The Jaguar’s 2018 Retrospective and 2019 Plans

It’s that time again! In lieu of a monthly round-up, we get the yearly. Side note: I went full-time as a writer/artist on June 16th, so you can fill in the blanks with tumult in the transition, and sudden changes in plans and goals. I’m looking forward to not having to radically switch gears in the middle of the year this year, God willing and the creek don’t rise.Anyway! Here’s my creative year in bullet points.

Books Published in 2018:

  • Business for the Right Brained (January)
  • Dreamstorm (April)
  • Sword of the Alliance (August)
  • Girl on Fire (October)
  • PG Summary Project (December)

I did not publish as much novels last year as I should have; I’m not even going to make excuses for it. I don’t regret my two nonfiction projects: the business book was a ‘pay it forward’ so making money off it wasn’t my goal, and the summary project has helped more than one person get into the Princes’ Game series. But this year my focus is definitely going to be on novels, where it should be.Did you miss picking up one of these? Go get them here!

Books Written and Not Published

  • Coracle 1
  • Healer’s Wedding

This is not a bad count. I like having inventory.

Books Begun/in Progress

  • Farmer’s Crown
  • Alysha 5
  • Kherishdar’s Exception
  • Coracle 2

This is also not a bad count. Farmer’s Crown only needs final edits, and Alysha 5 should be ready for a May release (my third book of 2019, after Healer’s Wedding and Farmer’s Crown). Kherishdar’s Exception is about a fifth done and proceeding at the pace I want. Coracle, I’m trying to decide how to handle. More on that when I figure it out.

Short Stories Completed in 2018:

  • Healing Waters (Jahir and Vasiht’h)
  • Leadership Lessons (Alysha)
  • Disengage (Jahir and Vasiht’h)
  • Jackal Chest Jahir and Vasiht’h)
  • Ariihir (Jahir and Vasiht’h)

I wrote a lot of short fiction this year, which is odd because I thought I hated writing short fiction. It turns out I don’t mind writing short fiction if it fills in gaps in existing novels, and as long as I can see a future for it beyond ‘they’re lost on various download sites that are frustrating for fans to remember’ or ‘they’re in eternal limbo while editors decide they don’t want them.’ In this case, most of these are earmarked for a Princes’ Game companion collection. (And in at least one case, ‘short fiction’ is a bit of a misnomer; “Jackal Chest” is a novelette.)

Short Stories Begun/in Progress in 2018:

  • Air Dancing (Queen Ransomed)
  • PG3 Incentive Short (Vasiht’h and Sehvi)
  • PG6 Incentive Novelette (Vasiht’h and family)

All of these are also destined for that collection, and two of them are already over novelette-length: lots of nice, juicy stuff for fans. Particularly people who love Glaseah! That PG6 incentive is a bridge between From Ruins and Healer’s Wedding, and it’s full of Glaseah doing Glaseah stuff. *grin*

Kickstarters Run in 2018:

  • Strand Print Edition (Feb)
  • Dreamhearth Print Edition (Apr)
  • Transcend Print Edition (Aug)

You know, I thought I ran more Kickstarters this year? I had a fourth in my pocket but I never unleashed it. Expect more fun campaigns this year.

New Editions:

Print

  • PG2: Some Things Transcend
  • PG3: Amulet Rampant
  • PG4: Only the Open
  • PG5: In Extremis
  • PG6: From Ruins
  • PG Summary
  • Girl on Fire
  • Blood Ladders 1: An Heir to Thorns and Steel
  • Blood Ladders 2: By Vow and Royal Bloodshed
  • Blood Ladders 3: On Wings of Bone and Glass

Audio (Complete)

  • A Bloom in the North
  • Sword of the Alliance
  • Either Side of the Strand

Audio (in Progress)

  • PG2: Some Things Transcend
  • Blood Ladders 1: An Heir to Thorns and Steel
  • Dreamhealers 1: Mindtouch

This was the year I finished getting all my backlist into print! Which was a ton of work, and I’m glad it’s over with. From this point forward, the print and e-book editions will be available simultaneously. Audio is also finally in train, since I engaged actors to deal with both Blood Ladders and Dreamhealers, and Jim’s still making progress on Princes’ Game. I’m hoping to make 2019 the year of the audio edition, and Patreon folks will get access first!

Sketchbooks

  • 2 Large Filled (117 and 118)
  • 2 Large Partially Filled (116 and 119)
  • 2 Small Filled (AP and AQ)
  • 1 Small Partially Filled (AR)

Figuring out how much art I did this year is too big a task because I was messing around with Clip Studio, animation, painting, and sketching on paper, and all the bits are scattered all over the place. Instead, I checked to see how many 100-page sketchbooks I filled (with the numbers/letter designations in case I need to remember which ones correspond to 2018) and noted that. So I’m guessing at least 400 pieces of art on paper, and maybe another 400 doodles with Clip Studio? Something like that. Not a ton, anyway. There were years I was filling more than one sketchbook a month. But I’m not unhappy with the numbers, since I suspect they represent an increase over 2017’s number.

2019 Plans

So my plans for this year:

  • 1 Novel Published Every Two Months.
  • 1 Kickstarter Every Quarter
  • 1 Art Stream Every Two Weeks
  • 3 Patreon Posts a Week
  • Halve Book Expenses

I feel like this is a good plan: gives me enough space for sicktime and vacations while bringing in enough income to pay my salary and accommodate my growing audiobook empire. I’m also going to go after some of my expenses, because I anticipate audio production eating a lot of my money and I’d like to offset that. I’ve already got one of those Kickstarters drafted, and January and March’s novels are ready! So I feel like I’ve hit the ground running. 2019, here I come!

A final aside: Some of you might notice that I don’t track words written. That’s because I don’t care about how many words I write. I care about how many books get into your hands. If I focus too much on wordcount, I start drifting off my goal. Finishing things is hard, y’all. You can procrastinate a lot by deciding to ‘work on’ something else to make your wordcount goal. If there’s one thing working in Network Operations taught me, it’s that you get more of what you measure for. If measuring wordcount gets me more wordcount, but that wordcount is spread over a dozen projects, then at the end of the year I’ll have 500,000+ words and maybe one finished book. If I’m lucky. If I measure by novels published, though, suddenly there’s no wiggle-room left. I’m on the hook for actual books in your hands, and that means… books get done! So that’s the rationale there.

So important: you get what you measure for. So choose your measuring goalposts wisely!

Anyway, the year in review, and the coming year. *cracks knuckles* We’re gonna have fun!