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Well, 2020 has been a bummer.  I think everyone has felt it at least a little bit.  But it can't all be bad, so my question is, have you had any good things happen out of the blue this year?  I don't know if I'm necessarily asking for writing things, but I guess I just wanted to throw a thread out there and focus on the positive for a second.

For me, I had one really pleasant surprise and it was kind of thanks to the pandemic, weird as it is.  My lawyer friend who has helped me with editing books in the past wrote me one day and said, hey, I've got a two week self quarantine after traveling, do you have any books that need an edit?  And I was like, yeeesss!  I guess I never thought about it before getting into the publishing thing, but having a friend who proofreads legal documents all day has really been awesome.  She gets through a book in the time it takes me to edit like 20 pages.
 

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I went from enjoying the isolation in March, to climbing the walls in May, to loving the gradual return of bits and pieces of normal life over the summer, to going bonkers at the tightening this fall. Now I'm slowly sliding into acceptance. I'm stressed over when the end of all this may come, but realize the virus is going to play out at its own pace and I can't do anything about it. For a control freak like me, I guess that's a good thing that has happened to me in 2020.
 

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Can't complain at the flexibility of working from home, time with family, reduced commute. I acknowledge that I'm luckier than many, but those are what I am thankful for.

 

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NikOK said:
Well, 2020 has been a bummer. I think everyone has felt it at least a little bit. But it can't all be bad, so my question is, have you had any good things happen out of the blue this year? I don't know if I'm necessarily asking for writing things, but I guess I just wanted to throw a thread out there and focus on the positive for a second.

For me, I had one really pleasant surprise and it was kind of thanks to the pandemic, weird as it is. My lawyer friend who has helped me with editing books in the past wrote me one day and said, hey, I've got a two week self quarantine after traveling, do you have any books that need an edit? And I was like, yeeesss! I guess I never thought about it before getting into the publishing thing, but having a friend who proofreads legal documents all day has really been awesome. She gets through a book in the time it takes me to edit like 20 pages.
Ironically, my own proof-reader is also a lawyer whose job is to proofread/edit legal briefs or cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jena H said:
Ironically, my own proof-reader is also a lawyer whose job is to proofread/edit legal briefs or cases.
Ha, neat :D I guess when you have to do importantly worded legal things, you get good at proofreading.

Sapphire said:
I went from enjoying the isolation in March, to climbing the walls in May, to loving the gradual return of bits and pieces of normal life over the summer, to going bonkers at the tightening this fall. Now I'm slowly sliding into acceptance. I'm stressed over when the end of all this may come, but realize the virus is going to play out at its own pace and I can't do anything about it. For a control freak like me, I guess that's a good thing that has happened to me in 2020.
Sounds like a good attitude to me. I guess this year has taken most people out of their comfort zone, but it's kinda awesome that you got a little zen out of it. Still hope it gets better out there though.
 

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Lost my job at the beginning of the year, which freed me to start my writing career.  I've published two books so far in 2020 to moderate success, and I'm looking forward to putting out even more in 2021.
 

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Well, apart from the pandemic, 2020 was a banner year for me.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with a fatal, terminal aggressive cancer--out of the blue, since I'm young and otherwise the picture of health--that has very few treatments and no cure and usually kills people within the first year after diagnosis. Not only am I still alive, but ONE WEEK before the world shut down in March, I was declared NED. Which in cancer terms is "No Evidence of Disease." Which means there is no visible cancer left in my body on a CAT scan. Because of a new treatment that was FDA approved AFTER I was diagnosed. Only 5 percent of us get to NED. So it's a big deal, for a lot of reasons.

Then the world shut down. So no celebrating, no travel. It's frustrating, because I don't know how long this NED will last, to not be able to do and see more. But, at least I have this. Which is huge.

Also, my writing career really took off this year. Like really. So it is rough out there, but silver linings, right?
 

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DmGuay said:
Well, apart from the pandemic, 2020 was a banner year for me.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with a fatal, terminal aggressive cancer--out of the blue, since I'm young and otherwise the picture of health--that has very few treatments and no cure and usually kills people within the first year after diagnosis. Not only am I still alive, but ONE WEEK before the world shut down in March, I was declared NED. Which in cancer terms is "No Evidence of Disease." Which means there is no visible cancer left in my body on a CAT scan. Because of a new treatment that was FDA approved AFTER I was diagnosed. Only 5 percent of us get to NED. So it's a big deal, for a lot of reasons.

Then the world shut down. So no celebrating, no travel. It's frustrating, because I don't know how long this NED will last, to not be able to do and see more. But, at least I have this. Which is huge.

Also, my writing career really took off this year. Like really. So it is rough out there, but silver linings, right?
Congratulations on everything. This is pretty awesome to hear. Hope it continues! :) What do you think made the difference in terms of your writing career? Did you start advertising more, or was it a change in genre, or was it something nebulous you can't really account for? Anyway, good to hear a positive story come out of an otherwise dreary year.
 

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My third novel, Time's Musicians, was published right before pandemic. The first review it got before the publication date was a 1 star! I almost gave up. Totally crazy. The novel is now a semi-finalist for the Booklife Prize!!! 

Mark
 

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Corvid said:
Congratulations on everything. This is pretty awesome to hear. Hope it continues! :) What do you think made the difference in terms of your writing career? Did you start advertising more, or was it a change in genre, or was it something nebulous you can't really account for? Anyway, good to hear a positive story come out of an otherwise dreary year.
I can point to a few things, career wise. The biggest? I stopped writing what I thought would sell, and started writing books that I'd want to read. Basically, I aligned my genre to my own personality and interests and it made all the difference. All the pieces fell into place. The mailing list, the marketing, the writing, the books, connecting with fans.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
DmGuay said:
Well, apart from the pandemic, 2020 was a banner year for me.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with a fatal, terminal aggressive cancer--out of the blue, since I'm young and otherwise the picture of health--that has very few treatments and no cure and usually kills people within the first year after diagnosis. Not only am I still alive, but ONE WEEK before the world shut down in March, I was declared NED. Which in cancer terms is "No Evidence of Disease." Which means there is no visible cancer left in my body on a CAT scan. Because of a new treatment that was FDA approved AFTER I was diagnosed. Only 5 percent of us get to NED. So it's a big deal, for a lot of reasons.
That is definitely a big deal. Great to hear that things are looking positive, and I hope you know that there's at least one oddball in VA who is hoping that things only get better from here. Seriously, congrats. Also, I never said it, but I always really liked your covers. Every time I see your posts I think, man, graveyard shift is a really stunning cover. It's super inspiring.

markpauloleksiw said:
My third novel, Time's Musicians, was published right before pandemic. The first review it got before the publication date was a 1 star! I almost gave up. Totally crazy. The novel is now a semi-finalist for the Booklife Prize!!!

Mark
You will have to let us know if you win! It sounds pretty great.
 

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I guess the best thing to happen to me this year was to be lucky enough to live in a country that's had a very good response to the pandemic, to the point where my state has now achieved elimination and hopefully the country as a whole will shortly do so too. I'm going out to have lunch at a restaurant today for the first time since March. I have always been grateful to live in this country, but this year more so than ever.

I also did 30 days off booze, which I was a bit worried I wouldn't have the willpower to do, but I actually found it relatively easy.

I got my first review in a real newspaper (or its online version, at least).

I've mostly finished my uni degree, pending a cancelled-and-now-uncancelled internship at a government agency which I'll now do in the first half of 2021. Though the weird thing is that my writing really started to become more profitable through the past few years of this degree which has me reconsidering the need to find a new day job career at all.
 

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Wow, DmGuay, congrats! I have been thinking about you on and off ever since you first announced you had cancer. I was surprised to often see you posting but with no mention of your cancer, which I assumed must be progressing. I didn't like to ask, since I assumed the news could only be bad. This is like a miracle cure!
 

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Covid aside. This year has been great for me, though not in terms of sales. I've not written anything for 2 years, but this year I've completed almost 2 books of a trilogy. (3 chapters to go) My biggest worry was I am struggling with funds to publish, when out of the blue, Natalia posted on here with free development edits to build a portfolio before charging and she's done the first book and she will get the second book this week. It's made my year, considering I've had a 2 year lay off. If I can get the 3rd book done before Christmas, 2021 will be off to a great start.
 

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DmGuay said:
I can point to a few things, career wise. The biggest? I stopped writing what I thought would sell, and started writing books that I'd want to read. Basically, I aligned my genre to my own personality and interests and it made all the difference. All the pieces fell into place. The mailing list, the marketing, the writing, the books, connecting with fans.
This is great news for you--congrats! My own efforts along that line haven't yet led to the same results as yours, but I'm hopeful that there IS a niche-market out there for my stuff. 8)
 

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NikOK said:
That is definitely a big deal. Great to hear that things are looking positive, and I hope you know that there's at least one oddball in VA who is hoping that things only get better from here. Seriously, congrats. Also, I never said it, but I always really liked your covers. Every time I see your posts I think, man, graveyard shift is a really stunning cover. It's super inspiring.

You will have to let us know if you win! It sounds pretty great.
It did not win its category. Finished one of top 5 in Teen and Young Adult/Middle Grade category. It gives me an extra tool in the marketing tool box!
 

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Jena H said:
This is great news for you--congrats! My own efforts along that line haven't yet led to the same results as yours, but I'm hopeful that there IS a niche-market out there for my stuff. 8)
Well, write to market still applies in this. As in, make sure your covers, story and blurb grab the people in your market. But I really believe it works. Even in small niches, there are enough people hungry for stories to make a living, and you can own the charts.

You do also still have to learn ads (master one platform at a time), and do a mailing list. But it is easier to know what to say and how to say it, if you're speaking to a community of fans wherein you are a fan as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
markpauloleksiw said:
It did not win its category. Finished one of top 5 in Teen and Young Adult/Middle Grade category. It gives me an extra tool in the marketing tool box!
Top 5 is a big deal. Congrats! I'm glad that it payed off to stick with your book.
 

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DmGuay said:
I can point to a few things, career wise. The biggest? I stopped writing what I thought would sell, and started writing books that I'd want to read. Basically, I aligned my genre to my own personality and interests and it made all the difference. All the pieces fell into place. The mailing list, the marketing, the writing, the books, connecting with fans.
That's cool, thank you for answering. Good advice here.
 
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