I consider my last year to have started on December 18, 2010. That’s the day I uploaded The Nightmare Within to Amazon and lost my indie virginity. Before that, people would’ve only encountered my stories in the small press magazines and anthologies that had been publishing me for the previous decade. If I were to guess, I would say I’ve easily found more readers with that first indie release than in all my previous years of toil. If you’re a new reader of my blog, and you wonder how I came to the conclusion that indie publishing is a viable option for my writing career, I discuss my decision in detail here.
I followed up in March with the release of Where Darkness Dwells. With two novel releases, and near-unanimous praise flooding my way, I’ve hesitated in my next career move. Sure, I’ve released a mini-collection of short stories: Commitment and Other Tales of Madness, and an omnibus of my first two novels, Twice as Dark, but I haven’t put out another major release even though I have finished work in the proverbial can.
If I’ve learned anything this last year, it’s that I know how to write; I wasn’t deluding myself all of those years of waking at dawn and writing before the rest of my family started their days. I’ve reached hundreds of readers, and many of them have written me kind notes of encouragement and praise. But now, as I enter my second year of indie publishing, I realize I need to solidify my goals.
I could admit that I’d like to write full-time, but much of that would be out of my control. Even if I were to write the Great American Horror Novel, thousands of readers would have to buy it for me to leave my day job. Luck plays as much a part in an indie’s success as a traditionally published author. Having a goal based on luck is foolish.
This past year has been productive, but there is so much more I can do to finish the multitude of stories that my muse wants me to tell. There is also so much more I can do to improve my storytelling. I don’t think I will ever feel like I’ve “made it,” or that there is nothing more for me to learn.
So, looking back over my year, I guess everything reflects back at me and points to the future. In other words, I’m heading in the right direction. If you were expecting some kind of personal revelation on my part you’d be disappointed if you’ve read this far. 2011 has set the foundation for what is to come. There will be plenty of novels and novellas coming your way. I’m diving back into a dormant collaborative novel, which I’m really excited about. I also have a post apocalyptic trilogy in the works, a time-travel dystopian epistolary novella that’s brewing, as well as my return to historical fiction based on a haunted setting, a possible crime/horror novella series… and geez, I could go on infinitum. Let’s just say I’ll be a busy writer. Hopefully my stories will strike a chord with readers. If not, I’ll still be typing away, working to improve, working to tell my stories to the best of my ability.