Thursday, December 25, 2014

How 2014 Changed Me as a Writer

This year has been a really amazing, fascinating and oddly frustrating for my writing career.  It's been a year of growth, learning, and most of all, patience.
Of course, 2014 has been amazing for me: I SOLD TWO BOOKS, and my debut novel is coming out in less than six weeks.  So, yes, I leveled up, I unlocked achievements, however you want to call it: this is the year it happened.    And with that, being able to say to myself, "I am a professional novelist now", I took my writing game to the next level as well.  In addition to doing the required edits to Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages, (and copy edits and checking proofs for Thorn), I've written, cleaned up and submitted the sequel to Thorn, as well as writing and cleaning the first third of Murder's sequel.  I also outlined some new ideas, cleaned up and finalized Way of the Shield, which is still waiting in the wings with Holver Alley Crew, and got back on track with Banshee, the Space Opera novel that got put on the backburner when the Thorn/Mages deal came through.
It's been fascinating, of course, because this year I've been learning more about being on the business end of being a writer.  It's been great working with the various people at DAW (namely Sheila, Josh and Katie, though I'm sure there are more people who did great work for me who I never directly interacted with), as well as the additional support from people at Penguin and Book Country.  I made contacts through SFWA, leading me to writing for WordWhores.  I did more conventions, and learned how to soft-pitch Thorn without ramming it down people's throats.*
And the frustration comes from learning the necessity of the pace of the industry.  I mean, I learned that the sale was going to happen a year ago, and the book doesn't come out for, well, another six weeks.  So I've had to learn to pace myself.  I've had to learn to not get too overanxious, and to be as zen as possible about the fact that Thorn is not out yet.  Especially at those conventions, where I would have to tell people about a cool book that they were not able to buy yet.  But now here we are, at the tail end of the Year of Patience.  If all goes well, at this point next year Thorn and Murder will be amongst the well-regarded books of the year, and Thorn II will be on several lists for hotly anticipated fantasy novels for 2016. 
Until then, I keep breathing, keep writing, and hope for the best. 
*- Especially since I was apparently pitching WAY too soft at ArmadilloCon.  I ran into people at FenCon who I had SPOKEN TO at ArmadilloCon, who hadn't yet learned I had books coming out.   Of course, one of those people did say, "Hey, man, I had a lot of bourbon at ArmadilloCon."

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