About three months ago, I finished up at a day job to see what I can make of a full year of writing full time. I’m keeping track of things during these blogs, which used to be every Friday but have become rather more sporadic. Previous installments are racked up here.
Today I’m back at my desk, sending emails, waiting for replies, and making plans. Tomorrow, I’ll get back to the 20 Day Novel, and spend the rest of the week finishing that. I’ve been re-reading the last few chapters today in preparation, and I’m pleased. It’s rough around the edges, but it’s taking on an identity of its own.
I was going to sit and review the first three months of this year at the writing desk, but to be honest there’s not much point. If you were here for The December Book or the current 20 Day Novel then you’ve had more behind the scenes detail than you could ever have actually wanted. That’s what the first three months have been about – closing the door of the office, and writing. My income has shrivelled after the summer and the release of Craven Place. All my books are still selling a copy here and a copy there, but while my attention has been on new words the expected diminishing returns have kicked in.
With luck, the next three months will turn that around. Starting next week, there will be new books. Two this quarter, and at least three the next, during the summer. Each one represents a small amount of potential income, but none individually are likely to make the year a success. What I’m really looking at is what they do (or don’t do) cumulatively. By September 2014 I’ll have four novels and four novellas out in the world (including those already released) and potentially finding readers. Here’s what’s in the pipeline, and a hint of what might be happening behind the scenes too.
Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow
While I was away over xmas, the publisher of the Hiram Grange books made an unusual offer to the authors of the series, which includes my own Poland set entry (published in paperback in 2010). The result is that I’ve been given the book to self-publish as I see fit, as have my fellow Hiram scribes Jake, Scott, Rob, and Kevin. They’re still Shroud books, but we’re each publishing the digital versions ourselves. It’s a fantastic gift – Shroud owns the character of Hiram, and it’s only with permission from the publisher that we can use him and his world. From a business perspective, the gift is even more startling. This is an entire book, fully edited and ready to go, that I can make available immediately. To put it crudely, it’s free money. Whether it makes ten dollars or five hundred, it’s all additional to whatever my self-publishing efforts might already have earned me. There’s a big part of me that’s delighted to be able to bring Hiram to new readers worldwide, as it was the only book length project of mine that has never been available as a download (it completes the set, basically). It’s the more mercenary bit of me that does these freelance blogs though, and having a whole book to make available at no cost to myself is manna from heaven.
We five authors have already agreed that next week is Hiram week. All the books will be published over the next few days, so that they’re available internationally by Monday morning. Then we’ll run Hiram week. There will be free download days for each book (except the first – Jake Burrows is a man apart, a rogue, and long ago made his opening entry in the series Hiram Grange and the Village of the Damned) available for the Kindle without us. We have tried to email him, and Rob even tried to call him on his secure Burrowsphone, but he spurns us. Luckily, although that one won’t be free, it’s extremely cheap. As for the rest, I’m expecting Krakow to be free next Friday, probably for a couple of days. Feel free to hold on until then to download your copy (if you subscribe to my email newsletter, of course, you should already have waiting to be collected).
The Flesh Market
I’d planned to release this new historical horror novel at the end of January, but in light of Hiram’s unexpected launch on Kindle and a couple of other potential issues I may delay it for a couple of weeks so I don’t end up splitting my energies too much. This will be the second book this quarter, and the biggest of the year. I’ve a lot riding on The Flesh Market.
During the summer months I’ll be releasing three linked novellas at staggered intervals. They’re a connected series, and I’m interested in finding out how readers relate to such things in the digital age. I’m keeping all other details quiet at the moment. In fact, I don’t think I’ll tell anybody much of anything about them until the day the first one is released…
I was going to start The 52 today, but it’s my birthday this coming weekend and I couldn’t resist the idea of publishing these short stories across the whole of my 39th year. Every Monday, a brand new short story will go up on this blog and elsewhere, based on one of your photos. I’ll make no money at all from these, but there’s a certain relief in that. The 52 is where I’ll go when the business side of this freelance year gets too much. I hope you’ll make a date to join me at the start of each week. I want to take you places and show you things.
There will be other stuff. I don’t know what most of it is yet, and thank goodness. This would be a very boring adventure if I could predict everything.
And behind the scenes, the writing goes on. I’ll be finishing off The 20 Day Novel and submitting it to four or five publishers I’m really interested in working with, and it has a sequel I’ll be looking at later in the year. There is a collaboration of words and art proposed, which the artist and I intend to create first and worry about how to publish later. There’s a novel pitch for one particular publisher that I’ve been struggling with for ages and which finally came together a couple of nights ago (I just need time to write the thing and send it off to see if it gets approved). There are a couple of short story commissions to make good on outside of outside The 52. There’s next year’s self-published novel to start thinking about.
It’s going to be an insanely busy few months. I keep reminding myself though that 2014, this freelance year, is a unique thing that isn’t likely to come around again. It’s a chance for me to show myself what I can do, and I don’t want to let myself down.
I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens, and thanks for being out there for the last few months. You’ve been more help than you can possibly know.