See, this is why I'm not great at blogging. I can go weeks without thinking of anything I care to share and when I do think of something worth talking about briefly it takes me a week to finish talking about it. Anyway, the more that I think about all those other bullet points that were on my mind, they mostly tend to boil down to this:*People aren't going to buy a book if they don't feel like they know what it is.
There's a lot of fear in profit-motivated self-publishing circles of not giving people exactly what they want and expect. I'm not that profit-motivated, but even if I was I'm starting to think that the real enemy isn't just "doing something different." It's doing something people don't immediately understand. You can do something different, but you need to be able to explain what it is that you're doing differently in one quick burst. If someone scans your cover and skims your blurb and still isn't quite sure what the hell this thing they're holding is, that's when they're almost certainly going to move on.
This has definitely affected planning for my future projects. It hasn't even been a conscious decision on my part. Ever since I first had to sit down and try to write cover letters for literary agents, I've found myself trying to plan my elevator-pitch in advance before I even start writing something. This means that I probably won't be using the messy "start working and figure out where this wants to go" method that produced White Rabbit Society
again any time soon, for better or for worse.
So, what's the plan at this point? Here's what I have in the trunk of my car:
The next installment of "The Orphan Fleet" (entitled "The Hidden Lands"), all ready to go with a release date (this October) and a commissioned cover and everything.
Part two of "White Rabbit Society", all ready to go with a release date (January) and a commissioned cover and everything.
Almost enough short stories to fill up another collection. One or two more stories should do the trick.
One and a half Charlie Harmer novels with no particular release plan, with plenty of ideas for more installments.
A couple of ideas for new series, basically living in the same dark fantasy/horror kind of space as "White Rabbit Society" and the Charlie Harmer stories.
And of course I'm still producing.
If I had all of this to do again with perfect knowledge of the future and the ability to fly and turn invisible, I'm still not sure how I'd handle all of this. I've deleted this paragraph a couple of times in the process of writing it. I can think of a couple of good courses of action, but the course of action I went with the first time sounded pretty good too. Looking back justnisn't going to help that much.
Moving forward, I still have some time to figure things out, just because my release schedule for the next six months is a done deal. But the short story collections and "The Orphan Fleet" seem to be the things that people are most excited by right now. So for the near future, those are the things I'll be focusing on, and while "White Rabbit Society" had the possibility of being a series, creatively I'm totally fine leaving it where it is, and launching the Charlie Harmer series can wait until the series that I've already got going are each a few books long.
Finally, when it comes to ideas for new series, one of the main things on my mind is that if all goes well I might end up with kind of a fractured fan base. Coming up with something that would sound good both to people who like the weird short stories and people who like the adventure fantasy stories might be a good move. It'd also be kind of a challenge to come up with, but that's the kind of challenge that puts a smile on my face and gets me excited.
So there we all are. Thank you as always for reading- I'm always surprised at how many people tell me that they're interested in this kind of shop talk. Also, if you're interested in seeing what happens when my hand is freed up a little bit, I hope you'll think about swinging by Patreon
and becoming a subscriber. Two bucks a month gets you all the paperbacks I'll be putting out, and if you haven't noticed there are going to be a lot of those. There's going to be a lot of neat things happening.
Be well everybody,