Yep. That's my summary of 2016 in general, and also, my year in general.
I don't think I can recall a single year in my entire life that's taken so much from me in pretty much every aspect: my career, my day job, and my personal life. I lost my furry best friend of 12 years, my book sales tanked, and the entire country went absolutely insane in the meantime. I think like most of you, I would be happy to strike 2016 from the history books and pretend it never happened, although the damage that it did can't be completely ignored no matter how hard we try.
However, as rotten a year as most of us had, there were some good things. For me, this tops them all:
Yes, ICYMI, that is indeed your friendly neighborhood author Kyoko M wrapped in the sinewy, perfect arms of Captain America himself, Chris Evans. Recap here. I won't bore you with the squee-worthy details in the meantime. However, that was my Treat Yo-self 2016 trip, and the good things that happened for me in 2016 career-wise are actually still connected to conventions.
I was able to attend the State of Black Science Fiction convention in Atlanta, GA, where I was able to be on two different panels with some incredibly talented, smart, funny, dynamic authors. It was such a fantastic opportunity to break bread with people of a similar genre and just relax and talk about writing and making a living off of this crazy thing we do.
I also was able to be in an all-new boxed set, where I met other awesome urban fantasy and paranormal romance authors. I learned some new marketing strategies and advertising opportunities along the way, and started to realize that even though the writing world is highly competitive, a lot of authors have figured out that we can help each other up the ladder one rung at a time instead of always climbing over each other. I really have come to encourage new authors, or veteran authors seeking more readership, to collaborate and find their niche with people who are like-minded. Sometimes you can bust your hump as hard as you can, and still not meet your goals, so it's great that if you search hard enough, you can find a way to break through the next barrier and find new readers by sharing the spotlight. I am elated to see that so many authors are willing to pull together and get ourselves out there. This is one of the most labor intensive jobs on the planet, so it's nice if one can find a way to share the load.
I won't be boring you with a calculation of how many copies I've sold this year. Frankly, all you need to know is "not enough, but at least I'm not dead in a gutter somewhere." After all, it could be much worse, and the main reason that my book sales fell to rancor is that I spent so much time putting my energy into my new first-in-series Of Cinder and Bone that I sadly started to neglect marketing the Black Parade series. It's hard to juggle two series at once and that is the goal I have set for myself in 2017: to learn how to adequately balance marketing and promoting both series to new readers.
I sort of forgot how hard it was getting any traction with The Black Parade, and so I'm going to take a good, hard look at the last two years that have been profitable and identify what works best to get OCAB into the hands of as many readers as possible. Sometimes when you have a good year, you take for granted what got you there and forget that it's easy to slip back down to the numbers you were at before. Hopefully, 2017 will see us back up to where we were in 2014 and 2015.
As always, I couldn't have done any of this without you, readers. I know it's been hard, but there are 352 new opportunities to kick ass waiting for us and if we pull together, we can make our dreams come true again.
Thanks for everything. Stay tuned. We've got plenty of things comin' atcha in 2017.
Kyoko M is the Amazon bestselling author of The Black Parade series.