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POINT OF VIEW: Following the Plan

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Last January, I announced that I had a plan. Going all in on my agent search. Writing every morning from 5:30 to 7:00, to maximize my writer productivity. And putting together another novel.

So here we are, almost at the end of 2020, and I figured it was time to look back and reassess.

In March, COVID-19 took us by storm, and nothing has been the same since. But I stuck to my plan, through the lockdown and everything that followed.

I submitted Dropnauts to more than 140 agents, and so far I’ve had two full manuscript requests to show for it and a bunch of mostly well-meaning “no’s.”

I wrote the first book in a new trilogy – “A Plague of Earth and Fire” – and submitted it for Pitch Wars. I actually did get a request from one of my chosen mentors, so even though I wasn’t chosen at the end, I consider that a win. And he gave me some excellent feedback on improving my characterization, one that I am already putting into use.

I also wrote another batch of short stories, and sold one to Galaxy’s Edge’s amazing new editor Lezli Robyn.

And finally, I did something I’d long considered but had been reluctant to do. I requested the rights back to all of my traditionally -published novels. That switch wrapped up in June, and I’ve been rereleasing them, one a month, with shiny new covers under our “Other Worlds Ink” imprint.

I’m going all-in on Amazon at the advice of a mentor of mine, including Kindle Unlimited.

Things started out slow, but things have been picking up, and I’m now seeing sales about six times as high on my personally published books as before the shift. I’m hopeful that folks are starting to find me, and are picking up other books of mine after they read their first.

Now it’s time to sit back and reassess things as I plan for 2021.

So what’s the new grand plan, you ask? For starters, I have pulled “Dropnauts” from agent querying. I am currently working through the manuscript, with a view to release it in May next year.

Why the long wait time? I’ve decided to start submitting my books to the trade magazines – Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Locus, along with a few other review sources. Many of these magazines require a 3 to 4 month advance submission before publication. So I am building that into my publication timeline.

In April, I’ll be releasing a brand new anthology titled “Fix the World” – exciting, hopeful echo punk collection of 12 sci-fi riders looking at the worlds biggest problems and proposing ways to fix them.

I plan to have a new release every month for a while going forward. A couple of these will actually be releases – my novella “Between the Lines“ will be available again in January, while my novella “Flames,” formally part of the “A More Perfect Union” Anthology, will be released in June for marriage equality day. Inbetween, I will be releasing a number of short stories on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited for 90 days each, and then plan to put them in a new anthology sometime later next year.

And what about a new novel? I completed the first book in the Tharassas Cycle, “A Plague of Earth and Fire,“ a couple months ago. I’ll be starting submissions to agents for this book in January. And if I don’t find one this round, I will probably self publish it in the second half of 2021.

In the meantime, I plan to start writing the sequel, and somewhere in there I might start on the “middle trilogy“ books between the Ariadne Cycle and the Oberon Cycle.

Overall, the plan is to try to continue to snag an agent and then a big publisher. But in the meantime I will forge ahead with my self-publishing plans. What will be, will be.

One thing I do know – I feel good about the path I’m on, and plan to continue to hone my craft.

And other than money and fame, what else can a writer ask for?

To my writing friends, how have your career planes evolved since January? And what does 2021 hold for you?

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