|C. A. M. Lindman (1856–1928)|
I love Neil, and my agency doesn't pay me to say so. He has some very cool philosophies that I embrace. In his speech, he says to the audience, "Be like dandelions."
What he's talking about is getting your work in front of as many people as you can, as many ways as you can. I'll stay away from the aspect of that philosophy that I know bothers at least one of my co-bloggers: the idea that readers downloading books for free is a good thing (easier to say when you're a bestseller and able to pay your bills). The aspect of this I really latched onto is the "as many ways as you can."
I think this is a critical piece of advice for authors today, whether indie or traditionally published, or somewhere in between.
My life often feels overwhelming. I work a day job. I'm a single mom half the time. I have book deadlines. I'm always struggling to make ends meet, and I never feel I get enough accomplished.
In 2012 I contracted with Tor for two books, and then last year I contracted one more. Those books until recently have been the entirety of my publishing career, because frankly it was all I could handle. But as we all know SFR is a tricky genre. It's hard to get your name out there, and your work noticed. The jury's still out on whether my first three books will sell enough copies to get me another contract.
Since I'm not likely to quit, I decided the best thing I could do while working on my next book is try a few new things. Shorter works. Edgier works. Different heat levels. Different formats. Different audiences. All of them my signature blend of romance and geeky spec fic.
Except for the occasional procrastination-inspired infidelity, I am typically a monogamous writer, sticking with one project until it's finished. So this is a real challenge for me. But I'm convinced that it's the way to go, and that working on multiple projects might even help me to be more efficient by keeping me inspired and warding off writer's block.
So to illustrate my point, here's a list of the irons I've got in the fire. I cannot possibly compare to the unstoppable (and undoubtably sleep-deprived) Pippa. But for me, this is bustin' out.
- LOST THINGS, FOUND THINGS — This is the new book I've been working on, and I am super excited about it. It's set in Portland, a town I adore. A little physics, a lot of mythology, and a sexy couple with a date with destiny. You can read a short excerpt (and see photos from my research trip) here.
- A HEART FOR COPPER — This steampunk fairy tale is the "choose your own adventure" style short story I wrote for SilkWords, the company where I work as senior editor. It's also going up on WattPad, where I'll ask readers to vote at each choice point to see the next segment of the story. (Or they can buy the whole thing with all the choices here.) It will also be available soon in the Kindle Store.
- THE GARDEN RULES — An erotica short (first in a series) I'm going to publish using a pen name, either myself or in partnership with my literary agency (TBD). I'll admit I went into this thinking it might be a good way to make some extra cash. But I ended up really having fun with it. I originally planned to submit it to Kindle Shorts. Actually I did do that, and got a request for the full story. But then I decided the margins are much better to go KDP.
- RED — A zombie-ish story that started out as a piece of flash fiction. It's been on the back burner for months, but the idea stuck with me. It's a gritty first-person, present-tense SFR, and I wasn't sure whether it would have a large enough audience to merit devoting a lot of time to it. But I had this idea to use it as a WattPad experiment. I've posted the first two parts, and will squeeze in more work on it as I can. The plan is not to have a plan. I'm not plotting in advance. I'm truly pantsing this one, one scene at a time. Yep, told y'all I was bustin' out.
In another of Neil's talks, he tells the story of a woman who was trying something new and feeling anxious about it. He told her: Pretend you're a person who can do this. I think he's onto something.
Are you spreading your writerly seeds? I'd love to hear about your projects!