2020 in Review (Part 1 of some)
I was going through my long-neglected website this morning and realized it’s been just over a year since I last wrote a blog post, and remembered how I had restarted this blog with the intention of writing one pretty regularly.
That obviously never happened. In 2020 a lot of things ground to a halt, mostly due to the coronavirus, which I won’t bother going into because you all know the story. However, for my writing, it made little difference. Here in Japan we weren’t on major lockdowns like everywhere else, and—masks, plastic screens, and a couple of months off in the spring—things have continued not much different to usual.
The main reason I didn’t get a lot of blogs written was because of my day job. I work as an English teacher in Japan and in April each year we get recontracted and sometimes our positions shuffled. I was having a pretty easy time of it during my last couple of years, but this year English education got expanded further into elementary schools but—due to budgets—the number of teachers remained the same. Therefore, where before I would often have time to sneak off a blog post in the afternoon while still on the clock, now I found myself working with barely a pause, sometimes working late, doing preparation at home etc. Like a real teacher, ho hum. My writing didn’t suffer because that is done during my early morning sacred time, but a lot of other things fell by the wayside.
However, it’s been a solid year. The stats, as they will stand at the end of the year, are something like this:
New books published – 4
New paperback editions – 9
Audiobooks published – 1
Total words written (as of December 21st) 363,000 (I’m hoping to at least scrape 380k).
It’s been a decent year. I went direct to Barnes & Noble in February, then joined Google Play in September. While GP has yet to take off, for several months over the summer, B&N was my most profitable store.
There were plenty of mistakes. I had an audiobook done for Benjamin Forrest on the silly royalty-share plus system, which means I paid a bunch of money but still have to split royalties with the narrator. Due to that, it’s stuck on Audible, whereas now I’m looking at publishing all future audiobooks on Findaway, where I can control the price and access far more retailers. And I also grossly overestimated the popularity of the series. Despite the books being excellent (IMHO), they sell next to nothing. The audiobook has currently sold 12 copies. In addition, I also had it done just as Audible dropped its coupon code system. We used to be able to give away a bunch of coupon codes to reviewers and actually get paid when they were redeemed—in hindsight it’s ridiculous that such a system existed—but the BF audiobook was published the month after the system was changed. It’s frustrating, because the narrator did an excellent job. Buying him out of the audio and paying up front for any future books is definitely the way I want to go, but it’s expensive, and if the ebooks aren’t selling, the audiobooks most likely won’t either. Still, one of the plans for 2021 is a new BF book, so I’ll have to see how it goes. Back to the drawing board for sure on that one.
On the whole, though, it was a very good year. I'll talk more about that next time...
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