Publishing,  Writing

The Three Year Plan, Year One

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So I’ve been scheming and plotting for a while, developing an approach to getting published. While I’ve mostly been leaning towards the indie publishing plan lately, I’m going to somewhat divide my efforts

The Year One Plan looks something like this:

Part 1: Short Fiction

Short story submissions will continue. Since the 1st of October this year, when I really started submitting again after a long drought, I’ve put 38 submissions in inboxes of various magazines and anthologies. I’ve so far had 8 rejections, three of which offered some specific reasoning, and the rest are outstanding. When a rejection comes back, the story gets added to the bottom of the list of things to go out (I haven’t caught up yet, and it’s going to be a while). My new motto: keep them out looking for homes.

There will also be new short fiction written, of the speculative variety. I anticipate most of it being either SF or Fantasy, with maybe a little Horror thrown in. These will join the ranks of stories looking for homes.

Part 2: Indie Publishing and Podcasting

There will be independent publishing. I have four things that I intend to publish in 2013 and I’ll say on my own, but I will be seeking help for some tasks and particular in number 4. These are in order and while I have timelines, I’m not going to quote them here as I need to be able to adjust things based on life, the real world, and sudden changes in situations.

  1. “Thorvald’s Wyrd”. Inspired by some of my readings in Norse mythology, I originally serialized this 13,000 word novelette on my blog and have no intention of taking it down. I have, however, had several people ask me why it isn’t an e-book so they can have the whole thing in one place. Since it needs to be an e-book, it should probably have a print version as well. This needs both cover art and a bit of interior illustration.
  2. “Turn the World Around” is an alien invasion story, sort of, and partly inspired by the Harry Belafonte song of the same title, as performed on The Muppet Show when I was a kid. A 35,000 word novella, or short novel depending on whose guidelines you’re looking at.
  3. Small Realities will be a grand experiment. Tentatively on the 15th of March, June, September, and December, there will be a 30-ish thousand world short story collection. Yes, four of them, each containing probably 5-8 stories depending on length. Think of it as a quarterly magazine showcasing my short fiction. Small Realities may contain only science fiction stories. I’m debating that as SF shorts are only about 55% of what I have available by word count.
  4. “Where the Water Tastes Funny” is a 6,000 word short story I wrote for my daughters and that they’ve pressured me to share with the world. At the moment, I want this to be an illustrated book, which necessitates finding an illustrator, something I’ll have to figure out how to go about.

The intent is for projects 1-3 above to all exist as podcasts as well. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” is already recorded, but needs to be edited. Then there’s theme music and organization, and so on.

Speaking of podcasting, I also hope to launch the “Adventures of Writing Dad” very soon. Across Fan Expo, Montreal Comic Con, and World Fantasy, I recorded a lot of panels and Q&A sessions. These ought to be shared, don’t you think?

Part 3: Traditional Publishing, Maybe

I have three things I’m going to try shopping around this year.

  1. Graceland, a collection of 11 science fiction stories inspired by the songs of Paul Simon’s Graceland album, ranging in length from a little over 4,000 words to a little over 17,000.
  2. Heroes Inc started out as my attempt to write a superhero story with no actual super powers involved for anyone. That’s the one thing that’s stayed consistent through the entire process.
  3. Skip to My Luu is a silly working title that’s somehow still stuck through every draft of the story. Not-too-distant future SF, though I never actually give a year overtly, it follows a group of six just graduated from college students who cobble together the will and ability to go into business asteroid prospecting. At least, that’s how it starts out.

For Graceland, I’m in the process of researching potential publishers and presses now. Heroes Inc and Skip to My Luu both should have access to Beta Readers first as I’m sure there are holes in them I’m just not seeing. In each case, I’m going to try shopping them around for not less than six months, but probably not much more, either.

For those of you with an idea of how publishing works, doesn’t seem like very long. The catch is that I’m only going to look at small presses. While I don’t feel (as some do) that the collapse of traditional publishing is imminent, I do feel that until the big publishers adapt to the new realities of publishing, most of them don’t bring as much to the table as they used to. Some are farther along the road to change than others, but it seems like a lot of them are still playing ostrich with the chain bookstores. The small presses are far more flexible and adaptable

And what happens if I break the six month mark without a nibble? I’ll cross each of those bridges as I come to them, but I can certainly see going the indie route for all three.

Part 4: New Novel-Length Fiction

Because if I hope to publish novels, I need to keep writing them. I’m planning two first drafts for 2013.

  1. Tashiik Dreams is a (probably) YA Science Fiction novel that I’m projecting at being in the neighbourhood of 60,000 words.
  2. Becoming Human, an ‘alien among us’ story with what I hope is a bit of a twist, that, from what I have in my head, feels like a 75-85,000 word tale. Also science fiction.

I’ve also got the first major Fantasy project in mind, though I don’t expect to start it until the very end of the year, or even January 2014. And I say major, because I think it’s a trilogy. Working overall title is “The Godhead” and each of the three books will probably come in at over 125k, edited and polished.

Part 5: Non Writing Tasks

You can read that header a lot of ways, including business and contacts, networking, and platform building. Pick your jargon of choice. I’m thinking about it as creating a consistent presence for myself.

  1. Social Networking. I need to get better at this and by better, I mostly mean more consistent. I’m on Twitter daily, if some days more than others, and I’m starting to get better with my Facebook author page. But I neglect Google+ and probably shouldn’t, and I’m struggling with Good Reads which needs to change.
  2. Web Site. This is already in progress (see my post on BuWeSiMo). I should probably lump my Amazon author page in here.
  3. Conventions and Conferences. On the heels of World Fantasy, I’m planning two for 2013: Ad Astra in Toronto in the spring, and Can-Con in Ottawa in the fall. Both are about the same distance away for me. I’m also seriously considering World Fantasy 2014 in DC, but that’s part of Year Two.
  4. Business cards. I really felt the lack of these at World Fantasy. It seemed like everyone but me had them, published or not, and considering you can do them fairly inexpensively, it was almost neglectful of me not to have them.
  5. Book Marks, targeted by whatever I’ve published recently. I’m debating these as they’re much more expensive than business cards. Maybe a new batch of business cards for each major publishing project? Research required.
  6. T-shirts. Not to sell, but to wear to conventions and other writerly gatherings. You can do a lot for not much money these days. Gotta love mass customization.

So that’s all of the basic components for 2013. Yes, it’s a lot. Yes, it’s ambitious. But it’s a plan and I’ll modify to suit as the universe unfolds.

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