At the start of the year I made some reading and writing resolutions – how’d I do? Pretty good!
At the start of the year I set myself a goal of getting 100 rejections in 2017. I switched that to 100 submissions pretty early on, because it was rightly pointed out to me that it’s a bit more positive. At mid-year I’d finished 5 things, and sent out 24 submissions.
I’m finishing the year having completed 14 stories and sent out 65 submissions. So, my output in the second half of the year almost doubled the first half. It also doubled the amount of submissions I’ve sent out all time previously.
I didn’t hit 100, but I did learn a lot, and I’m pretty happy with what I did get done this year.
No, I didn’t sell anything, but that’s ok. While it would have been nice it’s sort of not the point. The whole point for me of focusing on the submission or rejection number this year was to focus more on my output and process, because that was the bit I could control.
I did get some pieces held (two are still going!), and some nice responses from competitions, so it wasn’t all form rejections.
Some other things that happened submission-wise across the year:
- I entered more competitions and tried writing different things – including some random prompts with time deadlines and a bunch of flash pieces for a comp mid-year
- I found out that increasing the number of pieces you have out at any one time is both a good and bad thing. Good, because you don’t obsess as much over the progress of any individual submission, and bad because some days you get hit with four rejections over like a 10 hour period and that is somewhat painful.
- I figured out how to withdraw or query pieces that needed it. Not achievements in themselves, but getting through a volume of submissions meant I got experience in this, too.
- I figured out a submission prioritising tool to use along with The Submission Grinder to prioritise and track my submissions. It’s loosely based on this and has saved me a lot of time. Instead of having to research suitable markets each time I get a rejection, they’re pre-loaded and ranked so I can just move to the next one on the list.
I saw on Twitter the other day some people talking about how many rejections they got from markets before they sold to them. Numbers like 25 or 38 weren’t uncommon. The top number I’ve got submitting to any one market at this stage is 5 and I feel like what I’m writing is getting better as I go (I certainly hope so!), so I’m still hopeful about it all.
I’m planning to refocus a bit towards longer work next year (query the novel! Write the next one! Write another secret project! Maybe a novella?), but I do still have a backlog of short fiction pieces and ideas for new work. So while it probably won’t dry up completely it likely won’t be quite as productive on the submission numbers front in 2018.
Then again, if I’m querying the novel and sending out short fiction I might blow even this year’s submission stats out of the water. We’ll see!
I read 109 books this year! 31,000+ pages!
And they weren’t all comics and poetry. There were some murder-weapon-sized books in there, too.
Some notable reading stats from the year:
- I had 4-5 books on the go at any one time – having additional platforms to squash more books into spare time in my life has done wonders for my reading
- I picked up 125 books, with a DNF of about 15% of what I started which seems extreme but honestly is just a reflection of my attitude towards reading and putting down books generally – I have no fear of putting down a book I’m not enjoying!
- I read 15 advance copies of new releases – I tried to keep this manageable so I didn’t overwhelm my reading with new releases and so that I could make sure I review the things I requested
- As noted in my Best Books of 2017 post I read more poetry, comics and mysteries and thrillers this year than I have previously.
My new book buying approach is also working how I want it to, allowing me to buy books but not buy them at random and helping make sure I have a good spread of different reading material to work through. It’s letting me consciously buy what I want to be reading rather than whatever I see as I’m going about my life.
I’ve really gotten into reviewing a lot this year and I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been playing around with Bookstagram (you can follow me here). I’ve started writing short fiction reviews for SFF Reviews (expect to see my reviews showing up there in late January or so) and I’ve been really happy with posting my book reviews in their own spot here on the blog.
In short? My literary life was pretty great in 2017 and in terms of measurable output and achieving stated goals I did great. Here’s to 2018 and new challenges!