#HumpDayReviews: My 2015 Year in Review

Happy Hump Day!

As it’s almost 2016, I’ve been going through my paper agenda, blog posts, Goodreads account, and various notebooks to review my year in reading and writing. So, instead of a book review, today I’m actually reviewing my own life. I’m sorting out exactly what I accomplished this year – both the successes and the failures – in order to help set some SMART goals for 2016.

Here’s how I fared in 2015.

In no particular order, in 2015 I…

  1. Wrote and published two new nonfiction books: San Diego from A to Z and A Cheater’s Guide to NaNoWriMo
  2. Published a collection of all my erotica quickies published thus far, Just A Quickie!
  3. Published a two-book bundle called Write Big Or Go Home
  4. Published an anthology of 10 years worth of Black Heart Magazine stories, poems, authors interviews and creative writing, Best of Black Heart 2014
  5. Transcribed a shit-ton of reality TV, and decided to put my experience to work in a novel, so I started writing Prime Time for the 3 Day Novel Contest (it’s still a WIP)
  6. Went back to work on The Case of the Cunning Linguist for NaNoWriMo 2015 (also still a WIP, as I really need to study the finer points of mystery plotting to finish it in 2016)
  7. Solicited material for Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From Pop Songs (vol 1), to be published in February 2016
  8. Read 54 (out of a goal of 50) books
  9. Took the “Kindle in 30 Challenge” with The Book Ninja, and made new writing friends while also learning more about writing and publishing more successful ebooks
  10. Hired a new Fiction Editor for Black Heart, who has been kicking ass (thank you, Katherine Memmel!)
  11. Wrote an online dating book that was immediately made obsolete, thanks to the dominance of those horrible swipe apps like Grindr and Tinder
  12. Wrote some manuscript critiques and provided freelance editing to some really interesting indie authors
  13. Wrote several unpaid book reviews – something I plan to stop doing in 2016, except for my own enjoyment
  14. Came up with an idea for a novel I’ve tentatively titled Dalí’s Mustache, but haven’t started writing it yet
  15. Got too bogged down in what other people say you should do to write and/or sell books, and listened to too much advice that simply doesn’t work for me – another thing I plan to quit doing in 2016!
  16. Became Chapter Leader for the San Diego branch of the Nonfiction Authors Association, and organized three meetings in the San Diego Writers, Ink space
  17. Started writing One Night in Montreal for a UK publishing house, but never quite finished it, because… I don’t think I actually want to write erotica anymore! (But it’s almost finished, so I may send it to them anyway in 2016…)
  18. Was a guest on the Upgrade Your Story podcast (episode #69, because host Ally Bishop is awesome like that)
  19. Started writing Sexy San Diego, but never finished it because I don’t really want to be a sex writer, either (what DO you want to do, Laura?!)
  20. Had Confessions of a 3-Day Novelist translated into Spanish and Portuguese (I’m still working on getting the cover updated for the latter…)
  21. Had Montreal from A to Z translated into French, PortugueseSpanish and Italian!
  22. Raised $185 for Blazing Laptops (but I had the date mixed up, so even though I actually succeeded in reaching the $100 minimum, I didn’t attend the write-in)
  23. Met local author Bonnie ZoBell, and was invited to attend one of her salons, where I met several other awesome local authors and editors like Lauren Becker and Matt Lewis
  24. Got invited to sell my print books at Tiki Oasis (but chickened out and didn’t go, because I’m incredibly shy… and also because I don’t really have a setup for in-person sales)
  25. Got accepted to sell print books at SD Zine Fest (but got sick and couldn’t go)
  26. Attended a local craft fair determined to sell some print books, but unfortunately it was a major bust with NO sales at all (however I did make friends with guy at the next booth, who gave me an air plant in a dog bone-shaped piece of wood he harvested from a fire… and I also resolved never to try to sell books at craft fairs – especially ones that make you bring your own table!)
  27. Sold and gave away copies of my print books at San Diego Writers, Ink (they hosted an awesome spotlight for members with books to show off in November)
  28. Participated in three writing challenges: the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, the 3 Day Novel Contest, and NaNoWriMo
  29. Participated in a Christmas reading challenge (I read Lewis Black’s book, I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas)
  30. Helped judge a writing contest for eBook Me Up
  31. Sold some audiobooks (even though I still don’t really know what I’m doing with those, since I can’t set my own prices, can’t discount them, can’t sell them from my own site, and don’t really know where to advertise them…)
  32. Tried to consolidate all of my projects into just the Black Heart and Buttontapper websites (ShoestringAustin.com is finally going away at the end of this year, because I refuse to renew the domain anymore, so I may turn some of that material into a book in 2016… or not)
  33. Got a silly time-travel piece accepted in the Weirder Science: Alternate Hilarities anthology, which is something I’d like to do more of in 2016 (both writing silly stories and having them published)
  34. Gave away a ton of free copies of Cheaters during NaNoWriMo via NoiseTrade (which resulted in me collecting lots of emails, woohoo! but unfortunately most of them immediately unsubcribed from my list, boo!)
  35. Participated in March to a Bestseller 3, and had my personal best selling day ever (and just received payment for it on Monday, so Merry XXXmas to me!)
  36. Got a library card for my local library, and immediately began hoarding their books (they even ordered me a book about writing mysteries, which I am poring over right now!)
  37. Participated in two Xmas gift swaps (one for books specifically, and one for the 12 Days of Xmas – both of which I still need to write about before the year ends!)

So that pretty much sums up my year… I’m still working out my goals for 2016, but will post those as soon as I can put them into coherent sentences.

What about you?

Was your 2015 a boom or a bust – and why?