This week I'm sorting out what proposals I want to send my agent, considering whether I want to take a shot at two more new genres, mulling over some interesting writer-for-hire work, and figuring how many books I'd like to sell and which editors I'd like to pitch the new stuff to. End of the year cleanup work, for the most part, but also to nail down what I'll be writing in late 2006-early 2007.
The biggest problem is that I have four novel series at present rolling along and making money (not that this is me complaining about that, you understand.) Writing four genre series at once = writing at least four novels a year. Darkyn is two novels a year, and I've already sold book four and five for 2006. StarDoc the series starts up again next month with book six and a lot of people have been waiting a long time for this one, so I don't know what will happen with that. Book seven has been delivered, so now I have to decide what's next with Cherijo and company.
Two of the new proposals I have are also series novels, but I think I'm maxed out on the number of series I can comfortable write simultaneously at the moment. Something has to go. Another pitch is a big historical standalone with a potential sequel if it does well, but no more than two books in that one. Then there are the standalones: one has generated interest from three publishers and I know I can sell it to at least two of them; one I love and would love to write, and the last is what I consider the best new stuff I've cooked up since I pitched Darkyn. Throw into the mix two personal marketing/moonlighting projects and you get an idea of what a juggling act this career is.
The market is always changing its demands, so that's a consideration too. So is competition. There are some immensely talented people putting out wonderful books, and more great new writers getting into print every day. If you think you can sit, be complacent and rest on your backlist, they will knock you right off the shelf. You are only as good as your last gig.
I'll probably brood a bit more about this, but I'm leaning toward sticking the new series pitches on the back burner and going for a couple of standalones first, see how they do.
Anyone else mapping out a career/book/sales plan for 2006?