You haven’t heard much about my writing lately. I’ve been concentrating on release stuff—and that makes sense, I’ve had another release! Buzz, buzz, look at my new book, I’m so thrilled to show it to you!
Actually, truth be told, by the time you actually have that book, any book, I’m a little sick of it. Not that I don’t like it or I’m not proud of it or I don’t want to hear about it from all of—I do and I am and I would love to—but I’ve sort of been wallowing in the thing for the past however long and am mostly just ready to move on.
In this case, to book 3. The one that comes out in late fall.
So, I wrote book 3 a year ago, exactly. From August 2015 to the end of October 2015, that was what I did, I worked on book 3 (and other stuff). And then I put it aside, did something else, and only dragged I out in February for an edit.
And that edit felt good. Very good. So good that I, ahem, put it aside and didn’t touch it until August.
This is what we in the writing world call a very, very stupid mistake. Because I pulled that sucker out in August, printed it, and realized that book 3 did not need a small edit.
Book 3 needed re-written.
One entire point of view character needed axed, replaced with a different character who would clarify, oh, 40% of the problems the manuscript had. Not just one subplot, but three needed removed. Another needed to be added. A character needed an entire personality transplant. Chapters needed PoVs swapped, paragraphs needed clarified.
And I had a month and a half not only to do that, but to do it, put it aside to let it rest for a week or two, and then do it all over again before this book goes to my editor on October 3rd.
Welcome to a hell of my own making.
How did it get to this point? How did I fall so woefully behind?
It was, as usual, my own stupid fault. Last winter I was doing really well, I was putting out content every day. But last winter, you will recall, I was also working on publishing my first book, What Boys Are Made Of. I was making a book cover, reviewing proofs, going over final edits, formatting, and, however ineffective, marketing.
In March I hit the publish button and watched my book…well, do nothing.
It was depressing, to say the least. It took my writing to a grinding halt.
I finished my final edit of 2, sent it to my editor. Visited family. Ceased to update my blog regularly. I wrote half of a novel I’m not sure I’ll ever finish or publish. Did some theater stuff. Began visiting Kboards, which depressed me even more, but slowly began understanding what they were talking about and integrating their advice. Commissioned new book covers as a result, set up book 2 promo.
Finally, in late May, I began to write again, began to write book 4. I’d planned to end the series on 3, but no, as it turns out, it needed one more turn of the wheel, so I set to work, got 40% done…
For a week and a half, I sat around and did nothing. I didn’t update my blog, I didn’t edit, I didn’t market. I sat around and read novels, watched TV, did my side-job, and pretended the writing world didn’t exist. I needed that. As much as people outside the writing world often sneer at my “job,” it’s hard work, and I’d managed to burn myself out. I needed time.
Book 1’s promos kicked in, and with that, I restructured 1.5 and sent it to the editor, and then Book 2 released. I went to Scotland for a family event for a week, and in the midst of that, I had a wonderful, amazing idea for a romance novel. A novel so vivid I could smell it.
I came home, made myself input 1.5’s edits, then set to work. A month later, I was done. My romance novel was brilliant and I loved it. Now to sit down and give book 3 a final polish…
And here I am looking at this mess of a manuscript and realizing my fall plans aren’t quite what I had in mind.
See, I’ve discovered something. I can write books with one PoV that are very clean. As in, need little in the way of editing when they’re done. Two PoV’s? Ditto.
Five? By god do they need work. Seriously. When book 4’s done, I’m not doing five PoVs again. That format takes me to the limit of my abilities, and while that’s great for growth, it’s not good for productivity. At all. Never have I been so grateful that I followed the advice of having the next book ready to go when I hit the button for book 1. My 5 PoV books take, between the edits and everything else, a year to produce, each. The fact that I can turn out four in a year does not change the fact that they still need a year in order to incubate. If I hadn’t started 2 until 1 was published, you wouldn’t have gotten it until next March.
This entire post is probably only of interest to me, but I wanted to write it out, tell myself and everyone else: publishing is busy stuff. I feel like I’ve done nothing since last December, that my only instance of true work was this past month when I wrote that romance novel, but that’s not true. I’ve been working all along, just not on the fun stuff. And that’s how I got behind on 3: I jumped into the fun stuff without doing the work on this first.
(The novel that is going nowhere didn’t help either. Two weeks of indulgence. Alas.)
So what does my writing schedule look like now?
What I wanted to do was start on the next romance novel. These are planned for a penname, and in my wild, unrealistic dreams, I wanted to release both by the end of this year.
Not gonna happen. Instead, I’ll continue on 3, take a break in order to do a quick computer-edit of the romance novel, then go back to 3. And while 3 is at the editor, it’s time for me to finish book 4, while I can still go back and make changes to 3, make sure it adequately leads to the next book. After all, though 4 isn’t due out until May or June of next year, it will be in edits by April. Which means it needs at least two edits by me. Which means it needs to be done now, if not sooner.
Life was a lot simpler before I started publishing. I sat down, wrote, sometimes edited. Updated my blog. Wrote lengthy emails to my alpha reader, and a few other people besides.
These days, I’m busy busy busy. And while part of me loves it, it’s sort of a horrible shock to realize I’ll never go back to the days when all I did was write. The machine of marketing can never stop churning; publishing is a new part of my reality, to become as banal as occasionally cleaning off my dresser, and done about as often.
That’s the reality of being indie.
When I was a kid, my teachers liked to quote some statistic that said 90% of the jobs we kids would end up doing hadn’t even been invented yet.
They were right. In 1995, what I do now would be unthinkable. Yet here I am. Crazy, isn’t it?
I’m S. Hunter Nisbet, writer of post-apocalyptic dystopian novels of the dark and gritty type. When I’m not beating my head against my desk while editing, I’m using said furniture as a platform for conjuring nightmares and torrid romances of the type the local library does not encourage.
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