updated my archive files, cleaned out the messes I've created, and look at the various pieces I've been working on during the past year.  I've been doing this assessment since I started writing again in 1991, partly to see how far I've come and partly to torture myself with the realization that I could have done better. Sometimes this causes me to reassess what I am doing and change my writing objectives.  The past year I've focused on finishing at least one of the novels, finalizing a "make-up" novel/collection (due out in April,) and continuing to work on whatever crosses my ADD-afflicted mind.

The number of pieces I count in a given year is the gross number of files, so novels get the same weight as novellas, novelettes, short stories and articles.  I do not count the number of multiple drafts, edits, and crap I threw away in frustration at my fickle muse.  Some of my friends obsessively count and report their word production (see Jamie Todd Rubin's record for an example.)  He suggests that I really ought to keep track of total words or megabytes instead of a simple count of file, but even for me the resulting number would be too horrifyingly large with ratios of written words to words sold at  millions to one.

2014 in Review
The chart at right shows the arc - the blue representing the cumulative number of files worked on and the red the cumulative number of files sold year by year (I don't count sales of reprints, audio productions, or donated stories.)  The total number of unique sales is 110 and the cumulative number of file is just  under 500. This puts my "lifetime" sales average just under 24%. The green line is the ratio of sales to work each year, which disappointingly declines as the number or works increases.

The lesson I've taken from this compilations is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs, among other things, to succeed.

The chart shows the ups and downs of my working/writing career. Strangely the years I had problems with my day job turned out to be the most productive for writing.  In my peak years I sold almost as many as I wrote, the bad news being that I didn't write very much in those years.  The chart also shows the decline of the novella markets, which was my first love, and which I continue to pursue against all reason.  It was only after I'd relearned how to write short, that my sales increased. Periods spent attempting novels also meant a lower production count, much to my regret.

So, looking back on 2014 I have to say I've not done badly.


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