Soon after the turn of the year, as in other years, I've updated my archive files, cleaned out the messes I've created, and looked at the various pieces I've worked 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 much better and causes me to reassess what I am doing.
During the last year I managed to get a collection, several short stories and another novel sold.* These seem to remain around 98% completed due to continual rethinking and rewriting. I am anticipating the publication of another novel in May.
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 and suggest that I really ought to keep track of total words written (drafts, sketches, edits,etc ) instead of a simple file count, but even for me the resulting number would be too horrifyingly large with ratios of written words to words sold at millions to one.**
The chart at right shows the arc - the blue line representing the cumulative number of files worked on and the red the cumulative number of stories sold year by year (I don't count sales of reprints,audio productions, or donated stories.) The total number of unique sales is 132 (six in 2017) and the cumulative number of files is just 540. This makes my "lifetime" sales average 24.4%. The green line is the ratio of sales to files each year, which declines as the number of works increases.
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 2017 I have to say I've not done badly.
* I also made progress in getting some
more work done on the remaining three.
**I am a brutal editor of my drafts!