Since it’s that time of year and all, and I’m in a suitably reflective mood, I thought I’d write a post looking back on my writing progress for the year that was 2016.

In terms of my ultimate goal, which is to make some money off my writing, ummmm… yeah… that one’s not going so well. Overall, the results of the past year have been a little underwhelming, yet if I choose to see the glass as being half full, rather than half empty (and I do), then there are lots of small achievements to celebrate.

Firstly, I have a website and a blog, which is much more than I had at this time last year. I’ve learned a lot about using WordPress, and for someone who knows very little html coding, I’m pretty happy with how it looks. The amount of traffic it has got so far is small, but where it comes from is interesting.

Map of Website views

World map of website views 2016

As you would expect, most of the views are from NZ, but I’ve also had views from Iceland, Poland and China. I actually know some people in Iceland, so a big shout-out to them, but I’m pretty sure I don’t know anyone in Poland or China. I now have the evidence to prove that my writing has a global audience.

Secondly, I’ve published three short stories, which is three more short stories than I had published at this time last year. My writing is improving, as is my writing process, mostly due to my involvement in the online writing community at Scribophile.

I haven’t sold huge volumes of books yet, but since my first short story, The Golden Cockroach, went free on all of the major ebook services, about a month ago, the results have been interesting, as you can see in the chart below.

Sales Rank for "The Golden Cockroach"

Sales Rank for ‘The Golden Cockroach” Dec 2016

As of Christmas day, The Golden Cockroach was the 23,615th most popular free book on the Amazon Kindle Store (and there are a LOT of free books in the Amazon Kindle Store), and it peaked at 9317, on December 22nd. Sure, the number of downloads is small, but they’ve been regular, which is important. Other than a single Facebook post, I haven’t done any promotion, which means people are finding it through organic search on Amazon and elsewhere, which is just what I wanted.

Thirdly, I’ve got my mailing list set up, and a number of lovely people have subscribed to it.

And last, but certainly not least, I’m still getting up early in the morning to work on my writing, plus I’m getting some regular exercise again, thanks to YouTube and the ten-minute routines of this painfully fit young woman. Her pilates workout is a killer.

I’ve learned a lot about the business of indie publishing this year and the technology and processes involved, and I’ve spent a large chunk of my time setting up the infrastructure for promoting my books. I’ve spent much less time on writing than I would have liked, so that is going to be my focus for 2017. To write, write, write! I’ve got a fourth short story, about an angry young man and his quest to find a beer, in an advanced stage of development and I’m aiming to publish it in February or March of next year. I have a couple of other stories in earlier stages of development, and more story ideas rattling around inside my skull, so there is plenty to work on.

To that end, I’m going down to four days a week at work in 2017. I’m having Mondays off, with the aim of spending them writing, as well as doing some other things I don’t normally get a chance to do, like picking up my kids from their respective educational institutions. I’m hoping it makes a significant difference to my quality of life, my writing, and my sanity. Onwards and upwards for 2017!