Saturday, 26 December 2015

#WIPMarathon December Update

It's time for our last #WIPMarathon check-in of the year... seriously, where has 2015 gone?!?!

Things I'm glad I did in 2015:
  • Self-published. I don't think I could have emotionally handled another year of rejections, especially considering all the other things that went wrong...
  • Had a backup plan. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson about not getting too emotionally attached to one story, but it took me over a month to be able to write anything new after finishing the Alliance series. >_< Eventually, I ended up project-hopping no fewer than five times, but it's probably for the best that I didn't get too attached to any of the shelved manuscripts...
  • Concentrated on building my freelance editing business, aka the sane, comparatively stable job I can actually control. :P This is the first year I haven't worked for any publishers, so all my clients are independent, but I doubled my workload this year. I also helped judge the Pitch to Publication contest.
  • Kept writing. With five books out in a year, I underestimated how exhausting the constant marketing and promotion and shouting into the void would be. I went through more than one phase when I questioned my future in publishing, especially when it became clear that I had to choose between making the sensible business decision and publishing the story I love. Realistically, this is the last year I can get away with making the choice I did, which means I have to make some sacrifices next year.
  • Didn't quit publishing and move to a shed in the Arctic Circle. Ha. Ha. Ha.
In 2016, I'd love to:
  • Live. Seriously. This year's been productive, but at no small cost in my non-writing life. I've been running on panic mode all year and I'm trying to slow down on the insanity and actually enjoy it. Easier said than done...
  • Do exciting things. I have a trip to New Zealand planned in February, I'm doing my first book signing in Manchester in August, and I have tickets to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in October with some of my friends from university. 
  • Publish... a few books. :P Two are Darkworld 4 and 5, which have been under contract since June 2014. o.O (Oh, publishing...) Then the Indestructible trilogy will be out in January, April and June, with the fourth Alliance book somewhere in between.
  • Figure out which series to write next. Right now, it's looking like it'll be my urban fantasy trilogy. I've created a world for the story where I have a bunch of different characters and scenarios to explore, so I can write multiple series set in the same world. (I really ought to have done this before!) 
  • Related: rather than jumping between six different series in a year, I'm focusing on writing one or two and giving them 100% attention. That does mean temporarily shelving my YA SF, my epic fantasy and some of the other series I plotted last year, but I can always go back to them later. 2016 will be urban fantasy year. :)
  • Write a book a lot of people want to read. That's all I ask, and all I can hope for.
Last report wordcount: Last month, I was working on a couple of side-projects and I'd finished drafting the first in my urban fantasy series.

Current report wordcount:

This month, I worked on *mutters something about secret projects* I finished a manuscript, and I also wrote part of a short story prequel to my newest urban fantasy series and plotted some other potential spinoffs.

WIP issues this month: More juggling and distractions.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

  • Freedom is awesome, and I need to remember I have it. I don't have to stick with a draft that isn't working or that I'm not enjoying. I'm indie, so I can mess around with my schedule, even rebrand (that may be a hint!) or leap into a new genre. I keep forgetting I've only been self-publishing for less than a year. I'm just getting started. Rather than being tied to the schedule I originally set out, I can change things. (On the other hand, this means keeping quiet about my works-in-progress!)
  • I'm a hundred times more inspired when I can imagine the story I'm writing as a finished, published book. I noticed my productivity shot up after I decided I wanted to indie publish, and it's been pretty consistent all year, even through all the disasters in my non-writing life.
  • Having said that, I don't have to publish everything I write. I've been struggling for the last few months because I genre-hopped four times and ended up temporarily shelving two projects, to add to the two manuscripts I shelved last year. I was beating myself up and comparing myself to the people who publish a book every couple of months, because, well, I can write a book every couple of months. But that doesn't mean I need to publish all of them (and not just because my first drafts are often disastrous). I can write a draft fairly fast, but if a project's on my schedule, I'm making a commitment to invest at least six months in redrafting, editing, beta editing, proofreading, finding cover art, marketing plans, promotion... and repeating all those steps for other books in the series. That's a LOT of hours, without even getting into the financial implications. o.O I have to really be sure I want to put that much time into a project before I start -- and that's one of the things I'll be working on next year.
  • I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Trust me, it's an absolute must-read for any writer!
What distracted me this month when writing:  Plot bunnies. In fairness, these were related to spinoffs for my urban fantasy series, so at least they're relevant!

Also, brain fog. Stupid SAD and winter, aggravated by the terrible weather. My motivation went walkabout at the beginning of November and I'm still waiting for it to come back...

Goal for next month: Edit Alliance Book 4 and Beneath the Waves (My 2013 WIPMarathon manuscript! No idea when I'm going to fit that one into the schedule, though.)

Indestructible comes out on the 12th January, too, so I'll be spending a lot of time on promotion... again...

Last 200 words: I've got superstitious about sharing my works-in-progress after shelving so many books this year. :(


  1. I'm so proud of you, Emma! You made it through and accomplished so much in spite of all the storms that 2015 brought with it!

    I guess one of the reasons I haven't had as much fire for my novel is because I've been caught up in so much that I haven't sat down to imagine of a future where it would be a success.

    Good luck with all your goals and dreams in the coming year!

    1. Thank you! It's been a rollercoaster! I've loved keeping up with the WIPMarathon for another year. :)

  2. I can't even count all the stories I started this year. You're always so busy, I honestly had no idea you were struggling with anything. I couldn't keep up with half of your work load. Good luck with everything next year! I hope you juggle less and it helps! :) I did hear that book was really good, too.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had trouble picking a project to stick with. :P Thanks! I'm trying to stick to fewer projects to reduce stress next year.

  3. What you say about being more inspired since you can imagine the ms as a finished, published book really struck me. This is one of the biggest things I'm struggling with right now - not knowing whether or not what I'm working on will ever see the light of day since I'm pursuing trad publishing. What you've said here about freedom etc. has given me a lot to think about.

    You truly never cease to astound and inspire with how much you're able to write! If I could write a quarter of the words you wrote this year in 2016, I will be extremely happy!

    Wishing you all the best with your EIGHT !!! releases next year :)

    1. I had to do a lot of thinking before I went indie. It's tough, because I can't really go back to my MG fantasy either. (MG does better in traditional publishing!)

      Thank you! :)

  4. I really admire how self-driven you are, not just in terms of how much you write but in how you manage the business side of things. I like how you're always re-evaluating your publishing and marketing decisions so that you can find a way to make them work best for you. Good luck in 2016!

    1. Thank you! :) I struggled a lot with the business side of things at first, but I really want indie publishing to pay off for me!

  5. After I read your post the other day, I finally started Big Magic. Loving it!!

  6. 5 books published in a year? Wow, that's amazing! Good luck moving forward.