The Year 9 Update

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time for my annual update post.  First I’ll go over my goals and accomplishments for the year, and then my plans going forward.

One of my goals for this year was to catch up on my ebook publishing backlog that had built up since my last big push in 2014.  Additionally, my first book “A (Wise) Man of Two Faces” was no longer being offered through it’s original publisher and would need to be re-released.  All told, I had 5 ebooks to publish in 2018, and I completed them all on-schedule!

Here are the new additions to my ebook family:

                

All of these are listed in Store page of my website, as well on my Amazon Author page at:  https://www.amazon.com/author/deuscain

Secondly, I continued my proofreading and editing work with Vysoko Anime Production this year, and helped them release a new game:  Crystal Chameleon!  It’s a Sci-Fi Cyberpunk Visual Novel based in a future where telepathic powers are common-place.

  

Crystal Chameleon is available online in the following stores:
Itch (for Windows) – https://milankazarka.itch.io/crystal-chameleon
Apple App Store (for IOS) – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/crystal-chameleon-visual-novel/id1440422725?mt=8

And thirdly, I was approached by Z Publishing about submitting work for their Emerging Author series of books.  I sent in entries several of their options, and was chosen to be published in their fiction and non-fiction anthologies.

    

You can purchase these two books from their website, but I have a special referral link provided to me as one of their writers:  http://www.zpublishinghouse.com?rfsn=1603840.27060  It would mean a lot to me if you considered picking up a copy using my link.

Finally, it’s time to discuss my plans for 2019 and going forward.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t released much content in the past few years.  In fact, my post of writing content released on December 29th of 2016 – nearly two full years ago.  Some of it’s due to me taking a break in 2017, some of it’s due to publishing this year, but…

But the reality is:  writing doesn’t mean the same thing to me anymore, and publishing content on a regular basis isn’t something I want to do anymore.

I’ve been writing and my website for 9 years now, and actively writing on a schedule for 7 of those years.  And I don’t think I’ve missed or been late for a scheduled post since 2011.  I’ve also done my own self-publishing of nine books in two formats, mirrored content to backup blogs, performed at open mic nights, wrote and scheduled my own online advertising and social media marketing, and a ran patreon campaign – all on top of writing content.

And while this has been a labor of love, it has not been profitable.  In a good year, I make enough selling books to need to pay taxes on them – which excludes me from the free tax preparation services and costs more to file than I earn selling books.  I’ve advertised Patreon heavily during periods of the last nine years, but that campaign has never taken off.  I’ve poured myself out over and over again trying to make this content and this business model work, and it…just…doesn’t.  It doesn’t work for me, for my life, or for my future.  It’s turned into a time sink that I beat myself up for no doing more all while the work I am putting in doesn’t pay dividends.

So, it’s time to make some changes around here.  What does that mean for me, for us, and for this website.

  1. First, I will no longer be writing and releasing content to this website.  If I work on other projects, I may post about it here so please continue following if you’re interested in what I’ll be working on next.
  2. Second, I am shutting down Patreon – effective immediately.  I don’t feel right asking for money from people on that service if I’m not producing content.
  3. Third, I’m no longer going to be uploading content to any of my backup blogs or websites (like Tumblr).  If you’re not reading there, this won’t affect you.
  4. Fourth, I will continue to offer my paperbacks, ebooks, and merch to those who are interested.  Those links will remain active on this site, Amazon, and Society 6.
  5. Fifth and finally, I will suspend all my online advertising through social media.  I’ll pin a big redirect posts on them for those who are interested, but please come back here for any new announcements.

This hasn’t been an easy decision to make, but it has been a necessary one.

Thank you – all of you – for your support over the years.

Daniel A. Meyer
Deuscain

The yearly update – year 8

With December coming around again, it’s time for another one of my annual updates.  At the end of 2016, I said I wanted to take 2017 to step back from writing on a schedule, and catch up on some projects.  So, how did I do?

1) The merch store

I launched my merchandise store in mid-February, blowing away my goal to complete it by the end of the year.  I prepared dozens of products for the announcement in five different designs based on my work and several book cover designs.  The store is located at:  https://society6.com/deuscain

Here’s a sample of some of the products I’m offering:

2) Publishing

My goal was to complete the in-progress 2014 paperback and release the book of my 2106 work in early 2017.  I released “2014:  The Year of Labours” in early February, but I didn’t make my goal for the second book.  However, I completed it this fall after many months of work, and I’m proud of myself for finishing it.  As previously announced, it will release next week on the 11th on both Amazon and CreateSpace, and is priced at $9.99.
   and   

However, my publishing goals for this year also included catching up on my ebook backlog, and that did not happen at all.  I’ve still got five ebooks left to publish, including the soon-to-be-release “Year of Lessons”, and I haven’t started any of them.  Why?  Well, that’s all tied up in the next topic.

3) Writing

This time last year, I said I was suspending my writing schedule, but that I would continue to release content on an irregular basis.  And that has not happened, at all.  I have not published any new written content since December of last year, nor have I written anything, and…there have been some reasons for that.

I’ve mentioned in several posts in the past that I suffer from some mention health issues, up to and including depression.  And while I started the year off swinging with the one-two punch of the merch store and “The Year of Labours”, I got to the end of February – and I just hit a wall.

I had issue after issue come up that sapped my time and my energy to such a degree that even normal, planned events became crushingly stressful to me.  It took me nearly the entire month of March to schedule an appointment with a local tax service and file this year, which is very unusual for me.  Then I spent April and May shopping for and eventually buying a new car to replace my aging Honda Civic sedan (which handled the Pennsylvanian winters we get ’round here oh-so-well).  And following that, I struggled for months to rebalance my budget and spending habits around car loans for the first time in half a decade.

And months of major financial decisions and worrying about money does not a productive writer make.

There’s a part of me that wants to apologize for that – for not being able to be the writer I know I can be, and that I feel like I should be for the community that enjoys and supports my work.  But there’s also a part of me that’s trying to be compassionate for how terribly human I’ve been and felt this year.  And that part keeps reminding me that taking time off from writing was (and still is) about taking care of myself, and not trying to overdo it.

4) So what else?

I have been slowly working on some premium content for Patreon supporters (yes, I have a Patreon – you can visit it here).

In April I finished a small project of desktop and mobile wallpapers that I created using my book covers.  They are still up, in all their glory, for people who support me at the $5 or above tiers on Patreon.

I’ve also purchased some audio recording equipment, and started practicing with editing software.  My goal is to experiment with storytelling in a different medium, and see if it’s a good fit for me.  I haven’t released much more than covers at this point, but they’re available on Patreon for all levels of supporters.

And to go through the rest of my 2017 goals:

  • Open mic nights – didn’t really do them.  The woman leading my main one moved out of the area, and I haven’t found another place that “feels right” yet.  But I do have a video up of one of the last times I performed.  Give it a look if you’re interested.
  • Book-selling events – didn’t do them.  Didn’t even try.  I had too much on my plate.
  • Skill training – did a little, but not as much as I’d wanted.  I did some Photoshop editing training earlier in the year (for making my own book covers), and now I’m working on learning audio software.
  • Freelance work – YES!  I’m working with Vysoko Anime Production on a new project next year titled “Crystal Chameleon”.  They successfully Kickstarted the project in November, with an estimated release date of November 2018.  You can follow them on twitter @VysokoAnime for future updates on the game (I’ll include an image from the Kickstarter below).
Crystal Chameleon
Crystal Chameleon

And that’s…my 2017, my 8th year as a writer and an author.  I did some good work – met some goals, and missed others.

What does 2018 have in store for me?  Honestly, I don’t know yet.  I do want to catch up on my ebook backlog, mostly to have my entire catalog in both formats.  I want to experiment with some more creative methods aside from the written words.  But I really don’t know where I’m going – maybe that’s what makes it such an adventure.

Here’s to wonderful adventures for all of us in 2018.

The year 7 update – part 2

As December comes around again, it’s time for my annual anniversary update post.  I’ve got a lot to say this year, so I decided to split the usual single post update into two.  The first post went over what I’ve done this past year, and this second post will talk about what I’m planning on doing next year.

So without further ado…

I’ll get directly to the point:  I will no longer be posting content on a schedule after December of this year.

I’ve been writing for seven full years now, and I’ve published over 1450 unique posts to my sites in that time.  I’ve given a lot of thought to what I want to write and how I want to run this site as well:  I’ve written shorter content with a frequent posting schedule, larger content with a slower schedule, and experimented a little in between.  I have published 8 paperbacks in that time frame (counting the first book’s original and re-publication), published 5 ebooks, and I have another book deep in the stages of publishing a paperback.

And all of that has been very exhausting.

Keeping my publishing schedule over the past few years has taken a lot out of me – especially when working on freelance and side projects at the same time.  It’s stifled my ability to learn new skills, carved a swath through my social life, and devoured my free time like a candle lit at both ends.  And after doing some soul-searching, I’ve decided that writing on a schedule is tearing me down more than it’s helping me.  I’ve always been proud of how tightly I’ve stuck to my schedule, and the decision to abandon it has not been an easy one.

So what does that mean for my writing and the site?

  1. I am only suspending my writing SCHEDULE, not my writing entirely.  I will still be writing and posting content to this site, but it will not be every week.
  2. I will be using the extra time I get from not keeping up a schedule to learn some new skills and work on some projects that I’ve been thinking about.  There will be new stuff coming, so keep your eyes peeled.
  3. For those who use Patreon to support me, I have started updating and retooling that campaign and the rewards.  My Patreon will remain up, and those who choose to support me there will get exclusive content and sneak previews of all publicly available content.
  4. I will be moving my audio recordings behind Patreon’s paywall at the $5 level once 2017 begins.  The rest of 2016’s posts will still have audio accompaniments, but it’s too much extra work to continue sharing it for free.  To be clear, I am NOT removing any existing audio from my sites, but I will not be publicly sharing new audio in 2017.
  5. That being said, I will no longer be updating my SoundCloud after this year ends.  Thank you to everyone who has supported me through that site.

Again, the decision to make these changes has not been an easy one to make, but I believe it is the correct one for me right now.

So what won’t be changing in 2017?

  1. I will still be doing open mic nights.  I haven’t been doing them lately because the MC who hosts the ones I usually attend is out on an extended holiday.  I’ll resume my open mic nights at River City and HB Lovedrafts upon her return, and I will keep my eyes peeled for more open mic opportunities in the area.
  2. I will still keep publishing.  I’m not giving up on this 2014 paperback, but it has been very trying.  I also want to publish the 2016 paperback as well as some ebooks next year.
  3. I will keep my eyes and ears open for events in 2017 where I can sell my books.  I don’t want to overbook my schedule, but I would like to do a couple of events this year.

And what will be new in 2017?

  1. MERCH!  Come hell or high water, I want to produce some merchandise for my work this coming year, aside from my books.  My current plans include shirts and mugs, but may include other ideas as I explore my options.
  2. More books.  I’m nearly done with the 2014 book, and I hope to get the 2016 book finished in early 2017.  Following that, I will work on the 5 unpublished ebooks as time allows.

And that’s…about it.  I don’t want to over-commit to too much for 2017, and there’s plenty that I can work on.  And that’s what I still aim to do – work, just in a different way than I have in the past.

Wish me luck.

The year 7 update – part 1

As December comes around again, it’s time for my annual anniversary update post.  I’ve got a lot to say this year, so I’m going to split the usual single post update into two.  The first post will go over what I’ve done this past year, and the second post will talk about what I’m planning on doing next year.

So without further ado…

This year I continued my two-posts-per-week schedule from last year, but all poetry this time (no blog posts or short stories like last year).  I placed a heavy emphasis on audio recordings, and uploaded a recording with every post to my main website, a second post with a recording to Tumblr, and a recording on SoundCloud.  I also reopened my Patreon, and uploaded the poems and recordings to it.

Additionally, I began regular visits to open mic nights in my area beginning in April.  I did two of them nearly every month of spring and summer, with outings tapering off in the fall.  These were mostly at the River City Blues and Darts Club and HB Lovedrafts in Harrisburg, PA, though I believe I was at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center’s open mic night a time or two as well.

My goal for the year was to to finish republishing my first book, “A (Wise) Man of Two Faces”, using Amazon’s CreateSpace publisher, and publish three new books of my work:  all of my 2014 writing, the 2015 poetry, and the 2015 blog posts.  Unfortunately, I fell short of those goals.  I ran into multiple significant issues with the 2014 book, and have yet to finalize and publish it – though it is close.  I also did not complete any of the ebooks I meant to pair with these releases.  However, I did manage to republish my first book and both of the 2015 books, which I have pictured below.  They are available through CreateSpace and Amazon.

A Wise Man of Two Faces  2015(1) - rhyme  2015(2) - reason

I also went to three local festivals/events as a vendor to sell my books – two in May and one in November.  I was able to rush and get my new paperbacks done in time for the first two festivals, and I was able to bring the streamline my setup by the November event (pictured below).

Armstrong Winery in Halifax, PA (May):
armstrong-winery

Fort Halifax in Halifax, PA (May)
fort-halifax

Upscale Art Sale in Ebenezer, PA (November)
november

On top of all that, I worked on two freelance projects this summer in which I proofread and edited the dialog and script of visual novel-style video games.  I haven’t gotten clearance from my clients to discuss the one project, but I do have it for the second – Invisible Apartment 3, released by Vysoko Anime Production.  I’m including some game images and links below.  You can follow their producer and developer on Twitter at @BunnyJessican.

ia3-1

ia3-5

ia3-4

 

ia3-3

And between all of that, I had a very busy year – so I’m going to end the first part of my yearly update post.  Check back later this week for the second installment – what I’m planning on doing with my writing going forward.

The year 6 update

This past week was the 6th anniversary of beginning my online writing.  And per tradition, here is my yearly post updating all on the state of the blog and myself.

I:  The year in review

This year I decided to publish two posts a week starting in March –  a blog or short story on Tuesdays and a poem on Thursdays.  I did this to experiment with larger styles of writing while still putting out poetry.  Additionally, I decided to focus predominantly on larger styles of poetry as well – both to stretch myself, and to get away from my recent focus on short forms like haiku and limericks.  While I did slip a few shorter poems in this year, I kept up with both of my goals, and I’m proud of the work I posted this year.

I also spoke last about wanting to write more side content in other areas of writing, as well as having important matters in my personal life that I’d been neglecting.  The bad news is that I still have not done much towards the goal of side content, aside from the short stories I’ve published here.  The good news, however, is that one of the biggest personal issues was resolved this year – I got a new job in July that pays me very well, and that’s been a HUGE load off of my shoulders.

While I have not made much progress on the writing front, I have made some strides in another, unexpected, direction:  performance.  I started reading my work at open mic nights earlier this year, and even was one of the featured poets at a special art night at a local business this summer.  I was also invited to and performed at the 5th Haiku Duel in the Bowery in New York City this past November.  And while I’m on hiatus from performing at the moment, that’s because I’m currently taking an improv class to help improve my stage-work.  If everything goes as planned, I’ll start performing again after the New Years.

II:  Plans for next year

First and foremost, what’s in store for the blog?  Well, blogging posts will be ending at the end of December.  I’ve said it a couple of times throughout this year, but I’m really not enjoying this style of content.  Additionally, I spend significantly more time on blog posts than poems, which doesn’t give me as much time for some of the other things I want to work on.  So, no more blogs after December – except maybe as a special treat.  But starting in January, this blog will go back to being a full poetry blog.

Secondly, I have a few more books to publish.  The publishing contract on my first book ran out this year, and I am currently in the process of republishing it through Amazon and CreateSpace.  This will be a republication of both the paperback and the ebook – though it will be the first time the paperback is available through Amazon.  The ebook previously was listed there by my former publisher.  (No hard feelings with them though.  I’m happy with the work they did on book one – I just like using Amazon and CreateSpace as an online store.)

Additionally, I would like to publish paperbacks and ebooks for my 2014 and 2015 content.  I’m not sure yet if I’m going to split 2015 into two books, but that looks likely – one will have this year’s poetry, and the other will have the blog posts.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  But as of right now, one of my goals for next year will be to release 3 to 4 new books.

Thirdly, I WILL work on additional content.  This will probably consist of short stories and flash fiction, and I will probably publish these to my Patreon page – both as a way to hold myself accountable, and as an excuse to get my Patreon back up and running.  I also started doing some audio recordings of my work earlier this year and posted them to SoundCloud, and I may do more of them (possibly even an album).

Fourth and finally, I will put a focus on getting my name out there.  This includes not only performing here in Harrisburg, PA, but also submitting stories to writing contests and blogs.  This has always been one of the weakest areas of “my brand” (I hate calling it that).  But if I want to make a living from my writing, and I do, I will have to step up my game, get out there, and make some noise.

So…that’s where I’m at right now, and that’s what I’m planning to do going forward.  What do you fine folks think of my plans?  Was there anything you were especially excited about?  Was there anything you were looking for that I didn’t mention?  Please leave a comment, and let me know.

Thanks for six wonderful years everyone.  Here’s hoping there are plenty more to come.

5-Year update

This December marks my fifth year writing and posting poetry online. As per tradition, here’s my yearly update on me, my writing, and where I’d like to go for the next year.

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for reading and supporting me this year.  It means a lot to me.  Y’all are awesome 🙂

I:  State of my writing now

This year I successfully published, or scheduled for publication, five poems per week for each of the fifty-two weeks of the year. That means I’ve publicly posted ~260 poems, of which ~156 were haiku and ~104 were another, longer style.  This is the second year in a row that I’ve set and met that goal.  This also brings the total count for my collection of poetry to ~1230 over five years.

I also had the goal to publish all my poetry through the end of 2013, and I am well on my way to completing that.  “2011:  The Year I was in Love” was published by the end of April and “2012:  The Year I Fell Apart” was published by the end of August.  The third book, “2013:  The Year I went in Circles”, is finished, and I will be announcing the links once they’re available.  I would like to publish a book of my 2014 work sometime next year, but that isn’t on the top of my priority list at this time.

II:  What’s up with me

First and foremost, I think I need a vacation.  I’ve been running a writing gauntlet with 5 or more posts per week since August of 2012 – nearly two-and-a-half years.  And I frankly feel burned out.  So, I’m taking a vacation during which I will not consider myself obligated to write.  I’ll still allow myself to write, but I won’t be posting anything to my blogs during that time period.  This write-cation will last at least the month of January, perhaps even some or all of February.  I will be back by March at the latest with new content.

But that brings me to the other side of the issue:  the schedule I put myself under to produce that much content burns me out and doesn’t leave much time for other work.  I’ve been writing poetry and nothing but poetry for the past few years.  And while I do enjoy it, I would like to expand into other areas of writing:  flash fiction, short stories, novels, and novellas.  I’m interested in working on visual poetry and other mediums than just text.  But I don’t feel my five-per-week schedule allows me to work on projects like that.

Additionally, I have important matters in my personal life that I’ve been neglecting while working on this blog and publishing my books this year.  And I need to get on them ASAP.  Because once they’re resolved, it should take several HUGE loads off of my shoulders and put me and my life in a healthier place.

III:  What’s next

I am announcing the official end of my “Shorties” haiku project with the close of 2014.  It was fun while it lasted, but it’s time to close the curtain on that project.  So shorties are done, and they won’t be coming back for a long while.

When I do return to the blog, I will only be posting poems one or two times per week – similar to what I did in 2011 and early 2012.  I will try to focus on quality over quantity though, so I will try to make as many of them sonnets or other longer-style poems as I can.  I may throw a few limericks or cinquains in there, but I feel like I have gained sufficient skill with those styles and don’t want to rest on my laurels.

I WILL be working on other writing content and methods in 2015.  I would like to complete several short short and/or flash fiction.  I also wrote a short story a few years ago which I’d like to expand into a novella/novel.  I’ve toyed with the idea of writing plays and screenplays to practice dialogue – a weak spot in my writing (5 years of poetry and not much dialogue lol).  I’ve also thought about doing a topical blog.  I used to do reviews of movies and series and I’m debating starting that up again.  But I’m not sure what I want to focus on, nor where I want to post the content.  I feel like posting movie reviews and/or opinion pieces to this blog would be awkward, but starting up a new site carries issues of its own.

Furthermore, writing blog or review content is something I would need to do on a regular schedule, and I’m worried about taking too much on and triggering another burnout.  I’m still mulling over the details, and I’ll share them as soon as I’ve made my decisions.

What I CAN say will happen is that I will definitely continue writing, in some way, shape, or form.  And I’m going to work on developing a pro-writing schedule what will encourage regular writing without triggering burnout.  Beyond that though, I can’t say much – those personal matters have to take precedence over starting new writing projects.

IV:  tl;dr (Too long; didn’t read / a summary)

I published ~260 poems this year; the grand total goes up to ~1230.  I met my goal to publish 3 books this year.  I won’t be publishing content in January and maybe February too, and when I do start again I will only post 1-2 times per week.  No more haiku, limericks, or cinquains – unless I think they’re extraordinary.  I will keep writing poetry and start writing prose content, but I’m not sure what, where, or on what schedule.

What do you guys think?

4 years and what it’s meant to me

Yesterday, December 4th, is the 4 year anniversary of beginning my writing.  I wanted to take a break from the poetry and talk about that anniversary, my writing, and what it all means, and has meant, to me.

By the numbers, I’ve written over 1,000 posts for WordPress and Tumblr including drafts and private posts, and I’ll post my 1,000th poem either by New Years or shortly thereafter.  I have nearly 300 followers on WordPress, over 250 on Tumblr, and over 850 on Twitter.  I’ve written and published 2 books, I’m working on a 3rd, and I have enough written to publish a 4th and 5th.  I’ve publicly posted 5 poems a week since October of 2012 and written weekday haiku to two friends since February and July of 2013.  I rarely miss any of the 15 poems that go out each week.

But writing, and especially poetry, isn’t purely a numbers game.  There are emotions and a heart behind it all.  When I started writing, it was on a whim in response to a 365 project my friend Margaret started.  I had no great aspirations. I wanted to do something fun.  But I wanted something else as well.  The words I write, and the cadence in which they are spoken, are my voice.  They are the things I’ve thought but never spoken.  Words I caged in and kept to myself.  And I’ve known for a long time now that part of the reason I started writing was because I wanted to record them.  I wanted to prevent what I thought and felt from fading away and being forgotten.  But lately I’ve realized something else as well:  I wanted to share those words and my heart.

Thank you all for treating me and my heart with so much kindness these past four years.  I wish I had the words and wit to express the enormity of my feelings on this matter.  I am so very grateful.

So where do I go from here?  Regular 5-times-a-week posting will continue, at least for another year.  I’m not sure how I’ll feel about all this by the end of 2014, but I want to keep going until then.  I’m working on a paperback version of Ever Since, and Evermore, my 2nd book, and I will publish and post about it as soon as possible.  I hope to complete books 3, 4, and 5 by the end of next year.  I would like to produce another book or two in that time as well, but I still need to write those.  I’m also experimenting with YouTube, and I may start posting readings there.
But who knows?  I feel like I’m still just getting started, and I feel hopeful about where things go from here.

If you like what you’re reading here, you can also find me on:
Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Facebook, Facebook fanpage, Google+, and my About.me page with links to all my books and all my blogs.