2017: Year in Review (and looking forward to 2018)

Though I would love to have some snazzy name for this (like the State of the Sanderson), I”ll have to settle for a boring description. What can I say? Titles are hard.

In this post, I’m going to look back on the highs and lows of 2017, and then I’ll look forward to what I intend to write and publish in 2018.

I published Empire of Chains at the end of June. It was my first published novel, and it was a terrifying experience. Exhilarating but terrifying. Since then, the roller coaster of emotions has calmed down, and now I can look back on things from a better, more objective place.

I can’t say I did incredibly well in my first six months as a published author. I certainly sold a few books (and even got a few good reviews), but I’m far, far from becoming a household name. And that’s okay. I went into this with basically no expectations. In many ways, my meager sales and page reads so far have exceeded my expectations. I’m approaching my writing career as a slow build. Everyone hears about the overnight successes, but for every overnight success, there are probably fifty writers who started out slowly and just kept writing and publishing and improving with every book. Determination is the name of the game, and I intend to keep this thing going.

After all, it’s heartwarming to know that even a few people have read and enjoyed your books. Universal acclaim would be great, but that’s never going to happen.

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So I weathered the initial storm after publication, and I got hard to work editing the next book of my World in Chains series: The Shadowed Land. Editing it took longer than I anticipated. Initially, I wanted to release The Shadowed Land at the end of September, but it happened more toward the end of October.

Between work and school and family commitments, I can’t write every day. That’s not the end of the world for me, as long as I don’t go too long between writing. When I have a day with a good time slot for writing, I can write a lot in that time slot. That allows me to make up for missed days. I can also get editing done on some of those days I don’t write.

If you’re wondering how my year broke down in terms of writing, here’s a quick rundown.

In January, I finished the first draft of The Winds of Time, the final book of my World in Chains series. (For those wondering, that does mean the entire series is complete. I prefer to write an entire series before publication due to the fact that I often make changes to my plans as I go along. It’s easier to keep things consistent if I write the entire series and then go back to edit and publish).

I spent February, March, and April writing the first draft of Fireweaver, the second book in my Sunweaver series.

May saw a lot of work on Sunlord, the third and final book in my Sunweaver series. I also devoted some time to writing the first draft of The Broken Sky, the first book in another series I’m really excited about. I haven’t quite solidified where that series is going, so it’s been put on hold for the moment.

In June, I finished the first draft of Sunlord and did a little more writing of The Broken Sky. I also wrote part of the first chapter of Godchild, the second book of a series I’ve titled The God War’s Chosen.

July, August, and September saw more work on Godchild. I also spent a lot of this time editing The Shadowed Land to get it ready for publication.

October was devoted solely to editing The Shadowed Land.

In November and December, I’ve returned to Godchild. Right now, I’m just about to reach the long action sequence at the climax, so it’s looking good.

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Now, that brings me to my plans for 2018. Please keep in mind that these are tentative dates. Whether a project is ready before or after these dates is due to a lot of factors.

First, I’m looking toward a January release of Sunweaver, the first book in my Sunweaver trilogy. I’m currently over halfway through the final draft and proofread, and it’s going quite smoothly, so I’m not anticipating too many issues with it.

To begin the year, I’ll focus on finishing that proofread and finishing the first draft of Godchild. After that, I’ll turn my attention to writing the first draft of Endlord (which I hope is the final book in The God War’s Chosen). I will also make time to edit The Gilded Empire (book 3 of World in Chains). I’d like to have that ready for publication by the end of March.

After this point, my plans become a lot more nebulous. Firstly, it depends on whehter I can finish The God War’s Chosen in three books. If it takes four books, that will add a significant amoun of writing time for that series. That won’t really affect my immediate publishing plans, but it may cause delays down the road.

Since I’m releasing Sunweaver in January, I’d like to release Fireweaver in either May or June. I’d also like to fit in The Winds of Time (book 4 of World in Chains) sometime in August or September. I will then hopefully follow that up with Sunlord in November or December. If I can stick to this plan, both my World in Chains series and my Sunweaver series will be published by the end of 2018.

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So what’s next?

As far as writing goes, I have a few candidates for my next series. Obviously, I’ve started work on The Broken Sky, the first book of a series that features floating islands in the sky, airships, and lots of magically-powered technology (or as any Final Fantasy VI fan would call it, Magitek). I have some general ideas of what I want to do with it, but I need to do a bit more planning before I’m ready to continue with it. I know who my characters are, and I have a decent grip on the worldbuilding. Plot is the part I’m struggling with at the moment.

Another candidate is The Fallen Throne, the first book of a series I’ve titled The Gates of Chaos. Again, I’m pretty solid on the characters and the world, but there are a lot of gaps in the plot that I need to figure out before I can move on with it.

Then there’s a book I’ve titled The Warden’s Gate. It’s the first book of a series I’ve titled The Sundered World. It’s one I’m really excited about because it takes some inspiration from The Wheel of Time, one of my all-time favorite series. The tough part is taking inspiration from such a classic series without imitating it too much.

There are a number of other projects I’ve had in some form for a while. These are mostly young adult and middle grade projects, which I’m a bit hesitant about. Not because I don’t think I can right them. It’s more a question of whether there’s a market for them. Middle grade can be an especially tough task as a self-published author.

And then there are projects that are really in their infancy. At some point, I want to write more stories set in the same world as World in Chains. When I do write these stories, I will write them so that readers can use any series as an entry point into the world. There will obviously be some bits that will be more meaningful for longtime readers, but when I write these, I intend to have different main characters, with the main characters from World in Chains possibly serving supporting roles.

But this is a long way down the road, and I may come up with some new ideas I like even more than the ones I have. Due to all these factors, I can’t commit to any type of publishing schedule beyond 2018.

If things go really well with the rest of The God War’s Chosen, I may be able to fit the first book, Watersong, into my timeline toward the end of the year. But I can’t be sure about this. I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.

If you’ve been reading this long, thank you. As always, if you want to keep updated on my new releases, you can sign up for my mailing list. I don’t send out very many newsletters, so don’t worry about your inbox getting clogged. The signup form is in the sidebar on the homepage.

Again, thank you for reading, and may the new year bring you all kinds of happiness.

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