Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Year End Review #publishing #writing #planning

The year 2016 looks very different from 2015, publishing-wise. 2015 was full and hectic with releases of one kind or another every couple of months. 2016 wasn't too bad. I had three releases: Ruby Red Booty Shorts and a Louisville Slugger, Werewolf's Tale and a Druid's Sword, and Death Mask. I wanted more. I hoped for more but I just didn't produce as many stories.

My writing "wishlist" looked like this. I wanted to at least complete 6 manuscripts. Instead, I finished 3 (Death Mask, Releasing Chaos, and Devil's Dawn) and started a 4th one (Bespoken).

I thought 6 was a good number because it allowed time to do editing for upcoming releases, but the number was also contingent upon the manuscript's word count sticking to 40-50k. Death Mask was around that number, but Releasing Chaos turned out to be a whopping 130+k. Devil's Dawn was supposed to be 60k but was closer to 90k. And Bespoken is only about a quarter done, sitting at 40k right now.

Why has the number of finished books dropped? Because of the word count is going up. I had to stop and remind myself of that fact time and again. There were moments when I felt as if I was standing still in 2016. But the facts are I can write 40 thousand words a month, on average, and 50k in good months. When the stories I write end up being three times 40 then it takes three months at the very least to finish writing. That doesn't include the false starts, the rewrites of scrapped sections, or the editing and betaing that needs to be done after I type THE END. I really hate that I can't go faster, but it is what it is and I have to work with my capabilities, not flog myself for things I can't do. That takes time and energy that I don't have. But every once in a while, the "you shoulds" slaps me in the face. 

My 2017 writing "Wish List" looks like this and so far I'm on schedule, although Bespoken is going to be at least 50k longer than the 100k I estimated for it.

Even though this looks all neat, tidy, and set, there are some very hard decisions I need to make this year that has to do with the next book in the the I.O.N. series.

Back in August I seriously contemplated not finishing the ION series. There are several reasons. Even though Ruby Red was a re-release, I expected it to sell better than it did. Then those who loved the original version didn't like how I slowed the pace down of the revised version, so it received several mediocre reviews. That was to be expected, but even those who hadn't read Ruby Red before thought the story was lacking and added more mediocre reviews. So low sales and so-so reviews had me rethinking writing anymore
more books in the series. I've heard that Urban Fantasy is a hard sell but so is Sci-Fi and my Sci-Fi does well.

In August, I spent some time with Kenzie Kade and she helped me to do some world building on the 3rd book of ION. At that time, I planned on five books total. After paying more attention to my sales reports than I normally do, I condensed the plot and narrowed the series down to four books. Because really, why spend time writing a series that only a few like and will read? 

I decided to wait until Werewolf's Tale released to decide the fate of series. Here in the next couple of months I will decide what to do with the series. It is heartening that readers loved Werewolf's Tale. If the numbers are decent, I'll write the last two books back to back so that I don't get disheartened again if book 3 isn't liked. Besides, leaving a series partially finished irks me personally. I don't want to be that author.

Darksoul is the book that has made me rethink any future self-publishing. I looked like an idiot last year as I attempted and failed to forecast its completion and release. Now it's a year later and it's "almost" finished and still not quite. I didn't put it on the 2017 schedule because I just might take this out back for target practice before burning it. There are times I imagine a huge bonfire fire, explosions, fireworks, and maybe some strangled screams. Darksoul is work of love, it has to be or I'd have given up on it by now. I have this reoccurring nightmare that by the time it comes out, anyone who was interested won't be any more. Ha! But I don't give up (Never give up! Never surrender!) and Darksoul will be published in 2017 sometime. 

So that's it in a nutshell, the look back, the glance forward sprinkled with hope and perseverance. I hope y'all like longer stories because that's looks like it'll be a trend with me.

Hope y'all have a Happy New Year!!

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