Studio MCAH Year in Review, 2013

2014 is only a few days away! And I refuse to do anymore work. So here’s my year in review post!

First, the raw numbers.

NEW WRITING
1. I wrote four new novels: A Bloom in the North, Mindtouch, Mindline and Rose Point.
2. I wrote two new short stories, currently unreleased. I also wrote five new case studies (“Wet,” “Knife,” “Swimming,” “Finite” and “Piano”) and four chapters for The Ai-Naidari Guidebook.
3. I wrote a couple of articles for SFWA and Lord knows how many blog posts and vignettes, including the “Lair by the Sea” fluff and some backstory for Even the Wingless (“The Usurper”) and Black Blossom (“Three Suitcases”).
4. And for fun I did a count; this year I discovered 68 new Ai-Naidari words with your help.
Total Count (Fiction): 481,390 words

NEW ART
1. I drew 88 comics.
2. I did 4 full-size paintings: “Protection,” the Art Deco Alysha for the cover of Alysha’s Fall, and the back and front cover for The Godson’s Triumph.
3. I did 12 paintings for the children’s book interior.
4. I did 2 color pencil pieces for the covers of Mindtouch and Mindline.
5. I did 10 B&W interior illustrations for The Godson’s Triumph and Claws and Starships.
6. I did 14 micropaintings (I believe! I sold them all so I don’t recall).
7. I did a lot of sketching, which I didn’t keep track of, in both tiny sketchbooks and large; in the car, at restaurants and bars, at home.
Total New Finished Art: 130 pieces

BOOKS/STORIES ISSUED
1. I released six new e-books: Pearl in the Void, A Bloom in the North, Earthrise, Mindtouch and Mindline, The Godson’s Triumph.
2. I released four new print editions: Claws and Starships, Mindtouch, Earthrise and Rose Point.
3. I released seven audiobooks: The Kickstarter book, “Unknowable,” “Anadi Dolls,” A Rosary of Stones and Thorns, “The Blade to Your Hand,” Even the Wingless, and Earthrise.
4. I published two short stories in anthologies, “Improved Cubicle Door” in Unidentified Flying Objects 2 and “Second” in What Happens Next.

SERIALS
1. I concluded the Earthrise serialization!
2. I started the serialization for An Heir to Thorns and Steel.
3. I have posted, ad hoc, entries in two quasi serials, “Lair by the Sea” (5 entries) and “The Usurper” (5 entries).

KICKSTARTERS, LIVESTREAMS, APPEARANCES AND NODS
1. I ran two Kickstarters, and prepared for two more.
2. I attended one convention, NecronomiCon, more for enjoyment than anything else!
3. I ran two livestreams! Wow, lol. I was quiet this year.
4. I did one twitter chat for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat folks, and did a chat presentation on cover art for SFWA.
5. I started a newsletter this year, and have sent out 2 quarterly updates so far.
6. I got my own Wikipedia entry! *beams* Feel free to add to it if you like.

Before I get into other goals and some analysis, I’d like to make some notes here:

1. I didn’t know I was going to have a day job this year. I was planning to get a lot more done up to that point. I tried as much as I was able to keep to my original schedule, but I failed on several points (most notably, on art). Having gathered a year’s worth of data on what I can manage while working a separate job, I have concluded I need to be more canny about how I manage my time next year.

2. If you have tried to contact me, request a commission or a card reading, or feel like you’ve sent email and it’s fallen into a black hole… I am sorry! But I think you can see why that might have been so. Please be gentle with my forgetfulness and busyness: I am working hard to bring you Awesome Things. :)

Finally, I’d like to talk about some overall goals I’ve put in place for myself as an artist and a businessperson:

I had a goal to make major progress on sequels and serials. This year I completed two series (The Godkindred Saga and the Stone Moon Trilogy) and wrote and released Rose Point, which takes us 2/3rds of the way through the Her Instruments duology. I remain committed to getting people What Happens Next in a timely fashion, and I feel like I delivered on this promise this year.

I had a goal to make as much as I did last year, or more. That, I fell down on, by about 1/4th of the money I needed. There were extenuating circumstances, but it taught me, very powerfully, that I have to manage my Kickstarters aggressively, and choose only projects I know I can control as completely as possible.

I have an ongoing goal of getting my print editions out as close to the release of my e-book editions as possible. This particular goal is constrained by how much capital I’ve got in the account, but I’m getting better at managing that pool so that things happen closer to simultaneously.

This was the year of the contractor. It was my plan to use freelancers to offload as much of the work as I possibly could to other shoulders, while also getting money into the hands of cool people. This goal sounded great in concept, but fell down pretty hard in practice. Managing people is as time-consuming as doing the work yourself unless you have fabulous employees. Nevertheless, despite making attempts at sixty percent more people than I ended up using, I did add two more amazing freelancers to my team. I count that a lesson learned, and I’m grateful to have found them.

This year I was going to experiment more. This got eaten by the day job I didn’t know I was going to take until January of this year. I still want to get into podcasting and other experimental models, but I’m going to have to figure out how to budget my time.

And… in the unexpected publicity department… Finally, it would be hard to talk about this year without mentioning the whole Spots the Space Marine brouhaha. Fighting GW did not catapult me to overnight success, but it taught me a very great deal about bringing your case to an audience.

***

So that was 2013. I’m not sure what to make of it. There were things that deeply dissatisfied me about it, and things that I’m pretty proud of, and I think most of my take-away from it is that next year I have to work smarter, not harder, if I want to get everything on my to-do lists accomplished.

  1. Clearly I need to find out a way to write more during the week. Having a job plus writing my serial, plus revising my serial for publication seems to be about as much as I can handle right now. Still there are novels in my head that aren’t Legion of Nothing related that I’d like to get out there.

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