Thursday, December 08, 2005

Navigation

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?

29 comments:

  1. I am. After I deliver Valley of the Soul week after next, I've completed my contract. My editor wants me to pitch several more Dubric books this spring, but I'd like to do a commercial fiction stand alone to clear the forensic crud out of my head and stretch myself a little. So the plan currently is to pitch 3 Dubric books and 2 standard fiction books.

    I've never done this part before, concepts for Threads and Valley were discussed face-to-face, but I'll figure it out. I always do.

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  2. I'm not pitching anything next year - I still have book three of a three book contract to finish off. (That's why I'm posting here instead of writing. As you do.)
    I'll have a better idea how the series is being received after book two has been out for a couple of months. If it looks good I'll pour my efforts into finishing off book four.

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  3. Finish editing my first. Send out. Sell.

    I don't know how you do it. If it weren't for my word processor's search function, I'd have a hard time keeping track of every last detail.

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  4. I'm an aspiring writer, and I plan for 2006 to be the first year I submit a novel. I got a rough draft out of Nanowrimo this year, having channeled the Way of the Cheetah and hit 100k in a month. I hope to start querying agents in the spring. And of course, start the next book.

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  5. Sort of waiting to see how things go this weekend before I really nail down plans, but I want to start submitting my first novel starting next month. I need to finish the second in the series (I've got about 2/3 to write still), and I need to finalize my outline for the third.

    I'm going to adjust my thinking and try to get more novel-writing done than short stories in 2006, as I need to finish up my NaNo project, and I have another that's about 1/4 of the way in and demanding to be finished.

    And while I'm trying to work on these 5 projects, I'm also going to figure out to magically add time to the day.

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  6. Like Doug and Mark, I plan to finish a first novel in 2006. I'm also going to continue the rounds of submitting short fiction: the recent break from the novel has been productive, and I have six short pieces that I consider worth submitting.

    I'd like to find myself in your position one day. Juggling act or not, it must be good to have so many options.

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  7. I'll finish up my current contracts this next year, one in March, one in June. So, yes. Have already given one editor two short pitches to mull over, and am working with my agent on a bigger concept - one totally different than anything I've ever done - to try to sell in the spring. Fingers crossed! I do want to cut back a bit, or just spread things out better than I managed to do in 2004 and 2005. I pretty much wiped myself out!

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  8. I'm trying to find an agent while figuring out other ways to make money that still allow me daily writing time. My approach to the agent hunt has been slow but systematic. I don't send blind mass mailings, instead I send one or two queries at a time to agents who represent authors of books I love. It's a really slow process. Meanwhile, I keep writing.

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  9. January through June - worldbuilding with Holly, write/revise/submit at least two shorts. June through December - 1000 words/day on a novel in the world I've built, write/revise/submit at least two shorts. Put as much money into savings as possible. ;)

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  10. I have to finish revisions on BAD RELIGION, which polishes off my Quiet Storm contract. I have to make DEVIL'S DANCE all pretty 'n stuff for a new agent. I also have to find a new agent. I have to make my NaNo project readable and hope the editor who dared me into it will like it. (Which will make landing an agent easier.) I have to decide if I want to continue my Kepler series with another publisher or put it aside until I have the sales numbers to pick it up again.

    And somewhere in there, I have to promote the bejesus out of SECOND HAND GOODS and decide what my next two projects are.

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  11. I've just signed for a three-book series (hopefully more) in the dark urban fantasy genre, and the final draft of the first is due February first. The second book is due in August, the third at the end of the year. Then I have to figure out how this whole marketing/publicity thing works. Meanwhile I'll probably start on book 4 after the second draft of book 3 is completed -- thinking positive, you know. And I want to start playing with an idea for a second series near the end of the year. Oh, and I'm having my first child in February, too. Hopefully she'll train me to be more focused and organized, as your kids did for you.

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  12. Revising book two of a series, submit that, and begin book three. Finish that and maybe try something completely different.

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  13. Start the third Logan book in January, hand it in at the end of April and that’s my contract all done and dusted. So I want to pitch for book 4 and see if they’ll bite again. Then I want to get the standalone punted to some publishers, and maybe a pitch for the fantasy thing I’ve been thinking about.

    Of course I’ll be back at work by May, so I’ll probably have to rein in my ambitions a bit. Just getting another 2 or 3 book contract would do.


    I'm not fussy ;}#

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  14. Plans for 2006 -- Finish book three. Think up and write book four.

    Compared to your schedule, PBW, I look like a poser. lol

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  15. I'll join the not-published-yet crowd here, but I do have a plan:

    --finish 2 novels next year
    --find a publisher and/or agent
    --keep promoting my newsletter, blog, and various short stories

    That's enough right? Oh, and keep my day job--can't live without one yet.

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  16. Nice reminder to get goals on paper and into universe.

    I want to finish up third novel, learn a bit about screenwriting and writing treatments for television, and make sure I keep my readers engaged (mainly on blog) in between books.
    fs

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  17. Tell your agent you want more money. Seriously. Demand for your work is clearly outpacing supply, also known as your number of productive hours per day. When that happens, every other business on the planet raises their prices.

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  18. I'm doing a final edit on one book to submit in January; editing a number of short stories for submission; finish writing the second Nano book; do a final edit on the 2YN and submit; and hunt down publishers and agents.

    Oh, and look closely at my unfinished works to see if they re-spark my interest.

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  19. I'm still working on even being publishable. (Is that a word?) Anyhow, I love how you slipped in that Darkyn will have five books in the series instead of three.

    If this were a voting type of thing, I would vote for continuing StarDoc past seven. But, I've got an addiction to that series.

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  20. Listen to Katherine. She knows what she's talking about regarding market demand.

    Heather, if publishable isn't a word, I'm using the non-word way too much.

    I want to have three novels ready for submission before I begin making the rounds (and I'll be working on another during that time). I have two first drafts and two half drafts.

    With that in mind, my 2006 writing mission is clear: Finish writing the third novel (because I'm learning important things as I write that one thanks to Monica), and effectively revise the other two full drafts.

    By the end of the first quarter of 2007, I'll know if I'll be retiring soon (07-08) or in three-four years, which sets my writing timeline.

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  21. I'm not published either but I've got a good feeling about this last novel I just finished. My fourth.

    This year I'm going to query agents. I have two novels that are ready but haven't made it out to anyone. I need to fix that.

    As for querying in general, I haven't done enough of it. So 2006 will be my year of doing that.

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  22. My first novel, Shadows over Somerset, is released in January... I owe them two sequels and will try to finish both by mid year... I also need to finish four Autumn Moon stories so that I can have a set of five to publish as an anthology by Christmas next, plus a non-fiction accounting of my adventures in real-life ghost-busting... yep, a full plate...

    BTW...you can read the first Autumn Moon on my blog, chapter by chapter, at:
    www.cairnwood.blogspot.com

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  23. Currently editing four different manuscripts and waiting to hear back from a publisher on a submission. So much depends on what is bought at the beginning of the year.

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  24. I'm on page 73 of the revision and hoping to get it finished by the end of the month, which means at 45, I'll have an honest-to-god submittable piece of work.

    Then, the agent hunt and work on #2 in the series.

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  25. My prime goal for 2006 is to finish the first book. Without that, there's nothing else, so I'm content right now to focus on Step 1. After that it's polish, revise, and start kicking book 2 in the series into shape. Once book 1 is ready, start querying.

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  26. 1. Finish revising third book, toss in a drawer.

    2. Outline fourth book, write fourth book in a month.

    3. Retrieve third book from drawer, edit, send out.

    4. Revise fourth book, throw in a drawer.

    5. Outline fifth book, write fifth book in a month.

    6. Retrieve fourth book from a drawer....

    (Oh look, a system!)

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  27. I'm waiting to hear back from Berkley on something I submitted, so if that's accepted, that's one of my plans.

    Also planning on finishing the next book in an ongoing vamp series, and debating on whether I want to start back up on a fantasy story.

    And I'm also very impatiently waiting for January 3. I'm one of those who've been waiting a long time for the next Stardoc book~to the point that I've reread two of the older titles to pieces, literally... and had to buy new copies.

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  28. I'm still in limbo. I've finished my contracts with both publishers. I'm writing my little side project. I have two separate series in two separate genres I want to pitch, and a third series in a third genre that I'm going to writer whether anyone buys it or not. But all of that is very far away, as if my head were muffled in cotton and all the outside noises couldn't get in.

    But at the moment, I'm critting manuscripts and worldbuilding, and I'm enjoying the silence inside my head.

    I'll start looking at this seriously the first of the year.

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  29. I don't know. I'm not planning beyond today because our life is still in limbo. BUT--Paul has a job interview on Monday. It looks like a very good job and the guy he interviewed with on the phone seemed pretty positive about him being the right guy. So, fingers crossed, prayers said. If he gets it, then I'll be able to make a plan that I can stick with. (sigh)

    Linda

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