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POINT OF VIEW: I Have a Plan (Sort-Of)

It’s been about four months since I sat down consistently to write every day

There are reasons:

  • I finished my novel Dropnauts and started to put some energy into using it to level up
  • We ramped up for a new website launch for our main business, and it took a lot of time and energy
  • My leveling up plans kinda fell apart, and I’ve been a bit adrift
  • The holidays

So I’ve been at loose ends with my writing these last few months. I’ve also been unsure as to what I want to write next.

I’ve kicked around the idea of revisiting River City. Of writing the sequel to “Dropnauts.” Or of going back to the original part of the Liminal Sky series and writing the next Forever book.

All of these appeal to me.

More generally, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to try going it alone and start self-publishing all my works from here on out, or if I want to try to land an agent/big publisher. This has been an ongoing struggle in my head – one of those “If I make the wrong decision, I may screw up my entire” future sort of things.

Which is better for me?

As a self-pubber, my destiny is almost entirely in my own hands, and I’ll make more per book than with a traditional publisher (but likely sell fewer books).

With a bigger publisher, I’d likely sell more books and have their marketing department and distribution behind my book, but it might be two years before I see publication (if I get in) and I will be more restricted with what I can do and how I can do it (cover, edits, etc).

And the ever-changing publishing landscape and current political (and actual) environment doesn’t help. In my darker moments, I may have wondered if there will even be anyone around to read my books in 10-20 years. And if they are, will there still be books as we know them?

In the last few weeks, a couple things have finally happened that gave me a little clarity.

First, an author who was considering mentoring me, and whom I respect immensely, read “Dropnauts.” He came back to me with a tough but fair critique, which I think (after giving this long consideration) falls into a couple buckets. One, he flagged some issues and gave me some ideas that I think could really help the book. And two, I got a a general sense that what I write isn’t a great match for what he likes to read.

Second, I’d participated in Pitch Wars (an online contest to snag a mentor) and also in #dvpit (diverse pitch to agents) and #pitmad (Pitch Wars’ agent pitch day) on Twitter. Of all three, I only got one bite, an agent from #dvpit.

I’d sent her the “Dropnauts” pitch, and just heard back last week. It was the very cut-and-paste – wishing me well with my endeavor but being very unspecific about what she didn’t like.

It wasn’t the answer I wanted. Still, it was an answer.

And so it’s time to move on.

I’ve always seen myself ending up with one of the big publishers like my Golden Age sci fi idols.

Maybe it makes sense or maybe it doesn’t, but it’s where I’ve been headed since I started writing in my teens. And that’s where I am headed now.

I’ve asked a dear friend who is familiar with the series to read “Dropnauts,” and then I will ask her what she thinks of the points raised by my author friend. Once adjustments are made, I plan to send it out to some more agents I’ve found that seem to be looking for what I write, and then we’ll see where it goes from there.

As far as the next writing thing?

I’m going all in on my diverse sci fi direction. I plan to start on the sequel to “Dropnauts” shortly, to flesh out more of this universe I’m building.

And if I can find the time, I might also start work on River City 2… we’ll just have to see how it goes.

To my writer friends, where are you on your great writerly journey?

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