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Looking Backward, Moving Forward

So long, 2016!

2016-dumpster-fire

Here’s my obligatory New Year’s post where I take stock of my life personally and professionally. I was going to include politically, but that’s just too goddamn depressing, so it’ll have to wait for another blog post.

Personally

I don’t want to become one of those people who often blog about their personal life. Not because I have something to hide (wouldn’t that be fun?) but because my personal life is, on the whole, pretty damn boring.

But I’ll give a brief recap: 2016 was an awesome year for the MacLeod family. We left a job my husband did not much enjoy (professor) in Buffalo, NY for a job he loves (high school teacher) in southern Maine. And we bought our dream house – a 180-year-old farmhouse in the country that’s only somewhat falling apart.

fullsizeoutput_fc8
Wild turkeys in our backyard. Also, the wall that’s falling apart.

Good show, MacLeod family. Good show.

Professionally

2016 was the year I became a published author.

I started writing again in 2015. But my very first publication came out in March of 2016 (under my real name), and was followed by a second real-name publication in August.

Samantha MacLeod’s first publication, “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” came out this summer as part of A Two Dame Production’s anthology of erotic fairy tales Lustily Ever After.

I also published “John Cutter Entertains a Visitor” in Typehouse Literary Magazine, which was NOMINATED FOR A FREAKING PUSHCART PRIZE!!!!

And – oh yeah – I independently published a novel (The Trickster’s Lover) and a novella (Honeymoon).

Publishing has been a bit of a rollercoaster.

emotional-rollercoaster

The Good:

I’ve met fabulous new people! (If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re one of them.)

I’m sharing my work and getting feedback, which is a wonderful process almost all the time. It’s amazing to let these stories out into the world. 🙂

I get to introduce myself as a writer at cocktail parties. (This has only happened once.)

hepburn-audrey-breakfast-at-tiffanys_21
Basically me.

The best part of being published, of course, is also the cheesiest… I’ve achieved my life-long dream.

Good show, me.

bow-take-a-bow

The Bad:

So far, the downside of publishing is all about the Benjamins.

100dollarbill

As in, I haven’t made any Benjamins.

Okay, yes, I have sold books. I’ve also been paid for my publications, which is AWESOME. And I do realize my novel only came out in September.

But I haven’t come close to making back the money I’ve spent on covers, formatting, and advertising.

money-we-have-no-money

How “not close” to breaking even, you ask? Well…I haven’t even made 10% of the money I’ve spent on my books.

the dude bummer

As personal fulfillment, publishing has been great. As a business venture, it’s been not so great (not yet, at least).

Now, this is not a knock against indy publishing. I’m sure there are ways to spend a hell of a lot less, and come much closer to breaking even. I just didn’t do those things. Because…

no idea what I'm doing

The Ugly:

There’s always an ugly, isn’t there?

For me, the ugly of publishing is mostly the nagging self-doubt that comes with being a writer. One would imagine being published – nay, nominated for a major literary award – would help to negate that.

Meh, that hasn’t been my experience.

red wine
I still need the wine. All the wine.

But this isn’t just due to writing. Honestly, I think nagging self-doubt is a fundamental part of who I am. And when I wasn’t writing (oh, a whole year or so ago), I was just self-doubting in other areas.

The other ugly is wondering what to do next. Do I continue down this indy path? How can I keep getting my writing out there into the world without hemorrhaging money?

money to burn

So where do I go from here..?

Moving Forward

My biggest goal for 2017, writing-wise, is to finish my damn Novel #2 (working title: The Wolf’s Lover).

I’m not sure what I’ll do with Novel #2 yet (go indy? query agents??) but I’ll do something with it, once I’m done obsessing over the revisions and beating my head against the editing.

bang head against wall
Actual footage of the editing process

And I’ve got some other projects in the works.

My erotic short story Persephone Remembers the Pomegranates comes out on Valentine’s Day, and my MM/poly novella The Night Watch will be published by Less Than Three Press next year.

I’ve also got FIVE short stories out there in the world, waiting for rejections from various lit mags. And I’d like to do a lot more flash fiction in the coming year – Bronwyn Green‘s 36 flash fictions in a year is a total inspiration.

So yeah, I’ll keep busy in 2017.

cat typing
Also basically me.

Cheers, my virtual friends, and I wish you a very happy New Year’s Eve!

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5 thoughts on “Looking Backward, Moving Forward Leave a comment

  1. Excuse me.

    You wrote a Tam Lin story???

    Tam Lin is only my favorite fairy tale of all time. LINK! (please and thank you)

    I’m looking forward to your Persephone short! I love that myth. I have one at the pub that shall not be named. Someday, I hope to get it back and give it a proper cover and a thorough re-editing.

    About the money – the best way to make it is to keep building your backlist. The best way to stop hemorrhaging cash is to see what kind of services you can trade with fellow authors who also do things like cover art and editing.

    Like

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