I think I need to start this post off with: I’m 1000 kicks away from home, and writing this on my cell phone, both of which explain why this post is late. It’s also sort of hard to drop links into a blog post from my phone, so bear with me.
Some progress on one front last month: I re-read Bootstrap_ and sent it for a read by a friend. It’s a bit long in the middle and I need some help cutting–I think if I can figure out about ten to fifteen thousand words to cut, it’ll feel a lot quicker. Right now it stand at 110000.
On fantasy-related novels, I added another ten thou’ to Into The Grey. But guys, I am struggling with that novel. I think it needs another 30 to be complete (to the point I would call the novel complete) and it’s going to be just ridiculously long. I did look up the first Game of Thrones novel, and it was something like 295000 words. It just feels so long! Like I’m slogging through molasses to keep writing… And writing… And writing…
I also had a great idea for one of those short Amazon novellas–you know, the ones with titles like I Married a Merman. Started on that, only 1000 in so far but enjoying it. I think it should be significantly easier to actually finish a draft of than, say, ItG.
Aside from writing, I sold at the Glebe Community Centre in the middle of the month, which was a pretty new experience for me. You really have to put yourself out there to sell in person! I’m not a very chatty person really, so this was stretching new muscles 🤣 I’ve got another book sale in August and I think one every other month sounds about pleasant for me. I might to Ottawa Comic-Con in September but I’m leaning towards no.
Bang out the entire draft of The War Lord. I’m only aiming for 50-60k, so this is achievable
If I hear back from my beta about where Bootstrap_ drags, think about cutting it
Add another 10k to ItG (perpetual goal 😭)
Quiet month this month, goals-wise. I’m on vacation in Nova Scotia right now, which is definitely influencing my sit-down-and-write time. I’d rather play instead 😉
There’s so much going on, this progress report is a week late! Oh well. C’est la vie.
Last month I worked considerably on Into The Grey.. It’s now sitting at about 117k words, and nearly to the end (*of the first novel in what ought to be a trilogy, eventually). Riann is finally, 117k words after we met him, actually going… into the grey 😂
Book sales were OK this month. I also signed up for a couple of in-person events (😲). I’ll be at the Glebe Community Centre on June 19th, and at Lansdowne in August for the Ottawa Book Expo. Preparing for those has taken up a lot of mental bandwidth… I’ve made bookmarks, ordered a Square card reader, ordered 20 copies each of the trilogy (and they are HEAVY), etc. The bookmarks look pretty sweet though.
Otherwise it was fairly quiet for writing. Now that Into The Grey is (nearly) first-draft-complete, I’ll be re-reading it to fill in any gaps or weird time skips, then setting that manuscript aside for a while. Not sure what I want to work on next–maybe a revision of Bootstrap_? Or I have a story idea percolating in the back of my mind about Junu and Presio-ru from the trilogy…
GOALS FOR JUNE:
Complete Into The Grey draft one! (‼)
Re-read Bootstrap_ and note anything that wants improving. Tentative release goal for December 2022…?
Sell books at the Glebe Community Centre! I sure hope!
They’re heavy. Unexpectedly heavy. I didn’t realize that 283,000 words would weigh so much, take up so much space. When you spend hours and days and weeks writing on a phone or a laptop, editing the same way, words are ethereal little bits: Sure, they add up in the word counter, but that’s the only way to measure progress. Now that I have all three paperbacks out I can actually hold them, feel the realness of each and every word.
Just in this series (I mean, the entire Nine Hundred series, not only this trilogy) there’s about five hundred thousand words. How much would that all weigh? If, someday, I published everything–Into the Grey, Bootstrap_, At The Edge Of Our Star, The Spice Merchant’s Wife… It might fill an entire bookshelf. Would I still have more stories to tell? Probably. The more I write, the more I seem to want to write. If I were going to give a new writer one single piece of advice, that would be it. Write every day. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, it doesn’t even have to be much. But the more you write, the more will come.
I’d like to get all three of those into one hardcover copy one day, but right now Amazon has a page limit of 550, which isn’t enough. I’d like to see Murah and Yuun’s stories there too, and Mattrim and Eli’s. But right now I’m just amazed that imagination can be so heavy. So weirdly real, despite being just a story.
…until I can finally cross goal numero uno off this list:
Also the trilogy will be done done done. Can you believe it?
Actually, what I can’t believe is that since writing Identity in 2017, I’ve not only completed this trilogy, but added two new prequel stories. For NaNo this year I’ll probably add another one. I can’t get this universe out of my head.
I had the idea the other day that in a few months, I could release all three books as a single, 700-odd page hardcover. With, like, illustrations! It would weigh a ton though… not terribly practical.
I’m glancing over the proof one more time this week, but it looks good (although, randomly skipping through pages, I did notice that I repeated a phrase twice in a paragraph! It’s amazing how that can get through a literal year of review and multiple extra sets of eyes). I’m ready for it to be done. Honestly? I’m less excited than relieved, which might sound weird. But I have been working on this series since 2017, so.
…is definitely how I’m feeling right now. Come Friday, it’ll be probably more like Alas!
Loyalty is now available for pre-order, and not only that, but I’ve actually submitted the manuscript.
And the manuscript for the hardcopy.
Which means both will be available come Friday.
It’s hard to believe I’ve managed to release a second novel in 2021. It’s been a lot of work–like, a lot. I need to thank & thank & thank again my readers, Crow no Yami and my wonderful husband Nic; everyone who listened to me griping about editing and character development in my Writing Buddies chat; and everyone on Twitter who encouraged me and motivated me.
So, last month I tentatively set June 30th as the drop date for Loyalty. I don’t know why exactly–but I needed a date to work around, and June 30th was as good as any.
To meet that deadline, I worked backwards: I’d need to send out to ARC readers in late May/early June. I’d need to get it professionally edited (I am not going through self-editing again). I’d need to have the final-final2-final.docx done mid-May for editing. I’d need to complete beta reads early May for revisions.
Well, my 3rd beta reader just completed her read through!
Oh man 🚀
Okay they’re mostly comments, and great comments, like:
Combining this with my other feedback, I think I have a game plan–add one more Loren scene (seriously, I’ve revised his portions about twice as much as the others!) , add a scene with [redacted] and [redacted], make a couple small additions and changes, and ship it (to editing, anyway). I’m quite certain I can have this done for the end of next week, which keeps me on track for June 30th.
Oh, one more thing I need to do to hit that date: finalize the Sacrifice prologue so I can include it as a preview! That was super fun last time. Right now I suspect it’s a bit too short at only 2400 words.
Since writing the above I’ve added 2000 words to the prologue! Now it might be a tad long…
Seriously… what a month. Mostly in personal things–it was an extremely trying month. But! Looking at what I did get accomplished, I’m pretty impressed with myself! The biggest one, of course: condo is sold. Signed, sealed, delivered! It’s off our hands. After three months of reno-ing on the weekends with a three year old trailing along, it’s hard to express what a relief this is. Now we’re looking for a new place and 👻
Anyway, on to the actually pertinent stuff. Y’know, writing!
As you can see from the summary below–this month was focused heavily on two projects: Loyalty (which has moved into beta-reading) and Into the Grey (to which I managed to add 24k words). No real progress on other projects, unfortunately.
PROGRESS in April
Bolfenn: beta reading (no updates. Is it OK to nudge a beta reader if there’s like no progress? I don’t want to irritate anyone but…)
Into the Grey: drafting, 26k/100k target (broke 50klast night!)
Loyalty: alpha reading (beta reading)
Sacrifice: currently at 58k/90k target (no progress this month)
Bootstrap_: Sent three queries:
Another two rejections this month. Also submitted a couple more places.
IN THE SOMEDAY-QUEUE
No updates from last month 😭
Lesbian Islandactual title The Spicer’s Wife, historical spec-fic: needs a from-the-ground-up rewrite
Sad Valkyrie, historical fantasy: also needs a from-the-ground-up rewrite
That Sequel to Bolfenn, sci-fi/new-adult I am tentatively combining this with another prequel story on the history of the Ala’pr and the Niptae. Combined 5500/100k words.
The Dreamers and the Dying, hard sci-fi: 2300 words, on pause
The Vernacular of the Regency Romance, LGBTQ historical romance, not even started but I ❤ this idea so much ugh
And as for goals… it was a pretty successful month!
GOALS for April
Get all the Loren-POV chapters in Loyalty in their own doc, read this story, and revise so it is a satisfying narrative if it’s satisfying or not, I don’t know, but it’s reasonably coherent.
Commission character artwork of Casey+Norah in the Ll’Amh bay and begin offering this as a freebie for physical sales
Add at least another 20k words to Into The Grey
Sell five copies (or complete KENP reads) of Identity As of today–four. Sooooo close 😭
Add at least 5k words to Sacrifice Haha nope.
People liked the post on Print Formatting! So I’ll publish Part Two this month Nope.
Collate links and publish the initial Megapost of Online Writing Tools
I’d like to increase from 1400ish followers on Twitter to about 2400 Another close one. I’m at about 2150 right now! 1000 per month was probably a bit too ambitious.
Get another review! THREE new reviews. Blasted past this one.
This whole thing is like a series of experiments, right? I try this, I try that. Amazon ads were a huge bomb, no clicks. Facebook ads were an expensive bomb: clicks, no buys.
I mean, it hardly matters. This is a hobby, and all I really want to do is try to get people to read. I don’t need to make money. But I do want to figure out what works.
(Because of course, in my heart of hearts, I’d love to be able to do this and support myself by doing it. This is a complete fantasy, because I’d probably have to be in about the top 5% of indie authors worldwide to replace my day job income. But I have so many stories to tell that get chewed up in the grind of working fulltime.
Okay that’s my sad story for the day lol! Moving on)
Anyway, with this in mind, I’m going to try a Kindle Countdown deal. Ta-da!
So the way it works is, Identity will be priced at $0.99 for two days, then $1.99 for two days, then return to regular pricing after five days. I have honestly no idea if this will drive sales at all! But I want to try it and see. I’ll keep this blog updated with results (if any, or none) so y’all can follow along with my experimentation.
(Actually have you ever read the backstory to the phrase the world wonders? It’s really interesting! So in World War Two, were added to an encoded message as padding (they were meant to be meaningless). But the message was something like >>where is the USS Nimitz [author’s note: I don’t remember the actual ship in question] the world wonders<< and the admiral who received the message took it really personally, like, where the fuck are you admiral dude.
I guess the message is, choose your encryption padding carefully.)
This totally inspired me to go back and add (at least one) of these decompression scenes to Loyalty. It’s half-drafted now, about 1k words in (though it’ll probably clock in at about 3k). Anutea+Loren! If each book focuses on one character’s perspective, and the first book definitely focused on the Casey+Norah relationship, then book two is much more about Loren’s relationship with each of them.
(Although book 2 focuses on Casilim-la‘s perspective, so I’m not sure why it focuses on Loren’s relationship… this meta stuff is hard).
Can you imagine a more fraught relationship than Anutea+Loren at the beginning of Loyalty? Man, there’s some fucking history there.
I think I’m going to try my hand at turning the above ^ into a bookmark, plus also get some prints to send out with hardcopy signed copies of the books. I wonder what scene I’ll commission next? Possibilities, possibilities~