As we close out another year, I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about 2014.
There were some amazing highs. For instance, Wizard being able to retire, and BLB’s (youngest son) graduation with his B.A. and a few other things. On the professional side of things, I did a little math…. Before I get to that, I need to tell you that I didn’t keep a cumulative total of all my unit sales on the Plus One Chronicles, which includes The Proposition, Possession, Obsession and The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set. So as this year closed, I took the total money I made off the books (Yeah, I tracked that, LOL, for one thing, the IRS insists on it) and divided it by an averaged price point to get a ball park figure on total unit sales.
I was expecting between 50k and 75k.
I’ve sold WELL over 100K units of The Plus One Chronicles, and that does not include my subsidiary sales to Germany and Brazil this year. I was stunned. That is a career high that covered part of 2013 and 2014.
My career low for 2014? Writing Exposing The Heiress (Book 3 in the Once A Marine Series by Jennifer Apodaca) triggered serious burnout. Part of it was plain old fatigue and some of it was writing and rewriting that book to fit the changing needs of the publisher (that isn’t a criticism, that’s how publishing works). The book ended up consuming all my time, forcing me to push back all my other projects and causing me to lose momentum with readers. Letting down readers added to my frustration and that fed the burnout.
Burnout sucks. Self doubt sucks. I’m coming out of it now, but it’s been pretty miserable. So how did I get past it? Well I know people have all kinds of solutions; vacations, chocolate, writing exercises, change of scenery, help from friends, etc. But in the end three things really helped me:
Even when trying to write actually upset my stomach, NOT writing was worse. Which means that my PASSION outweighed the heavy dread and bitter self doubt that kept up a running dialogue in my head. I knew I loved writing and telling the stories of the characters living in my head. The idea of all those voices in my head forever silenced left me unbearably sad. I just had to rediscover my love of telling stories which brings me to:
Because no matter how burned out I was, I refused to give up. I kept at it, first determined to finish Exposing The Heiress (still need to hear back on the latest version, but that’s another blog), then I set about figuring out what projects I really wanted to write in 2015. Just because I love writing, doesn’t mean it’s easy and that’s why perseverance matters. Get ready, because this is the ranty part of the blog: Dreaming is easy, but achieving your dreams? It had better be so hard, so challenging that you have moments of doubt. You had better feel like you’re trudging up an impossible hill, in the snow with a pack of demons nipping at your heels while trolls are shooting flaming arrows at you and hyenas are bouncing around, laughing at your efforts.
Because when you make it to the top? It will be so freaking amazing, even the laughing hyenas, flame-shooting trolls and nipping demons will celebrate. There is nothing like the feeling of achieving a challenging dream. It’s a rush like nothing else with a chaser of pure satisfaction. But to get that, we have to strive hard for something that feels a bit out of our reach.
And if it’s not hard? Then you aren’t dreaming big enough.
Just as important, when that beautiful dream at the very tip of the impossible hill takes an inevitable slide (and it will, because life is full of ups and downs), you know what will save you? Say it with me now, “PERSEVERANCE.”
Okay now I’ll end that rant and let’s move onto the final thing that’s helping me come back from burnout:
3) SUPPORT. And that’s where all you guys come in. Thank YOU for the constant support! Additionally, I have Wizard, my family, my sister and friends. All of them have been there when I’ve chosen to talk about it. I don’t always do that because I think talking can morph into a habit of complaining that can become a slippery slope. A little venting and problem solving is good, too much weighs us down until we’re trapped in the same place. It’s a fine line, but I couldn’t do this without the supportive people around me.
So there you have a bit about my highs and lows this year. My goals for 2015 are to release CAGED MAGIC in the Wing Slayer Hunter Series and launch my very sexy, Savaged Illusions contemporary series. I’m dying to write that first book. It will be loosely tied to Sloane Michael’s world from The Plus One Chronicles but each book will be a stand alone story with a happy ending. It’s possible I’ll have more releases in 2015, but those two are my focus right now.
I hope you all have a safe New Year’s Eve and that 2015 rocks for all of us! If you’d like to share some of your highs and lows from 2014, I’d love to hear them!
Oh and FYI, I’m going to be offline doing some family stuff so I won’t post again until Monday.
December 31st, 2014 at 3:33 am · Link
What a nice reflection on your year. You didn’t hold back any of the pain and agony.
As I read it blasted out at me – “wonder where BLB got it from? ;)” – yup, you’re a great role model. No wonder you have such wonderful guys :).
I just got the new computer. Middle son will get me up and running by the weekend . I will be a very happy person.
I will be spending New Year’s Day in the kitchen. Crown roast for the gang – yum! It’s worth the time.
Happy New Year Everybody! Be safe and enjoy!
December 31st, 2014 at 8:34 am · Link
Wow, you totally rocked 2014! Even with the low spot – which you seemed to rock through, too. Pushing through self-doubt is one of the hardest things in the world, and you did it. Big kudos to you, Jenn. Your three things? Yep, yep and yep. You need all three to make it through. And a little mulishness for when passion feels low and perseverance is tapped out and no matter how much support you have, you feel like it’s all up hill. ;o)
I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for us all. We can totally rock this year. I’ll be self-publishing my first book – by mid-March :fingers crossed: – and if all goes well, another three by the end of the year. (If it goes really well, only two because that’ll mean the third got picked up by Baen.) My big low for 2014 came at the beginning when I wondered whether I should keep writing. The big high came in the last half when I took myself in hand and started busting butt on my work. And of course, making the decision to self-publish was a major high. =o)
December 31st, 2014 at 8:34 am · Link
Totally forgot to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! All the witches rock out the end of 2014 and stay safe! :HUGS:
December 31st, 2014 at 11:47 am · Link
This is why I want to be you when I grow up. Cause you seriously rock.
What a high! I knew the Plus One books were going to great when I read them. I knew it would put you up over the top. So happy for you! And I’m with B.E. on this one. You totally pushed through the slump and I just saw glimpses of it. As I think I’ve told you before…you got this!
2014 started out horrible, but once I tried writing, just one more time…bam! It hit and so many characters were talking to me I couldn’t decipher them all.
2015 for me? Busy, busy, busy! FUEL out in Jan, WRECK out in May, I was invited to do a summer anthology, KRUSH, will be this summer. And if all goes well and according to my master plan, 2 more before the year is out. Yeah, 5. I think I’m insane. But as you said, make it hard. Luckily, two are already written. So I’m almost halfway there already!
Have an awesome new year and enjoy your family! *hugs*
December 31st, 2014 at 1:11 pm · Link
Viki, I hope I didn’t overstate the case on the struggle but you know, I believe in being honest. There are incredible moments as an author, but nothing is perfect.
I’m so glad to hear you got your new computer! But still bummed that you had to buy another one. I really hope 2015 is a much better year for you.
Your New Years dinner sounds awesome! Hope you all have a special day together!
December 31st, 2014 at 1:13 pm · Link
B.E., it’s going to be an exciting year for you and I can’t wait!!! I know you’re going to have many highs to talk about by next New Years Eve!
I never quite feel like I’m “rocking” anything, but if you think so, I’ll accept that
Now let’s go take on 2015!
December 31st, 2014 at 1:15 pm · Link
You. Rock. Plan and simple. 2014 was a crazy year with high and lows that would give the world’s wildest rollercoaster a run for it’s money. Somehow, we all managed to persevere, passion intact, and yes, largely/mostly/absolutely due to the amazing support of family, friends, and fans. Your words resonate today, Jen, and I thank you for them!
A very Happy New Year to everyone! I’m aiming big for the year. We’ll see how that works out.
December 31st, 2014 at 1:19 pm · Link
Ashlynn, thank you! I’m not sure that’s true, but what I do want to do is share the journey so that none of us feels alone. The truth is that we don’t know what will work and what won’t–but we don’t know that nothing will happen unless we TRY
And talk about perseverance and determination! Look at you! You were so close to giving up and now you’re on the road to success! I’m thrilled for you!
Happy New Year!
December 31st, 2014 at 1:22 pm · Link
Silver, you’ve had an amazing year too! So much to celebrate. And COWGIRLS DON’T CRY is coming out in just days! Huge Congrats on that!
I’m glad my words resonated, thanks for saying that!
Now let’s make 2015 our best year ever!
December 31st, 2014 at 1:25 pm · Link
Jen, I’m so happy for you. As you know I loved the Plus One Chronicles and have been cheering you on since you released the first book. You created a wonderful inspiring couple who reflects all of the amazing parts of you. No wonder it did so well! Here’s to an even more amazing 2015! Cheers
December 31st, 2014 at 1:55 pm · Link
Karin, thank you! You’re a great friend that I value I’m very excited about your hot cops–they’re so alpha sexy! We’re both going to have an amazing 2015!
December 31st, 2014 at 2:33 pm · Link
What an awesome year Jen, so happy for you and so proud you were able push through your burnout!
I am so happy you’ll be continuing with the slayer series – Those were the first books I read by you, so they have a special spot in my heart.
My dream for 2015 is pretty big … I intend to finish Turning Point. It will be my very first finished story! I’ve been puttering with it the past 4 years but no more. I’m gonna dig in and get it done!!!
Best Wishes to you and your family
December 31st, 2014 at 8:06 pm · Link
Ban, thank you! I’m doing this Wing Slayer book for the fans, but the more I write, the more I love it all over again. And I know you’ll finish Turning Point and it will be amazing!
January 3rd, 2015 at 12:00 am · Link
Jenn I am so happy for your success with The Plus One Chronicles I am also so excited that you are returning to the Wing Slayer I do love that series. I will be here supporting you and speading the word with everything you write as I love it all. All the best happiness and success for 2015
January 4th, 2015 at 9:52 am · Link
Tracie, thank you so much. Your support means so much to me. You have a great 2015 too!