In the words of John Lennon, what exactly have I done with 2011? Well one of the most important things to me has always been writing and up until this year, it's something I'd neglected for a long time, for a variety of reasons. And then my wonderful dad bought me a kindle in early February and I don't think he'll ever realise how much he changed my life. It probably doesn't mean much to most of you, but apart from being a great present, it opened so many doors to me into the world of indie publishing. Suddenly I don't need to be commercial. I don't need to sell thousands of books, to prove to a traditional publisher I can earn back an advance.
So in February I released my thriller Hamelin's Child and a collection of short stories Maniac onto Amazon's kindle platform, followed by a young adult fantasy Edge of Dreams later on in the year. A bit more formatting and they were soon on Smashwords platform too - and from there distributed to Sony, Barnes & Noble, WHSmith, Apple and all the major e-book retailers. I've worked with some great cover designers and taken out some online adverts - which more than paid for themselves in volume of sales. It's been a steep learning curve but I've sold thousands more books than I ever imagined I would and had fantastic reviews from people all over the world - strangers I've never met and who have no vested interest in being nice to me. I've even had fan email. And I'm writing again and loving it all.
The negatives: the near implosion of the British Fantasy Society, seeing friends hurt and egos inflated, realising that the internet can sometimes be a bad place and that some laundry really should be cleaned in private. Hard lessons and ones that make me less likely to volunteer my time and experience in the future. But I've also strengthened friendships and come out wiser and in the end probably happier.
My teenage daughter made her tv debut as an extra on Waterloo Road this year. Tiny acorns, those fleeting seconds on screen, but she's set for a stage career and let's face it, she has as good a chance of a job in the entertainment industry as anywhere else these days. And hubby finally got his stained glass business up and running after more than five years renovating the outbuildings (he's not that slow, but he had to start by underpinning the entire building with reinforced concrete, rebuilding much of the walls and putting on a new roof). So Moulton Glass now has a proper home and he is already making local sales.
And what for 2012? My resolutions are as follows:
- To stop procrastinating, get bum on seat, computer off facebook and actually write
- To stop being embarrassed about what I do. I find it hard to promote myself - especially as I write some dark and graphic stuff. But I need to learn to be proud of myself and my successes. I AM A WRITER. More than that: I AM A BLOODY GOOD WRITER!