New Year status report 2024

This is my eleventh year of writing up the status of my writing – see 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Don’t think anyone read last year’s but if I cared about an audience I’d have given up any form of writing years ago.

So what happened this year, writing-wise?

Space Cat Press issued a call for submissions, and as I’d had stories included in their two previous anthologies I wanted to keep the streak going.

I started writing in February, but my first attempt was way too long (about 6000 words when the limit was 3000) and I didn’t see how I’d be able to cut it down by 50% without ruining it. My second attempt was just blah. Phoned in, written by numbers, nothing worthwhile about it whatsoever. My third attempt had a certain amount of potential, and it took some extensive structural edits from Siobhan Logan to give it an ending that didn’t just fizzle out, but it made it into the anthology.

Bark & Bone book cover

It’s safe to say that the words weren’t flowing this year. And those three stories (two of which weren’t even worth sending out) were the sum total of my output.

The story I had published in Space Cat’s Severed Souls anthology, Call of the Void, was included in the Best of British Science Fiction anthology for 2022, so I did have two publications – one new, one reprint.

Apart from that, in May I completed another draft of my Greek mythology novel, Lykaon, which is an expansion of a short section of the Iliad where a young prince of Troy is captured by Achilles, sold into slavery, eventually ransomed, and returns home, only to face Achilles again – right after the death of Patroclus. Once I was happy with the draft, I started sending it out to agents.

Months and month later, and I’ve got nothing to show for it but a handful of form rejections and a lot of being ghosted by agents. I think there are still half a dozen outstanding submissions, but when those inevitably come to nothing I don’t think I’m going to bother with any more.

If I can work up the enthusiasm I may self-publish it, but for someone with my complete lack of marketability or marketing nous that’s just another way for no-one to read my work.

My published novels? They’re dead. Single-figure sales in a six-month period for each book. But then, they never sold much in the first place. Each has sold barely 500 copies in total since publication back in 2016.

I don’t have any specific plans for writing in 2024. We’ll see what happens.