Friday 29 March 2013

General writing update, Jan to March 2013

Thought I'd do that egotistical thing and give a brief round up of how things have been going for me in the writing world over the last month, and even back to the start of the year, since we're at the end of the first quarter now.

Not bad.

A few milestones first. Writing-wise, just yesterday I passed 75,000/250 pages for the year, which isn't bad, but should be a lot more. January and February were heavy new words months, but March was taken up mostly with editing, which kind of sucked. I like the end result of editing, but the actual process bores the hell out of me.

Sales-wise, not bad either. I've hit my 100 sales/month target every month this year and earlier this week I made a sale which put me one ahead of my yearly total for 2012. To beat my 2012 tally in three months made me pretty happy, but I'm still not selling anything like what I want to be selling to actually make any money. About 90% of my revenue goes back into advertising and production costs, which rise as my attempts to become increasingly professional also rise, and what little money I make really doesn't equate to a decent wage for the hours I put in. Really, unless you're in the same boat, you have no idea how much time I spend doing this. Don't get me wrong, I love it and I'm having a ball, but we're talking several hours a day, or almost all of my free time.

In terms of new publications, in March so far I've released three mini anthologies in the Five Tales Series.

The main reason for these is that they increase my visibility. I want something I can have on promotion or being advertised every single day. The aim is that if people like the stories they'll go and buy my novels; they aren't really about making me money on their own, although Five Tales of Horror has actually sold surprisingly well. Plus, I came late to the game in self-publishing, so I have a lot of backlog. I meet authors pretty regularly now who have either started writing because it's so easy to self-publish or have just one or two novels in the tank. I'm 34. I started writing seriously with the intent to get published at 18, so I have 16 years of material to work with. Of course, I had huge periods of inactivity, but I also had periods of massive productivity. The result of that was some 80 short stories and the same again in various states of completion. Many of them have been published in magazines and have no reprint value so there's no point in leaving them on the hard drive if I can utilize them.

These are good stories, I'm not dredging the barrel by any means. Trust me, I have a lot of stories that are painful to read, but I won't be subjecting the general public to anything I think is junk. However, I don't have a bottomless well so after a couple more collections I'll need to start filling the coffers again with new material, or rework some old ideas.

These three put my total number of published works on Amazon to 25. My year-end target is 40, so I'm well on the way. I have at least two more anthologies to release, another comedy novella which is almost finished and at least two more novels. That will take me to 30, hopefully by mid summer. Then I'll be trying to get out at least one more novel by the end of the year, either an old one or one I'm working on, depending on how things go.

I have a bunch of half-finished stuff that I haven't worked on in a while, such as a romance novel and also a Tube Riders novella/novel featuring different characters. There's also the horror novel I've started writing, titled Dark Days, which is up to about 15,000 words. That too has suffered because of all the editing I've had to do in March. Novels, of course, are my main aim, because they sell better, and get remembered longer. However, I have to work with what I have and I'm in this for the long haul, so clearly up the backlog makes it easier to focus on new material going forward.

Hopefully some or all of this material will eventually see the light of day, but we'll see.

Anyway, back to work ...

Chris Ward
March 30th 2013

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