Out with the old, in with the new

So 2012 has come and gone and the new year is before us, which means taking stock of what I accomplished and then looking ahead to the future.

So, last year was a crazy ride of ups and downs, some of which I still can’t talk about because things haven’t completely ironed out yet. I finished a second draft of one novel, started a third (which I didn’t even get half-way through), then wrote another novel in a completely different genre, but again in the same milieus that I love. I still haven’t lost the desire to write about Aztec history and mythology, and have several more stories brewing in the back of my mind. I started the year off strong and hopeful, but hit a slump where I wasn’t enjoying writing anymore, but moving ahead into a new genre helped me rediscover my love of writing. However, I think my lack of desire to move on to new subjects led to the demise of my career in traditional publishing before it even started; there is apparently no market for what I write with traditional publishers, in either genre I’m writing in, but I really, really want to write these stories, so in the end, I decided to let my agent go and strike out on my own. She put in a lot of work on trying to sell my novel and unfortunately that didn’t turn out as well as we’d both hoped, but I think going a less traditional route might be better for the kind of stuff I write. There were some interesting developments in that category in December and hopefully I’ll be able to make some announcements by the end of January. Stay tuned!

On the negative side of things, I made zero money this year on writing, a first since I’ve started doing this in earnest. At least the taxes will be easy to do this year.

As for this year, I’m putting aside the failures of the past and pressing onward. I know what I want to write and am going to do it, and if it means self-publishing it in the end, then so be it. Part of me still wants a traditional sale with the backing of a big publisher, if only because it seems on the surface to be less work for me, but the idea of self-publishing isn’t as scary anymore. The professional world is changing fast, and traditional publishing is looking less and less stable and safe as it used to. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of getting an agent again, for the idea of going into any contract without someone to watch my back makes me sweat, but that just might not be in the cards for me.

On conventions, I don’t know that I’m going to go to any this year, aside from my local one. I really want to be able to go to LonCon in London in the summer of 2014 and that means having to save money for the trip, especially since I’d love to bring the whole family with me this time. The plan this year is to not attend either WorldCon or World Fantasy, though I loath to go two years without seeing my best friends at least once.

On a final note, after having heard really good things about RWA as a writer’s organization from several close friends, I went ahead and joined, and joined a local chapter here in Denver at the end of the year. It seemed a good move professionally since what I’m writing right now is, for intent and purposes, genre romance, and it would be useful to learn from other romance writers. I do intend to approach some small press publishers with this novel I’m working on right now, then self-publish if that doesn’t lead to anything, and there’s at least one more book in this series that I really want to write. In the end I just want to write about what I love and if that leads to sales, great; if not, then at least I’m getting some satisfaction for myself for having told the stories at all.

2 Responses

  1. Erich C. Maxwell

    Remember, I am writing this assuming the dream is to make a living with your fiction. To do so on the traditional route, you would have to set your goals to write a lot of books, far more than one hour per day, actually, or plan on taking a lot of years. The first novel breaking in will speed up the process, but with traditional publishing route, make sure you are clear on all the stuff I have been talking about here. And what Kris has been talking about on her blog. Contracts, agents, and so on. There are thousands of pitfalls on that road, but again, writers do walk it.

  2. Joanne Petersen

    Something I find very interesting about Amanda Hocking’s situation, and I wonder if anyone in the publishing industry will ever address this in a Blog, is that her books have the problems that were usually considered a major stigma against self-publishing: poor grammar, lots of typos and misspellings that include incorrect usage of words such as “its” and “it’s”, etc. But, once her stories made her over a million dollars, big publishers had a bidding war over one of her future series, and she landed one of the biggest publishing deals ever offered any author. (I imagine the traditional publishing house will simply correct her writing errors, but keep the basic stories intact.) I’d say that her deal for over $2million completely and irrevocabally removes the stigma from self-publishing standing in the way of more authors going that route. Clearly, spelling, grammar, and typos are no longer problems standing in the way of attracting an agent and a traditional publishing company. I’m hoping someone in publishing will eventually address this on a Blog. Amanda Hocking has already mentioned online that she can’t edit effectively and will have professional editors for her books that are published traditionally.