2023 in Review, 2024 Look Ahead
As my first full year back in the self-publishing game, a ton happened in 2023. It’s always tempting for me to always look ahead at what else needs to be done, rather than looking back at what’s already been accomplished. This post is my attempt to do both.
2023 in Review
The below list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure I’m leaving a bunch of stuff out, but here’s the high spots of all the writerly stuff that happened in 2023:
- I published three new books in the Danny Diamond Erotic Mysteries series – Sticky Fingers (#1.1), The Kitty That Got the Cream (#1.2), and She Looked Good in Pearls (#1.3). They were novelette-length works, but still. A book is a book.
- I broke into the Vella serialization game with the three aforementioned titles. Vella actually happened to be a good chunk of revenue for the year, so it turned out to be a good more.
- I produced my first ever audiobook, an audio version of The Money Shot. I also assisted with the production of an audio version of my freebie, “Body Count.”
- I participated in my first-ever short story anthology (for charity, no less!), Tumbling Down the Rabbit Hole, a collection of Alice in Wonderland-inspired erotic stories. My contribution, “Bounce,” was also the start of what will likely be another book series (more on that below).
- I started my newsletter, Logan’s Café Américain, which was a game-changer for sales and marketing.
- I built my website.
- I upskilled a metric fuck-ton in graphic design, image manipulation, and ebook building.
- I went from being Amazon-only to going wide in my distribution. Turns out that might have been a wasted effort, but more on that later.
- I started writing on Medium. Skylar Quinn deserves a shout-out for brow-beating me into taking the plunge and writing “Hundos” on the platform. Some months have been more successful than others, but I did serialize some of my stories on the platform, and two of my original pieces got boosted, which was some nice affirmation.
- In partnership with Agent Ranch Hand, I started a new MFM series on Medium called “Crushed.” It features a new female erotica author every other week at the center of my and Ranch’s amorous attention.
- Probably most importantly, though, I built some amazing friendships. Seriously, this writing community is phenomenal. More than all the other writing successes, this is the one I take the most pride in. The community is everything. Without these people, I wouldn’t have accomplished half as much as I did this year. You know who you all are (especially because I called you out in a special Hundo the other day).
Sales numbers are only going to tell part of the story, but 2023 was the first year where I started putting some real effort into writing and marketing. I also put a number of additional titles out there, so it’s no wonder that 2023 was better than prior years. There were multiple sales vectors that went into my final numbers, and ebook sales from Amazon was just one of them. But I do feel this graphic tells the story pretty well.
2024 Look Ahead
OK, so I know this is a heck of a list, but hear me out. We are manifesting this shit into the universe. I’ve got them listed in the order that I plan to tackle them, but I’m sure this plan will get shot to shit in no time. Here we go:
- I’ve got a Danny Diamond origin story in the works called, “The Black Noel,” (DDEM #0.1). I was hoping to be able to do a surprise release before Christmas, but it didn’t work out that way due to life, holidays, and a fucking midlife crisis I didn’t see coming down the pike. I’d still like to get this one in the can and out into the wild, so I’m thinking of releasing it in the new year, regardless of its seasonal timeliness.
- Another Danny Diamond story is underway, this one a novella called Old Flames Never Die (DDEM #1.4). I’m about 6k words into this 30-35k word story, so it’ll be a while until this one is ready for public consumption. However, it *is* on the docket for 2024.
- Old Flames Never Die will round out the #1.X “between novels” run of stories, which will then be collected into a short story collection called Cherchez La Femme. In addition to the typical ebook treatment, this one will also get a print version.
- As I mentioned before, I’ve had an audio version of my freebie “Body Count” available for some time. However, some of the audio is a tad rough, so Ellie Desyre re-recorded her parts for the story. I will be “upskilling” yet again by trying my hand at audio production to incorporate the revised audio into the existing production.
- After Old Flames Never Die, I’m going back to novel-writing. Hopefully. This time, it’ll be a prequel, a Danny Diamond origin story, if you will. It’s called, The Little Death, and will tell the story of Diamond’s first private case and how he became the jaded asshole he is. I’m a little reticent to commit to a 2024 release date on this one, but it’s all plotted out, so perhaps it’ll go quickly. Fingers crossed, right?
- Assuming the “Body Count” reproduction goes well, I plan to do the same thing for “Sticky Fingers.” Ms. Desyre has recorded the lines for that entire story already, so it’s really just waiting on me to dedicate the time to it. Hopefully, if all goes well, we should be able to get another Danny Diamond audiobook on the market.
- My Through the Looking Glass retelling, Bounce was anthologized in Tumbling Down the Rabbit Hole, an erotic Alice in Wonderland anthology. In February of 2024, I’ll be able to republish it as a stand-alone story, and I’d like to use it as the springboard for a new series of dark fairytale retellings with Derek and the Wonderland strip club as the setting. The South Florida Crime Story has been a long-standing sub-genre in the Mystery/Crime realm, and I think this a perfect opportunity to do my own spicy take. Derek Ryder is also a great freaking character that I don’t want to let go of just yet.
- Danny Diamond Erotic Mystery #1.2, “The Kitty That Got the Cream,” is most likely coming to Medium as a serial as well. In the name of expanding my reader base, I’m thinking I might NOT publish it through the Ranch Hand Agency (as reluctant as I am to say that). I’m trying to find a good home for it, and once I do, it will join “Sticky Fingers” and “She Looked Good in Pearls” on Medium.
- The “Crushed” series continues into the New Year with stories featuring Harlot O. Scara, Suzy Vella, and Vivienne Hawthorne. We’re also considering publishing some of the stories as ebooks, so that’s something to look forward to as well.
- I don’t even know what exactly we’re writing, but I’m really, really excited about this one. My writing partner, Vivian Blake, and I have decided that we need to do a collaboration. Knowing us, it’ll probably be at least novella length. And paranormal-ish. And murder-y. And Spicy. But other than that, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m beyond stoked.
- I’m also signed up for a Medium collaboration with JA Martin and Vivienne Hawthorne called, The Darkest Heart of Vegas. It’s a contemporary erotic thriller set in – you guessed it – Las Vegas. Each of the authors will write the first person scenes for a different main character. Mine is the evil mob boss who runs a sex club (and other things) in Sin City. I’m really looking forward to this one, as it’ll let me flex some villain muscle. It also promises to be one hell of a story.
- While we’re on the topic of Medium, I still plan to do “Hundos” (the hundred-word stories) through Crush Pub Hundo Edition going forward, but I’m likely not to hit the daily cadence that I was doing before (sorry, Skylar). I love the Hundos. They’ve been fun and fairly lucrative in the past, but my heart is with some of the other projects I’ve outlined above. So the Hundos will continue, just not at a very reliable pace so as to make room for the other projects.
- Finally, I might be going Amazon-only again. I know, I know. I just went wide. I’m still trying to decide on strategy at this point. But the numbers are bad. At least, for other distribution channels. My books have been “wide” at this point for 3 months, and I’ve sold a total of 4 copies. In that same period I’ve sold 47 on Amazon. So does it make sense to forego the Amazon sales tools and freebie promotions to sell a whopping 4 copies on other platforms? I’m thinking no. Clearly most people want to buy through Amazon regardless. So we’ll see what happens. At the very least, I will likely end up bringing The Money Shot back to Kindle Unlimited, as a full read-through of that one nets a decent payout. The rest of them are too short to bring in much, so they might stay wide. We’ll see.
So like I said, that’s a freakin’ lot. If I get 70% of it accomplished in 2024, I’ll be a happy man. Just don’t hold me to any of it too rigidly, OK?
Till next time…
Be seein’ you, kid.