Happy 2012 and all that. New year, new times, new goals, though it always just feels like the last one. Time for a recap of everything that went down in 2011, and maybe I'll do another post with my writing goals.
- From January to July I wrote Effulgent Corruption, my longest and most complex book yet. I averaged over 2000 words a day consistently over this entire time.
- In May I epublished Paradise Seekers, after a hefty edit, my first entry into the eBook world. It sold decently, though not as much as I would have hoped. The jury is still out with regard to my personal future with Kindle and eBook publication. Despite this all, it was a fantastic learning experience, both on how to edit and polish a book as well as all the work that goes into getting everything off the ground.
- In August I wrote The Gears of Anbar. It was 112,000 words in under a month, so put that in your pipe and smoke it (whatever that means). It is currently my personal favorite.
- In September and October I edited The Might of the Steelgods, though it was more of a total rewrite. It still has some cleaning up to do, but it's the biggest edit I've ever done on a work.
- For the first part of November I started Naught But Glass, but I wasn't feeling it so the project got put on hold.
- In December I started Death's Aria, though I eventually got distracted by the whole holidays thing. Work on Death's Aria resumes full force today (1/1/2012).
- In February I attended Life, the Universe, and Everything on BYU campus. It was a decent experience. Honestly I go to LTUE these days mostly to just see the local authors I like and buy their new books to support them. Luckily, there are loads of awesome local authors.
- In May I attended one day of Conduit. I was able to meet Michaelbrent Collings, whom I had been stalking on Facebook for a good while, so that was a major awesome perk. The panels were...decent. Again, another meet-n-great for local authors.
- In August I attended WorldCON, which was quite the blast. I met lots of my favorite authors, lots of editors and agents, and overall had a good time. Honestly, I feel that was a big breaking point in my convention-going career; I finally was able to speak with lots of people about both what they were working on and my current stuff.
- In October I went to World Fantasy in San Diego. This was also a fantastic experience. I was able to speak with even more agents that I'd been trying to contact for a long while, as well as the usual bunch of authors and editors. Plus, it was a lot of fun.
- I finished receiving my hearty batch of Paradise Seekers rejections shortly after deciding to ePublish it. So that book is basically closed at this point.
- Paradise Seekers was published to the Kindle store and others. It saw little success, but I do not regret the experience in the slightest. As mentioned above I learned a lot, and I plan on applying this to my future.
- The Might of the Steelgods rewrite was submitted and saw more success than any of my works in the past. Several partials, one full request, and more. Honestly, I think it was a combination of actually meeting most of these people at World Fantasy and the fact that my query letter was boss hog. I decided to screw convention and just write one I thought would be interesting to read, and so far it has paid off reasonably well. We'll see what happens with that from here, as it is still out with a handful of people.
- I wrote 500,000 new words this year (almost exactly). This is not counting any of the Paradise Seekers or Steelgods edits. If I were to count the Steelgods edit, we'd be looking at almost 600,000 words. That averages to about 50,000 words a month, and I didn't write at all in November minus maybe two days.
- My goal I made at the end of 2010 was to write five books this year. I didn't make it; I got about two and a half with some change. I'm actually a bit disappointed in this, if only because in 2010 I wrote three books. Granted, I wrote about 350,000 words in 2010, so technically I crushed my previous word count, but the point still stands. I want three books a year as a minimum from here until the day I die, so I'm going to have to bump up my efforts (or write more YA books).
Stuff I Learned / Random Ramblings
- I like writing YA better than Epic Fantasy. YA is faster, the books are shorter, and they aren't (usually) as complicated as adult fantasy fiction. Writing YA is less stressful for me than writing adult, and honestly my writing style has leaned towards YA since the moment I started. I'm considering in 2012 going for broke and just writing tons of YA novels to see how I feel about it all. This is still up in the air.
- I do best when I write consistently, when I write outside, and when I have a writing group. Currently, I do not have an active writing group. Life has been too busy for me to actively participate in several new ones I scoped out, and the current group has been too busy to for any reading to happen. This has been a major burden on my writing and motivation. Add the fact it's winter and too cold for me to go on walks or write outside, and there's a reason I've been sluggish (this also seems to happen every year).
- Kindles are fragile. I broke my eInk one 10 days out of warranty. Amazon was nice enough to replace it for free (though all my famous people signatures are gone with it), and now I'm extra careful. I love reading on Kindles, though, more than books by a substantial amount. I will probably never go back (except for comic books and their ilk).
- I've hit a point where my intended career is frustrating me. Before I took it all seriously it was more of me just writing for my own pleasure and not caring how things turned out. Then I began to become more dedicated, determined to be the very best I could in every regard and learn everything possible from conventions, classes, etc. Now, I honestly think I've gotten most everything I need to know covered (I understand how to write, how the business works, how to motivate myself, and what I need to produce in order to succeed), and all that remains is the breakthrough. Since I am no longer seeing constant, substantial progression, things have become stressful. I'm looking at other career options as backups more seriously, and though I'm continuing to bang my head against the door of publication/success, it's no longer a passive thing. I'm ready for this to happen. I'm ready to make the changes necessary to write for a living. I'm ready for awful edits, months and months of them, if it means seeing a book in print at the end. I'm ready, but it hasn't started yet. And so I keep banging my head in frustration, waiting.
- That being said, I've also started to regain the whole "who the hell cares, I'm just writing for my own pleasure" bit that started this whole fiasco. Death's Aria is both a fun experiment and me just writing something because I thought it would provide me entertainment. Whatever book I write after will be written because I'm completely sold on it, and I'm super excited about it. Which means it might be Steelgods 3. I love those books and the characters and their plots (and future plots), and even if nobody ends up buying them I'll still love 'em and am going to finish that freaking series because I think they are awesome. So take that and stick it in your pipe alongside whatever I told you to stick in your pipe previously and smoke it too. :P
That's it for my massive new years post. Despite me sounding like a jaded, grumpy grandpa, it's been a fantastic year for me. Total blast through-and-through, and I'm excited to make 2012 even better.
Keep on writing, keep it real.