This year, the writing and publishing went fairly well. With the help of some family members who graciously became my beta readers/proofreaders, I finished, polished, and published a new book in a new (for me) genre, and finished NaNoWriMo2020 in spite of some setbacks. I cut severely back on my marketing costs, which had gotten out of hand in past years, and only got back into active marketing at the very end of the year, coinciding with the new release. So far it’s going better than I had any reason to expect. The modest royalties from my book sales and pages read in Kindle Unlimited to date, would almost cover the costs of my test ads on Bookbub and my low budget ad spend on Bookbub and Amazon. We’ll see how long this moment of almost breaking even lasts.
My hope was to finish and publish my first space opera, start working on the sequel while I was polishing the first one, and maybe write the second half of the sequel for NaNoWriMo2020. I didn’t manage that, and given the extra time that the Covid shutdown bought me, first during administrative leave and then with telework, I feel like I could have done more. But it took me a long time to feel my way through the second half of the first space opera, and a moderately long time to clean up the initial complete draft of the book. I finished that cleanup/polishing process only a few days before NaNoWriMo, and it left my creative energies kind of drained. I’ve found at least three short scenes and two longer sections that need major reworking in the second space opera, before I proceed anything further with it.
Still I wrote 100,000 more or less useable words over the course of the year (second half of first space opera+first half of second space opera), polished and published my longest book to date, created its cover, and constructed a wallet-friendly promotional campaign for its launch.
Plans for next year? Try to have Star Master Book 2 published by the end of 2021; refresh the Ancestors of Jaiya series (proofreading and new covers) somewhere along the way. Write as much as I can of Star Master Book 3, and keep daydreaming and outlining that high fantasy idea that keeps popping up. We’ll see how all that works out.
I finished polishing the space opera today. Final wordcount: 110685. Now it is in the hands of my volunteer first readers. Right now, I’m hoping for a Christmas/Boxing Day Feast of St. Stephen release, but that depends on what the first readers find, whether I can come up with a cover that I’m happy with, and what kind of mental shape I’m in come December, when I’ve finished with NaNoWriMo2020. In the meantime, victory dance!
There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, most of which I can’t do anything about. I will vote in my country’s elections when circumstances permit, I will pray for a good outcome from them, and I will try to be extra-nice to the poll-watchers in the family, because they deserve it. Aside from that, all I can do is focus on my day job and the writing….
State of the Space Opera: Somewhere between 66%-70% revised and polished. If I am very fortunate, I will be done with that by the end of October 2020 and hand it over to my volunteer editors/proofreaders for review. If things work out, I will spend December 2020 prepping it for publication.
State of the Space Opera’s Sequel: Completed a rough outline in Excel, ran it through Word, and imported to Scrivener. I hope to start writing it on November 1 for NaNoWriMo2020.
State of the Space Opera Series as a Whole: Right now, I am not sure whether it wants to be 3 books or 4. If the first two don’t sell significantly better than the Jaiya metaseries did, the space opera series will definitely end up as a trilogy.
Further down the pipeline: revision and cover refresh for the Ancestors of Jaiya series, along with a single volume collection. A concept for a high fantasy series: just a character, plus a vague idea of the setting. (This is about the stage of development the space opera was at in 2015-2016.)
Yesterday, I celebrated my country’s freedom from bad cooking, Received Pronunciation, and taxation without representation. Tomorrow, I will celebrate my temporary freedom from first drafting. You see, tonight I finished the first draft of the longest book I have ever written. The space opera I’ve been trying to write for years finally came together.
When I sat down to write the books in my upcoming Ancestors of Jaiya series, I was mostly interested in tracing a particular family through several generations of the country’s history, before their descendants appear in the main Jaiya series, and I wasn’t thinking too hard about the themes of the books. I knew love and romance would be major themes, because all the Jaiya books are clean paranormal/fantasy romances at heart.
It’s getting to be that time of year, with National Novel Writing Month only a few weeks away. Last year’s NaNo project turned out to be one of those experimental attempts that don’t produce a complete story, or even something I managed to turn into one.
Well, finally starting to see some progress here. I have the first two books in the Ancestors of Jaiya series available for preorder, with a release date of October 25, 2019. I am done polishing Book 3 in the series, and am halfway through the process of converting it into a Word document with a linked table of contents. Still to do on Book 3: writing a blurb, creating the print cover, and setting up it up for preorder.
The best case scenario is that I will somehow have all four books ready for release by October 25, 2019, and the first book in the series set to perma-free by October 28, 2019. In a worst case scenario, Book 4 may release later than the others: either early November 2019, assuming I am mostly done with it by the time NaNoWriMo starts, or sometime in December 2019, assuming I don’t manage to get a finalized copy in Word document form assembled by October 31, 2019.
On an unrelated note, I changed my website’s WordPress theme. I am pleased with it, but open to suggestions.
Yesterday, I finally finished the rough draft of Saving a Queen, the second of four books in the Ancestors of Jaiya series and the last one to be written. I was trying to take it slow and save my wrists by dictating it, and of course I’m not nearly as experienced with that as I am with typing. I’ve done some editing on the first book in the prequel series, but I still have quite a bit of work to do, to polish up these four books. I am currently planning to release all of them together sometime in first quarter of 2019, but it would more likely be March or late February than January.
In the meantime, Marrying a Monster, the first book in the main Jaiya series, is free on all major vendors in a number of countries. I’ve been informed that it is not free on some of Amazon’s non-US stores but I haven’t been able to get this sorted out yet. My priority right now is preparing my space opera concept for NaNoWriMo2018.
I hope to draft some posts about the writing process-about dictation, about the NaNoWriMo project-and schedule them to publish, but we’ll see how that turns out.
I am slowly but surely making progress on the Ancestors of Jaiya series (prequel to the main Jaiya series). On Memorial Day (US), I finished the rough draft of Scapegoating a Hero, book 3 in this prequel series. I first began work on Hero in January or February of 2017, so this is the longest I’ve ever spent on a book I actually finished.
Hero is like the other books in both series in that it’s about a man and a woman with supernatural powers who fall in love while fighting evil together. But it has more Continue reading “Writer Milestones”→