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Year in Review (Subset: Writing Stuff)

I love the end of the year and the start of a new year. I know as milestones go it’s all rather arbitrary, but if I didn’t believe symbolic things had actual power, I probably wouldn’t be a fantasy writer. 2010 was problematic in many ways, but vastly better than 2009. Let’s hope 2011 continues the upward trend.

Here’s what I accomplished in 2010, in literary terms anyway.

  • Wrote a dozen stories. Short stories “Mommy Issues of the Dead”, “Cinderlands”, “Shark’s Teeth”, “At the Monkey Party”, and “Rangifer Volans”; novelettes “Antiquities and Tangibles” and “A Void Wrapped in a Smile”; and four flash pieces, “De Gustibus,” “Luminous,” and two pieces for the Alphabet Quartet collab. All but “A Void” were sold. (Well, “Monkey Party” was for charity, so not sold exactly.)
  • Wrote three books: Broken Mirrors, my Wizards of the Coast project, and my middle grade fantasy novel The Deep Woods, plus 55,000 words of a pseudonymous novel I started near the end of 2009 (and which was published earlier this year). Oh, and a 6,000 word detailed outline for a work-for-hire novel I just sold.
  • I self-published Broken Mirrors as a donation-funded serial online, and the support from readers exceeded my wildest expectations. I was stunned by the positive response, and it still makes me grin happily when I think about it.

  • As alluded to above, I sold some books. Broken Mirrors to Merry Blacksmith, which did the print version after I finished my online serial self-publishing experiment. That Wizards of the Coast book. Briarpatch to Chizine Publications. Another pseudonymous novel, and another work-for-hire book, both sold quite recently. And I self-published my science fantasy kid’s adventure novel The Nex. So, pretty good.
  • I saw some of those books published, and also saw publication of my first anthology, Sympathy for the Devil.
  • I sold some stories, too, though I can’t remember how many offhand, and was sloppy about keeping records for those this year. (I mean, it’s all in my e-mail somewhere….) I published very few stories this year, though — some flash pieces, reprints, audio originals, an anthology story or two. There are some stories in line for publication next year, though.
  • I dove into e-self-publishing, and have made decent money from Kindle editions (and pocket change from Apple and Barnes & Noble) for my couple of self-published Marla Mason books. Sales are now declining a bit after months of increases, but the e-books are still bringing in enough to pay my kid’s preschool tuition most months, so that’s awesome.
  • My total paying words for the year, including non-fiction: just a hair short of 370,000. I considered pushing it and hitting a nice even 400K, but frankly, taking the last two weeks of the year off writing has been a nice break. Video games are wonderful things.
  • I read about 140 books. (But maybe a quarter of those were collections of comics or graphic novels, which I read quickly.)

Mmm crunchy numbers. Some other highlights:

I wrote a poem for my wife for Valentine’s Day; it was subsequently read on Escape Pod and thus heard by tens of thousands of people. That was cool.

Did some good readings. I love doing readings.

I got nominated for a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, which is awesome. Sturgeon’s my favorite story writer. I lost, but I’m used to that.

I worked on finishing the Alphabet Quartet, the series of 26 flash pieces written with my wife Heather and our friends Greg and Jenn, which will be published in both print and audio next year.

I’m sure there are other things. But I’m sleepy. This is enough. In a day or two I will probably revive the Tropism Awards, discussing Stuff I Liked in 2010. (I know; you wait with bated breath.)

tl;dr: I wrote a bunch, and read some stuff.

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