Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Year-in-Review

I made it! Dear readers, I was not sure if I was going to be able to write those words, given what 2018 has been. Personally and globally, this has been a hard year, and there have been many times I thought I would have to pause or quit entirely with my reviewing. But 2018 is officially over, and as I release my recommended reading list for 2018 I also want to pause and look back at my own year, offering a few words and a bunch of stats.

First, a huge thank you to all of my patrons and to everyone who has contributed to my ko-fi or my partner’s GoFundMe. Without you, none of this would be possible. Running Quick Sip Reviews and doing so much in terms of reading and reviewing is not without cost, especially time and opportunities, and without the support I’ve received this year from so many people I just wouldn’t be able to continue. As it is, I think I’ve turned in a pretty solid year of regular and (hopefully) thoughtful reviews and genre commentary. The numbers by month and then overall are below, and I’ll touch briefly on the numbers and then move into a little bit of the state of the field, and then close on my plans for 2019.

January: 57 stories | 13 poems [70 reviews] 
February: 55 stories | 10 poems [65 reviews]
March: 52 stories | 9 poems [61 reviews]
April: 61 stories | 11 poems [72 reviews]
May: 62 stories | 11 poems [73 reviews]
June: 44 stories | 6 poems [50 reviews]
July: 61 stories | 13 poems [74 reviews]
August: 62 stories | 16 poems [78 reviews]
September: 64 stories | 16 poems [80 reviews]
October: 57 stories | 8 poems [65 reviews]
November: 56 stories | 15 poems [71 reviews]
December: 53 stories | 9 poems [62 reviews]

Total: 684 stories | 137 poems [821 reviews]

So this was technically a down year for total reviews and story reviews, though I think I’ve reviewed more longer short SFF (namely, novellas, than in past years), as well as written more about each individual story (my average words/review is well over 400). It seems that the lightest months came in June and December, which makes sense for a number of reasons (mostly how the quarterlies I cover release). I’m up, though, in poems reviewed from last year, and rather happy about that. SFF poetry doesn’t get a lot of attention, but I dearly love it, even if it’s often a challenge to review.

2018 didn’t see an awful lot of additions to my reviewing slate, either. I’ve been pretty steady, which meant there wasn’t much of a cause to add more. The big exception to that is that I started reviewing Arsenika and Anathema. Of course, Arsenika seems to be on a bit of a hiatus, so I’m unsure if I’ll continue reviewing that. Hopefully I can make things work, though. The bigger news of 2018 has been a few high profile closings. At least, high profile for me. Both Shimmer Magazine and Book Smugglers Publishing announced that they would not be going forward into 2019, which just hurts my heart, to be honest. Shimmer was a publication I’ve been following since I got into the genre, and I have reviewed every public work The Book Smugglers have put out and a number of their for-sale-only works as well. Both venues have featured me as a writer and they have been among my very favorite sources of short SFF for a long time. Just...okay, deep breathing.

It leaves me with a bit of a question of what to do going forward into 2019. And the answer is...well, I’m still not 100% sure. I do know that in addition to Anathema Magazine, I will be adding some serial projects from Serial Box (one that I’ve already started reviewing and another that I’ll start reviewing in February). On top of that, I plan to begin regular reviews of at least one of the Escape Artists podcasts. That might be all for now, but I also plan to reach out to a few larger venues for review copy in order to widen my reading. It’s something I’ve avoided for a long time because of the work involved, but I might (and no guarantees) see if I can get review copies from Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science, and Analog but the whole issues. Sigh. You see, I’ve been struggling a while with this, because I know there’s a lot of amazing work being done at those publications, and a part of me wants to read and review all of them. But...

Logistically, I just can’t. They put out A Lot between them, and adding that to my already-full roster would be...too much. For context, each of those publications puts out more than Shimmer and The Book Smugglers combined. I could have maybe added one of them to 2019 if I hadn’t added Anathema or Serial Box (or any of EA), but only one, and when I asked online people seemed to think it more important to focus on venues that might not see any attention. Trust me, I’d rather read and review it all. But as a Millennial with debts, a job that doesn’t really pay that much, supporting my husband going back to school, and dealing with life in general, I cannot. I. Can. Not. The only thing that would save me time and allow me to maybe read those venues would be to not have to review everything. Or even most things. But it would allow me to pull from those places for my recommended reading list, my Sippys, and more. I’m not sure if those venues would even care at that point, and maybe I won’t be able to get review copy so it’s a moot point. But I do think I might try it and see how it goes.

With that, I’m also without a monthly review column at the moment, a first for me since late 2014. Right now, I think I might expand my Patreon some to give more recommendations there, perhaps even a Pick of the Week-style post that would be patron-exclusive. I do need to try and fund the time and effort I put into reviewing, even if I wish I could do it all for free. I will continue to post my monthly queer reading lists for free on my Patreon, so if you’ve enjoyed that, it will keep on! Anyway, that’s me right now. 2018 has ended, and 2019 has dawned. I’m looking forward to another excellent year of short SFF!


1 comment:

  1. I've been reading SFF short fic on and off for years, but want to make 2019 the year I really immerse myself in it and your blog has been invaluable! I just started supporting you on Patreon and I'd love, love, love a Pick of the Week post. I'm in the same boat as you that I can't possibly read everything, so having someone point me to a few stories that I might have otherwise missed would be absolutely amazing.

    Thank you for all the work you do here!