Cha-cha-changes

I’m working on compiling the data and figuring out how to make nice graphs and stuff for a year-end wrap-up post.  Meanwhile, I figured I’d post about the changes that will happen here on this blog for 2012.

First, I won’t be posting monthly ebook and writing stats.  The numbers I’ve been posting aren’t the final numbers anyway since Smashwords doesn’t report montly for places like Apple, Sony, etc.  I’m going to switch to posting the ebook sales stats on a quarterly basis so that I can post the real numbers and have 3 months of data available to talk about.

I won’t be posting the writing stats because 1) I get too much flak for my word counts and 2) I’m switching to project goals more than word count goals.  I’ll post when I have projects completed, though most of what I’m planning to write next year won’t be under this pen name.  I’m also going to try to put together some coherent thoughts about writing series.  But no word counts except in the “writing goals and progress bar” section, which I’ll update at the completion of each project.   That section will also only have final wordcounts. No more counting words I write and then discard or delete.  I’ve fallen into some bad habits with second-guessing myself and throwing out whole unfinished manuscripts and it has to stop. I’m aiming for consistent, completed work next year.

The serialization of my cyberpunk thriller Casimir Hypogean will resume in January on Mondays. I am also resuming the Neo-pro Interview series on Thursdays.

So to sum up: no word counts here (maybe on twitter), quarterly sales updates, and both the novel serial and the interviews will resume in January.

In other news, I sent in my final Writers of the Future entry. Pro-ing out is bittersweet.  While I can hope for a Hollywood ending where I magically win my final quarter of eligibility, I’m betting on an Honorable Mention.  It would be a humorous end to my WotF stint.

WotF Results, August Summary

Well, in what very well might be my second to last quarter of eligibility, I got another honorable mention in Writers of the Future.  Go figure.  At least I’ll pro-out with a stack of certificates, right? Bright side and all that.

Ebook sales held steady for August despite people apparently thinking that summer would be the slow months.  I’m hoping they were right and that this fall is going to be even better.  And I’m really looking forward to the holidays when many more people will acquire e-readers.

Here’s the numbers:

Ebook sales: 105 (Note: Smashwords hasn’t updated since June for most of the places other than Apple, so I don’t know about some sales yet)

Paper sales: 3

Words written: 19, 904

Yeah. My word counts have died down horribly.  But that’s okay. I’ll make up for it this month.  There’s probably no way I’m going to hit 900,000 words this year, but I think I’ll hit 500,000 or so, which is more than half of goal. Clarion and my husband losing his job side-tracked me a lot.

I have another SF collection ready to go (just waiting on one rejection (or sale) ) and I’ll start the weekly chapters of Casimir Hypogean tomorrow so that my blog is totally neglected while I’m writing The Raven King.  Most of the plot for Raven King fell on my head while I was driving to Reno for Worldcon, so I feel confident that I can bust out the novel in good time.

 

Writers of the Future Q1 2011 Results

I got a Silver Honorable Mention for my story. My first Silver HM, so that’s something I suppose. I figured this story was HM level sort of thing, so it did better than I expected. My story for Q2 is, I think, going to be a Semi-finalist. I believe it is really good, but it might have a flaw that won’t work for the contest. We’ll see.

I have a couple more neo-pro interviews to post this week so the blog won’t be totally neglected while I finish this novel. I’ve been reading books on writing and reading tons of short stories lately. I have all sorts of plans, but I’m torn between what to do and what order to do it in. We’ll see. I might be posting a revised writing schedule for the year here soon.

Writers of the Future Results Q4 2010

I got my 4th Quarter results for WotF.  Another Honorable Mention.  Not surprised at all really.  I didn’t think this story was finalist material, though I like it a lot and think it’s a good story.  But it is a very dark, somewhat strange fantasy story.

My story for Q1 is probably not a winner either, but truthfully on that one, I have no idea.  It’s totally different from what I usually write, so we’ll see.  I’m currently working on my Q2 story and think it has a ton of potential.  I just have to finish this novel first, then I’ll get the story done and mailed.

So that’s that for Q4.  Time to find another market and send the story back out.

WotF 2nd Quarter Results

Well, I didn’t get a phone call.

But I’m a semi-finalist. Wee! Step in the right direction.  (Too bad I’m 90% sure my Q3 entry will be disqualified based on inclusion of a song lyric. Oh well. )

So yeah, that was sorta a shock, considering I’d heard nothing at all from Joni or anything.  But hey, getting a critique from KD is pretty awesome and way way better than the straight reject I thought I was getting.

Now, to go write something more awesome than anything ever for Q4!

Feet, Meet… Wet

So after a lot of thinking about it and some very good discussions with people at the workshop this last weekend, I’ve decided to get my feet wet with the whole electronic publishing thing. I already had plans for an experiment with longer fiction, which I’m going to talk about closer to the things happening date (not for months… stay tuned!). But I hadn’t really thought about putting up short fiction yet.

However, I do have a few literary stories that have made some submission rounds (you think spec fic mags are slow to respond? Try the lit fic world, whew). A couple even got nice rejections from what I think are prestigious literary magazines (and certainly ones that pay fairly well). Two of my stories got me into graduate school (MFA program which I then dropped out of…). So I know the stories aren’t horrible, they are just hard to place.

And now they are available online. I bundled two surreal shorts together, and then put up the longer ones separately. Will I sell any copies? Who knows? But I haven’t resubmitted them in a bit (even though it would have increased my race score I guess) and so they weren’t doing me much good sitting on the computer. If you want to read them, they are cheap (inexpensive?) and found here for Kindle and here for other formats (the sidebar there has the other two stories).

So I’ve decided to change my submission habits a little.  I still intend to submit every story I write to every pro-paying magazine and to the handful of good semi-pro zines that I love.  If a story then doesn’t sell to those magazines, I’ll put it up online.  It’ll take a while for each story to make those rounds (looks like about a year to two years so far), but at least there will be no trunk.  I’ll also probably (depending on if/how well anything sells online) put up stories of mine that I have sold and then gotten the rights back from.  This ebook stuff is a brave new world and interesting changes are coming for everyone, and damn but I want to be a part of that.  I think it’s good to stay on top of the changes and for me to get my feet wet learning how to put things online.  There are readers out there and they’ll vote with their dollars on the quality of things.  Plus it is good practice for writing blurbs, right? *grin*

Anyway, as other stories finish the submission rounds, I’ll be slowly putting them online.  I have a great friend doing my covers and I spent quite a few painful hours learning to format for Kindle.  It’s a fun new thing to try at the very least.  And as I said, I have a crazy/awesome idea for an experiment starting up in a few months, so eventually I’ll post a nice long thing about that.

Meanwhile, I am running into my own writing deadlines full speed.  I signed up for another novel workshop in October and haven’t even started the book I want to workshop.  So I guess I’d better stop blogging and go (have my characters) kill a few people and wrap up the current novel.  Lots of work ahead, but I feel good about.  I’m so busy between writing and Starcraft 2 that I’m (mostly) not even stressing about WotF results.  Crazy :)

Writers of the Future Q1 2010

Honorable mention. Again.  About all there is to say about that.  I keep joking with people that I’m going to make it as a writer “the hard way”, ie never winning a contest, never getting into one of the big workshops.  Who knows, I might actually end up having to do that.  Hell, I’ve got contingency plans for if I’ve written 20-30 novels and they never sell to NY.  It could very well end up I do this whole damn thing the hardest way possible. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I’m not even close to that point yet.  This week I’m giving in to my brain’s desire to write five novels at the same time.  Well, the five that it will let me outline.  Sindra’s Storm is being back-burnered until it grows a cohesive form.  Take that, novel.  I’m hoping that as I get going on the various projects that one will take over.  But worse comes to worse, I’ll have five novels done in the next few months.  It’s not as much work as it sounds like.  I imagine three out of the five will be short novels, one possibly very short since I’m going to try writing it as a middle grade.  So even being written much at the same time, the finishing dates should stagger out nicely.

I also am going to try to work in more short story writing time.  I’m feeling incredibly poor, and as my father always said, poor is motivating.  The more work out to markets, the more likely I am to get a sale.  Never thought I’d empathize with Dickens.  Life is full of surprises.

Also, my blog seems to be doing weird things.  Catagories and links are apparently missing, but yet they show up in my admin pages.  Sigh.  Not going to worry about it right now.  Hopefully Word Press will get around to fixing whatever is broken.

Writers of the Future Quarter 3

I took honorable mention.  Whew.  I was figuring on rejection at this point since it took so long to find out.  But now that means the story wasn’t at the bottom of the heap and I can send it out again.

I have higher hopes for my Q4 story, since I think it relects how much my writing has improved in the last year.  I won’t sniffle though if it’s another HM.

Now, to get to work on my entry for Q1 of next year…

Crazy Short Story Plans

Still no word on my WotF third quarter entry.

Which means I really need to distract myself.  I’m between novels at the moment, so the best way to keep up my writing habits is to work on short stories.  I’ve got 9 out on the market right now.  I need more.  I want to saturate the market with my work, plus starting in January I’ll be super busy trying to write an entire trilogy in six months while querying about my current novel.  And I have three workshops to apply to, all of which want slightly different word counts etc…

Inspired by Jim C. Hines post, I’ve decided to push some stories at more anthologies.  Writing to a specific theme isn’t really something I’ve done before.  Even with the Shine anthology, which I was very nicely rejected from recently, I wrote a story that I’d been wanting to write and thought it might fit (it didn’t, which once it was written I knew it was a long shot).  So I think it would be an interesting challenge to myself as a writer to write for some anthologies.

I went through ralan.com’s anthology calls and made a list of all the ones that interested me and pay at least 1 cent per word.  I have a notebook now full of deadlines, requirements, and submission information for each.  I’ve picked out about eleven, most with deadlines around early next year, though a couple have deadlines coming up very soon.

I read somewhere, and I honestly can’t recall where though I think it was linked to off of sfsignal.com in a post there, that when writing for anthologies, you don’t want to write the first idea that comes into your head because that will be the one that everyone else thinks of also.  I believe the advice said to pick the 17th idea.  So I’m currently brainstorming all sorts of ideas, and trying to aim for a good blend of crazy enough that it might not have fifty clones in the slush but still something I’d want to write.

This decision to write for anthologies as well as working on the giant list of ideas I already had is timely.  November is coming, traditionally National Novel Writing Month.  I’ve done nanowrimo twice and “won” both times.  However, I think that my last nano will be my last nano.  I learned I could write at length and on deadline.  Nano (not that I want to start a war if you disagree with me here…), but you don’t get a novel out of it.  Well, maybe if you’re writing middle-grade, because then 50k words might work.  But 50k is too short for what I want to be doing.  And while I imagine I could write 100k in a month,   I think, for myself at least, I’ve learned what I could and it’s time to move and do novels my way (you know, a novel in two to three months instead…).

But don’t think I’m not going to be silly crazy in November.  Oh no, I’m going to invent my own tradition.  NaShoWriMo.  National Short-story Writing Month.  My goal is to write a short story a day.  Yes, everyday.  I’m not limiting the length, though I’d dearly like to write at least a couple decent ones under 4k words to make my life easier come Clarion sub season, but I am holding the minimum to 1,000 words.  I figure if I even get six stories worth cleaning up and submitting at the end, I’m ahead for a while.  And it will be fun, a chance to experiment and get some random ideas out.  I’m planning on using the anthology calls as fodder.  I can write the 5th, 14th, and 20th ideas I have for any given theme and then pick the one I want to send.  Sounds like crazy fun right? Right?

So, my goals for October are to write up the novella formerly known as Werewolves in Space (which will be my 1st quarter sub for WotF most likely), and finish two themed anthology stories that are due by the end of the month.  A fairly light load, all things considered.

November is when the real exciting stuff gets going.  A story a day.  NaShoWriMo.  If anyone wants to join me in my insanity, bring it on.  I usually write short stories in a day anyway, just not generally consecutively.  And I’m pretty sure my typing limit is around 12-13k words in a day (10k is really more my comfort limit, and 3-5k my cruising speed), so at least my stories won’t be crazy long.  We can hope.

That’s my plan.  In December I’ll collect the notes from my first-readers and try to make my novel outstanding before the queries go out in January.  Until then, time to fill up my short story basket.  (Just think, I’ll get to 500 rejections much much more quickly if I have 50 stories out than 9…)

WotF and Sadness

Well, I took the plunge and submitted a story to the Writer’s of the Future contest.  Wish me luck.  I have no idea if they’ll like it, but it’s on the longer side and good old science fiction, so maybe it’s to their taste.  It’s my first time. Meep.

In other news, I got yet another rejection in the flavor of “we liked X about this, but it’s not right for us/we can’t use it at this time, submit more”.  I feel so near the top, yet in the end it’s functionally the same as being at the bottom.  No sales. Grr. Argh.  Oh well, head down and sending that story out again.

I’ve been on a very strange sleeping every other day sort of schedule lately for no good reason, so writing has been really sporadic.  I think I might abandon writing cohesive whole chapters for the next couple weeks (we’re packing and moving) and work on editing and writing some more short stories.  I’ve been reading lots of award winning stories lately trying to pick out what makes them tick/win.  I think I’m going to try to get out of my comfort zone and write a few stories using elements I don’t tend to gravitate to, like specifically happy endings and linear, clear plots.  I don’t know. I have some ideas.

Meanwhile I’m trying to avoid reading Clarion West blogs because man, that’s depressing.  I’ve got over half a year to get some stories to the point that I’ll have a chance.  Of course, the story I submitted last year is still one of my all time favorites, so clearly I’m no kind of judge of my own work.  That story has since garnered a near-sale and a few nice comments on rejections, so it can’t be totally bad.  Once it gets back from the latest submission place I might post it in the JBU slush and let the grinder that are those commenters take a stab at it.  Or maybe it’ll get bought, finally.  We’ll see.  So yeah, NOT thinking about Clarion West 4 hours to the north for the next few weeks. Nope. Not at all.