What a year 2016 has been! And yet I’ve learned so little.

Perhaps the lessons of the recent past will reveal themselves when I’m not panicking about the hundred things undone, the Christmas shopping unshopped, and the promised blog piece for Grace heretofore unwritten. It’s been a bumper year for Affirm Press and we’ve continued the huge expansion of recent years. Blahdy blah. But like every other publisher, we’re weighing up the what ifs – what if we’d recognised what the least successful ten books would be, and focused all our energy on the top ten instead? Why does it never get easier to tell which is going to be which? Would it have been as much fun with only the winners? I actually think not.

Here are some stand-out memories and milestones from 2016.

I won the inaugural Affirm Press golf tournament; Keiran finished last.

Steph created the Brewed With Balls book and we, less successfully, designed a beer to help launch it. (My favourite conversation of the year was overhead in the loo at said launch:

–“Have you tried the ‘beer as a book’?”

– “No, what it’s like?”

– “Terrible, but it’s free, so I’m kinda torn.”)

Grace got an author on Fidler and almost got an author arrested for breaking and entering in the process.

Fiona came out to dinner one night, wearing black!

Ruby commissioned her first book, One Italian Summer (out next year).

Clair joined us to start a kids list (and significantly increase our drinking capacity, as it turns out).

We adopted the Western Bulldogs as our official team and they immediately lost form and key players to injury, but it all came good and we started October with a day off.

I went to the London Book Fair and missed acquiring a book that has gone gangbusters.

We effectively ‘sold’ the rights to our first and cherished literary novel, Michael Sala’s The Last Thread, because Text are publishing his next book and having both under the same roof will be good for Michael’s career (plus, part of the deal is that Michael Heyward will take us out for a slap-up dinner, including drinks, when Michael Sala wins the Miles Franklin or Man Booker).

Robbie from Readings told the best self-deprecating story of 2016 (about him on his motorbike).

I still haven’t met Henry Rosenbloom.

We wrote funny, piss-taking staff bios of each other which still haven’t been put on the website (peoples?!)

Ten things I’m pretty sure I have learned:

  1. Adults might like colouring-in but a colouring-in puzzle is a step too far
  2. Sports nostalgia sells (Dennis Lillee)
  3. Hard work pays off when you love, love, love something to start with (The Birdman’s Wife)
  4. Books can be incredibly satisfying even when they don’t make the bestseller list, and Jim Obergefell is possibly the loveliest man we’ve all met (Love Wins)
  5. It’s ridiculously hard to sell even an hysterical and irresistibly charming memoir if the authors are unknown (A Prescribed Life)
  6. Keiran can sometimes spot a winner (Great Global Bucket List)
  7. Ben Pobjie is funny as fuck (Error Australis)
  8. You can’t properly enjoy a big Christmas unless you’ve already got next Christmas sorted
  9. Beware of trying to “fill the gap” (Let the Elephants Run)
  10. It’s very, very exciting when you net a big fish in the week before Christmas (I’ll tell you when the contract is signed!)