2016 in review: a year of successes and some trial and error


My annual year-in-review post is always enlightening for me. It allows me to keep a history of what I’ve done (I often refer to past year’s reviews) and to evaluate what occurred. When I lay it all out there, I gain useful insights that I apply to the next year. 2016 was my “try it” year. I had decided I was going to experiment to see what worked.

I’d written a pretty extensive business plan, and overall I’m satisfied with what I accomplished. While I didn’t do everything on “my list,” I achieved all my priorities, and I had the flexibility to take advantage of some pretty significant unforeseen opportunities that came my way. My biggest news of the year, I guess, is that I hit the USA Today Bestseller list.

Here are the other highlights of 2016:

Final 2D_BoundSpankedLoved_medium

Bound, Spanked & Loved hit the USA Today bestseller list!

11 book releases –  6 new titles and 5 re-releases. I had no idea I’d released this many books until I started writing this post. It averaged out to one per month, except for August and December!

  • January – Mated with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 2) – new
  • February – Bound, Spanked & Loved  (multiple author anthology) – new
  • March – Captured by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 3) – new
  • April – Educating His Bride, historical spanking romance – re-release
  • May – Portals, vol. 2, sci-fi romance multiple author anthology -1st chapter excerpts of previously published work
  • June – Trapped with Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 4) – new
  • July – Destiny’s Chance, reincarnation paranormal – re-release
  • September – Married to the Cyborgnew  FREE to newsletter subscribers (click here to subscribe & get the book).
  • September – Domestic Discipline, two-story single author anthology, Rahm’s Way & Wife on the Lam, re-release
  • October –Pets in Space, multiple author science fiction anthology – new
  • November – Body Talk, single author anthology/sampler of sex scene excerpts – previously published material

Awards & Honors

  • My co-authors and I hit the USA Today Bestseller List with Bound, Spanked & Loved
  • Pets in Space was named the Best Book of 2016 in genre fiction by the Library Journal.
  • Gravetells Book Awards nominated me for Most Engaging Author
  • Trapped with the Cyborg took 2nd place in the Readers Choice Poll by Jo & Isa Love Books
  • Irresistible Attractions was a finalist for a Golden Flogger Award, Best BDSM book of the year.

Words written in 2016 – 203,114

Marketing and Promotion

Pets in Space

Pets in Space was named Best Book of 2016 in genre fiction by the Library Journal.

My plan for the year was to try many new things, which I did. Some campaigns/tactics were successful, some were not. Tactics included:

  •  Multi-author prize giveaway campaigns
  • Extending book distribution to include iBooks & Kobo (previously had used only Amazon, BN & ARe).
  • Many 99-cent sales on backlisted books
  • Paid advertising on Facebook, book newsletters, book review/blog sites
  • Offered contests, games & prize giveaways
  • Virtual book tours for every book release
  • Submitted books for review to bloggers
  • Joined NetGalley
  • Joined Instagram, ending the year with 386 followers and making 101 posts.
  • Produced books graphics (learned to use Canva!)
  • Participated in author take-over events on FB
  • Wrote and distributed 24 author newsletters
  • Increased newsletter subscriber base from 508 to 1,995. My goal was 2,000 subs. I didn’t quite hit the mark, but I think I can round up and call it good.
  • Blogged, posted on FB, and Tweeted

Blogging highlights

  • Blog posts – 267
  • I posted my 1,500th blog on Dec. 19, 2016 (First blog posted on April 16, 2010)
  • Blog visits/page views in 2016: 52,127/67,291
  • Total blog visits/page views to date (2010-2016): 513,296/802,032
  • Sometime during the year, carabristol.com had its 500,000th visit (half a million).

Personal notes

  • My husband and I took a week’s vacation to Colonial Williamsburg
  • We bought a new SUV
  • I went to Florida with my mom.
  • I spent the last six months of the year helping my mother who suffered a series of surgeries, injuries & illnesses (knee replacement, broken foot, foot surgery, spinal disc infection, pneumonia, bowel infection).
  • I read 64 books

Goals for 2017

I plan to focus exclusively on science fiction romance and spend more time marketing fewer books.   I will wrap up the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series with Carter’s story, and begin a new sooper sekrit sci-fi romance series. As I write this, I’m working on a brand new alien sci-fi romance. I’ve accepted an invitation to participate in two SFR anthologies. I have some backlisted books I need to re-release and/or update. I plan to trim my newsletter subscriber list, deleting inactive subscribers and then growing the list organically. And, I will pursue new advertising opportunities.

What are you most proud of that occurred in 2016?

What are your goals for 2017?

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8 Responses to 2016 in review: a year of successes and some trial and error

  1. Congrats on all your successes in 2016! I’m looking forward to this new series! 🙂

  2. Lisa Medley says:

    Such a good year overall! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. I’m rooting for you!

  3. Laurel Lasky says:

    I am getting more and more into Sci-Fi I think it’s the flavor of the month or year.
    I’ve read about 500 books, beat my goal on goodyears reading challenge and will up my books in 2017. I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which will be a new challenge. It does give me more time for reading, which is a wonderful way to escape the real world for a while.
    I’m sure you will have a successful year. Hugs Laurel

  4. Wow, what an awesome and successful year. Thanks for sharing and congrats.

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