Reader Friday: Share a 2020 Victory

Success comes in many forms. No two writers view success in the same way. Sure, if we’ve had a film adaptation of our novel, then I think we can all agree that’s a success story.

That said, I’m a big believer in celebrating small victories along the road to success (whatever that means to YOU). Celebrating smaller victories helps to keep us focused, grounded, and moving forward in a positive way.

Please share one victory for 2020. I know it hasn’t been an easy year, but that’s why it’s more important than ever to celebrate each new hurdle you’ve jumped. A victory can be anything, from completing a manuscript to hiking a mountain for inspiration to a successful virtual book signing to Hollywood knocking at your door.

Let us celebrate your success!

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About Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone, Story Empire, and Writers Helping Writers. Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Her backlist includes psychological thrillers, the Mayhem Series (books 1-3) and Grafton County Series, and true crime/narrative nonfiction. Now, she exclusively writes eco-thrillers, Mayhem Series (books 4-8 and continuing). Sue's appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion, and three episodes of A Time to Kill on Investigation Discovery. Learn more about Sue and her books at

26 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Share a 2020 Victory

  1. I finished my stand alone mystery romance set in places we visited on our anniversary tour and the IRS didn’t object to the expenses I deducted.

  2. Great observation, Sue. 2020 has been stuck in the mud spinning wheels. It’s important to recognize when we’ve made progress.

    This year, every nonfiction query/article I’ve submitted has been accepted and published. Montana Senior News now lists me as a staff writer on their masthead. It’s not the NYT or WSJ but still nice.

    I released two more books in my thriller series, Eyes in the Sky in January and Dead Man’s Bluff in June. Working on #5.

  3. I’m still reasonably sane. Yeah, I know that’s debatable. I’ve been in hard quarantine for almost six months. I live alone, not even a pet. Maybe a few sentences to the Food Lion clerk every ten days or so, but that’s it. The local wildlife, my computer, and I are on a first name basis, but that was true before the quarantine. Introverts rule!

    A real world victory of stupid proportions. I escaped a bureaucratic hell loop. In early February, I sent in my money for new stickers for my car license tag. That included state and local property taxes. Two weeks later, I totaled my car then bought a brand new one. The stickers hadn’t come yet, but the dealership said I was fine. A few weeks after that the NC DMV sent my check back with the notification that I hadn’t paid the correct figure because of the new car. I sent a new check. That check was sent back, and I had a note to send the old amount. I sent the old amount. No, send the new amount. Rinse and repeat this circle for months. After the second refusal, I’d send a letter explaining the problem and what they and I had done in hopes the idiots would fight it out to figure out the correct amount I owed. The letter kept getting longer and longer. In July with the governor’s DMV grace period due to Covid ending and the bruises on my head from banging it against the wall becoming quite alarming, I sent two checks, one for each amount, and on my letter to them on the top, in bright red, I begged them to pick an amount and destroy the check they didn’t want. Victory was achieved, and I just replaced the old stickers a few weeks ago.

  4. I had big, ambitious plans for my first year as a full-time writer after retiring in December, but of course 2020 threw a huge curve ball into this plans. Still, I wrote and published Empowered: Hero, the fifth book in my Empowered series, and the final one featuring my hero, Mathilda Brandt. I began drafting Goblin Day, the second book in my Agents of Sorcery series and hope to have that out by Halloween. I’ve been brainstorming my first library mystery as well.

  5. I finished my first novel, in large part to the advice of TKZ. I revised/rewrote it four times, and I’m glad I did. I’ve entered it in the Book Pipeline contest and am querying it.

    I also was a finalist in the 2020 North Carolina Writer’s Network creative non-fiction contest and earned a 1st Honorable Mention for the 2020 West Virginia Writers contest for short fiction for an emerging writer. Not a Booker prize or an Edgar, but some much appreciated validation.

    I began this journey in 2013 by reading the appropriately named Writing Fiction for Dummies by the inimitable Randy Ingermanson and subscribing to this daily blog.

    Thanks to all of you,

    • Fantastic, Lou! Randy Ingermanson is a marvelous teacher. And huge congrats for your honorable mention and finalist status! Best of luck on your submission, too.

  6. Thanks for this positive opportunity, Sue.

    For me, it’s a double-barreled victory. First is that my current time travel fantasy finally caught on in 2020 and has been solidly positioned for months now on Amazon’s Best Sellers lists for a couple of its genres; usually Top 50. I don’t know if it’s because of the COVID shutdown (the rise in sales matched the virus’ rise) or because AMZN’s magical algorithms latched on, but it’s working.

    Second is the recent completion of the draft of the sequel to the same book. I had no thought of making a series of it, but the consistent “I want more” comments and reviews (over 50 now) caused me to ponder and ultimately decide to go for it. Release of #2 expected before end of year. Then start on #3.

    So I’m on a roll. And I include this very TKZ site for one of the reasons why.

  7. Mine are relatively small, but I’ll take ’em, by gosh and by golly!

    1) Set up a new WordPress website all by myself. Believe me, this was a feat. I’m by no means a techie and it was daunting to me. WordPress may be the Cadillac of platforms, but it’s way more complicated than what I had before. While I was first setting it up, the IT people heard from me every day, multiple times a day. (And they’re the Cadillacs of IT folks!) I’m still working on it, trying this, trying that, to make it look better. Might be doing that until the end of days.

    2) I had four beta readers critique and comment on my #2 WIP. I’ve never used betas before. Just received the fourth one back yesterday. It was a good experience. I was worried, though, because this story is a little more edgy and supernatural than I’ve written before. They did a great job, gave me great feedback, and all liked the premise and the story. I will definitely use betas again.

    I know you said one example…and I shared two. 🙂 Here’s the third: I don’t tune in to the news every day anymore. Much better for my mental health!

    • All wonderful achievements, Deb! Yes, I agree, setting up and designing a WP site is a nightmare. Mine took three full days of tweaking and a lot of hair-pulling. But, yes, there’s a but, it’s the best thing I ever did. I’ve gotten more opportunities from my website/blog than I ever thought possible. You go, girl!

    • Deb, you and I are on the same page. I stopped viewing / listening to the news a couple of months ago. I figured my peace of mind was more important. It works!

  8. I had a couple of victories this year:

    – My first book, The Watch on the Fencepost, became an Amazon #1 Bestseller in several categories for a short time earlier this year and even broke into the Top 100 Kindle books sold on Amazon.

    – My second book, Dead Man’s Watch, was accepted by my publisher. However, based on things I’ve learned here on TKZ and other sites, we may go indie on this one. One way or another, it will be published soon.

  9. Thanks for asking! My first mystery in a series, SAVING TUNA STREET, was published in June, and another publisher accepted my novel, THE BOYS OF ALPHA BLOCK–the latter about a woman who teaches in a boys’ prison and gets mixed up in their escape plan. Good news. Other than that, I’d toss 2020 into an enormous vat of past tense.

  10. Hi Sue – I’ve been out of commission for the last two days so I missed this yesterday. I got something to brag about. I finally got over my fear of m…m…m…m…marketing and took the pay-to-play plunge with a stacked promo for my permafree. And whadda ya know? It worked. It sent my book to the top spot on Amazon’s Crime Thriller category (yeah, I know, the free BS list but I’ll take it). The pay-off has been the paid read-throughs in the series which are starting to roll in and compound. Aside from that score, I’ve self-pubbed four books this year and I have another one to hit the release button on next week.

    PS… another thing to be proud of is I haven’t seriously hurt myself for a while 😉

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