August 2023 Reflection

One of these months I’ll manage to post to this blog regularly for things BESIDES just analyzing how I did during the month. Apparently, August 2023 was not that time. I keep telling myself I’m going to post to social media more, actually film some of the (amazing, if I say so myself) TikToks I have rolling around in my head, and post more to this blog. I’m obviously not doing as much of that as I want. This is exactly why having secret goals was never a good idea, I suppose. 

Anyway, let’s talk about actual progress for August. 

If you’ve been following along with the blog then you already know that for 2023 I’ve left myself a big BLANK page of year long goals. The idea was to add to it as things took my focus and watch the page fill. I’m LOVING this strategy. What was a blank page on January 1 is now looking beautifully full. However, I’ve managed to accomplish EVERYTHING I put on the little checklists for each of the projects I planned to work on in 2023. In fact, ⅔ of them are already available for purchase and the last one is available for preorder. So … successful! 

Side Note: There is actually ONE BOX LEFT but it’s the release box on the Hitman Project (real title: How to Schedule a Death) and that will get checked on September 9th!

In all honesty, if you’re a regular to the blog you’ll also notice this is the EXACT SAME PICTURE AS JULY. That doesn’t mean I did nothing in August. It just means I did nothing that I’m willing to commit to a permanent project. More on that in a bit. 

In addition to my large blank page for goals for the year, I also have monthly ones. These are where I can break things down a little more for myself. In August those goals were to open preorder for How to Schedule a Death (lovingly known as the Hitman project for obvious reasons haha) and to get the preorder newsletter out to followers of the newsletter. I managed to do both of those things AND post the wrap up for July on the blog, so those are all checked off. 

As for preorders of How to Schedule a Death, let’s talk about those. The book officially released on September 9th (I’ve said that before, I’ll probably say it again). Preorders for physical SIGNED copies with me through this website have been a little slower than I typically see for a release. I attribute that (positively) to the content warning doing its job. I normally write young adult titles where you can be reasonably assured nothing will pop into the story that is disturbing unless it is central to the main plot. This book is radically different and I knew that going in. It’s my first title for an adult audience, it’s dark, and it deals with some seriously controversial topics. I made the choice to front page that content warning and have it on all the marketing material to keep my regular readers SAFE. If that costs me preorders, I’m FINE with that. 

I will say, however, that this book is proving to reach the people who weren’t readers of my young adult stuff. That is to say it’s finding its audience. We’ve had quite a few paperback and hardcover preorders through other channels. Actually, the paperback finished August #33 on the August Ingram seller list for the category of Fiction/Thrillers/Suspense (which is a HUGE category). I won’t see ebook preorders in the same way (those populate on release day) but I’m sure it’s finding preorders there as well. 

So, all that to say, THANK YOU to everyone who has preordered the title. DO NOT feel guilty if you check that content warning and cannot handle it. It’s finding its audience and doing well. Your mental health is more important! If, however, you are a reader of thrillers that tend into dark territories who can handle the content warnings … it’s getting GREAT reviews from ARC readers and you may really enjoy it. Preorders through this website will be signed and come with some swag. 

Besides those August goals, I did some work in the vein of figuring out what the heck comes next for 2023. I had two decent sized sessions with the Apocalypse Project in August. I took a look at that outline in July and tried to rework it again (you may remember). I thought I had found the solution. I didn’t finish the outline, but I was feeling good enough and inspired enough to dive in and get started. Writing is going well. However, to be transparent, I let the writing flow and it DIDN’T follow the outline. Heck, it didn’t follow any of the previous three outlines either. The chapters are all things I considered, basically, and wanted in the project. But they’re not coming out in the order I thought they would. I don’t know what this means for the book, YET, but it’s just another way this project has been a complete pain in the butt from the beginning. 

I also wrote just over 1,100 words in the idea journal. I do this from time-to-time just to get ideas that don’t have a project attached to them out of my head. I noticed, when writing this one this month, that it’s NOT the first time I’ve used the same recurring character in a random scene in the idea journal. She’s appeared at least three times in the last year. Likely, that means Tamara (not a fully committed name, at this point) may likely get a story of her own at some point. Nothing is concrete yet, but she’s obviously a character who isn’t fading quietly into the background of my mind. 

Overall, August ends with 10,836 words (most of which were book reviews, more on that in a second) for an average of about 349 per day. I edited 3 chapters in August, but that’s not really even worth mentioning since it’s a ridiculously small number. 

So, those book reviews transition well into the topic of how my August was for reading. If you normally think I read a lot … brace yourself. August was a LOT. In fact, August tied March for the number of books read, beating everything else in 2023. 

I added another 14 books to the log this month, putting my 2023 total to 95. This breaks down to about 152 pages per day, which is good because I like to be over 100. The oldest book I read this month was published in 2002 and the newest was an advanced reader copy of a title releasing in 2023. 

The quick breakdowns of things people often ask …

  • 5 Young Adult
  • 9 Adult
  • 2 Mystery/Thriller
  • 5 Fantasy
  • 2 Romance
  • 2 Horror
  • 1 Historical Fiction
  • 1 Nonfiction
  • 1 Paranormal
  • 6 Independently Published (that’s 43%)
  • 4 ebooks
  • 9 audiobooks
  • 1 paperback
  • 0 hardcovers 

Ok, before you ask, I’m aware the audiobooks are insanely high. I listened to/read more audiobooks in August than I even read in any format in July. This has two reasons. First, school is back in session around here. That means sitting in parent pickup and drop off lanes. It means more driving in the car by myself after dropping my child at school. I listened to audiobooks while I’m driving alone, I always have. So it naturally picks up in August. But this is even more than it has been in previous years. That’s because of the second reason, my job. My day job has recently had a small shift in my role. I’m now handling internet orders for the bookstore. That means during the day I have the relatively mindless task of packing those orders. They’re already found, they’re already labeled as being for the right person. They just have to be packaged so I can ship them. I listen to audiobooks now while I’m packing those orders. On a busy day, that’s about an hour of straight listening. It’s fantastic!

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming. No books received a 1 star. 1 books was 2-star (problematic), 7 were 3-star (more niche than wide appeal), 6 were 4-star (GREAT books if you read that genre) and no titles were 5-star (genre crossing). 

So, in conclusion:

  • Preorders are open (and doing well) for How to Schedule a Death
  • The Apocalypse Project draft is coming along nicely
  • A recurring character keeps popping up in my idea journal, which may turn into something later
  • I read a shocking number of audiobooks in August, which actually forced me to add a few more audio options to my TBR just in case this continues

Moving into September I have the same basic overarching goals I did in August. I’m hoping to carve out more time for writing, keep up the progress on reading, and maybe make some more progress on that darn Apocalypse Project. Wish me luck!

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