Every year I set out to write a post at the end of the year about the way the prior year went. The first one I wrote was filled with hope, as was the second. The third year, was filled with disappointment, at least in publishing, and I have to say that I am bitterly trying not to cry right now as I write this.
Personal struggles–and unfortunately, lots of death.
2015 sucked in so many ways.
I sold a little over 200 books. Last year I was still in the thousands, and I thought it couldn’t keep spiraling downwards, but it did. I’m not surprised in that regard, though, because where in 2014 I put most of my life on hold to write– I did the opposite this year. I heavily invested in marketing in 2014, where in 2015 I just wrote and worked my butt off in college and at my day job.
To that end, I have to say it worked out. I received not one promotion, but two. I finally finished college, getting my last set of grades a few days ago. I’m graduating Magna Cum Laude, which is good, but I was aiming for Summa Cum Laude. I already have a job in Marketing, for which my degree is, and I most recently replaced the Director of Marketing at the financial institution I work at. I’m 26. I guess that’s pretty amazing. People keep telling me I’m going to be a CEO someday. I’m hoping it’s not of a bank.
Other than that, 2015 sucked. I lost two precious family members suddenly. It ripped my heart out, and I put that into my writing. I began revising Finding the Cure the day before my very young uncle passed away. The main character in the novel had his name, and it was something I had written a few years prior. For some reason, that day I picked up the novel and started revising it. Driving home, I kept thinking about the main character, I couldn’t name him the same as my uncle. I pulled into my driveway with the vision of his smile in my head, and a new name.
Two hours later my mom called to tell me my uncle had passed away.
Call it fate. Call me crazy. I will always remember him with that smile, and I put the pain of that loss into Finding the Cure. Because it was the palatable pain all around me, from my amazingly strong family — my aunts, uncles, my parents and my grandparents, that made it so I could write a novel so deeply strewn with emotions. I know Finding the Cure is the best novel I’ve written to date, so if you haven’t read it, I think you should pick it up. It hasn’t sold like I wanted it to, but I’ve received a handful of emails that make the work I put into it worth it. In particular, the many readers who have told me that they’ve lost a loved one to cancer, and that the novel truly captured the experience–the hope and the loss all in one. It lets me know that Finding the Cure should receive more recognition than it has. Maybe this year, I’ll put my nose to the grindstone and start doing something I said I would never do again– query. I loathe the process, however, I think this novel deserves better than what I’ve given it. To start I’m doing a two week tour in February, so if you’re a blogger and you’re still reading this ridiculously long post– go here to sign up: http://bit.ly/1Oz4ppN.
So that was 2015. Now onto 2016.
Every year I write about balance, but I have yet to find it. Maybe that’s because what I’m thinking of is too technical– making sure I’m doing a little bit of everything. I don’t think that’s what really matters. I think it’s being happy and appreciating every moment that really matters–that’s balance. Finding the Cure and 2015 taught me that–maybe it seems like 2015 sucked, but I was honestly happy. Maybe not with my book sales, but with my impact on others and challenging myself–and personal growth. So 2014 and 2015 stunk for book sales, but in these two years I think I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a person and an author. I’ve realigned my thinking.
So you might have noticed a new website, a new slogan on my social media.
And 2016 is a new year. So after all of this reflecting what are my goals for this epic new year?
Finally finish the Beautifully Flawed Series — two books to go–one almost done already. Publish City on Fire (which is totally kick ass by the way) along with those two. Publish Awesome Aussie Adventure (Finding Freckles, #3).
That’s four books in one year (I am crazy. I know.)
On the personal end I want to get on track with my weight and change my eating habits, make my current job into the day career I’ve been dreaming of, and see my family from MA more, and not for any more funerals.
So bye-bye 2015.
Hello, 2016 — Are you ready for me? Because I’m ready for you.
Write with heart, or don’t write at all.