Having completed my eighth novel, (of which two remain unpublished,) and having more or less mastered the Lulu and Createspace print-on-demand process, it's a good time to set some rational goals for 2012.
One light, one not so light.
1.) I definitely need another book-length fiction project. In keeping with my one light/next one real serious habit, this one should be a much more serious project than 'On the Nature of the Gods.' According to respectable sources, a series should have new books come out at regular intervals. So this might be the next Maintenon book, and yet there are considerations.
For one thing, I want to do some kind of high fantasy, swords and sorcerers, inspired by none other than 'Conan the Barbarian,' written by Robert E. Howard. In order to avoid the opprobrium of fanfic, this one had better be deadly serious indeed. Some form of originality is also, ah, definitely called for.
I also want to do an 'Alistair Maclean-type book,' of the sort of international suspense-thriller-intrigue with plenty of action, perhaps something like 'The Way to Dusty Death,' or 'Caravan to Vaccares.' Those were some pretty cool books, and of course none other than Clint Eastwood played in 'Where Eagles Dare.'
A more serious story would probably take me six or seven months again, like the 'Redemption' book.
Write more short stories.
2.) Write more short stories. This is important, as a sale is a sale, it brings in money and it gets the name out there even if it's a giveaway. Since I'm not actually working on a book now, which tends to absorb my focus, there is no time like the present. Nice thing about short stories, they are quicker to re-write, add to, or flesh out than a book. They can really grow into something--a 1,400-word story, 'The Four Horsemen' grew into 'On the Nature of the Gods,' which came in at about 67,000 words as a novel.
In my opinion, nothing teaches you more about the art of storytelling than the short story. The quicker you write them, the more you can submit. Sooner or later someone will criticize them, but of course constant rejection forces us to look deeper into the story, the characters, and how we wrote them--and how they might be improved. That's important, because these criticisms are few and far between. If you understand how busy you can be as a writer, imagine juggling a few hundred submissions, a thousand e-mails, etc, a month. So the guy that tells you something about your story is precious indeed.
If nothing else, it teaches persistence and its rewards, and we learn to deal with rejection.
Learn to chat.
3.) Learn to chat. Get some interviews. Get some more reviews. All of this takes, time, patience and effort, but it's not like I have anything better to do. I'v commented on a couple of Kindle threads, and tried to start a discussion, but it's early days there yet. Honestly, I should try to comment on someone's blog once or twice a week, if that's the best I can do, so be it...
Create more products.
4.) Go back through the list and make all e-books available as print-on-demand paperbacks. So far, the interior file for 'The Shape-Shifters' is ready, but the cover needs to be re-done as the text is vertical, on the left side, too close to the trim edge, and the artwork isn't suitable for header-type text. That won't take long to solve. In terms of putting cash into the project, it's like one a month and that's it. But all of those will be out by the end of the year. Many readers still prefer paper and ink, or haven't converted to e-readers. If I do go to a convention, or talk to a group of any sort, it's something to hold in the hand. I can pass it around for people to have a look at, even if it's just one proof copy. Basically it's another product, one which only takes a few hours to produce if you have any sort of a backlist. I could also re-size those titles and put them out on any free platform as PODs, which widens the distribution network.
Other than that, we shall proceed according to the plan and the exigencies of the moment.