Big News, Big Plans

Man, I’ve been busy.

I know that I post a new feature or two here daily, but I haven’t posted an author’s update since December. Time has been so tight that sparing an evening or two to write a blog update has been a tall order. My presence across a spectrum of social media has grown dramatically in the last year, and currently all totaled I’ve got over 9,000 followers across my four major platforms… with more added every day. Learning to manage that presence and tap it as an audience for my work has been a challenge, and I’ve had some stumbles.

I’ve overcommitted myself many times, and that overcommitment has left me without adequate time to write on and finish my large projects, like my short story and novelette collections, and my novels Vivian’s Last Cigarette (which has been stuck in edits and rewrites for years) and Shadow of the Black Tower (still an unfinished first draft after almost two years).

In the last few months, I’ve gone through several aggressive cycles of trying to cut back on my many side-projects and refocus that reclaimed time from that back onto my bigger goals. I’ve also revised many of the aspects of my content production to free-up time with greater efficiency.

I’m happy to report that those revisions are now paying off, and I have a big announcement to make. I’m ready and restless to say this, because it’s time for me to forge ahead into the next step of my writing journey. So here we go…

Starting in September, I’ll begin a nine-month period of making my short stories and novelettes available as eBooks, and the longer pieces in print as well. They’ll be released on a one-a-month schedule, and each will have professional artwork and covers.

It’s ambitious, but it’s a plan I’ve thought about for years.

The nine short stories and novelettes are all completed works of mine except for one, it being about 80% complete at present. Editing touch-ups and polish will be all that most will require from me. My wife Kim is doing the book formatting, something she has a professional background in, and the cover art is being contracted from my artist collaborator and friend, Kate Whitmore.

Most of my writing efforts over this period won’t need to be focused on preparing and publishing the shorter works for the reasons cited above. Instead, I’ve decided to turn them to finishing the additions, rewrites, editing and beta reading cycles of my novel, Vivian’s Last Cigarette.

This is because I’ve set my biggest goal of the year to come is releasing Viv’s, under my own publishing company, in June of 2020.

The shorter works coming out ahead of my novel’s debut will help my wife and I learn the nuances of releasing effective and attractive print and eBooks as we start our two-person company. They’ll also play a role in brand and presence building in a commercial setting… a place in which I have no representation currently.

Gaining immediate profit from the short stories and novelettes is a tertiary goal at best. Long term, of course I hope they make money beyond their production costs, and I believe in the quality of all nine stories. But their first job is to build a solid foundation so that we can give Viv’s the best launch we can muster.

Laying down solid goals and plans of action feels good, and I’m more excited than intimidated. But looking at the work now before me, it did became clear that I must do a couple things that I didn’t want to do.

The first and biggest of these is that I’m putting finishing my novel Shadow of the Black Tower on hold until I’ve completed my work on Vivian’s Last Cigarette and it’s ready to publish.

I’ve said for a while that I wanted to finish Shadow and then return to finishing Viv’s. I estimate it will take me six to eight weeks to finish Shadow. Even if I started on that next week and got it done in September, I’d still have to jump into the myriad of things Viv’s needs done immediately thereafter. There’s simply not enough time for me to edit two completely different novels and juggle their independent beta reading cycles while keeping up with everything else simultaneously.

And I don’t even plan on releasing Shadow until months AFTER Viv’s debut!

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that finishing Shadow first was nothing more than a two-month delay to beginning the important and pressing work of getting Viv’s ready, with no reason or benefit to doing so whatsoever.

It makes so much more sense — and will be far less stressful — for me to simply wait and finish that book in 2020, after Viv’s is complete. And that’s what I’m going to do.

The second thing that has become clear to me is that the Aether Prompt contest I’ve been running here have become another one of the many overcommitments getting in the way of my greater authorly goals. While I do enjoy running them and crafting the winning entries into picture vignettes, it’s also a labor-intensive disruption requiring at least one of my evenings every week.

I’m sorry if anyone is disappointed, but for those reasons I have decided to end the Aether Prompt contest early, this week’s post being the last of this year.

Winners will still be picked from all posts that have submitted fiction, and those winners will get featured posts as has been the case for the other prompt winners. And the 2019 AETHEREAL ENGINEER WRITER SUPPORT PRIZE PACKAGE will still be awarded in December to one of the writers amid the collected winners.

And that’s all the announcements worth announcing.

For me, the wheels are in motion. There is an excited and busy air in my household. I’m filled with hope, ideas, and worries. And much needs to be done.

Time to get to work. :-)

Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!

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