Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Update: Stats, The New Plan, and Waxing Philosophical

Starting with stats last time was fun. I think I will do that again.

First, word count updates:
  • Words written so far in September: 18,874
  • Words written so far this year: 93,606
  • Words written so far on SoM: 50,072

I ended up writing over 20k words in August. I got 6k more words written on SoM before the month ended. I finally hit 50k on SoM. My minimum goal before October was to hit 50k, and I waited to update this blog until I hit that point. Now every day I write, I'm that much closer to halfway. It's unlikely I'll actually hit 60k unless I have an epic week (which, who knows, I very well might). I would have to write 1,000 words a day just on SoM to hit it. I've been working on other things, including a Cafe story and a brainstorm for my upcoming NaNo novel. I dunno. It's do-able. But I'm not going to kill myself for it. I'm really happy with my progress, so anything beyond this point is gravy.

Here's an update on where I'm at with literary agent queries:

  • Partial requests: 2
  • Rejections: 33
  • Closed (no response): 20
  • Outstanding: 3
The partials are at 104 and 63 days, respectively. I have no idea when/if I will ever hear back from either of those. I will probably nudge the 104-day one when it hits 120 days, and it sounds like the 63-day one is behind because of traveling but is looking at partials requested from about a month before mine at this point. I'm really hoping to hear back from both of those before the end of the year, because there's a very well-respected small press that will be open to unagented manuscripts during November and December. I really want to submit to them, so fingers crossed I have answers on all my queries by then. That may mean that I don't send it to that one last agent on my list (she opened to queries early, I'm so mad about that), but that's ok. Of the last three outstanding queries, I expect to hear back from one in about two weeks and one in about a month. The last one I may never hear from and will therefore close out at 90 days. Oh. I did get a 119-day rejection on one of the submissions I had closed out.

So that's where I'm at as far as stats.

Here's where I'm at as far as my plan. I will throw my book at two or three publishing companies (two if I don't make the Angry Robot open door window). That will probably take most of next year. I know Tor and DAW both take like, six months or something like that, and they are exclusive, so you can only send to one at a time.

But I think that's the only submission I will be doing next year.

It took a lot of reflection and at least three months' worth of this writing blog to realize...that I need to take next year off and just focus on writing and editing. I want to spend a year without the distraction of submission to just write more books and clean up existing books. It may well be the very last year to just be creative with no pressure to do more.

And then, if all of the agents and all of the publishers have rejected MoL, I will spend 2019 finding editors and cover designers and will begin the self-publication process. I should have enough saved to edit and cover all three books. And then, I will begin to release them in 2020.

I will have a release every other month, putting out the whole trilogy in one year, with short stories between them. The shorts will be about my supporting dudes--a Makai story that's already written (although it's only 4k now, so I might work to stretch it out to 5k) and a Shane story that goes between books two and three--and then at the end of the year, collect them all and put out a box set.

In the two years it takes me to write, edit, and prepare the Huntress trilogy for publication, I'll focus on writing books two and three of Druid Wars. That way, in 2021, I will follow the same formula and put out the Druid Wars trilogy, with shorts in between (one being a story I wrote for the Cafe that I will probably tweak). Hopefully by then, I will have a reliable editor and cover artist so I won't have to wait too long to get stuff back from them.

And then, in the year that those are going out, I will work on writing books two and three of Pandemonium. Hopefully I'll get book one cleaned up in my year of writing and editing next year. And then starting in 2022, I might....MIGHT...release book one and then start releasing a season of Sally Prescott between each book. If I write two to three adventures of SP a year, I should be well into season three, if not finished with season three by then. The idea behind that is to have more time to write the Pandemonium books by putting out other stuff I've already written. But, hey, if things go well, maybe I can follow the same formula with that series instead (I already have an idea for one of the shorts), and potentially just release two seasons of SP a year and then put out the SP novel. I dunno, though. Three years of Sally Prescott without anything else might be a bit much. I might have to ask my mentor (Rachel!!) what she thinks.

And after that? Who knows. That's five years of doing a new NaNo novel every year, so I will, in theory, have other worlds to choose from.

Although this year, I'm using NaNo to get out of my comfort zone to write something that's magical realism instead of urban fantasy. And it'll probably be stand-alone. So. Erm. I dunno where that fits, or if it'll even be a decent book that I can publish.

Anyway. As I've mentioned, I want to keep doing NaNo every year so I have a month to do something fun and outside of the box. Without the pressure of it having to fit into my regular genres or be marketable. Although of all the agent MSWL I've read, many of them want the next Practical Magic, so hey, maybe I'll get an agent based on this book I have yet to write. Or maybe it'll go under my pseudonym. Or maybe it'll go in the trunk. Regardless, I am planning to have fun with it. It's all witchy and October and kind of grown-up and literary. I want to spend lots of words describing things about fall and evoke some feelings and...I dunno. I want to be a middle-aged woman, I guess.

That has been a worry of mine lately. Am I getting out of my New Adult, fantasy setting type novels? I hope not. I'm kind of relying on writing at least four series in that genre over the next ten years. And I had always planned on going back to Fractured Worlds in my 40s, when I feel like I might be better able to build other fantasy worlds. I can't be done with fantasy yet, can I?

And the answer to that is probably no. But I've outgrown a lot of my new adult angst. I've mostly accepted Mom's passing. I've mostly gotten past relationship drama and very intense young person ideas of love. The kinds of things that appealed to me when in was in my 20s doesn't necessarily resonate with me anymore. That doesn't mean I can't still write it. I probably will.

But maybe the next five years' worth of NaNo will be my chance to explore more adult, middle-aged issues. Maybe my protagonist in this year's NaNo will actually be married instead of just having a girlfriend. Or maybe not. But I want her in an established, healthy, supportive relationship. An adult relationship where they learn about things and each other together. It's a journey they go through as a couple, experiencing everything along the way. She's not discovering her sexuality or falling in love, she just is in love and is a lesbian, and that's part of the story but not what the plot is.

Anyway. That was a serious TL;DR tangent.

I waxed philosophical.

Back on track, now.

Yeah. I made a schedule for my self-publication. It's a bit aggressive. It relies on me being able to write about 200k a year. I may not be able to maintain that. Although I did find out at work today that I can drop to 32 hours and still be considered full time. I could actually take Fridays off and still get full benefits. I wouldn't get the eight hours of pay, and that would add up, but. If I was making a supplemental income from selling books, I could maybe afford to take that extra day to write or do freelance editing. It's something to consider. And I am in a workplace that I think would entertain the idea. But in two or three years...I may not even have this job anymore, depending on funding. So. I can't rely on that eventuality. Also, if Jack ends up quitting his job to go back to school, we might need me to work full time and publish books to make do.

So yeah. Lots of things to think about, but I'm not going to worry about any of them now. Having given myself next year to just write and edit has really taken a great load off. I have been super productive since then.

And while part of me may want to query Druid Wars next year, I may not do it officially. I may do Twitter pitches and throw it at one or two of my top agents, but probably not. It's hard to not jump in fully after dipping your toe in the water.

Seriously. Querying is like gambling. It's addictive.

I'm gonna wrap this up, now. The big takeaways from this month are that I'm still waiting on agents, I have made great progress on book three, and I may even get my fifth Cafe story for the year turned in.

Oh, that is one last thing I was thinking about. I may drop down to only three stories next year instead of six. I'll keep it running, but I mostly want to write things I can monetize eventually. Although putting out a short story collection might be a nice way to fill gaps in my publication schedule...

Haha. Ok. Really am done now.

Until October!