2023: The Year That Wasn’t

As another year comes to a close, it is time once again to reflect on the accomplishments of the past 12 months. And much like recent years, the amount of things completed is below expectations for me. A lot has been done, just not a lot when it comes to being an author.

The big “success” of 2023 was migrating another of my original books from Newman Springs Publishing to self-published under my name directly through Ingram Spark. When I agreed to publish my books through NSP originally, that agreement included an annual fee to keep each book active within their system. If I choose not to pay the fee for a given book, that book is marked as “retired” and is no longer actively available to printing/sales. So, if I want to keep my books available for sale on places like Amazon, and who wouldn’t, then I either have to pay that annual fee per book to NSP or republish the book (either through someone else or as a self-published title).

Needless to say, with 6 books in the series, paying 6 annual fees to a publisher wasn’t a sound financial decision given the absolute lack of sales the publisher produced for me. If I have to market and sell every copy sold, why pay them just to list it as “active” when I can do that myself? Its not like they have the clout of the large, standard publishers who can sell books for authors by doing little else than putting their name on the cover.

It took a long while to get the new cover art format hashed out to meet the printer’s updated specs but eventually my art guy was able to come through for me. And as a bonus, now that the books are self-published, the prices could be dropped because I don’t have a middle-man who is taking a cut of my sales on top of the annual listing fee.

Unfortunately, that’s where the major successes end for 2023. :-(

I was able to get another book sent off for editing. After editing was completed, that same book has been formatted for print but I have yet to be able to submit it to the printer because things have stalled on the cover art.

My cover artist, like myself, has a normal day job outside of all this. He doesn’t do book cover art or digital art for hire as a job. The cover art he produces for me is done on the side as time permits. Sadly, he hasn’t been permitted much time this year. He’s moved to a new house. He’s been hit with COVID (again). He has other side projects he’s working on. His normal job has had more than usual demands on his time recently. And he’s trying to maintain a romantic relationship. There are so many hours in a day and days in a week and my cover art is not the most pressing topic.

Luckily, he and I have been friends since before either of us knew how to write our own names or draw anything more complex than a stick figure so I’m not worried. He’ll get the cover art finished when he has time to get it done. I would have liked it to be finished well before now but it is what it is. I can’t do the art myself and I don’t trust anyone else to do it so I have to wait for him and I’ve accepted that.

I have made progress on my other works but that progress has been minimal. I still feel the desire to write but it is not a priority for me. I’ve been enjoying time with my family in the evenings and weekends. Work has kept me busy during the day. Even on the slow days though when I could write, I don’t. I seem to always have something going on that distracts me. Recording a podcast with my son. Editing said podcast, Managing social media, And countless other things that aren’t writing seem to continue to dominate my “downtime”.

So much of my writing that has spawned the books for The Ascension Legacy and my other finished but unpublished works were largely written when I was traveling extensively for work. Since 2019 I haven’t been on the road for work much and I have noticed a big decrease in my writing efficiency since then. When I’m miles away from home, away from my wife, away from my gadgets, and away from anything else that could distract me, I definitely was able to write more and took advantage of those opportunities. Now that I’m staying home more, those opportunities aren’t built into my evenings and I haven’t really felt motivated to make those opportunities at home.

Part of that lack of ambition might be because this year has been full of personal events. We saw 1 son graduate from high school. A nephew graduate high school. One of other sons had been living in California with his wife and their son (our 1st grandson) while our daughter-in-law finished her stint in the U.S. Navy but upon her discharge, they moved back home and practically next door to us. We were very involved in dealing with the purchase of their house, the installation of their utilities, and various aspects of that while they were still in Cali and preparing to move. There have been 3 car accidents (none serious thankfully). A few visits to the local E.R.. A major respiratory illness. And several weeks of effort on my part to resolve my recent hearing issues.

Just a lot going on. And with so much going on it has just been an uninspiring year for me as a writer. I still have tons of stories to write, tons of ideas for those stories, but not as much ambition to write them. I keep telling myself that “next year I’ll do more” but so far I haven’t done it yet. I’d like to think that 2024 will be when I get back into my stride but let’s be real, if I haven’t done it in the last couple of years then why should I think that next year will be any different.

Only time will tell


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