Twelve months ago, I was counting down to New Year's with significant optimism. I had two books in the works for 2023. I was going to find a new job (for sure, this time). Things were looking up. This was going to be my year. I had Santana's "Winning" cued up and ready to blast on 11. (Obscure choice, perhaps, but tell that to 12-year-old me, who freakin' loved that song.)
The fates had other ideas, apparently. I submitted so many resumes I lost track. I got three interviews and no offers. As the year wound down, I tried my best to talk myself into seeing the positives in my current gig, not always convincingly.
Book No. 1, Major League Debuts, came out in January to positive reviews and supportive media attention. I did a fair few radio shows and podcasts in support of it, some of which were genuinely fun. But though sales held steady throughout spring training, they weren't nearly strong enough to offset my upfront costs. And when they predictably dried up once baseball season began, I pulled the plug on a sequel and turned my attention to the next project despite having already written up more than 20 players for the 2024 edition.
I began querying agents in earnest seeking representation for This Is Who We Are Now in April. All in all, I sent out more than 40 queries. I had one request for a full manuscript. He passed. In the end, I went down the path I'd walked for my six previous books and published it independently, releasing in late October.
Sales to this point aren't what I'd hoped, if I'm being honest, though they are picking up and I'm optimistic this book will find its audience.
But it's the third book I published this year that convinced me that 2023 wasn't a flop. A one-off, unavailable for purchase in any format at any of your major retailers. This was a photo album compiled for my wife as a Christmas gift, and it included pictures of our trips to Buffalo and Cleveland and Toronto. Shots of my son playing baseball. Of me coaching his team. Of our home projects, which might not have gone smoothly even if they ended mostly positively. Photos of us having good times and making nice memories.
What really matters
We're already planning trips for 2024. Baltimore and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The boy is training for another baseball season, which will generate more moments, more photos, more highlights to capture in next year's book. Those will be the things to once more remind me to be grateful for what happened instead of lamenting the things that didn't.
And speaking of things to be thankful for, I may not have the heaviest traffic on the interwebs, but I really do appreciate every one of you who stops by. Thank you for reading. Thank you for buying my books. And thank you for taking the time to leave reviews. They really do help more than you can imagine, especially for a new release.
I hope your 2023 was full of nice memories, and I hope the new year brings more good things your way, even if it doesn't quite live up to your loftiest ambitions.