Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Year of the Edits to Another Year of Edits

Happy New Year! Here's hoping it's a good one! I certainly can't complain about the last. :)

Quite early on in 2014, I realized it was going to be year full of edits. Having turned out around 100K in 2013, I had a stack of complete but unpolished works, plus several incomplete. I also had a very rough NaNoWriMo 2013 novella with a request for the full on it from a publisher. Eeeep!

That was Restless In Peaceville, my freaky little Cajun zombies story. So my first priority was getting that ready to submit, which took me into the beginning of March. And then, after a series of disasters in the publishing world kicking off my new year, everything turned around. I got three novellas contracted, two of them works that were already over a year old. I had the rights back to my debut novel Keir, which meant it needed re-editing if I wanted to self publish it. I also decided to self publish two short stories, both written in 2013.

That meant the equivalent of 271K words to edit. Yep. 271K that needed picking over with a fine tooth comb, and not once but several times each. Okay, so it's technically easier to edit something than fill a blank page, but going over the same story again and again and again, from major slash and burn sessions down to endless fine tweaking is a hell of a lot more time consuming and energy draining. During this period, my muse essentially abandoned me for more fun climates and left me to drown alone in edits. I lost all inclination to write. Writing would just mean more editing later.

And with the editing and contracts came cover reveals and blog tours. From July until the end of the year, I essentially toured the blogoverse without much pause. I deliberately kept each tour short, because I knew within a few days of each ending, I'd be off pimping another book, plus my publisher organized tours for each of my releases with them (essentially doubling my tour stops). There *is* such a thing as too much exposure. It's a bit like getting sunburn. The right amount gives you a nice tan. Too much, and it can be agonizing. But my books were well met and I certainly got a few nice reviews. ^_^

But it means I haven't really written anything since July's Camp NaNoWriMo (during which I finished Zombie Girl 1, releasing in late April, and No Angel which released in December 2014). Both short stories. I planned to do November NaNoWriMo, but failed to find the enthusiasm to even start (unusual and disturbing).

So am I going to write in 2015? Well... I decided in December that I needed to re-evaluate what I'm doing. I've tried a lot of things in terms of marketing without spending much (I don't have the budget for advertising, preferring to spend what money I do have on editing and artwork for my self pub pieces) but without real results. I've focussed on putting more books put and expanded the genres I wrote - not to appeal to the market but because I like to challenge myself to write new things. It also stops me getting bored, plus I learned to listen to and trust my muse. As a result, I have a decent backlist now.

So for January I'll be reading and researching marketing, updating my social media, editing Keir, and taking a step back from the work I do for the SFR Brigade. That last is the hardest. I love the Brigade and enjoy being so active in it, but I've started to feel perhaps I'm devoting a bit too much time to it at the expense of my writing...and what little sanity I have left. Over the last few months I've experienced the same sort of burn out I normally only get with NaNoWriMo, although some of that is blog post and book tour burn out too.

I also plan to try clearing the rather frightening backlist of reading on my Kindle (340+ books). February and March I have print books of former eBooks releasing (Restless In Peaceville and Tethered) so will be touring, and Zombie Girl releasing April. There's also Laurie's debut release in January and the reveal for Keir's shiny new cover on my third anniversary here at the Lounge, plus a triple shot of Spacefreighter releases in February including Donna's debut, the start of Laurie's SFR series,  (you can check out the list of exciting events in the right hand column). Right now I'm aiming to re-release Keir on what would have been his third book anniversary - 7th May, 2015.

Which essentially means no time to WRITE until June 2015...almost a year since I last wrote a complete piece. Scary? Uh-huh. Can I really afford to not write all this time?

Well, I'm not stuck for ideas and while I'm not writing huge amounts, I'm doing a few lines each day, building up ideas and such for several WIPs. And before writing Keir I'd not written anything but a couple of unfinished shorts in twenty years. It's not an ideal situation, but since I have work scheduled (and tentatively scheduled as well as definites), I'll still be releasing titles into 2016 even if I don't write a single new thing for 2015 (although I hope I do SOMETHING!)

So I'm not panicking yet. What I do have an issue with is since writing a few short stories I'm now not managing longer pieces over 45K. I want to get back to longer works, preferably double that. I have two such projects on the backburner, one a novel length sequel to my short in Tales from the SFR Brigade - Imprint. The other...well, I'm keeping that under wraps for now. ;)

2015 will still be a year of edits and tours, much like 2014, but hopefully a bit more balanced. And hopefully for 2016 there'll be longer and new work coming from me too. In the meantime, the rest of the crew at Spacefreighters will be bringing you new and exciting titles. Stay tuned to this frequency!

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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.