Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bidding a Fond Farewell to 2009

2009 has been an absolutely incredible year for me in the crime fiction community and as a book blogger. But, I'm one of those irritating people who bring up the fact that the decade doesn't actually end until NEXT December 31st, so I won't be talking about that for another year. Let's just take a look back at 2009.

I went back to look at my resolution post from last year. I didn't do so swell on resolutions. I had resolved to have 25 interviews here. I ended up with 16, which is 5 more than last year - an improvement, but didn't hit the mark. I did, however, record my first ever video interview, and had my first interview in print. (If you didn't see it, pick up a copy of the most recent Crimespree Magazine.) What I am most proud of with my interviews, however, is the improvement in my questions and approach. It takes a lot of time to put them together, but I like the direction the interviews are going, and you can expect to see more in both formats.

I had also resolved to try yet again to read at least one book each month that I had purchased previous to 2009. I only managed to read 7 of those. So, again, didn't hit the mark. For next year, I'm going to drop that resolution altogether. It's the same as the reading challenges. My reading is just too unpredictable to be able to commit to a resolution like that.

I didn't make any resolutions about numbers of books, which is good, because I dropped in total number this year, only reading 94. In those 94 there were 72 different authors, 56 of whom where brand new to me. Last year 54% of the books I read were from new to me authors, this year it's 60%. I don't know if I'll be increasing that percentage again since so many are now must reads for me, but we'll see how that turns out.

23 of the novels were the authors' debuts, 10 were debuts released this year. In addition I read three other novels that were debuts for the respective authors in the U.S.; they each had previously published outside the U.S., so they aren't completely debut novels.

For 2010 I'll try to get back up to at least 100 novels. But, I won't rush through books just to reach that goal either. I'm not much of a fast reader anyway, so rush doesn't usually apply to my reading style! There's just a lot of great crime fiction available, and I know I'm not going to run out of anything to read.

I said the biggest goal for 2009 was to increase readership. As I type this, hits to my blog have increased by over 500% from last year. Subscribers have more than doubled. I credit a lot of this to firsts in 2009:

  • Started using Twitter.

  • Added Jen's Book Thoughts to NetworkedBlogs on Facebook, where there are presently 102 followers.

  • Attended my first Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!

  • Visited The Mystery Bookstore in L.A.

  • Visited Aunt Agathas in Ann Arbor.

  • Submitted my reviews to Crimespree Magazine!! :)

  • Attended my first Bouchercon!!

  • Attended my first Murder and Mayhem in Muskego!

  • Guest blogged at Jungle Red.

  • And of course, started the "You Have the Right to Six Words" series.
And there were repeats this year:

  • Participated in Book Blogger Appreciation Week for year two.

  • Visited Foul Play in Columbus.

  • Visited Mystery Lovers Book Shop in Oakmont.

  • Attended book events at various libraries throughout the Cleveland area.
But one of the biggest factors has been you all. When you've added Jen's Book Thoughts to your blog lists, subscribed to the blog, tweeted about posts here, mentioned Jen's Book Thoughts on your blogs, or passed along emails I sent out. All of those things have brought others to this blog. I hope that you'll continue to visit and comment and write. There's no greater gift to me than to have someone say, "I really love that book you recommended to me." I will attempt once again to increase readership in 2010. The memoirs will be back in late spring, early summer. I'm already registered for Bouchercon and will (fingers crossed) hopefully be going back to L.A. I have some other new ideas in the works as well. Hopefully, it will bring more people here to share books! The more the merrier! In 2010, let's talk crime fiction!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's, and I hope 2010 brings you much happiness, love and of course - books. Happy 2010; Happy Reading!


Kay December 31, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

Jen, you are truly amazing! I have watched your blog grow and change and it is a stunning work. Kudos to you for all the wonderful info you share with those of us who read you regularly.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year! I'm heading back into blogging this next year, so stop by and see me. I look forward to lots more book talk.

Naomi Johnson December 31, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

Everything Kay said! You have blossomed. May you continue to do so!

Alan Orloff December 31, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

I'm glad to have found your blog this year--it's one big way I get my info about books. Keep up the great work! Hope 2010 is even better for you.

Diane December 31, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

Jen...Happy New Year and Happy Reading in 2010

le0pard13 December 31, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

It was a highlight for me to meet you at this year's Festival of Books, Jen. You are as warm, kind, and generous in person as you are online. Something tells me that is a rare and wonderful combination. I hope to see you at next year's Festival, and hopefully Boucheron By The Bay. Happiest of New Year's to you and yours.

Lesa December 31, 2009 at 5:27 PM  

Jen, I like that resolution - more crime fiction in 2010! I can't believe everything you accomplished in 2009. I think it was a magical, life-changing year. I hope 2010 is just as good to you. Happy New Year, Jen! I'm lucky to be able to call you "friend."

Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

Hoping for more 'firsts' for you in 2010...

Jen Forbus December 31, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

Hi everyone! Thanks for the kind words. It's been so much fun hangin' out with you all and talking books. My colleague at work always remarks how I light up when I start talking about anything blog-related, book-related, author-related, etc. And I do. It makes me oh so happy. And you all are a major reason it does. Thank you!!

Kay, so excited to hear your going to return to your blog. I'll be visiting.

Alan, thanks! Good luck to you in 2010; your first book comes out, right? Best of luck.

Naomi, love you bunches, my friend!

Michael, meeting you was my highlight, too! Can't wait to do it again and again! Love that this Internet let's us bridge the geographical map in the meantime, though.

Lesa, I feel the exactly the same way being able to call YOU "friend." Can't wait to share 2010 with you.

Diane and Cara - I wish you both much success in this new year! Can't wait to read both of your new books. And Cara, I'm going to see you in October, if not before!


Robert Fate January 1, 2010 at 1:59 PM  

Jen - Happy New Year! Let's make 2010 the best of the bunch. Warmest regards, Bob Fate

Lori L January 2, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

Happy 2010 to you too, Jen! I'll be looking forward to your posts for this year!

Anonymous January 6, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

Happy New Year. You really get around.
Don Bruns

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