Halfway Through the Year


Hello, readers and listeners!

We’re halfway through the year, so I thought I’d do a status update. I had two main goals for 2013. One was to average 700 words per day (not particularly ambitious) and to release something new for sale every month. That last goal is extremely ambitious. I’ve never managed to release something new every quarter, let alone every month.

I kept up through April. My releases were:

January – “Sky Dance” (Cowry Catchers novelette)

February – Cowry Catchers Book 5 (novel - illustrated ebook)

March – “Chemistry” (Cowry Catchers novelette)

April – “Hungry” (a Hunters short story)

I fell off the wagon in May and June, although I did actually finish new projects in each of those months. I finished Hunters Unlucky in May – a huge 213,000-word epic. In June, I finished “The Secret,” the Gwain novelette. However, Hunters needs a polish edit, beta readers, and a typo edit to make it presentable. I can’t just push it out the door. With the Gwain story, I tried a style and format I’m unaccustomed to (first person epistolary). As a result, it needed more editing than the other novelettes I’ve written this year, and it can’t be released until July.

Other book-related projects I’ve been working on:

--The fullcast audio of CC5

--Howlaa lines for the Tim Pratt story “The Nex” (finished)

--the paper editions of Prophet (followed by paper editions of Crossroads and Feeding Malachi)

--a new cover for Cowry Catchers Complete series

--new interior graphics for all the Panamindorah books (see previous entry)

--new promotional strategies (KDP select = not worth it, BookBub = entirely worth it)

--I’ve spoken at 2 conventions

--experimenting with new ways to release paid audio

My current words/day average is right around 600, and it will get worse before it gets better, because I will spend July editing Hunters for publication, which doesn’t count as new words. Then, I will start writing The Scarlet Albatross, and I may be able to catch up.

I conclude that, while I am capable of completing something new every month, I’m not currently capable of having every project street-ready in that timeframe. I could probably do it if I stuck with 10K novelettes in styles that are familiar to me, but not if I stretch myself and not with longer work.

I’ve always been one of those people who aims for the sun, knowing I’ll probably just hit the moon. But, hey, the moon is pretty cool! This experiment taught me that I am capable of more than I thought. I may try it again in a year or two, but, for now, I need to retailor my goals to something that makes more sense.

I think I can catch up on my word-count, so I won’t change that one. I think it’s completely reasonable to expect to have the Gwain story, Hunters Unlucky, and CC5 audio finished and available this year, probably in that order. I should have paper versions of Prophet available by the end of the year. I think that I can get Scarlett Albatross written this year.

My stretch-goals are having Scarlet Albatross edited and available for sale, having Crossroads and Feeding Malachi in paper, and getting the Holovarus book written. All or part of that would be nice, but may not be possible. The thing that will make it impossible is CC5 audio. Every time I start into one of these huge, fullcast audio projects, I tell myself that it’s not going to stop me from working on other creative projects simultaneously. And, every time, it does. So we’ll see what happens.

Part of the reason that I feel like I’m running in place is that I’m still playing catch-up on the huge back-log of material I had when the self-publishing revolution started. I keep having to stop work on new projects in order to deal with old ones. Once I get those paper books off my plate, I will never again need to get so many books into paper at once. The CC5 audio is also something that I won’t have to do again. Interior artwork for the Panamindorah books and the CC complete series cover are one-off tasks that had been postponed in 2011 or 2012 because the books hadn’t made enough money. Once that stuff is done, it’s done. One of these days, I’ll be able to work on one or two projects at a time from start to finish, but that day is not yet.

In the meantime, here’s some more of the interior artwork for the paper version of Prophet – section-breaks, created by my map-maker and cover designer, Jeff McDowall. Pretty cool, huh?