Monday, November 3, 2014
My Mysterious Year
So I write REALLY a lot of books... and my writing career seems to be doing not a terrible lot. My contract is over—three books, the first sold through and I still get a little check from it every six months... the other two have NOT sold through, which means they don't ask for more, I guess...
My YA books have not sold. Only got close on ONE (had an agent, submitted, no buyer). My serial thriller (self pubbed) has grossed me all of about $40... (which is a significant loss when I look at paying for editing and covers)
So how does one jump start a writing career? Have I been doing this long enough to figure it out?
Ever scraped a house? Trying to get the old paint off before you are ready to sand, prep and paint again? Know how it's easier to chip away at the old if you start where there is a bubble in the paint or where something has already been chipped away?
I've decided the most promising route to getting there is starting where I have a little traction. Feels like VERY little at the moment, but I think if I really dig in and focus for a while, I might manage it.
I am belatedly reading a Sue Grafton book at the moment. It is my first time—not sure what I was waiting for except she really was getting big when I was still in my YA with my kids phase and by the time she got to about M I thought she seemed too gimmicky. What did I know? I think she is speaking to my audience. Some humor. Some quirk. But REAL issues. Real psychology, real violence. I don't use a PI for a sleuth, but otherwise I think the feel is right. I finally have a comparable to give my agent and publishers an idea how to frame me.
Why Not Self-Publish?
You know... I honestly don't have the time at the moment. If I didn't have to work a day job, I could handle all the details. But if I had that kind of time, I ALSO might have already made some progress on my YA stuff—the spit polish agent quest or contests or small publishers.
So Why This Focus Now?
I spent the last year writing, polishing and publishing a serial totally more than 300,000 words. And while part of me felt a little burned out focusing THAT heavily on one thing for a whole year, I know now I can keep up the pace, and THIS year, I am not going to do all one project. And I will have the leeway to alternate writing and editing in long spurts...
And What is the PLAN?
BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (you know I can't say plan without a maniacal laugh, right?)
Well right now Ellen has What Ales Me.
And right now I'm WRITING the first in a DIFFERENT series: the Corset Cop Chronicles...
I managed over 14,000 words of this puppy in my first two days of NaNoWriMo... Progress, baby!
The second series fits the cozy profile better than the ale series, but they honestly have similar tone. It is where I am most comfortable I need the danger to feel real. I need the character flaws to be real.
And I think if I get two series going, I might finally feel myself launched... or that is the hope anyway.
In the meantime I may polish some of my YA. But I am going to hold off on WRITING new YA, even though I have a ton I want to do. I just feel like until I get my real traction, spreading myself too thin means I won't EVER be able to support myself at this. So in the next 14 months... until the end of 2015, my plan is to write THREE new mysteries. One this month, one for BuNoWriMo and one for NaNo next year. That gives me two in each series or, if What Ales Me sells, three Artful Ale and one Corset Cop.
Since Ellen HAS What Ales Me, I hope that will sell right away. But having a couple ready will help my case regardless.
Know What I Didn't Quite Believe Until Recently?
Besides the fact I couldn't do it all?
That a coherent plan was really a prerequisite. My observation was most people had managed anyway. But I think that is because until they take off, there is no way to KNOW what they've been doing.
Do YOU have a plan? How are you coming on it?