No looking back, no promises

Okay, I can learn from past errors. Last year’s letter to 2017 had exactly the opposite effect I intended. Instead of responding to my pep talk and improving over 2016, 2017 managed to exceed 2016’s ill effects in every way. Let’s not even go there.

Instead, let’s look forward. Here are my wishes for the coming year.

On a personal note, I hope 2017 will bring good health to me and mine. Above all, I pray for health, happiness, and peace within my family.

I look forward to the opportunity this year, as I untangle and resolve a mass of health issues, to spend more time with friends and less time just completing the next item on my daily lists.

But I love those lists. Thanks to them, in the worst year I have ever experienced, I’ve still kept up with the day job, published one novel and almost written another, published two lunch-time read collections and two other novellas, one new, and had novellas in three co-authored boxed sets. I haven’t done much else, but I have done that.

My target for 2018 is ten thousand words a week on a first draft of something. That’s around ten hours original writing a week, which is feasible. In 2017, I managed around half that. (Did I mention it has not been my favourite year of all time?)  But with better health and less stress, I’m hopeful I can do the ten thousand words, which will split out something like this:

  • the last 12,500 needed to finish The Realm of Silence
  • 60,000 for House of Thorns, a marriage of inconvenience story
  • five original anthology stories of between 15,000 and 20,000 words each for four different groups of authors
  • 40,000 to 50,000 more words to expand The Bluestocking and the Barbarian into a full-length novel
  • 80,000 for Concealed in Shadow, the sequel to Revealed in Mist
  • 80,000 for Unkept Promises, the fourth Golden Redepenning novel, which tells Mia’s story
  • 30,000 in subscriber-only newsletter stories, one every two months.

So that’s just under 400,000 words, leaving me a little in the tank for another project I have in mind, and for the things that steal time from beleaguered authors, such as selling the house we’re in, since we want to downsize before the end of the year.

I’m not going to say that’s the plan. Far be it from me to make an actual plan! And it certainly isn’t a promise. But it’s feasible, isn’t it? Bring on 2018, I say.



My plan for world domination

booksIn the past few weeks, I’ve neglected the blog as I worked 15 hour days to keep up with a busy time in the day job, plus publishing work for Farewell to Kindness, plus the launch of Bluestocking Belles (which included writing screeds of dialogue in what may be the world’s first Facebook event-based collaborative novel).

Normal business is about to resume. I have a post planned on working women in the 19th century, and another on coroners’ juries. And Penetrating Analysis has written several articles I’d like to link to and comment on.

First, though, a comment about where I’m going from here.

It has been six months since my first post on this blog. If you’ve been reading along with me, you know that I have since finished, and am about to publish, the book I was halfway through then. I’ve also published a free novella, and at some point today I expect downloads for that to pass the 43,000 mark. (I know! I can’t believe it either!)

I’m partway through writing the second novel, have begun the third, and have written odd scenes out of some of the ones to follow.

See, here’s the thing.

I want to write fiction full time. I have so many ideas- so many half-outlined drafts and characters in search of their happy ever after. But I need to pay the bills. I’m lucky enough to have a day job I love, so I’m not complaining. But my income from fiction so far has been under $2 (for print copies of Candle’s Christmas Chair), and the 57 pre-orders on Farewell to Kindness will net me around $10.

(I’m so excited to have preorders at all! Thank you, everyone who has put one in.)

I have a plan. According to my research, around 95% of published books sell under 50 copies a year, and under 100 copies in total. But the more books a person writes, the more likely they are to be noticed and to be read.

By the end of this year, I’ll have published two novellas (one in a boxed set with the Bluestocking Belles) and three novels, and (if we can work out the logistics) will be named as a co-author in the published version of our mystical magical inn party conversations.

By the end of next year, I’ll have doubled that output. So I’ll have nine or 10 published works out there. Six (the novels) will be earning me income, the collaborative projects will be making a contribution to the Malala Fund, and Candle’s Christmas Chair will continue to be free.

Will that be enough? I don’t know.I hope so. I have some great stories just bursting to get out of my head and on to paper.

Thank you to all the people who have downloaded Candle’s Christmas Chair. A special thank you to those who have written reviews or ratings. Thank you to those who have emailed me, direct messaged me, or commented on FaceBook. All of these things give me confidence to continue.

Whatever happens, I’m going to keep on writing. I love what I’m doing. But a writer without a reader is a sad creature indeed. Please know that you are hugely appreciated.

(Incidentally, for those who have fallen a little in love with the Marquess of Aldridge over the past few weeks at the inn, his cameo appearances start in Encouraging Prudence and will continue from time to time in future books. But his actual story is the third book in the planned series “In the Halls of the Mountain King” coded I and coloured light blue in the chart of story ideas. So it may be a while.

I’ve written the first 600 words though, and might be tempted to publish that here in due course.)