2018 was my second full year since I stopped calling myself an ‘aspiring’ writer and just got down to writing. At the beginning of last year, I set myself the target of matching my 2017 publishing credits and selling my first piece of long-form fiction, a novella which I wrote in the late summer of 2017. Finally, I wanted to complete another piece of long-form fiction.
I actually missed the first of those targets but, when I look back at what I got published and where over the last year, I can’t help but feel positive.
Being a part of the amazing anthology that was Lost Films, put together by the incredibly talented duo of Max Booth III and Lori Michelle was a highlight and a huge boost for my confidence that the best of my work is good enough to stand alongside people who I admire in the field.
I’m also immensely proud of the first not-exactly-horror piece, ‘Muscle Memory’ which found its way into print at the very end of the year, with Renaissance Press’ We Shall Be Monsters anthology, edited by Derek Newman-Stille. This book looks so beautiful and takes such a broad and progressive approach to reflecting on The Modern Prometheus, two centuries after its first release. I cannot wait to get my contributor copy into my hands.
Finally, I am simply delighted with the work which the team at The Other Stories have translated to audio fiction. The work of the narrators, the sound effects team, the curators of the music to accompany each tale and of Luke Kondor and the others in editing the stories, and making it all happen, is amazing. Being published there has opened up my writing to a host of new readers and listeners and I thank them for that opportunity.
So I look at my failure to hit my publishing target in 2018 and realise that there is much to be pleased with and I find myself in a great position to push on in 2019.
As for my other target, I have successfully sold my first book, a supernatural horror novella, which riffs on the legend of Baba Yaga. I cannot reveal more at this stage, but the contract is with the publishers and the editing process will begin shortly.
My final target, to complete a second long-form piece, came very close to completion but, alas, I remain a few thousand words or so from the end of the first draft. A very busy November, some pressing short stories and a holiday in Spain at the end of the year meant that my current novel WIP will not now be done until into the first week or two of January 2019.
What does 2019 have in store?
In short fiction, I am looking to build on my 2018, by targeting high-calibre publications, where my work can be measured alongside the writers whose standards I aspire to emulate in the future. Several stories are out for submission at the moment with excellent publications and I will endeavour to ensure that is a permanent state for me. Finally, I am also looking to self-publish a Kindle-single of one of my stories, the rights to which have recently come back to me. This is both to give more instant access to my work for new readers and to experiment with the self-publishing format in a low-risk way.
In long form, I aim to complete the novel I am working on quickly, before burying it for a couple of months prior to editing. I also aim to complete one or possibly two novellas which I have sketched out. I am also considering a re-write of a black comedy I started some years ago.
On a personal level, I want to attend at least one convention in 2019, likely in the UK, in order to put faces to names and, if the stars align in terms of dates, to try to promote my book.
Finally, I want to keep reading, keep learning from sources like This is Horror and Writing Excuses and keep challenging myself to be better in my writing and in life more generally.
Whatever it is that you are doing in 2019, I wish you luck with it. Thanks for reading.