So this is the time of the year where I try to reflect on how the last twelve months of my writing life went. Was it… productive? Fun? Fulfilling? Disappointing? What did I learn? What did I do well? What could I improve for next year?

And, you all… a LOT happened this year, and my small potatoes writing career took some big steps. So let’s take a look!

first, the numbers

  • Words written: 55,000 (The Ninth Circle) + 77,000 (Time’s Orphan) + 22,000 (Night of Ash) + 60,000 (Inky & Heater IRL) = 214,000 words (3 complete, 1 partial)
  • Words revised: 77,000 (TO) + 22,000 (NoA) + 99,000 (ItC) + 75,000 (TBA) = 273,000 words (4 books)
  • Words published: 22,000 words (1 book)
  • Words queried: 99,000 (ItC) + 75,000 (TBA) = 174,000 words (2 books)
  • 2022 Total Words Worked: 758,000 words

Sales Numbers: 650+ self-published books sold. Another 200ish downloaded for free. (Draft to Digital makes it little harder to distinguish between which books were bought and which were downloaded for free)

And the Goodreads numbers.

  • Odriel’s Heirs: 165 ratings / 4.33 stars
  • Burning Shadows: 17 ratings / 4.94 stars
  • Idriel’s Children: 50 ratings / 4.34 stars
  • Night of Ash: 9 ratings / 5 stars
  • Time’s Orphan: 8 ratings / 4.88 stars
  • The Gatekeeper of Pericael: 84 ratings / 4.34 stars
  • Into the Churn: 4 ratings / 5 stars
  • My Goodreads total: 341 ratings / 4.34 stars

For reference, the 2021 total was 214 copies sold, 136,000 written, and 554,000 words worked. So yeah. Obviously, still small potatoes. But numbers wise, this years kicked the pants off of last year in pretty much every single way, and that wasn’t even the best part!

The best parts

  • I got not one, but TWO publishing deals with Whimsical Publishing, and I absolutely ADORE working with them. It has been the best experience. And not only that, but I actually had another 2 publishing offers from small presses this year. 😱 This was new and exciting territory for me, and I was absolutely thrilled to make the leap from self-pub to small press with a publisher that loves me books as much as I do. 💛
  • Then, my YA paranormal, The Ninth Circle, got picked up for a WriteHive mentorship with EJ Dawson! 🎉 What?! Is this even real life? The first call was so awesome, and I can’t wait to whip the manuscript into shape with them!
  • The Gatekeeper of Pericael was a semi-finalist in the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards. I love my upper middle grade fantasy, but it can be so hard to market, so this was an exciting moment!
  • Odriel’s Heirs got over 100 Amazon ratings and finally got BookBub US and International marketing deals! 🎉 I was so stoked to get more exposure for my first book child, and I definitely had a positive experience with these. Fingers crossed I can get more books accepted in the future!
  • I got accepted to be a participating author at both OwlCon 2023 and StoryBound Fest 2023! StoryBound Fest will be my first in-person author convention, and I’m pretty nervous! So that’ll be an exciting new challenge for next year.

What I learned

  • This year, I really nailed down my outlining process with the Save the Cat formula, which really helped me churn out those first drafts. Thanks to Story Genius and an obsession with K-drama, I also had a crucial epiphany on how to develop likable, relatable characters.
  • I love dual-POV and the depth it brings to a story. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back.
  • I grew a lot more comfortable as a critique partner and have collected a few more writing friends who I can reliably swap feedback with.
  • I also was able to consistently read and review books on my book blog here! 62 and counting this year! This has been great way to give back to the writing community, bring more traffic to my little site here, and also sharpen my critiquing skills.
  • I learned how to create decent covers in Canva Pro! This was a super fun tool for my creative process and marketing purposes, but if I ever self-pub in the future, I’m glad I can use this as a viable option to cut costs. (However, if anyone has any recommendations on graphic design online resources, they would be so appreciated! I definitely still have room for improvement. 😅
  • Making playlists for my books and WIPs on Spotify is ridiculously transportive, and I can’t believe I didn’t discover this earlier. I now have a playlist for every single one, and it is an amazing way to get in the writing mindset and pivot quickly between WIPs.
  • Finally, I learned that small presses can be amazing, and honestly I wish I had investigated/considered them a more with first two books I queried.

What I still need to work on

  • Oh boy. So much. I’ve been making some strides in the last few months, but the balance of writing and social media engagement still eludes me, although I feel like I’ve grown more comfortable being my ridiculous, goofy self in reels and selfies. And I actually have a TikTok now – who would’ve thought that?!
  • Advertisements. I tried again this year, buutttt still failing big on this one. If anyone wants to point me toward some learning resources, I would LOVE that.
  • Querying agents. I had several full requests this year, but per percentage of queries I send out, my numbers are nothing to write home about. As I’ll probably end up querying two WIPs next year, I definitely want to focus on sharpening my query materials to boost my request stats next year.
  • Minimizing publishing expenses. Although writing is definitely more of a passion project for me than a business (thank goodness for the day job!), I definitely want to start streamlining my expenses so I can write long-term without permanently denting my wallet. Moving to small press helped immensely this year, and while I hope to publish more with small presses in the future, if I ever selfpub again, I’ll be streamlining my process to cut costs.
  • A brand? Right now I’ve been kind of all over the place: YA Epic Fantasy, MG Fantasy, YA Sci-fi, YA Paranormal, YA fairytale retelling, YA romance… I know one day, if I decide to really get serious, I’ll probably need to pick a lane of some nature, but right now I’m just having fun, so I’ll save that conundrum for future me.


So what can I go after? As always, I try to keep my goals measurable and attainable.

  • Get Time’s Orphan out into the world on February 8th, and officially complete my first series. 🎉
  • Launch Into the Churn on April 4th… and cross my fingers that it does well enough to write the sequel. 🤞 (p.s. If you read it and want more, don’t forget to rate, review, & spread the word on social media!)
  • Revise my YA Paranormal with my mentor and toss it into the query trenches
  • Revise my YA Romance and storm the query trenches with that one too!
  • Attend Storybound Fest and live to tell about it. (Did I mention I was nervous?!) 😅
  • And of course, write the next book. I have three outlines waiting for me, but I’m not sure which will win out here, so it’ll be exciting to see what I’m working on next.

So yeah, it’s been an incredibly fantastic writing year for me, and I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and the people that have supported and encouraged me along the way. 💛 Here’s to more growth and adventures in 2023. As always, thanks so much for reading!

So thrilled with how much I’ve grown this year as a writer and so proud of these two books. I can’t wait to see them out into the world!

5 thoughts on “2022 Writing Sum-up!

  1. Hayley! Impressive numbers! You were very productive 🙂
    Lots of words edited too 🙂 Kudos!

    I know you said ‘small potatoes’ about your sales, but I find them impressive. I’m proud of you :).
    Great ratings as well 🙂

    Congrats on the publishing deal! GO HAYLEY :)!!
    Sweet. Congrats on the mentorship!
    Congratulations on the semi-finalist finish!
    So neat that Ordriel’s got 100 ratings and deals!! YAY 🙂
    Congrats on getting accepted to some cons also!! GO HAYLEY 🙂 You’ll do wonderful – you rock 🙂 Awesome news :D.

    Did Save the Cat have some good exercises also?
    I need to check out Story Genius.
    I love dual-POV too :). I haven’t written much with dual-POV, but I love reading stories with dual-POV.
    Happy that you feel comfortable being a CP 🙂
    62 is a lot! Awesome job!
    Sweet. 🙂 I think it’s great how you often learn and explore. It’s a very admirable trait (how you’re willing to try a lot of different things with writing and life generally). 🙂 You rock
    Glad you’re having fun making playlists and have found working with small presses to be good :).

    Balancing social media and writing is tough. How do you balance it? I’m getting quite burnt out with social media, but haven’t written as much as I’d hoped…
    Oh man, I wish I knew advertising tips…
    Sorry to hear about queries. It’s rough. But I believe in you. I support you. You know I’m rooting you on!!
    Best wishes with minimizing expenses! 🙂 🙂
    I’m sure you’ll figure out a brand. Most important thing now is to enjoy. 🙂 I’m glad you are having a nice time :).

    SO excited for Time’s Orphan!
    Ooooh I’m excited for Into The Churn! I pre-ordered also!
    Best wishes with your revisions! You will do awesome! I’m sure you’ll do great :). GO HAYLEY 🙂 (yes yes I probably have told you that like 500 times now, but you know I’m a fan of your work and we’re friends) 🙂
    Nerves are totally understandable! 🙂 If I was in your shoes, I’d be freaking out lol. But you are rad and fun to talk with and inspiring! I’m sure you’ll have a nice time and that it’ll be fun meeting readers.
    You’ll do great writing your future books! I love your writing!
    (Oh and PS. Kaia is the best. Kaia>Klaus. Kaia and Hayley are the best. THat is all haha)

    Happy 2023!! Again, I’m super proud of you! You inspire me! Have a wonderful holiday! Take care :).


    1. Thanks, Alex! I don’t remember Save the Cat having any worksheets but I think they do have some downloadable references. I didn’t like Story Genius as much on the whole, but it did give me that lightbulb moment, and it has some exercises to take you through their process.

      I still have a really hard time balancing writing and social media, and I’ve definitely been getting burned out on Twitter for sure. Being creative on Instagram and TikTok has kept me engaged for now, but it’s really time-consuming. Definitely something I’m still working on, but since it’s so big on marketing, I’m finally kind of accepting I need to carve out time for it. Maybe only posting on designated days? I’m not sure yet, but if I figure out something that works, I’ll let you know!

      Thanks so much for preordering, Alex – I so appreciate the support!! Wishing you an awesome 2023! GO ALEX! 😊


      1. You’re welcome, Hayley! That’s great how Save the Cat has references :). (Downloadable ones). Thanks for the info about Story Genius! Do you study the craft fairly often? I need to do so more often.

        Aww yeah. It’s hard to balance them. Are IG and TikTok time consuming because of how long it can take to film and edit the videos? I remember the TikTok video you did once where you showed the things you did instead of writing. It was really cool and I’m impressed by how you are able to flip over the bar/do a pullover. I’d fall if I were to try that LOL. Do you usually post on IG and TikTok daily? But yeah, posting on designated days might help.

        You’re very welcome! AWWW thank you very much! You inspire me a lot! Take care. GO HAYLEY! :D. Take care. Have a safe and fabulous holiday

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