Yep, it’s goal setting time! I don’t generally do resolutions as they tend towards wishy-washy half-promises that evaporate by February. I prefer goals, since they’re less about making abstract changes and more about achieving concrete objectives. So, I thought I would share my writing goals for 2012.
The short of it is this: My goal is to publish two books this year, write two more, and keep up with the bloggy stuff.
Now let’s try that a bit slower.
I have decided, for now at least, that I’m going to pursue the self/indie-publishing route rather than traditional publishing. I’ll say a lot more about that in a later post, probably next week, but for 2012 and probably 2013, that’s the course I’m taking.
My first novel, Beneath the Sky, is pretty much ready. (I would argue that it’s not really my first novel, but that, again, is a whole’nuther post.) It still needs my copy edit pass, and then I’m seriously considering hiring a copy editor I know to give it a professional combing. You know, catch all the their-there-they’re stuff.
However, even then, it will be ready as a manuscript, not as a book. I need to do the formatting for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc., as well as for print books. Yes, I intend to go with both e-book and physical book versions. That’s not as much work as you might think since it’s really only three formats: Kindle, e-Pub (which Smashwords will translate and push for you), and whatever format CreateSpace wants.
I will also need to do the cover. In a previous life, I was a half-decent artist and a pretty good graphic designer. However, I haven’t painted anything in over a year, and even that was a year of not painting much. As much as I’ve focused on my writing lately, my painting has been quite stalled. (Ironically, it was my frustration with a book cover commission that did a lot to sap my passion for painting.) So, I’m a little undecided on this. I could whip out my artistic toolbox and see if I can muster something up, or I could go to one of my artist friends and ask them to paint something for me. I can provide sketches. I just don’t know if my current skill set can make those sketches look good.
So, while I think I understand the basic process, I’ve never done it before and don’t realistically know how long it’s going to take me. However, as a ballpark, I’m going to aim for three months, so hopefully I’ll have something to show for my efforts in April.
As for the second book, Hell Bent, I have more work to do on the manuscript itself. It’s not yet ready for the beta readers, but that task is coming up soon, well before Beneath the Sky is likely to see paper or Kindle. Then, once I have some reader feedback, I’ll be fixing all the holes and lame characters that they find, and then… well, it will need to simmer a bit. But then hopefully it will just need another copy edit pass (possibly a professional one), and then formatting, cover, etc. In short, it will need all the things I discovered Beneath the Sky needed but didn’t know in January. My goal is to get this one out in the latter part of the year, maybe as early as July, but to be safe I’m giving myself until October.
So, I’ve written two drafts in the last fourteen months, and that span included a stretch of about nine months when I wasn’t writing any fiction at all. I hope to avoid another nasty stretch like that and crank out two new drafts in 2012. As I’m trying to alternate between SF and fantasy, the first one this year will be fantasy. In fact, it is likely to be a sequel to Hell Bent, since that was written intentionally as the first book in a series. Of course, before I set finger to key on that one, I’ll need to have gotten good enough feedback from the beta readers of Hell Bent to feel confident that a sequel is in order. I hope to write that one sometime in the spring to early summer, probably after I get Beneath the Sky out the door.
Then, somewhere in there, I need to do a first pass edit on my just-completed-last-week draft of Ships of my Fathers. There are two reasons for this. First, I want to keep the pipeline full so that I can do a similar 2+2 goal next year, and second, because I want to get the beta reader feedback to see if Ships of my Fathers is worth a sequel. Why? Well…
The second draft I’m planning to write in 2012 is a sequel to Ships of my Fathers. Much like Hell Bent, it was written intentionally to be the first of a series. However, while I can see Hell Bent leading to any number of books, Ships of my Fathers is much more likely to be limited to a 4-6 book run. Hell Bent can easily be “the continuing adventures of…” whereas Ships of my Fathers is headed to a very specific destination. Once it gets there, it’s either “live happily ever after” or “let me toil eternally in anguish for my mistakes”, and no one wants to read that. Or at the very least, I don’t want to write it.
This might be leading me to a soft fur-lined trap of bouncing back and forth between these two series for 5+ years, but that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. On the other hand, if I can pull off 2+2 for a year or two, maybe I can up the ante to 3+3 and splice in some extra variety. But for now, I’m shooting for 2+2 to keep the pipeline flowing for the next year.
I’m reasonably happy with what I’ve been doing with the blog so far, and I’m likely to keep the same kind of schedule, namely an essay on Monday, a writing/publishing article on Wednesday, and a book review on Friday. Other things will pop in randomly, but that’s the basic idea. However, I do plan on two relatively minor changes.
First, the Monday essay is going to see a few multi-part essays. When I started brainstorming ideas to write on, I ran into several that I really wanted to expound on but would require far too much text for a single blog entry. Well, too much for an entry I expected anyone to actually read. So, I held off on them until now. After all, I didn’t want to start the blog with “A Study of the Interstellar Migration of Butterflies, parts 1 through 22”.
Second, as I get more into the publishing game, the Wednesday column is going to turn a bit more personal as I share the gory details of the process, especially this first time through. Later, I’ll probably shift more to talking about the actual writing stuff. That may very well bore readers to tears, but I’m afraid it’s inevitable: if you give a writer a blog, sooner or later he starts blathering about voice, pacing, and the superiority of the Oxford comma.
Note: my original concept for this blog was to do it as a podcast, likely a weekly one, where the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday entries were simply different sections of the podcast, probably coming in at the 20-40 minute range. However, some hiccups with recording and sound editing kept the blog on hold for over a year before I finally set the podcast idea aside, at least temporarily. I don’t expect to pick it up again this year, but you never know. However, even if I did add it as a podcast, I would almost certainly keep the text portions as they are.
So that’s it for 2012. Hopefully, I’ll be greeting 2013 with success. At the very least, I’ll be greeting it with a big raspberry for all those Mayan calendar doofuses… doofusses… doofi… hell, why doesn’t the dictionary ever conjugate the one word you really need?