Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Writing Resolution 2011 Recap

Every year I try to make some sort of writing resolution. I sometimes meet the plans originally laid out.

Here's what I resolved on Jan 1, 2011 (as evidenced in this blog post)

  1. Sell a non-fiction article outside of books/publishing (I'm not going to lock myself down with a "parenting" article, because along with my "food services/customer service" article, I've been kicking around a "men's health" style article (from a complete novices' POV of course). This year I'll take the shotgun approach, scatter a few and see what sticks.
  2. Complete the re-write for I, DEATH (since that version of the manuscript is due at the publisher by the end of the summer to begin the official publication schedule)
  3. Get my novel MORNING SON back in circulation with publishers
  4. Work on the second draft of my novel A CANADIAN WEREWOLF IN NEW YORK
  5. Keep between 3 and 5 stories in circulation at all times.

To recap, I didn't do so well sticking to this list, but I'll still give myself passing marks in general. (Because I'm that kind of teacher - so long as my student learned his lesson and remained productive, I think it's worth encouraging him)

  1. I didn't sell a non-fiction article outside of books/publishing - but I DID sell a non-fiction book outside of the topic. In the summer I pitched HAUNTED HAMILTON: The Ghosts of Dundurn Castle and Other Steeltown Shivers to Dundurn Press and they loved the idea. I almost killed myself with a two month turn-around time between agreement to publish and delivery of the manuscript (particularly with all the research required to write this), but what an amazing experience! The book is coming out in August 2012.
  2. I didn't properly complete the re-write for I, DEATH. But I did re-write. And re-write, and re-write. During one re-write I decided to make a change to the plot that had me go back through and modify bits and pieces. Sigh. It created a road map that I'm still desperately trying to connect and complete. My publisher has been VERY gracious about not releasing the hounds to hunt me down - that, or the hounds have to travel from BC, so they might already be enroute to Hamilton.
  3. I did NOT get MORNING SON back in circulation. And for that I'll do penance. (A fitting penance would be to go and find all the negative reviews posted about my writing and read them, perhaps aloud on a street corner)
  4. I did NOT work on the second draft of A CANADIAN WEREWOLF IN NEW YORK. Though I did start it. But starting doesn't count. Only completing counts. More penance. (Fortunately for me my work hasn't been reviewed all that much)
  5. I believe I kept only 2 or 3 stories in circulation at all times this past year. I did always have something in circulation, but not the volume of material I'd planned on.
So in a nutshell, if you want to be technical, I scored 0 out of 5.

However, it's not that I didn't work my butt of in writing in 2011.

One of the things I had listed just below my initial resolution list was to work on a non-fiction book project - one that Francine had been pushing me to write. I had the work all planned out, and had invested some time in planning it. Then I got the idea of the book pitch for Dundurn, just prior to the time I had budgeted to work on that original non-fiction project -- when Dundurn accepted the pitch, I invested that budgeted time and energy into Haunted Hamilton - thus, that project remains on the back-burner.

So I did fail miserably in terms of meeting my resolutions as originally laid out.

But in my defense (or defence, depending on where you live), I achieved a few other un-preplanned writing accomplishments that weren't on my list:

  •  I released a digital story (ebook) in July - Spirits (avail at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords) - and did a virtual release launch for it. A handful of people actually attended.
  • I had two stories come out (part of work done back in 2010) - "Little Things" appeared in the magazine Necrotic Tissue #13 and "Nocturnal Visions" appeared in the anthology FEAR OF THE DARK
  • I had 4 non-fiction articles (mostly about the book and publishing industry) published on The Mark News
  • I released a digital story collection (in July) - ACTIVE READER & Other Cautionary Tales from the Book World which saw reprints of my stories Active Reader, Browsers & Distractions (available via Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords) - it got a heck of a lot of action via various free promotions, which did result in a few sales of my other stuff in ebook and in print. Not the raging successes you hear about, but still noteworthy from my perspective.
  • I released a digital story collection for Halloween (in October) entitled Tricky Treats: Three Halloween Tales - it reprinted But Once A Year, Treats & Tricky Treater. (avail via Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords)
  • I released a digital story collection (in December) entitled Snowmen Shivers: Scary Snowmen Tales - it reprinted Ides of March and That Old Silk Hat They Found (avail via Amazon, and Smashwords - it's not yet available via Kobo - but I'm working on that....tee hee)
  • I released a collection of previously published essays called Living at the Tip: Navigating the Digital Tipping Point of the Book World. It is available exclusively on Kindle right now.
  • [SO, HAVE YOU SENSED A THEME HERE WITH THE DIGITAL RELEASES? Yes, I have been experimenting like crazy in the digital space and still not done experimenting]
  • Oh yeah, one other small thing.  I signed a contract with Edge Publishing to edit the next book in the Tesseracts series.  I'm editing Tesseracts 16: Parnassus Unbound. It comes out later this year.

It appears like making too long of a list too early spells trouble. I already have a heck of a lot on my plate if I want to survive 2012.  So, to ensure I don't fail in 2012, here's a shorter list for writing goals for this year.

  1. Complete the Tesseracts Anthology. (IE, read submissions, select stories, get book to publisher) - okay, I'm already feeling overwhelmed. (early in 2011)
  2. Get the latest re-write of I, DEATH over to Atomic Fez. (early in 2011)
  3. Post live updates for the first 1/3 of the re-written I, DEATH to a blog so that people can begin following along the tale of Peter O'Mallick. (Started that yesterday by creating an I, DEATH blog - the story begins on Jan 18th - and yes, without spending a single penny you can read the complete first 1/3 of the novel, which, in and of itself, tells a complete story.
  4. Release a new digital collection of previously published (but not previously collected) short stories.
  5. Release an enhanced text plus audio version of ONE HAND SCREAMING.
  6. Pitch a second book to Dundurn as a follow-up to HAUNTED HAMILTON.
  7. Promote the hell out of the fact I have 3 books coming out in 2012.
  8. Do a big book launch for HAUNTED HAMILTON in Hamilton and work the "local book" angle in all forms of media.
  9. Do combined promotions for HAUNTED HAMILTON, I, DEATH & TESSERACTS 16. (There's pretty much something for everybody - non-fiction, a novel, short stories)
  10. A little more promotion (just when I thought I wanted to rest)

There.  A smaller list.

No, seriously, the list IS smaller in terms of actual writing - but this year it embraces a part of writing that writers often forget to think about - the promotional activity surrounding the release of their work -- the "let's see what we can do to get some buzz" aspect that is a tremendous part of "writing."

Yes, it's going to be a crazy year. But it'll either kill me or it'll be one heck of a year to remember.

Live large. Dream big. Write lots.

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