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I wrote about 3500 words today. I didn’t manage to do any editing, though. I’m interested to see where book 4 ends up. I know generally what I want to happen, but a lot of the details are still in the air. I used to be very much an outliner, though I built in some flexibility. Now I seem to be more of a mental outline writer. I know generally what I want to happen, but how I get from one point to another can be interesting.
In fact, I sometimes make drastic changes based on the feel of the story. For example, I originally planned Empire of Chains to be something like 8 to 10 books. Then I cut it down to 7, then 5.
Then, right around the time I finished the third book, The Gilded Empire, I realized I only needed one more book to tell the story.
I’ve had a similar realization with one of my other series, Sunweaver. I originally planned for it to be 4 books, but I think it will be stronger if I cut that down to 3 books.
I guess that’s part of being a writer. You always tweak things in the process. If you’re not constantly trying to improve, you’re doing it wrong.
The first draft of book 3 in Empire of Chains is complete! It clocks in at about 120,000 words, making it the shortest in the series. The first book is sitting at about 165,000 words while the second is about 145,000. I’m not too worried about length, though, as long as the lengths remain reasonably similar.
I’m really excited about this book. I think I wrote some of my best action sequences yet (and I love writing action sequences). It was a bit bittersweet finishing it, though, because I felt quite sad about some of the events that transpired. Of course, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it at that.
There’s still a lot of editing work to be done on books 2 and 3 (and probably a little bit left on book 1). At the moment, I am thinking a fall/winter release for book 1 is reasonable. I’ll obviously provide more information once we get closer to that date.
Now I have to decide what to work on next. I’m about 20,000 words into book 2 of Sunweaver, so that may be the next book I’ll tackle. For now, I think I’ll relax a bit. I always feel like I’ve earned a bit of relaxation time when I finish a first draft.
Back in April, I mentioned that I was putting self-publishing on hold. That was mostly due to the demands of a double major. Well, since then, I’ve realized that financially I can only afford my Engineering major, not both. I’ll have a lot more time now because…
- I’ll be in class less time.
- I’ll have less homework.
- I won’t have to work as many hours to pay for school.
So now I think I can go ahead with my self-publishing plans. I already sent out a request for cover art for Empire of Chains. It’ll be a few months before I get a cover, though. In the meantime, I’ll do another editing pass or two to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
I’ve also been working on Empire of Chains book three (The Gilded Empire). It’s proving to be the most challenging book I’ve written because I feel on the edge of having too much going on. Strangely enough, however, it’s probably going to be shorter than Empire of Chains and The Shadowed Land (book two). I guess that’s just how those things work out.
Empire of Chains is about 166,000 words. The Shadowed Land is about 146,000 words. So far, I’m at the 102,000 mark in The Gilded Empire. I expect another 20,000 or so words before I’m finished.
I currently have two other series in the works: Sunweaver and The God War. I plan to write multiple series at once because I think I’m a lot like Brandon Sanderson. I need to switch things up to keep things fresh. Thankfully, I’m also a fast writer like Sanderson.
I’ve had a lot going on these last few months. Sorry that I haven’t been posting regularly. Between school and work and taking care of my parents, it has been a bit difficult to find time to write and do my usual internet rounds.
But I have finally found the time to write again. Or, more accurately, I made the time. I’ve developed a new goal for my daily writing. I don’t expect to hit any certain word count. The key thing is that I write at least a little bit every day. More often than not, a few words end up turning into 1,000 or 2,000, or even 3,000+.
I’m also trying to perfect my writing process. I don’t think I’m a pure outliner or pure pantser. My process is a mix of the two. I don’t go completely by the seat of my pants because I do have some idea of where I’m going, but I allow myself a lot of freedom within my mental outline. It makes the writing process a lot of fun.
Just today, I pulled off a nice twist that I wouldn’t have thought of if I’d planned everything out. On the other hand, though, I don’t want to completely lose myself to these nice twists. After a while, they become just plain stupid.
As for my self-publishing plans, I’m putting them on hold for the moment. Right now, I’m in school doing a double major in Electrical Engineering and Physics. I can still make the time to write, but there’s only so much time in the day, and if I’m going to do the whole self-publishing thing, I want to have the time to do it right.
Plus, I’m enjoying what I’m studying. I want to do that right, too.
If you’re interested in any of my projects, I’m always happy to find willing beta readers, and I’m perfectly willing to beta something of yours in return.
Early this year, I ran across a gem of a self-published fantasy: Circle of Reign by Jacob Cooper. I knew the author from the SFFWorld forums, so I decided to give his book a shot. I ended up really enjoying it.
I think I liked his prequel, Altar of Influence, even better. Cooper has done a great job with his characters, his world, and his plot. In this one, he expands the backstory of some of the characters and events mentioned in Circle of Reign.
Cooper has created a world that feels both different and vibrant. There are quite a few characters, but they’re easy to keep track of. The writing isn’t always perfect, but it didn’t bother me. I was so lost in the world Cooper created and in his great ability to write extended action scenes.
I think you can start either with this book or with Circle of Reign. They’re both great reads that prove some self-publishers are doing it right.
One of my biggest struggles as a writer has been the tendency to engage in all-or-nothing thinking. I can self-publish OR I can trade publish. I can write adult OR I can write young adult and middle grade.
Lately, I’ve been working hard to change those ORs to ANDs. That’s part of the fun of self-publishing. You don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen. One type of your writing could take off, and it might not be the type you expect.
I’ve also heard that variety can be very good for some authors in self-publishing. The more you put out there, the more you might attract readers to all of your work who might never have found it in the first place. I know I’ve sought out books outside my preferred genres if they’re by an author I like.
Thankfully, with my writing, I won’t be too crazy in my genre spread. Generally speaking, I write fantasy and science fiction across adult, young adult, and middle grade age categories. I figure I can’t be the only person who enjoys reading these genres regardless of the age group.
That brings me to another advantage of self-publishing. It’s given me the freedom to be the author I want to be. If one book doesn’t sell, I can always move on to another. Obviously, I’d like to make a good income from self-publishing, but that is no guarantee. At first, I’ll be content if I can make back the money I’m spending to publish the books (I’m talking cover art, editing, etc.). IMPORTANT: You should never pay a publisher to publish your book. You can do just as well on your own with lower costs.
At some point, I’m hoping I’ll see the positive effects of having a large backlist. From what I’ve read, that’s how most self-publishers achieve success. Once they have out a lot of books, people who like one book or series are likely to check out what else the author has written.
It’ll be a while before I reach that point. I’m a fast writer, but I’m not that fast.
For now, I’m hoping to enjoy the ride. As I stated in my last post, I’ve submitted a request for cover art. That process should start in mid January. I’m hoping to release Sunweaver sometime in February with Empire of Chains (the first in another series) following shortly thereafter.
I’ve also begun work on my middle grade fantasy series again. I know that MG is notoriously tough to self-publish, and that’s why I’m not starting out with it. If all goes according to plan with that, you might see its release sometime next summer.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that something else will grab my attention in the near future. I have a few YA ideas that are asking to be written. There’s also my other epic fantasy series, The God War.
In all, that’s going to be a lot to consider, but it should also be fun. After all, I’d write these books even if I couldn’t self-publish them.
So I decided it was time to stop debating. I’m going to self-publish, and it’s time to get a good cover. I went with Deranged Doctor Designs because I was impressed by their body of work. If everything goes well, I will hopefully have a great cover in a few months, and then I can publish the book. I’m actually doing what will probably be the final read-through right now. Well, there might be another one or two because I’m paranoid about publishing something with grammatical errors or typos (and therefore being one of those self-published authors.
I’m really excited to get Sunweaver out for the world to read. I know I won’t attract a ton of readers at first, but I hope I can find enough readers who love the story even half as much as I do.
As for Empire of Chains, I’m putting it on hold for the moment. I need to decide if it’s truly the type of story I want it to be. Don’t get me wrong. I like it. I’m just not sure if it’s the best it can be.
We’ll see. I might change my mind on that.
I also think I’m going to get back to my revision work on Watersong (though I’m still not sure if that’ll be the final title. Any feedback on it would be appreciated). I’d like to publish both series (it and Sunweaver) at the same time.
I hope I can keep up the kind of pace I need to do that.