Now 2016 has been one of those bastard years. With the deaths of lots of beloved artists and surprising political results, it’s been strange and shocking. I wonder whether the Queen will announce 2016 as another ‘annus horribilis’ in her Christmas Speech.
But beyond the rejection letters, two-star reviews and disappointments, 2016 wasn’t all bad.
Here are my top 3 good things from 2016.
I published two novellas
This year, I published two ebook novellas. I finally put myself out there for the world to read and buy my stories. (If you’ve been under a rock, here’s the links: Evangeline and the Alchemist & Evangeline and the Bunyip).
Self-publishing was a new endeavour for me. I learned about the horrors of copy-editing (kill me, kill me now, I never want to read this again) and the excitement of seeing a cover for the very first time (it’s still very cool).
This was a big step forward for me and self-publishing is fun but hard. I’ve learned a lot and I’m planning to continue with self-publishing the rest of my Antics of Evangeline novella series. But I’ll still explore traditional publishing for my longer works (mainly because marketing is hard and Sisphyean. I prefer the writing).
Once my work was out there….
People liked my novellas
Launching a book in to the world is nerve-wracking but it was exciting to see the first reviews come through Amazon and Goodreads. People liked it!
Not everyone liked it but I never expected everyone to like it. Have a look at one of your favourite books (a classic) on Amazon and read some of the reviews. People can be very harsh.
The real test came when Evangeline and the Alchemist was available for free and I had over 2,500 downloads. This has encouraged more reviews from readers with no vested interest (or even money laid down). Some reviews have been good, some reviews have been ‘character-building’.
But reviews, good and bad, are all part of the game, which leads me to my third good thing.
My mindfulness practice kept my ego under control
What do you mean I’m not a No.1 best seller out of the gate? How come my Amazon rankings are slipping? Why has no one bought a copy today? Am I a failure? Should I give it all in? I knew I shouldn’t have tried. I’ve made a massive fool of myself, haven’t I?
Sound familiar? After the highs of the initial launch come the lows of reality. I spent a few days moping around and feeling sorry for myself, until I gave myself a kick in the bum and focused on reining in my ego.
My mindfulness practice helped.
Each day I spend ten minutes or less focusing on the present moment and generally the sound of my breath. I’ve collated a Spotify playlist of short guided meditations.
Mindfulness is hard and again, it’s Sisphyean but it helped me to recognise when my fragile whiny ego was filling my head with rubbish unhelpful thoughts. Now, if I’m vigilant, I can stop the complaints from my ego once they start. But I’m far from perfect and my little sooky ego pops up her needy head every now and then. Ssh, I’m working here.
So 2016 wasn’t all bad….