Pumping up the busy


Image by David Bruyland from Pixabay

Phew! This one’s a long read. I’d go and get a coffee if I were you…

I’m back at work today, after a week’s holiday and a week of part-time working/recovery before that. I had a lot of time to think about how I want to take my work forward, and I think I’ve come to another shift in my working life.

I’ve decided not to go chasing editing and proofreading jobs for a while as I’d really much rather get on with some of my own work.

Obviously, I’ll retain the clients I’m currently working for, and if any that disappeared during the pandemic would like to come back, then they can.

But I’m not going hunting for editing work. I want to do more writing, and if I do any searches now, it will be for writing (articles, blog posts, short stories, ghostwriting, etc, etc).

Non-fiction books

The plan is to probably go indie-wide with my non-fiction books. I wouldn’t mind doing a third book for Pen & Sword, if they’d have me. But the history books do take up a lot of time with research and sourcing.

I’m currently in the middle of the 5-book project management series and have ideas for several series of writers’ guide-type books and a couple of standalones. But I don’t think there are any publishers out there who would be interested in taking those on.

However, the chapters could be rewritten as articles first and sent to markets more likely to take those, and then republished in book form.

Novels

I’m currently writing The Beast Within: a Marcie Craig mystery. The next novel on the to-do list is Snowblind: a Marcie Craig mystery and the one after that is Flowers in the Rain: a Marcie Craig mystery. These are full-length 80,000-word novels.

I want to get this trilogy done as soon as possible and keep Night Crawler as the pilot. I already have the storyline for Snowblind and I have the theme for Flowers in the Rain.

I also have a completed draft for Catch the Rainbow that needs bringing back to life, which is loosely connected to the Marcie Craig series.

I would love for a traditional publisher to take Marcie on, and Catch the Rainbow. But if they don’t, I’m not averse to doing them myself.

Novellas

I’m already working on one novella, The Fool: a Stevie Tarot story. This is the first in a series and I have a lot of it written and a lot of it planned out. However, I’m thinking of changing it to the Stevie Bex stories.

I don’t want people to think that these stories are about the Tarot. They’re actually simply based against a Tarot card whose meaning reflects the theme of the story. Saying that, a Tarot deck does feature throughout the series.

The novellas will go out to market first, but if no one picks them up, I’m happy to do them myself.

Serials

A standalone novella I was working on, Whitehorse Farm, may actually work better as a serial. I also have a completed draft for a novella, Mardi Gras, that may also translate into a serial.

The serial market has completely shrunk to perhaps one or two magazines in the UK that use them. BUT… if the market I’m thinking of doesn’t want them, then … I’ll do them myself!

Series

As part of the Stevie Bex stories, I’m also writing backstories for all of the main characters.

There are four main characters in the novellas: Stevie the hero(ine), Maddie the mad vicar, Fal the disgraced copper, and … the one whose name I can never remember but she’s the main antagonist throughout.

I created these four characters before I realised that the four aces represented them very well. So, Stevie’s backstory is The Ace of Wands; Maddie’s backstory is The Ace of Cups; Fal’s backstory is The Ace of Swords; and the other one’s story is The Ace of Pentacles.

The rest of the suits will be dedicated to the backstories for the villains and the victims and a few more of the recurring characters that show up in the novellas.

These standalone stories are going to be around 3,500 – 4,000 words long. That’s too long for any of the magazines in the UK, but they might suit US magazines better. They’ll also be branded as the Short Tarot Tales.

However, if I can’t find a market for them, I’ll publish them myself.

Short stories

I really want to start writing regular short stories again and have them do their rounds. If I can write one a week, or one short story one week and a series episode another week, then I’ll be very happy.

The short stories will be written for specific markets, and if they come back from the first-choice market, they will be tweaked and go to the next one on the list, and so on. Then I’ll look at anthologies calling for submissions, followed by competitions.

Once I’ve exhausted all paying markets, I’ll publish them myself, first as standalones and then in themed anthologies, although I’ll do the themed anthologies anyway, as I always hold onto my copyright.

Articles & features

I stopped writing articles and features a long time ago due to the time they took researching, querying, sourcing, interviewing, photographing, writing, etc. I don’t really have any intention of going back to that.

However, I do get the occasional idea for which I already have the knowledge and the information. So I’ll query these as they arise, and then either submit to a commission, or publish them myself in book form.

Medium

Back in April, when I was having my hissy fit, I stumbled across Medium, a platform for publishing articles, short stories, serials, series, chapters, etc. On this platform are already some very established publications.

People may read up to three articles a month on Medium free of charge, or they can pay $5 a month or $50 a year. (Apx £3.55 and £35.50.) If they pay, they can read as many articles as they wish.

There is a loophole to this. Or two, actually (if the Twitter one hasn’t been closed).

Links on Twitter seem to allow the person following the link to read the story. (They’re all called stories on Medium.) And writers may also publish a ‘friend link’ so that people they know can also read the story.

For every paying person who reads a story to the end, the author gets a share of that person’s subscription. For every non-paying person who reads a story to the end, if they join within 30 days, the author gets a share of that subscription.

Personally, I decided to join because there are so many blummin’ good articles on there – the kind of article I wish I could see in writing and freelance magazines now. So I’m already getting a lot of bang for my buck. And there are hundreds of topics on there too, not just writing.

However, I have now also joined their partner program, so that if paying members read my stories to the end, I get a share of their subs.

As I’m really not comfortable posting my blog behind a paywall, I’m leaving the blog here, on WordPress, and all the interesting useful stuff will either be duplicated or exclusively published over there.

Magazine

So, aside from this blog and my personal Medium platform (which is here, by the way), I also have two publications on Medium (Words Worth Writing and Words Worth Reading). The writing articles go in one while fiction goes in the other.

THEN… I’m going to start publishing a ‘magazine’ on Kindle (also called Words Worth Reading). I’m not sure what the frequency will be yet, as it depends on whether or not I burn out first. But the plan is to have at least the following in every issue:

  • one novel serialised in episodes of two or three chapters at a time
  • one series or serial serialised in episodes of around 3,500 – 4,000 words
  • one story from the archives
  • one complete long story or short novella
  • one brand-new short story

I’d like there to be maybe two or three brand-new short stories, but obviously I can’t promise that until I’ve tried writing that many first. I’m also not sure yet about making the magazine available in paperback or on subscription. But those are both percolating.

Also, until I build up my inventory, I’ll be using existing material for the novels and the archives.

Production process

My production process will therefore start to go like this:

  1. write the blummin’ thing
  2. send it off on its rounds, if there are suitable markets (articles will be queried first)
  3. if it comes back or if there is nowhere suitable, epublish on Medium
  4. at the same time, epublish chapters, short stories, articles, serials in Words Worth Reading
  5. then, epublish short stories and serials as standalones and novels/novellas on Kindle Unlimited
  6. after at least three months, epublish it wide
  7. if the ebook has earnt it, buy an isbn and publish it wide as a paperback OR consider using a free ISBN and publish it several times
  8. publish novels in hardback
  9. publish novels in large print
  10. produce audiobooks
Accountability

As you can imagine, this is a massive amount of work. And in between the writing and publishing, I also already have books I need to go in and republish. I’m having to plan carefully and then stick to that plan as much as I can, tweaking it as necessary.

I’ll be adding my progress here, on the blog, and any cheerleading will be very much appreciated!

Here, then, is the initial plan for this week:

  • write 1 short story/series instalment
  • write 500 words per day on The Beast Within
  • write 500 words per day on Project Management for Writers
  • prepare a query for an article
  • start the 3rd instalment of the 4th ghostwriting job
  • write the blurb for the 4th ghostwriting job
  • epublish Night Crawler chapters on Medium daily
  • epublish Diary of a Scaredy Cat chapters on Medium daily
  • write a blog post every day, including Wednesday’s writing prompts
  • epublish a short story from the archives on Medium
  • epublish a Wednesday Writing Prompts from the archives on Medium

Wish me luck!

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