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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4 thoughts on “Not as Done As I Thought”
I could never be an author. I lack my own imagination, and especially the patience to sit down and put it on paper. I don’t see how authors have the ability to create entire worlds and multiple characters with different personalities and different voices. It boggles my mind.
But I love, almost more than anything, reading well written books full of these fascinating worlds and complex characters, and I adore the authors who take the time to make these books happen. I imagine the time and sacrifice it takes for you to do this because, while I work very hard at my job, I realize that you guys, many times, end up sacrificing much more family and personal time because you work out of your home and can get caught up in the story…having to write at the time it happens to be coming easily and then probably stressing over it when it isn’t (not to mention editing, marketing, etc.)
At any rate, I say all of that to tell you your Saint Flaherty series shows the time, effort and heart you put into it. I tweeted you last night that I would purchase anything you wrote and published right now, and I wasn’t kidding…and that is huge praise from me. I beta read a ton and have a waiting list that stretches well into next year. So when I take time out to read for my personal enjoyment, it means something to me. The fact that I purchased and read all of your books (even the Foreigner’s Loneliness) as soon as I finished What Boys Are Made Of says a lot. The fact that I purchased even books that you offered for free through your newsletter says even more.
I hope that this post gives you a little encouragement. Thanks for your time, your imagination, and the characters you’ve written that I fell in love with. Like most of the people who read your Saint Flaherty series, I love Simon, but it is Connor that has my heart. My heart breaks for him every time I think about the story (which needs to not be for the rest of today so that I can get some work done!). I can see you going a few ways with him in the rest of the series, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. There are so many other things I can’t wait to find out in the rest of this series as well.
Best of luck with all of your writing. Your free copy of What Boys Are made Of through instaFreebie found you at least one loyal new reader, although I’d be willing to bet I’m far from the only one.
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Today was the day I went back to my manuscript after three days away, to see what I could see, and what I ended up deciding was that actually I need to let it rest for a couple of weeks. Do other things, work on other books, universes, etc. If that bumps my Saint Flaherty release schedule back a bit, so be it. So this might not be so much a late November release as early January (fingers crossed). I’ve found that if I hit a wall, I need to step back and gain perspective. The nice thing is that 2.5 (after 3) is written and is basically ready to go, so I don’t have to worry about that. Ah, those single-perspective books.
It really does encourage me to hear from people. Book sales are tough! But then I see an awesome review and it makes my night/day/week. I don’t know about other authors, but I tend to sit in a bubble and write.
Funny enough, I don’t think you are at all alone in your like of Connor. I think he is oddly, weirdly relateable–not because of what he’s done, but because of how he thinks. He’s unapologetically selfish. I know that for me at least, part of the fun of writing him is that I don’t have to balance his priorities; they’re spelled out for me in big capital letters. Him and Simon both are nice for that, but Connor gets the better comebacks. Those are dearly fun to write.
I could probably talk about my characters for days because, er, I think about them a lot and I love them all. I’ll just say that 2.5 is entirely from Connor’s perspective and it is simultaneously new levels of depressing and a total battle cry. It’s the direct aftermath of book 2, but due to heavy spoilers for 3, needs to be after, in the same way that 1.5 shouldn’t be read before 2. I think so, anyway.
So believe me, comment away and I will be very happy 😀 I adore hearing from people!
“That’s the reality of being indie.”
For better or for worse, I believe that’s the reality for any writer these days — indie or otherwise. Fiction is like any other product, so the laws of supply and demand take their toll. And since there is a glut of free/cheap/affordable/available fiction, supply outpaces demand.
Therefore, every author must don his/her “marketing hat” and step away from the craft of writing in order to reach his/her audience.
Not ideal, in my opinion, but what choice do we have?
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True, though if I wasn’t indie, I’m pretty sure my days would still be writing, editing, and going, “gosh, I wonder when my next rejection letter will come.” Then again, I’d probably also have another job to go with this one, as I’d only be doing one book a year. Not going “hmm, how many books can I push out of my head in this given period of time?”
In some ways, I wish I could slow down, but the fact is I’d get bored if I wasn’t writing as much as I am.
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