Writing–There’s Going to Be A Lot of Self-Publishing This Year

flame box elder penAs you most likely know, I published my first title of 2015 back in February (Hatchets and Hearts, in case you missed it) with the idea that I was going to use the same self-publishing schedule for 2015 that I used in 2014 (February, June, October).

Yeah, well, I’ve changed my mind as of now. I say as of now because we all know that I can, may, and most likely will change my mind another dozen times between now and next week.

However, the plan as of this hour will be to publish one of the anthologies next month (April) and then publish the last three Ivy Russell novellas in June, August, and October, and most likely putting the whole collection of novellas together for December.

Why?

Well, two reasons. One: This is all part of my goal to get stuff off of my To Do List. There’s no reason for me not to, especially since it’s not like if I publish these titles I’ll have nothing left. I still have another anthology I’m working on plus a several more novellas. I’m sure one of these things will be ready to publish by next year.

Two: There’s really no reason to mete out the Ivy Russell novellas over an extended period of time. Cheaters and Chupacabras sold a grand total of 12 copies so far.  May as well get them all out and be done with them.

(Not that I don’t like them or anything. I adore Ivy Russell and her friends. The four novellas ended up making an nice closed circle in my mind, ending any thought about whether or not I should write any more. This is just a business sort of decision.)

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should release The Timeless Man, The Odd Section of Town, and Firebugs and Other Insects individually or just put them together with Cheaters and call it good, but I figure I may as well give them a go on their own. Who knows? Maybe one of those stories will actually take off.

The anthology I’ll be publishing next month is called People Are Terrible and Other Stories. For the five people that bought Rejected, you’ll recognize six of the stories from that no-longer-available anthology (the other three will end up in the other anthology). But there’s six new stories and a novella, too. Fun for the whole family.

Provided the family can do PG-13 to R level stuff and likes horror.

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Writing–Creating a Series

Rainbow paperAt some point after one of the heavy revisions of Cheaters and Chupacabras (long before it was titled, of course, because that didn’t happen until the last minute), I realized that Ivy and her friends could host a series of novellas. I’d even had an idea at the time for what the next novella would be.

But creating a series is new to me. Sure, I’ve read a few, but I’ve never actually given it a try by my own writing hand.

When I was writing The Timeless Man, my idea for Ivy novella number two, I came up against several difficulties in the first draft, one of which was keeping track of the details from the first novella. There needs to be continuity in a series, otherwise people can be moved to lose their interest and/or shit. This is the sort of thing that plagues TV shows. And now I found it plaguing me.

What was Michelle’s married name? What did Candy look like? What was Ivy’s hometown? Did I even name it? Was Art a bachelor or divorced or a widower? Did I say?

Little things like that. While writing The Timeless Man I saw that I need a way to keep track of all of these things. Character names and places and descriptions and relationships –that whole scene. After all, I’ve got ideas for two more novellas after The Timeless Man. I need to get the established stuff straight because I’m only going to be adding to it.

For now everything is scribbles and scratches while I try to figure out the best way to go about organizing these things. I’m going to need to do the first round of revising/rewriting on The Timeless Man soon. I’d like to have my ducks in a row by then.

Or at least all in the same pond where I can see them.

Writing–Bestseller, Baby

Rainbow paperI am not what you’d call a bestseller in the strictest sense of the word. You wouldn’t even call me that in the very loosest sense of the word. If you add up all of the copies I’ve sold, it wouldn’t come even close to one hundred. It wouldn’t even break fifty.

I am definitely not a bestseller.

But, I feel like one.

See, I published Yearly at the beginning of February. I sold  twelve copies that month. Twelve! It took me months to see that many copies of Gone Missing. I haven’t even come close to that with anything else (Night of the Nothing Man has sold a grand total of three; Cheaters and Chupacabras has sold 8). So, to me, selling twelve of one thing in one month is huge.

And then last month, Yearly sold nineteen. Nineteen! Amazing!

It’s hard to explain to people familiar with the sales of Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, and the like how successful selling less than twenty copies of something can feel. But when you’ve gone your career until this point selling mostly nothing, when selling four copies of all total of every thing you’ve published in one month feels huge, selling nineteen of ONE thing in one month feels like some kind of arrival.

Okay, maybe that sounds overly dramatic, but like I said, it’s hard to explain.

I’m not the best self-promoter. I don’t have a very strong word-of-mouth existence. I’m not exactly clamored for. I usually know everyone who buys my stuff. when I hit the point that I don’t know who bought it, when I hit the point that it’s possible that strangers might be buying my work, I can’t help but get excited. It makes me feel like a real writer. It makes me feel validated.

It makes me want to write more.

Writing–Sophomore Slump?

Rainbow paperI’ve spent the month working on the next Ivy Russell novella, The Timeless Man. It’s been sort of a slow-go due to a bit of a crazy work schedule. Most days I can only get a page or two done, though I try to get more than that in on the weekends and the days I’m only working one job.

But the day jobs aren’t the only thing slowing me up.

So far I’ve spent the entire first draft (which isn’t yet finished) comparing The Timeless Man to Cheaters and Chupacabras. It’s an unfair comparison because I’m comparing a finished project with a first draft. That’s like comparing a gold medal skier to a guy who just put on skis for the first time. It’s not right.

But I’m doing it anyway.

Every time I pull up the first draft to work on it and start typing, in my head I’m asking myself, “Does it have the same tone as the first one? Is it as much fun? Are the characters consistent? Is it enough like the first one?”

The only valid question is about the characters. They should be consistent at their core from novella to novella, and since I have two more novellas in the idea stage, that’s pretty important. It’s something I should definitely keep in mind for the first draft, but I don’t have to be a nag about it.

The rest of it, I can’t ask those questions now. I’m not even sure if I should ask those questions at all. Since this is going to be a series of novellas, I realize there should be a certain feel to the stories that is similar between novellas, but that’s really something I shouldn’t be thinking about in the first draft stage.

I’m hoping I can file those questions for later. I can look at them again when I get to revising.

Right now, I just need to be writing.

I won’t be able to answer them if I don’t get this first draft done.

Writing–December Projects

Snow Cat

December is always a rough month writing-wise for me. Between the NaNoWriMo hangover (which, I admit, can’t be bad this year since I was done in two weeks) and the holidays and the holiday obligations, writing seems even more of a chore than it should be. In order to combat that, the writing-goals for December get toned waaaaay down.

This month I only have a few goals which shouldn’t tax my brain and my patience too much.

I need to get the cover art done for the Ivy novella, which finally has a name! I’m calling it Cheaters and Chupacabras, which is a crappy name, but it’ll do, pig, it’ll do. And once I get the cover art done, I will be publishing it so you can find out if the novella itself is less-crappy than the title (I think it is).

I also need to get the cover art for my next anthology, Yearly, done. I’d like to have that published in January. And don’t let the title fool you; it’s not a yearly thing. It’s just the way the stories ended up representing months and I decided to capitalize on it.

And finally, I’m revising “She’s Not Here Anymore”. It was originally written as a novella, but after reading it again, I’ve decided to rewrite it as a short story. I’m taking out certain elements of the story because it ended up not being what I wanted and the new way will be better. I’m giving myself the whole month to do it because I’m not exactly enthused about it, but I think it needs to be done. Once I get the rewrites finished, I think I’ll be happier with the story and therefore, a little more inclined to work on it.

So that’s what I’ll be doing in December. Enough to keep me productive, but not too much to make me feel like an utter failure.