Oh my goodness. Where has the year gone?
2013 was a strange year for me. Not only did it bring the longest deployment of my husband that my family has had since 2007, but it also saw us moving into a brand new home in a brand new state, new schools for the kids, and a change in how life in general works for the Huchton house.
All that is on a personal level. It’s been a little crazy at times (okay, like all the time), but that’s not what this post is about.
The past week, I’ve been reflecting on my creative year. I read over my post from January of 2013, looking at everything I said I wanted to accomplish. Some projects fell by the wayside, others came up and surprised me, and some goals I completely blew out of the water.
This year saw the founding of my LLC, SH Productions. Under this umbrella, it’s where all my design business and book sales fall. This was a big deal, as it sort of means I now have to be an adult about stuff. No more messing around and calling it a hobby. I’m officially “self-employed”. Exactly how much of a grownup I really am is totally up for debate, though.
The biggest fail for me this year has been my voice work. Between computer issues and not having the time I thought I would to pursue that, I’ve had to step away from narration and audio work. I’ve done a handful of things this year, but most of it consisted of interviews for podcasts, either promotional for my books or talking about designy things (sometimes both). As I don’t see this next year changing my availability too much on that front, my voice work will likely continue on in this way. Apologies to those who wanted to hear more of my voice.
The design business is chugging right along. I’ve collected new clients and projects and my skills continue to grow with every new book cover I design. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do over on Designed by Starla as far as portfolio additions go, but I’m hoping to get some more up there soonish.
And now for the goal that I completely obliterated.
My original target for this year was to finish 3 first drafts of novels. Those were Master of Machines (Antigone’s Wrath #2), Apprentice, and a project I didn’t call by name. The results of this were mixed and surprising.
Admittedly, I haven’t done much work with Master of Machines. I will get back to it, but other projects took precedence.
Apprentice went exactly as planned. That book is finished and I’m deciding what I want to do with it now.
The unnamed project, as you might have guessed, was Maven (The Endure series, book 1). When I originally sat down to write it, I intended for it to be a standalone, but, well, intentions are one thing. I came right off of the first book and dove directly into Nemesis, and then Progeny. Book 4 has a title now, but I’ve hit a snag with it and need to think over some things before I can proceed. Paradigm will be the most complex of the four books, and requires a level of focus I’m not sure I have right now. But I’ve talked about that before.
Those were the things I had planned. Three books finished seemed like a lofty goal for me. What I didn’t see coming was my superheroes.
On July 6th, I sat down and hammered out a rough outline for two novels in a brand new series. An idea took hold of me, an obsession with this new world I’d thought of. Between July 6th, 2013 and November 12th, 2013, I wrote three complete books in a trilogy. Three books in four months.
For me, something that comes that hard and fast was either going to be a flaming pile of disaster, or something seriously awesome. The Evolution series, so far, has met with little but glowing praise from my beta readers, so I’m inclined to think it falls on the awesome side of the fence. Honestly, I felt a little like a crack dealer every time I would send one of them a new chapter or a new book. It was incredibly exciting to see the reactions from these readers.
I sent out a round of queries, somewhere in the ballpark of ten of them, I think, and waited. I had three full reads on book one from an agent and editors, but as of this moment, all have come back with rejections. I have some thoughts as to why, as the first book definitely goes against some “rules”, and the publishing industry really likes a sure thing. I knew there would be blowback from some of the decisions I made in the story, but in order to be true to my characters, true to what I wanted for the series, I’m sticking to my guns. Evolution: ANGEL is not a standalone, and that could possibly be one of the reasons there’s hesitation. Every piece of advice I’ve ever read about querying a series says to phrase it as “having series potential”. That’s kinda b.s. for me, as there’s no “potential” about these books. It’s a series. Unapologetically. It has to be, and when you read the first one, you’ll see why. As of this moment, I’m debating on whether to continue querying or go forward on my own. Potentially, all three books in the series could be released this year. I’m thinking about how to do that, when to do that, and if I should do that. With the onslaught of Hollywood superhero movies coming out in 2014, it seems silly to put off waiting, as I think the market potential for these books needs to be taken advantage of right now, but part of me still wonders if maybe I shouldn’t hold out just a little bit longer for a chance at traditional publishing.
That said, I’ve started work on a follow-on series for the first three superhero books, but with new main characters and set years after the Evolution series. They’re already loosely plotted, and I’m 32k words into the first one.
I mentioned in a previous post that I started one other project called The Night Bridge. That one sits at the halfway mark, just under 47k, and is a standalone.
So here’s where I tell you my mind-bending numbers for the year. I totaled these up this morning and was… well, a bit shocked.
My goal: complete 3 first drafts of novels which were already in progress.
What I finished: 7 first drafts of novels, 5 of them begun from scratch this year.
Estimated wordcount I thought I’d get: 80,000 words
What I’ve completed as of this moment: 550,470 words, not including blog posts for here or for book tours or social media output.
550,470 words of fiction.
That’s roughly 1500 words every day for the last 365 days.
All that with a deployed husband, small children, moving, and book covers to design.
I’m not the most prolific person on the planet by any stretch, but looking at those numbers is pretty awesome. I’m astounded by how much I’ve accomplished this year, but, even moreso, I’m excited about what’s coming for 2014. Master of Myth (Antigone’s Wrath #1) will be released this next September on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and I’m hoping to have the second one ready to go soon after it drops, with the third and final one in the works. Paradigm (The Endure series, book 4) will hopefully be finished in the first half of the year as well, but I’m committing to nothing at this point. Apprentice will possibly see a round of queries go out, but possibly not. And then there’s the Evolution series, about which I will make a decision likely in the next month.
More words. More book covers. More awesome in the world.
Those are my goals for 2014. I hope you’ll all come along with me for the ride!