Self Publishing

A Year of the Pandemic and A Year of Self Publishing

The Korinniad came out February 1st, 2020. That day was so full of excitement that I thought I was going to die from how the anxiety layered atop the elation like a heart attack lasagna. Now, releasing a book is much easier and more joyous, but back then I had no idea if I would ever even write anything else (if that release went poorly) let alone how the world was about to crumble apart.

I spent the three months leading up to The Korinniad‘s release working more diligently than I had at any other point in my life until then. I’d just lost Rutherford, and I was done waffling between self publishing or querying for an agent–I knew what I had to do, but all I had was a draft, so I created a schedule, I taught myself new skills, I got into a rhythm, and I finally released the book. I felt like I could do anything after that, and started right in on getting the draft for She’s All Thaumaturgy ready to be my stunning follow up.

And then the pandemic hit. I was already in a sort of isolation, working from home and solely on my writing, but I was used to my days of solitude, alone with the cats, working by my own schedule, wandering around the house and talking to myself to brainstorm. And I was also used to, ya know, going to the store or maybe out to eat or to the Botanical Gardens or doing anything on the weekend. All that got kyboshed (just like it did for everyone) with someone else now home 24/7 and absolutely nowhere to ever go to get a break from the monotony or to be inspired.

I really thought I was ruined. I had just experienced one of the greatest successes of my entire life only to find out everything I’d done to make it happen was useless, and I’d have to figure out a totally new way to replicate that success (to me, it was a success just to finish and hit publish) a second time, and a third, and a forth, and for the rest of my life if I wanted to actually live my dream of being an author and making a living on my words.

Of course, that wasn’t true, but it certainly felt like it.

So I failed for a little while, and I fretted for a little longer, and ultimately floundered through the redrafting and revision processes that eventually ended in She’s All Thaumaturgy existing for consumption by the very end of June, later than I had hoped, but out there nonetheless.

I was halfway through the year and wanted to release two more books before 2021. Four books for the year had been my plan set way back in January. I thought logically it was doable, but practically I lost more time to “real life” than I expected. I never even got to fully draft the Christmas special I’ve had rattling around in my head since 2019 (and I don’t know if I ever will, but gods do I hope someday I shit that novella out because it would be so much fun, totally a just-for-me project, but ugh, I want it so bad). That Christmas special was supposed to be the fourth book for the year, and The Association was planned for September, and then I’d roll into getting The Vacancy Series out early 2021. But we moved in September, and the prep work and execution for that slowed me down a bit, but despite a tree falling on the house in October, I still managed to release The Association for Halloween. It was a month late, but I was getting better and had finally come up with another working schedule.

I knew then that the Christmas book wasn’t going to work because I never fit the drafting of it in earlier. I was still hopeful I could get The Weary Traveler out for Christmas, but that book evolved in ways I’m thrilled about that just needed more time, and as it’s the beginning of my first multi-book spanning story, I had to be extra careful I wove in all the needed elements to make books two and three work. I’ll probably never be one of those rapid release authors, but I am getting better and more efficient at producing words. I’m also more sure of where I want to take my career, especially with the release of The Weary Traveler–that book has had more reads on Kindle Unlimited than all of my others combined, and it hasn’t even been out a week yet. People just voraciously read urban fantasy, and if that’s what they want, well, I have plenty of it in my cold, little, undead heart to give to you, Dear Reader. Please just never stop loving werewolves and vampires and witches and we can get along just fine.

It would be nice to be able to go places again and get a little change of scenery, I will say that. Monotony and routine is pretty good for being productive in the most sterile sense. I work seven days a week, and I love my work, but I do hit lulls that I don’t think I’d get stuck in if I formally and consistently took off a day (or a half day) and just did something different. But if I’m at home and my office is right there, you know I’m going to open my laptop and try to bang out a scene. It’s just in me at this point which isn’t a complaint, I just need that to be sustainable.

But the need for change is apparent. I went to the post office and the grocery store early this morning alone and let my mind wander, and I came up with the perfect solution to a small problem I was having with The Wayward Deed (Vacancy Book Two) while driving. I may have missed my turn twice, but now the character of Jax exists and he fills a hole I was just starting to realize existed. I love this solution, it might actually be one of my favorite things about this whole book now, and it probably would not have existed if I never left the house this morning. So I have to find a way to fulfill this outside need while the world still roils from the pandemic. This, coming from someone who loves the indoors. Who knew?

So I’ll say it now, in March, on the near anniversary of Covid (and on the actual anniversary of my marriage to Husband, love you, boo!) that my incredibly lofty goal for 2021 is a whopping five 100k novels, a 50k novella, and a small collection of short stories. WHAT? Yes, those are insane numbers compared to just three novels in 2020, but shoot for Uranus and bounce of Saturn’s rings or whatever it is they say, right? Realistically, we’re probably looking at four novels (all of Vacancy and the first in a new series) and those short stories, but let me tell you something: if I don’t at least try to get seven new titles under my name in 2021, then what am I even doing, ya know? I need to be better.

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