Saturday, January 5, 2019

What a Year That Was!

Since we’ve turned the page on another new year, I find myself reflecting on the one we just put to bed. It’s been a while since I’ve witnessed so much drama, anxiety, highs and lows—and then there’s the current state of the world. In retrospect, it’s safe to say that my life in 2018 was like a rollercoaster ride through hell.

I began the year by taking a job as the editor for a local arts and entertainment tabloid. I had been freelancing for them for a few years when the publisher reached out with the offer of full-time employment. It was challenging, to say the least. Have you heard the expression “I love my job, it’s the work I hate”? I can rephrase that to “I loved my job, it was the boss I hated.” I lasted nine months working for a guy who made the Marquis de Sade look like Mother Theresa. I finally realized that I didn’t come out of retirement to be verbally abused every day, so we agreed that I would go back to freelancing and copy editing from home. Three weeks later, he ceased publication. The two events weren’t connected, even though my ego would like to think they were.

Soon after, I landed a gig writing for three suburban weekly newspapers. The assignments were plentiful and I was getting into the flow when one day, the publisher decided he was closing up shop, too. I couldn’t catch a break! Fortunately for me, a friend of mine is the editor for another community paper, and he’s been giving me some work when it’s available.

Along the way, I did manage to release three books. Two were shorts, part of my publisher’s summer and holiday Stocking Stuffers series. “Beauty and the Beach” (Key West Heat series) and “Cupid Says Happy New Year” did respectably well, considering that I didn’t really put much promotional muscle behind them.

The one full-length novel I released, “The Other Woman” (Vic Fallon Book Four) turned out to be a major disappointment, though. This is probably one of the best romantic mysteries I’ve written, with a compelling plot, realistic characters, humor, and some genuine “Gotcha!” moments. It’s also incredibly sensual and erotic. I hired a publicist that I’ve used in the past, and I had high expectations. This time, though, she really fumbled the ball on the goal line. A month-long promo campaign produced nothing in the way of sales or reviews. I’m currently re-launching this one in hopes of finding an audience. I’m also looking for a different publicist, one who will actually deliver the goods. If you know of one who can do that, please let me know.  

One good thing that did happen with that release was that for the first time, my publisher made it available in paperback as well as e-book. I did cartwheels over this one because it allowed me to get back into some indie bookstores and book festivals that I’d been locked out of with digital only. I did three in the last part of the year and already have several more scheduled for 2019. 

I also used my second post-retirement time to work on this year’s releases in all of the series I’m involved with. The Summer Shorts installment is ready for submission, I’m working on the holiday story, and my next Nick Seven thriller is pretty much completed. I’m also preparing to launch my own blog site. When it goes live, I’m sure I’ll be reaching out to some of you to be guest bloggers. Stay tuned.  

Here’s hoping that the new year will be a damn sight better than the last one, for everyone.  

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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.



Tina Donahue said...

Wow, you did have an awful year. Crappy bosses are the worst. Hopefully, there's karma when it comes to them.

Congrats on getting your releases out.

Hope 2019 is a banner year for you. :)

Harlie Williams said...

I've had some crappy bosses so I hear you. Hopefully, this year is better for you.

As a blogger, I've worked with some doozies when it comes to publicists. I hope that you find one that actually works for you. I've dropped too many publicists lately. Which is unfortunate because they don't realize that they are hurting not only the author but the bloggers as well.


Tim Smith said...

Tina, there was definitely some karma with the boss. He's currently involved in some law suits involving money, and there's talk that some of his former female editors filed harassment complaints. Luckily he didn't owe me any cash when he shut the doors.

Harlie, I'm pretty much at my wit's end regarding publicists. The last one seems to think that if the book didn't catch on, it wasn't her fault. I tend to disagree, and feel that she didn't know how to effectively market a romantic mystery written by a man.

Fiona McGier said...

I"m just jealous that you can retire and spend so much time on your writing. I'm still working 2 jobs, which I'd gladly trade for 1, if I could find something that paid even slightly better than starvation wages. Luckily my husband did find another job half-way through last year...but still, he says we've got about 4-5 years to go until retirement. I don't know if I can stand the yelling that my characters are doing in my head, since I don't have time to write their stories...for another 5 years?!?

Good luck with the new book. It looks like just the thing to heat up the cold winter nights, here in the Midwest.

Harlie Williams said...

@Tim, she didn't do her job. I have read some very good, if not better, romantic mysteries written by a man.