We’ll remember 2021 as the year the rich countries rolled out their vaccination programmes, which should have zero overlap with my reading and writing, except that when I got my flu jab at my local pharmacy, I also managed to sell a book. So far, so serendipitous, but this post is about how I measured up against the goals I set at the beginning of this year.
As usual, I achieved my goal of reading 100 books. But this year, as last year, I’m way down on my 2019 tally of 142, which was also the last time I met my targets for both translations and authors of colour. Do you care? I doubt it! I also didn’t quite meet my aim to reread at least one novel a month, but I came quite close. Click on the corresponding image if you have a strange desire to know more.
I published 57 posts on Annecdotal, which is pretty close to my target to reduce the time I commit to blogging with around five posts a month. Through the generosity of other bloggers and editors of online magazines, around two dozen articles and Q&As appeared with my name on them to support the publication of my third novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home.
As planned, I invested more time in my newsletter this year with about six months of weekly emails (too much for some but appreciated by many, especially during the lockdown early in the year) leading up to the publication of Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home. I surpassed my goal to gain 100 new subscribers by 50%, but I’m conscious that engagement matters more than numbers of subscribers, so I’m not complacent.
The highlight of my reading and writing year was, of course, the publication of my third novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home. I’m delighted by the support I’ve had and the multiple positive reviews. It was also a great honour for my novel to be selected as a Literary Sofa Summer Read and one of Left on the Shelf blog’s 12 books of the year. However, my aim of 50 Amazon reviews within a month of publication was so unrealistic it’s reached the realms of satire, but I’m satisfied I gave it my best shot.
I loved my online launch party, supported by readers from four continents (which I’d never get at a same-room event). Earlier in the year, through the magic of Zoom, it was great to do an international event with fellow author Mia Farlane focusing on our debut novels. I had an hour-long interview on the arts show on BBC Radio Cumbria, and have since guested on various podcasts and Internet shows.
Despite the pandemic, I was able to do a few book fairs and a live bookshop talk which was sold out – you don’t need to know that the venue was small.
I achieved my goal to finish and edit the novel formerly known as 100 Candles, my follow-up to Matilda Windsor. I got it to submission standard much more quickly than any of my other novels – I began it during the first lockdown in June 2020 – and I hope that’s an indication of me mastering the craft rather than becoming slipshod.
On the short fiction front, I composed 42 99-word stories but, despite getting three new short stories published, remain one shy of my goal to reach a century of (longer) short story publications in online and off-line magazines.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, or if you’re here for the first time, thank you for your support. I really appreciate it. Perhaps you’ll come back next month when I share my reading and writing aspirations for 2022.
Did the year satisfy your plans and aspirations? Leave a comment and let me know.