Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014: Looking back, looking ahead

Switchbacks; photo by Don Graham, CC BY-SA 2.0

It's funny. Every year ( 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)  I do one of these round-up posts, and every year it amuses me how my plans tend to take a sideways turn. I suspect this is inevitable, as life continually throws curve-balls. And being flexible to what comes is a strength.

When I was looking forward toward 2014, I was optimistic that DERELICT would sell and be published by one of the 'big guys'. I had planned to publish FUTURE TENSE under my own imprint, and focus on completing TIME AND TITHE, the sequel to THE BETWEEN, also planned for my imprint, figuring that any path to traditional publication would take a year or more. (One of my mottoes is always keep moving, or as Dory says in Finding Nemo "Keep swimming! Just keep swimming!")

However, When 2014 actually showed up, it had a very different shape to it.

I did end up publishing FUTURE TENSE in February of 2014, and that was just the start of what would prove to be a chaotic and exciting time for me.

 My agent and I parted ways in late spring after it became clear to both of us that we were not a good match for one another. That left me feeling someone at loose ends and more than a little nervous. But it also left me free to publish DERELICT under Interrobang Books, the imprint I founded in 2012.

 I had no expectations on June 1 when I hit the publish buttons on all the retail platforms. I knew I had written a solid book, but that didn't guarantee anything. My experience in publishing my first 2 novels was that I could sell a few hundred copies, reach some enthusiastic readers, and get some honest and thoughtful reviews. I believed that having more work for sale would improve my chances of discoverability, and I made sure the release would be in time with Readercon (where I was on the program) and joined Broad Universe (an organization of women writing in SF&F) so I could have copies of my books for sale in the dealer's room. Beyond that? I reached out to my newsletter subscribers the week the book came out and kept my fingers crossed.

After several days of modest and steady sales, something happened. Something magical and wonderful. DERELICT started selling. And selling. And selling. In the past 6 months, I have seen nearly 8,500 copies of my books sell. That is a significant number for an indie author. My earnings from DERELICT alone are higher than I would likely have made had my former agent sold the novel. (A good ballpark figure for the advance on a debut SF novel in today's market is $7,500. Most published books never earn more than their advances.)

And so, my writing life took a series of hairpin turns and now I'm traveling in a direction I had never anticipated.

I will continue to publish my novels under Interrobang Books. TIME AND TITHE is slated for a mid-January 2015 release, two years from the publication of THE BETWEEN. I am thrilled that I was able to return to the world of the Fae and continue Lydia's story.

DERELICT will become book 1 of a new series. Book 2 is well into its draft phase. My plan is to have it ready for release in June of 2015, and then a new book in the series yearly.

I will continue to blog here and pen the occasional short story.  (Which you will have early access to if you subscribe to my very occasional newsletter.) Which reminds me of another of 2014's accomplishments: I put together a collection of my short fiction, STRANGER WORLDS THAN THESE. It's for sale as an eBook for .99, but subscribers receive it free.

 In January, I will be at Arisia, reading with Broad Universe and I'll be exhibiting my pottery at the art show! (This is a new venture for me in 2015. While I have been doing ceramics for quite some time, I'm now confident enough to show my work.) In February, I'll be on program at Boskone, as well as in the art show. If you're at either con, please find me! There will be paperback copies of each of my books for sale. 

'it's full of stars'

 My goal for 2015 is also to stay open to new possibilities and new opportunities as they arise. I have joined The Scriptors, an indie author collective, and am talking with another author friend about a project he has in the works.

The world of publishing changes in an eye-blink. Indie publishing has changed significantly in just the 2 years since I published my debut title. I have no doubt that it will continue to evolve and shift. What doesn't change is my commitment to write books that delight and surprise readers. I have always believed that creation is a journey and a partnership between the creator and the audience.

I hope you will continue to travel this road with me. 

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