First things first, I will say I went into 2016 with little to no expectations. When looking back at this year end post for 2015, I talked about honing my skills in writing.
You always do that, especially when you do research and read other authors works to keep up with the market, but other than that, I didn’t quite do what I’d set out to do. Really, when I said honing skills I meant, reading more how to books, taking classes, etc. I did read a couple of books, specifically ones surrounding the subgenres I wanted to write in the future, but not much else. So much of real life got in the way, and I do mean in the way, but nothing as dramatic as last year. The last two years I’ve dealt with the losses of my grandmother and dad, but this year it was more about staying above water with our finances and then my mother got ill in October, so sadly writing took a back seat.
Despite that, I was able to get several books out. Living in Sin Book 4 N’awlins Exotica Series (January 2016 Self Pub), Mocha Kisses and Coffee (April 2016 Thirteen Below Press), The Odd Couple (May 2016 Self Pub), Under the Gun re-release (July 2016 Self Pub), Hell Hath No Fury Book 5 N’awlins Exotica Series (August 2016 Self Pub), Blazing Trails With Hirah Blaze (October 2016 Self Pub), Closely Guarded (October 2016 Pride Publishing)’
If I had to pick a word or statement that best describes writing year 2016, I’d say breaking point. Although I wasn’t challenged much like I was in previous years personally, there were many times I wanted to give up on writing entirely. Working so hard on books and not getting a lot of sales is disheartening. All year I talked to my best friend, who is a photographer, about doing more to get the word out, and I pretty much told her if I didn’t see improvement by the end of the year, I would give up writing and solely focus on family and working full-time and if I wanted to write I’d go back to writing fan fiction.
But after thinking it over so many times, I couldn’t. When I started writing Hirah in August I found that love for writing once again. And even though I’d still like to be compensated more for my work, I had to take a step back and realize why I really love writing. It isn’t always about the sales or even the accolades, it truly is about the love you feel in heart for your craft and the burning desire to create the worlds that you want to read about. That’s what drives most of us to stay up all hours of the night and shut ourselves up in our offices away from family and friends, to write the damn story and put it out there for others to read and hopefully enjoy. So, even though this year might be the lowest year as far as sales for me, I’d still call it a success because the biggest achievement is completing a story and getting it out there. Sales is really just the icing on the cake.
So what’s the focus for 2017? Building readership and focusing on the positives as well as honing my craft. That might sound like a tall order, but the more years I’ve dedicated to my career, I’ve learned to look at everything as glass half full. Sure, getting acceptances and having everyday writing goals is great, but the actual achievement is completing that great story and getting it out there for the masses to read. That is the top goal and always has been. I’m sure many authors have that same goal and we all have different processes to get there. Bottom line, an author’s job is to tell the best story they can and once they do that, everything else should fall into place.
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Writing under 3 names is especially hard, but I realize that I love telling different type of stories and they don’t always fit the same penname. I mostly write m/m, but I do dip my toe into m/f at times.
If you like sweet and sassy interracial romances, Rawiya.
Bad boys, mostly rockers with snarky attitudes, BLMorticia.
For romance with complex plots, Michael Mandrake.