Let’s take a look at my year in publishing. This abominable year, 2020, seemed to deal hit after hit, but the main issue was a pandemic that sent us into our houses, rarely to venture out. I chafed under that at first, but because I’m a member of an adaptable species, I adjusted.
Pre-pandemic, I had plans for two publications: a novella and the final book in my four-book series, A Perfect Hatred. Both of those were all ready to go on their designated publication dates. The pandemic, however, wiped out every in-person event for A Perfect Hatred Book Four, and I found a way to fill all the time I had to spend at home.
The novella published in January this year, A Change for the Better, was a compilation of two novelettes published in 2016-2017. I decided to combine them into a novella because that entity is a bit more popular than a novelette. Yes, it was a marketing ploy. Authorship is a business. It took me a while to accept that, but you do what you can do to keep your name out there.
Much of the prep work was done, obviously, and I had to add but a few scenes for smoother transitions. A new cover and some focused promotion, and that’s how I started the year–with optimism.
A Perfect Hatred – Book Four
Collateral Damage, the final book in the series, A Perfect Hatred, was both a book I never thought would happen and the end of a 20+ year journey in writing a series about a subject often not taken seriously here–domestic terrorism. I was looking forward to the several in-person events I’d set up for the book’s debut, where I’d get to talk about this critical issue, given current events.
After all, the release date was April 19. Surely, the government would get a handle on this pandemic, and I’d be able to make it to those events. How wrong I was, and maybe that’s fodder for another book. We’ll see. One-by-one each event organizer canceled. I understood. No one wanted to endanger the public, and I certainly didn’t want to be exposed to COVID-19. I have asthma and an auto-immune thyroid condition. Recovery from COVID would be…questionable. I had too many books left to write.
I settled for aggressive marketing and an online book launch, and I decided I could spend all this “spare” time working on projects that were in the rough- or second-draft stage, maybe take a little break from the constant marketing of my work.
Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and writers!
A few weeks back I blogged about this thing called flash publishing. I had already planned which project I’d use for it, one that was in good shape and had already been edited professionally. A final read-through, some covers, formatting, and Self-Inflicted Wounds would be set to go.
A refresher: flash publishing is the compression of the publishing schedule for a series. In my case, a trilogy published a book a month for three months.
Because I’d put it aside for two-plus years after its final edit, I decided to read through all three books. I spotted a few continuity errors, and I had to “fix” a few things to have the books conform to canon. (I have a canon, y’all. That’s so cool.) The covers took the most time, but for me they always do. I tweak them continually, but it all came together.
…And I remembered I had a bunch of material I’d removed from the original trilogy: a series of fictional news stories about the events in the trilogy. What to do with them?
Why not…another novella?
This past summer, then, a second novella came out, Dateline: Belgrade, and it’s the reader magnet for the series that started on October 1.
The result: A two-novella, four-novel year.
Time for a break, right?
This is What’s Next
In the process of culling through my projects to assemble what I needed for Dateline: Belgrade and Self-Inflicted Wounds, I came across a few NaNoWriMo rough drafts–a short espionage novel, a collection of espionage short stories, and a non-espionage, quasi-mystery novel.
A lot of time on my hands, remember, so the rough drafts of the short novel and the collection of short stories went from rough to second or third drafts and then to my editor. Next stop, beta readers and finalization.
And here’s my 2021 publishing year: In February, the short, Cold-War novel, Love/Death, inspired by the performance of Tristan und Isolde‘s aria “Liebestod;” in June or July, the novel-length collection of short stories, Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules; and in the late fall, the quasi-mystery novel inspired by Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” Supreme Madness of the Carnival Season.
Twenty twenty-one won’t be a record publishing year for me like 2020, but it’ll keep me busy enough, and 2022 will bring at least one trilogy…maybe two. And that quasi-mystery novel? It has a sequel.
Such is the writing life.
There’s nothing better.
You can find any of my published work HERE.