My 2012 writing year in review

Despite all of my bitching about writer’s block, 2012 shaped up to be decent as far as writing output: two books, and twelve publications in eight markets.  My goal this year was to do two books (which was unrealistic, but I did) and average a publication a month (which I now feel was light.)  I also made 105 posts at this blog (albeit half of them being short little things) and a ton of twitter and facebook updates, so those should count for something, too.  But here are the big two, books and stories:

Books

I started the year with The Earworm Inception, which was for the most part written in 2011, and published in the first days of January.  This is probably my favorite of the two books, and it got pretty good reviews:

  • Bibliomantics: “Bizarro often gets a bad rap for being not so grounded in the literary, but Jon Konrath’s collection calls all those beliefs into question with his vivid writing and intriguing story lines.”
  • Voltaire’s reviews: “One reviewer mentioned that Konrath was good at telling these stories with a straight face. That is indeed a great way of saying—it’s so darned serious and then POW. Bloody face. Love it.”

After Earworm, I spent a lot of time working on a successor, and in June, came up with Sleep Has No Master. This book was about 50% longer, and went through far more editing, title changes, cover art changes, and complete reworkings than I’d want to do on a book.  It also got some good reviews:

  • Metal Curse: “The uniquely witty Kon throws off-the-wall, left field, side-splitting references at the reader harder than Pedro Martinez can throw Don Zimmer. I simply couldn’t put this down.”
  • Bibliomantics: “This collection is a mind-fuck of epic proportions.”
  • Voltaire’s reviews: “This collection is basically insane psychotic scripture, laced with prescription drugs, Colonel Sanders, and large quantities of heavy metal. In other words, it is perfect bizarro.”

I also helped publish John Sheppard’s book Alpha Mike Foxtrot in 2012, and took the cover photo for Haiku in the Night by Ben Ditmars, which is good.  But I spent most of the second half of the year festering along on another book that is nowhere near done, and I feel like the next “big book” like Rumored to Exist is still out of reach.  I’m hoping to spend all of 2013 getting that under control.

Stories

Here’s the stories that I published:

That’s more than 2011, but most of those were early in the year, and I haven’t been submitting much lately.  I don’t think I could double that number in 2013, but I wouldn’t mind increasing it a bit, or at least finding some other new or bigger markets.

I think the most important metric to me is that it seems like more people have found my work in the last year.  When I look at some of the reviews, comments from facebook friends, and people reading my tweets, a lot of the names are people completely new to me in 2012.  Some of you old farts have stuck in there too, and I’m grateful for that.  But I’m just as grateful to those of you who have discovered my writing this year, and have come along for the ride.  I don’t do this for money, and I’m certainly not going to become famous writing books about people who crash airplanes into department stores to obtain an erection.  It’s important to me to write exactly what I want to write, and because that isn’t vampire romances or detective murder mysteries, it means I have to look that much harder to find like-minded readers, and it always makes me happy when I do.

So thanks to everyone who has checked out my stuff in 2012.  I hope I can do even more to make 2013 a success.

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Haiku in the Night by Ben Ditmars

So here’s a new one.  Ben Ditmars has a new book out called Haiku in the Night. He’s a facebook buddy hailing from Ohio, and for some reason I seem to know an unnatural number of people from Ohio lately.  I think the last time I was there, aside from going through the airport (which is really in Kentucky anyway) was when I drove back for a funeral in 1999.  Maybe I need to go back again.

Anyway, I don’t even have my copy of the book yet (it’s in the mails) but I thought I’d post this because I actually shot the photo used on the cover of this book.  It was taken when I was in Berlin earlier this year, and it’s just a lazy snap taken on my phone in the hotel restaurant, waiting for my breakfast.  What’s strangely coincidental about this is that the cover of Sleep Has No Master was shot on the same trip.

Anyway, check out Ben’s books here: http://niceoldspice.blogspot.com/p/bucher.html

And I don’t profess to be an expert photographer, but I do have a bunch of stuff over on my flickr page.  And as I told Ben as he was struggling to find a free photo to use for his cover, if you’re a writer looking for free art and you find something on there you like, email me and I’ll give you rights and a full-sized image for free.  Check it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jkonrath/

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Alpha Mike Foxtrot by John Sheppard

I’m proud to announce that Paragraph Line Books has released the newest from John Sheppard, author of Small Town Punk and Tales of the Peacetime Army.  His new book is titled Alpha Mike Foxtrot, and it’s an awesome tale of redemption and finding yourself in this crazy modern world of consumerism and chaos.

John frequently writes about his time in the Army, although it’s more of a Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried approach than a Full Metal Jacket sort of war glory trip. This is the story of a guy named Joe, a soldier, but it starts after Iraq, after he got wounded and discharged, and has more to do with starting over, finding your duty in life after your duty in the armed forces has abruptly ended.  He’s got a mom with cancer and a brother that’s schizophrenic, and instead of immersing himself in that drama, he thumbs his way to the midwest, finds a room in an eclectic boarding house filled with lost souls, and stumbles into the only career for which his service trained him: stocking crates of junk merchandise at the local big-box store.

The book is a great black-humored capture of the culture of the mid-00s, a midwest full of oversized SUVs with yellow ribbon magnets on the back, with owners racking up credit card debt to keep the biggest TVs in every room of their house. It’s a great story set in that world, about becoming lost and then found, and very awesome writing.

For more info, check out the book’s page at Alpha Mike Foxtrot. It’s available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats.

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