My writing calendar revolves around November.
Four years ago, I promised myself I was going to try to make a career out of writing, and that journey began at NaNo (National Novel Writing Month, in November). While a lot of people quite legitimately feel like NaNo falls in the middle of what is already the most stressful season of the year for meeting obligations and finding time to get things done, I find it reinvigorating to repurpose a dark, cold season into the peak of the writing year. The first few years, I intentionally took off the entire month of October, in order to be sitting on a pile of creative energy, come midnight, October 31st (not to mention a pile of leftover candy with its own kind of energy). That hasn’t worked out for scheduling reasons, lately, but it’s still day 1 of my writing calendar, with a sense of new, with all of the shortcomings and the lots-of-work from the previous year wiped away.
This is also when I take a close look at what I got done last year and what I plan on getting done next year, because anything that I don’t have on a glide path to finished by November isn’t going to get done in 2016 – it’s going to have to be next year’s project, anyway. And this has been… an interesting year.
For reasons that aren’t worth listing out, here, I had a large break in publishing called ‘2015’. I didn’t publish anything between Warrior, which came out Dec 30, 2014, and HDM: Miami, which was May, 2016. (It’s worth noting that I didn’t stop writing, through this period. I had two successful NaNos, and a few other really strong writing-challenge months, so the work is written. I just have to get it *done*.) They say that a gap in publishing that big is a momentum killer, but I didn’t have any momentum to speak of, anyway, so I figure it didn’t make all that big a difference to me. Regardless, when I looked at this year, back at NaNo2015, I wanted to get books out, again, but that particular muscle had atrophied quite a lot, and it took five months to get the HDM novel organized and put out. From there, things have rolled a bit more smoothly, but without really seeing the results I was hoping for.
So I made a deal with myself. Writing year 2016-2017 is *the one*. Everything I have been promising myself I was going to get around to, everything I’ve been meaning to try, all of the identified causes I have for not being as successful as I want to be – I’m going after them. And that starts with a blitz of content all targeting – November 2016.
The things that are already done for #ProjectNovember:
-New cover for the original His Dark Mistress novel. (The old one was a formative attempt at proving to myself that I’ve got no idea what I’m doing, designing a novel. I’d love to say that that lesson is officially learned, but… Quite frankly, I’m probably going to continue trying.)
-Publish and release Dragonsword. My favorite book of the ones I’ve written to date, I’ve been sad to see it languish as much as it has, so far, and I hope that as I get further into #ProjectNovember, some of the readers who really enjoyed Sam & Sam will find that they enjoy it as much as I do.
-Release the Sam & Sam box set. The first four books are really one story. It has three natural breaks in it, which are where the four books come from, but this is how they were always meant to be. I don’t know if I’ll do another Sam & Sam box set with any of the other books I have planned; perhaps a box set of Sam & Sam companions, as they come into existence, but probably not with the linear (numbered) Sam & Sam novels. They just don’t go together the way the first four did.
-Various behind-the-scenes advertising and promotional work. I find this a bit tawdry to discuss here, so I won’t. Suffice to say, I haven’t done it before, and they say that in order for readers to know that your work exists, you have to tell them. I find it difficult to argue with the inescapability of this logic.
Things that are yet to come before November:
-Sam & Sam paperbacks. Yes. This is happening. The covers are done, it’s just a question of getting the layout finished, which takes time, and JJ is already underwater with the amount of stuff I’m asking him to do. Like, you know, publish two books and a box set in two months, and a bunch of other things. The first four books plus Dragonsword will all be ready in paperback by the end of October, though, or I promise to beat him.
-Isobel. Oh, Isobel. Isobel has been digging a hole in JJ’s brain for years, and he asked me to pry her out and pin her to a story, so that’s what I did. She lives in the Anadidd’na universe – not that she knows it. She’s the first of the Sam & Sam companion stories, and is an odd format, compared to the others. I’ll be posting a short story (or at least, part of one, depending on how things go) to my blog here to help get a feel for how Isobel goes. The cover is done, the editing is mostly done. Isobel should be up by the very end of the month.
-More advertising and promotion. I should note, here, that if you want to find out about all of the big groups of discounted books I join up with, be sure to sign up for my mailing list. There are going to be more of these, going forward. They’re a great way to find other authors who are writing the same kind of stuff I write, at great prices.
-Potentially the first Book of Carter novella. In all, there will be four novellas, and my plan is to release them quickly across the end of this year and the beginning of next year, and then combine them all into a single book. The first one is called Rage.
November. The writing year starts in November. And I’m going to do everything I can to make it a big one.
Wish me luck.