Yes, it’s that day of the year again (well, yesterday was, but it was busy and I didn’t get this post uploaded in time). My birthday or, in the spirit of Brandon Sanderson, it’s my “what happened this last year writing wise and what are my novel plans for the future” post. It will cover the projects that were published in the prior year and go over what I’m planning on doing moving forward.
Here’s the second “What’s Next for Nielsen” post.
September 2016 – September 2017
Number of published works – 4 (Mythica, Twins, Christmas Caring Anthology, Mind Games Anthology)
Number of total words written in either completed or partial drafts – 320,000
Number of contracts signed – 4
The writing slowed down a little (average of 750 words a day, every day), but the events, life, and marketing on pre-existing books was even more intense than ever before (especially that whole Mythica thing (see below). I’ve learned a lot about both the craft and the business side of writing, though I’ll always have more to learn. I’ve given presentations and taught classes, visited schools, and received fan mail. Some of it is still all pretty surreal (I don’t think it’s ever not going to be). I’ve established some more concrete publishing and career goals, especially considering the day job(s) and where I want to be in my writing world five years from now. More on that below.
Sept 2016 – Sept 2017
Upcoming works (already under contract):
- Colonial Prime: Humanity – Earlier this year, after the Mythica novel was done, I decided I wanted to expand my writing skills into a new genre. On a whim, I started a science fiction story about Earth’s first colonization efforts following a series of wars that have left Earth ravaged, bruised, and bloodied, but united under a single governing body. Featuring a precocious boy named Jaelyn who loves plants, his mother, the Captain of the convoy, and a young officer named Nathan with a secret power from which he’s hiding. Things go awry when, a year into the voyage, the ships get a message from Earth telling them the new government has fallen and the crew, passengers, and political exiles have to decide where their true loyalties lie; with the hope of a new future or back in the mire of a dying world?
This book is under contract with Immortal Works Press and will be out in Spring. Watch for it.
Upcoming Works (Not under contract, but slated to be completed this next year):
- Duskchild – Standalone Epic Fantasy novel (think doorstop size – about 240k words).
“In a world where the governance of the land is divided by whether or not it’s night or day, Alloran learns he has been blessed of the moons to be one of the Lumenaria, the holy men who worship the three moons, rule the night, and control the only access to magic and money in the land.
After being sold for a pittance to passing merchant by a man who claims to be his uncle, Alloran is discovered by the Lumenaria and starts a journey that will lead the country to both war and salvation, faith and despair, and change the very fabric of the magic that weaves together the fabric of reality. Alloran will lose everything he ever cared about, discover the religion that has sustained him through the worst abuses in his life is a lie, and the governance of the land in under threat not from the enemy they fight in the war, but from within.”
- Sisters (Sharani Series 4) – YA Fantasy series – This one will pick up where Skies left off, but after a 6 month time lapse. You’ll get to see the truth behind the religion and dig deep into Lhaurel’s past and the history of the nation as a whole. However, I’m going to finish Duskchild first. It is the priority. I’ll explain a little more further down.
Other Works (later than the next year but with no definitive timeframe)
- Flowered Addiction (really bad working title – I know) – Epic Fantasy Trilogy – Magic is contained within flowers in a society based loosely off ancient India. The consumption of the flowers is a double edged sword – it grants you magical abilities, but will eventually kill you.
- Souls (Sharani Series Book 5) – this will happen after book 4. Sometime.
- Dristan’s War (Trilogy – YA contemporary science fiction) – I’ve written a good chunk of this one already, but set it aside because I felt the market wasn’t in favor of this one right now. It’s a story about a girl who can catch glimpses of the future as told by the ordinary boy who love, but can never have her. Why? Because the girl knows she is going to die and the boy, Dristan Cole, is the only one who can find, unite, and save the other Phenoms (those with abilities like hers, but of a more simple nature) from the company that created them.
- Slivers of a Shattered Soul (No idea if it will be standalone or a series yet) – Novel about an average man with a wife and kids unhappy with his lack-a-day life and hoping for more. When he discovers that he has an ability to manipulate shadows and darkness, he feels his number has finally come up. But a secret order of Guardians soon contacts him and lets him know that his ability comes with a price. He has to choose between his family and the magic which now courses through him. Either choice leaves him at the mercy of the true Darkness, a mysterious beast whose sole purpose in life is to destroy all those who can manipulate His children, the shadows.
Several other things could happen during this timeframe, though this is my rough idea for the novel writing slate. I’m trying to slow down a little on the writing front since I’ve been pretty much going non-stop, sometimes juggling two or three projects at once, while also managing a day job, a night job, a freelance editing job, AND welcoming a third child into my life this year. Its been borderline chaotic.
However, I have some clearly defined goals right now. My current works are all published through what we in the writing world call a “small press.” Small presses are great. They give lots of new authors, us literary ‘nobodies,’ a chance to get a foot in the door and get some books out there into the world. They take risks that larger presses simply can’t take. Sadly, though, they aren’t a sustainable avenue for a writing career. They simply don’t have the distribution, marketing budget, or footprint in the publishing industry to get the sales necessary to drive an author’s writing career into the “sole income/job” range. That is my long-term goal. To be able to write full time. I can’t do that publishing exclusively through small presses.
So, the goal is to get into a large press. For all practical purposes, that means getting an agent. Getting an agent means completing a novel that isn’t attached to anything else I’ve already written. That means writing a book good enough to go mainstream market and be picked up by a large publisher like TOR or DAW or Delacorte Press. That’s why Duskchild is a higher priority project than the fourth book in the Sharani Series. Because, in order to get an agent, to get to a place where my writing career is a sustainable venture, I need to finish a different book.
Have patience with me, if you’re waiting for book 4. It’s coming. You’ll get it. But, at the same time, I’m working on some more long term goals and plans that will not only be better for me, but also for you, the reader. I have big hopes and big dreams. I want to have books in hardback, not just paperback. I want to go on book tours, visit different countries on book tours, have my name on the NYT Bestseller list some day, and be able to write full time. You’re all an integral part of that. Sharing my posts, spreading the word, recommending my books to your friends and family, that’s what will keep the goals alive. But, to hit them, I need an agent who can get me into places and into publishers I can’t get into myself.
What can you do? Keep doing what you’re doing, but also ask me how Duskchild is coming. Ask me about my projects, my goals, my next steps. If you know people in the agenting world, tell them about me. Everything helps.
And, as always, Read On!