I know it’s been a while. I held off blogging until I had something worthwhile to blog – over the last few months I’ve been writing non-stop. During this time the changes to the WIP were so big it was like writing a new book all over again, and it literally took up every hour outside of work. I also made several decisions. That sounds like it was a consciously thought out plan, but in reality, these evolved.
The first is that I am working on a series. In brainstorming what would happen next, I realized that I could write a series all based on the same theme, and that I had enough material for a number of books. When I was planning on short stories the idea was to bring out one a month. For short stories you can do that. As the size evolved, it looked more like one a quarter. Planning to bring out four books a year when you’ve never done one is so audacious as to border on hubris. Still, if you don’t have a plan, nothing happens. I already had rough plot outlines for several more in the same vein. It could work.
Another evolutionary event occurred when I started preparing the information I would need for the catalog entries – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. There was a spot for Publisher. In looking at the way other authors filled it out, the ones who had a real name struck me as a little more professional. So I invented a publishing company. Amethyst Publications now has its own web site, and handles at least one promising author (Guess who?).
And we come to size. As I revised and edited the book (Spanked Princesses: The Pianist) grew considerably – from the first draft of ten thousand words it grew (in my last post) to novella length. At this point it is well over fifty two thousand words. It is a novel. The heroine’s story arc evolved. The hero became much more developed, and he got several chapters in his point of view. The plot grew more complex. Hopefully it is a better reading experience for those who buy it. I just rewrote the whole story and that was the length it came to. Maybe that’s the depth of my consciousness at the moment. Maybe that’s how my mind works. Whatever, it sets the length for the rest of the series.
Time passed, and I slid over one deadline after another. Advice I’d gotten was not to bring things out, not to place ads or start blog tours, not to schedule anything until I was satisfied with the book. I was getting there, I could see that. It was the best I’d ever done in terms of craft, of quality. But I wasn’t there yet. In addition to finishing the book, November brought NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it twice before, and I’ve used it to try something different. This time, though, I felt like I couldn’t afford to waste the time. It needed to contribute to this indie-pubbing project. So I spent the month of November writing The Gambler, the second book in the series. It worked out to be the same length. It also gave me some time away from revising The Pianist. I needed the space.
At the beginning of December I began to feel I was close to ready. I started back on Twitter, bringing my presence back up. Started checking some of the back emails. Started working on the tasks left to be done, now that releasing the book might really happen, bearing in mind that I had gotten a lot done before I stopped everything to write. Some of them were new, based on new knowledge. Buy a block of ISBN’s from Bowker, for example. Download all the conversion software, and get all of the procedures for each of the three channels printed out and in one notebook, so I knew where to go when I was ready to upload everything. Finish the blurbs and product descriptions and author bio’s. I was sneaking up on a release time, which I thought would be sometime in late January by the time you included time for advertising to be set up.
In one of the emails was a suggestion from Amazon. I have to paraphrase it – something like “if you have a book that’s close to go, you really should get it out there for Christmas because we expect to sell millions of Kindles and you really want to have your product out there for them.”
Well – that’s a thought. I brainstormed with Maureen and soulmate. If I skipped the long lead-time items, if I did the promoting after the fact instead of prior to release, if I only depended on the exposure in the catalogs, expecting the customers to be driven to me instead of driving them myself… I could get the book out by when? Hmmm. It’s a backwards way to do things – the one advantage is that as I add promotional items one by one, I may be able to get a feel for what is working. Everyone I’ve talked to has said they do this, this, and this, and they’re never sure what really worked. This will be kind of a laboratory. I’ll post on the results.
Even limiting what I do, there are 35 entries on the task list, and some of them break down into more yet. The best I could see was… December 22nd. That’s nine days from today. We’ll see if it works.
Wish me luck!