Thursday, January 3, 2019

My Year in Review

Soon after the last day of 2018, as in other years, I updated my archives, 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 1990, partly to see how far I've come and partly to torture myself with the realization that I could have done much better.  It also makes me to reassess the wisdom of what I've been doing.

 During the last year I managed to sell several short stories and publish a long languishing novel published.  My remaining WIP remain around 98% completed due to continual rethinking and rewriting/revising. I am anticipating the publication of another novel (SHATTERED DREAMS) in May as well as three more pieces in Analog.

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 haven't included sales of reprints, audio productions, or donated stories.)  The total number of unique sales is 137 (ffive in 2018) and the cumulative number of files is just  559. This makes my "lifetime" sales average  24.5%, a full tenth of a point increase! The green line is the ratio of sales to files each year, which seems to be smoothing out 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 year
(2013, when I really retired) I sold almost a  third of what I wrote.  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 I've spent attempting to complete my draft novels also meant a decline in the total count, much to my regret.

So, looking back on 2018 I have to say I've not done badly.

* I also made progress in getting some 
more work done on the remaining ones.

**I am a  brutal editor of my drafts!


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