Athena Grayson

State of the Athena: 2015 Edition

Fred Kwan. Medicated and motivated!
Fred Kwan. Medicated and motivated!

There’s a line in the movie Galaxy Quest. Tony Shalhoub’s medicated-and-motivated Fred Kwan gets sucked up into a transporter along with the rest of the crew (all actors, if you haven’t seen the movie) to an actual spaceship based on their TV show. Everyone else is freaking out, and Fred looks around and says, “That was a hell of a thing.”

2015, for me, was a Hell of a Thing. I released seventeen titles this year, plus a contracted short story. I went from an author with three unconnected books to an author with a series under her belt, and a second series off to a start. I went from making coffee money over the course of a year to making coffee money every month (sometimes, coffee AND a bagel! And once, some fancy cream cheese, too!).

"It turned inside-out." "And it exploded."
It turned inside-out…And it exploded.

I went from being paralyzed over making a wrong move to flailing harder than I ever have before. I’ve made more mistakes this year than I have any other year in my career (including the one where not one, but TWO category romance lines closed their doors upon receiving my submissions. Romance was dead, and I killed it). I picked twelve books for a series instead of a more-manageable four. My “launch” consisted of a Facebook post that started out, “So this happened…” and left it pretty much at that. I didn’t buy much advertising (and when some people say, “I didn’t do much for advertising,” they mean they only spent a few hundred dollars on a single campaign or blog tour. When I say I didn’t do much for advertising, I mean I forgot to tell my mom.)

In the middle of my serialized run of “Huntress,” Amazon flipped KDP Select tits over teakettle. With page-reads becoming the norm, all of a sudden, it became attractive to novel-length works, and readers were picking entire novels to read for free rather than shorter works. Around that same time, Amazon stopped listing a series link at the top of the book listing page, and started rearranging the pages so that only the first two lines of the book description show up at the top. They’ve since gotten around to building a series page for the episodes, but only after I begged them. And the box sets still don’t show up in either the series page or as a series of their own.

I am, however, extremely proud of myself for making a 12-week production schedule, meeting it with quality work that I’m passionate about, and really comfortable with, structure-wise. I’ve gone from coffee money over a year’s time to coffee money every month, and sometimes with a fancy bagel to go with it. 2016 is my year to reinvest my take in growing, and taking a few more well-placed risks in discovery efforts. Print is on the to-do list, although I would like to prioritize audio, however the cost barrier to audio is still way up there.

Never Give Up - Never Surrender!
Never Give Up – Never Surrender!

I have a Season 2 of “Huntress” in the planning stages, a sister series taking place in the same universe that I’m planning on releasing in the spring, and grandiosely cunning plans to extend the universe into spin-offs and side-quests.

TL;DR: I’ve seen more success with this than anything else I’ve done up to now, I’m having 90% more fun, even on a budget, and even making the mistakes I’ve made. Since I’d be doing this anyway, even if no money came my way, I’m calling it a win.

So Happy New Year, everybody! By Grabthar’s Hammer, may your New Year be brighter and more abundant than this one. May your abundance spill out to the others in your life, and may their joy multiply yours. May your eyes see the beauty and wonder in the galaxy, and may your belief in the best of people be borne out!

And I’m still just jazzed about being on the show, man.

Even if he's just "Crewman 6."
Even if he’s just “Crewman 6.”
Athena Grayson Written by:

Space Opera with Sizzle | Sorcery with Spice | Fun Fantasy with Feels