2020 – Year in Review

Wow. What just happened? *Gestures broadly at everything*

2020 was an intense year for many different reasons, but if you are reading this post, give yourself a pat on the back because you have managed to make it through to the other side. Congrats! Welcome to 2020 2021.

Despite everything, 2020 was an exciting year for me and Liz, and much progress was made!

I will now proceed to list our many achievements.

2020 was the year we threw ourselves into the wild world of self-publishing and set up Mooniverse Books as launching platform for all our combined creative efforts. We have a website, our own online store, and we have already made several titles available (with many more on the way!)

However, the journey to reach this point has been long and sweary. There was a lot of anguish, but the plus side is that we now have diversified skillsets! Hooray! We have had to learn everything. Book production, printing, layout, editing, editing again, cover design, marketing, web design… But most importantly, the true meaning of absolute rage while trying to get stupid page numbers into a stupid bloody Microsoft Word document. *Flips over the desk and screams*

Ultimately, it has all been worth it and the joy of sending our books into the world is immeasurable. As cliché as it is, it really is a dream come true and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us with our goals so far. Thanks dudes!

(Of course, the best part of this dream is that I am still wearing my trousers.)

In regards to the books themselves, the big chunky ones have been ‘Karl the Hotdog Wizard’, ‘Are Rabbits Bears?’, and ‘Letters Home – A Guide to Living.’

Karl is the biggest full-colour graphic novel I’ve released to date and probably one of my personal favourites. Karl is a lovely character but he does explode at one point.

Are Rabbits Bears?’ written by Liz and illustrated by me was one of our biggest challenges and most educational. For me, this was the first time doing children’s book illustration within this context. It was tricky to begin with, but very rewarding and now we’ve established an inhouse style for future children’s books. This is useful because Liz is continuously writing new stories!

Completing ‘Letters Home’ was a moment of enormous pride for the Mooniverse Books team (me and Liz.) The book features a series of letters, poetry, and drawings produced by Liz’s grandfather during the second world war. They are thoughtful, insightful, and emotionally profound. Stanley was a man ahead of his time, and if he had survived the war, his work certainly would have been published in some form. It was a real honour to be a part of this project with Liz.

Beyond self-publishing, 2020 was also a good year for hobbies!

Firstly, I’d like to mention reading which is a big one for me. From an early age, I have felt discouraged from reading. Mainly because in school I was always in the bottom class for English and always needed extra help when studying. I’ve always felt like I wasn’t good enough to read books and any attempt would be a waste of time. However, I can gladly say it hasn’t stopped me! In 2020 I read many books, including a book that was over 1000 pages long and in tiny print with no pictures! Here’s a small cross-section of some of the titles I read last year. I particularly enjoyed Paulo Coelho with ‘The Alchemist’…

Language learning was another difficultly for me at school, though oddly enough I did better in German than I did for English. Ich bin confused. Anyway, I’ve been learning Italian for a couple of years now and it is amazing. At the beginning, I could barely understand a single word but now I’m able to watch episodes of Montalbano and understand some whole phrases and sentences! Special thanks to Duolingo for giving me the initial confidence to get started. 2020 was a year of more progress with Italian and I’m definitely using new and weird parts of my brain which I never knew existed…

As a side note, I did badly at everything in school, including art. However, if like me, you’ve been told that you can’t do something, I highly recommend just doing it anyway.

Finally, in terms of exciting developments, I’d like to mention my new electric guitar! I have always loved music and through the process of learning an instrument properly (with minimal noodling), I am gaining much more in depth appreciation for it. Learning the guitar has been a very interesting experience so far, and I’m looking forward to more sonic experiments throughout 2021. (Also, thanks to my uncle Mike for setting me up with an awesome amp and some equipment.)

To summarize, 2020 was a mess! We are living through difficult times and people are struggling, but I suppose the point I’ve tried to make throughout this review is that there are always opportunities. There is always something to new to appreciate, something to learn, or see, or experience…

Choose to live life in joy.

As for 2021, I will write up an update for future plans/books/projects soon. I need to stop writing now because this has been a long post and I’m about to hit my total word allowan

About Daniel Saunders

Daniel Saunders is a Graphic Novelist and Alternative Therapist based in the UK. His humorous and thought-provoking style often explores complex themes such as life, death, creativity, justice, education, religion and politics.
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