From a creative standpoint, 2018 was a fantastic year. A lot of things have happened in a lot of different areas for me, so let’s have a look at them.
Growth was my main goal for the year, and that’s certainly been achieved. Thanks to a fair few different reasons, I was able to more than double my output this year. Between the higher number of posts and the higher number of topics being covered, more and more people have been stopping by. Honestly, thank you all for that. Whether you’re a regular visitor or just have a look in once in a while, you’re all awesome! The really great thing to see was actually December too, as I normally hit a few lulls throughout the month, but 2018 saw it become the most viewed month for me. I’m really hoping that’s a sign of some continued growth, but time will tell.
Working With Others
Boy was 2018 a good year for this. Some of you may have noticed that I’ve done more full series anime reviews this past year. You may also have noticed that a fair few of them have a disclaimer at the top mentioning review copies. I took the step of reaching out to a few UK distributors to see if I could be considered for review copies. Long story short, both Manga Entertainment and MVM Entertainment were willing to work with me, and so I’ve been getting a few items for review purposes. It’s all a little surreal, but I am so, so thankful for this. I have a bunch of reviews to do for the coming months too, and I’m looking forward to continuing these relationships in 2019.
I’ve also signed up with a bunch of book tour sites. Working as an author, I know how useful getting your books out and in front of potential readers is. As such, I try to work with authors whenever I can, and signing up as a tour host is a big part of that. I will, of course, continue to work with authors outside tours too, but it’s a great start. In terms of what I’ll cover, most of 2018 was LGBTQ books, with a focus on genre fiction. That’s something that I personally view as important because, growing up, I was a genre fiction reader and rarely saw characters like me in the stories. So, I like to draw attention to those. In 2019, this is a trend that will continue, but I will also be covering more books from the general market too. So, if you want (for example) general Urban Fantasy titles, the chances are you’ll see something you like.
I’ve also seen a rise in sponsored content coming through. That means a combination of people who’ve wanted me a write something for them and those who’ve wanted me to host guest posts. In both cases, it has been a blast to work with so many different people. So, yay to collaborations.
The WordPress aniblogger also community continues to be a wonderful thing to be a part of. Whether it be the anime awards that we put together, the community projects like OWLS, or just plain interacting with people, I’ve been loving it.
This was a good year for releases for me. Both the second and third books in my lesbian sci-fi mystery series The Cassie Tam Files were picked up and released by NineStar Press. NSP have been wonderful to work with, and the sheer amount of work they put in in terms of editing and cover design has been a real positive for me, as both make my work feel more complete. I also made two anthology appearances with short stories, one in Impact (Queer Sci-Fi’s annual flash fiction anthology), and one in ROAR 9 (Bad Dog Book’s annual general market furry anthology). Both of these made me smile. I also appeared in Werewolves Versus Fashion, but with a piece of art rather than a story, which is equally as awesome!
In terms of sales and public reception, again, things are looking good. I’m not going to say that my books sales are high enough to replace my old day job; simply put, they’re not. But I have been making sales every month. As variable as they are, that’s a trend that I really want to see continue, especially as it’s seen the books rise up the ranks in some markets. For example, right before the end of the year, Addict (The Cassie Tam Files 1) was the 16th top-selling LGBT sci-fi book on Kindle in Canada. That’s a massive thing for me. Meanwhile, the reviews of my core work continue to mostly be positive. Sure, there are a few 1 or 2 star reviews here or there, but most seem to come in at around the 4 star mark. Meanwhile, I actually had someone reach out to me about one of my short stories, purely to tell me that they enjoyed it and thought it was an important story. That is such a wonderful feeling, it really is. So, if you’ve read and reviewed my books or stories, or even just messaged me with your thoughts, thank you!
2019 is an important year for me. The reasons will become clear in my next round-up post. Until then though, there are a lot of things that I’m aiming for. First up, I want to continue to grow the site. I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible about SEO – which Arthifis’ informative posts have helped a lot with – and am implementing a lot of that with this month’s posts. The measuring stick for me is that January is usually a low scoring month for me, and since I’m not doing many non-book posts, if things remain consistent with November’s stats, then I’ll take it as working.
I’m looking to keep doing the collaboration posts too. I need to get back into the swing of things with OWLS, and I have one collaboration with a regular site guest lined up once we sort dates to post it all. You can also expect a bunch more anime reviews (though not until February), and some more reaction posts for trailers and the suchlike.
I have at least two books that I want to get out this year, The Cassie Tam Files 4 and The Spark Form Chronicles 4. I also have plans to get a nice new cover done and release a collected TSFC. There are a few stories I have rattling around my head that I’ll be looking for homes for, and I’ll be submitting to any anthologies that inspire me too, so hopefully I can top 2018 and get at least three short stories out there in other people’s books.
There are still plans to get a proper store opened, which will include both signed paperbacks and some shirt designs. I also do still want to get some video content out there. How much video content? I’m not sure. It’s coming though. I also want to get a slight redesign done on the site. I’m not happy with a few little things, so my aim is to tidy it all up a bit. The thing is, to do what I want, I really need a theme that will not only allow some front page magazine style widgets but also be WooCommerce compatible. Fingers crossed there’s an easy fix.
Posts This Month
Most of the posts this month will be book based, but there will be others too, as and when inspiration strikes. I’m gonna do a run-down of the top 5 most viewed posts in different categories too, so expect some ‘looking back’ type things. February will be more varied, I think.
And that’s about it. There’s still a fair bit to cover in the tomorrow’s post, but this is essentially a run-down of what was good for me in 2018. Reading through it all, one thing is clear though: you are all part of everything that made the year a little easier to get through. Site readers, likers, and commenters. Book buyers, readers, and reviewers. Collaborators, and other people I’ve worked with. You’ve all been so important this year, and I am truly really grateful for all of you. Thank you, and please keep doing what you’re doing.