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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Another year in review--What happened?

I didn't wait until New Year's Day to start my New Year Resolution. I started Monday with a one-hour free write each day at 7:00 a.m. It took me until New Year's Eve to break that resolution, even though I was late the day before. So even though it is 9:30, I'm continuing my free write resolution for an hour. Don't worry, I'm not going to spend the whole thing here. To me, free write means "Write anything I want to." There are things that I have to write and things that I need to write, but for one hour each day, I will write what I want to write. So today, that's some journaling to review the past painful year.

I thought this was a good year. What do you mean, "painful?"

I just thought I'd get the crap out of the way before I start talking about all the truly great stuff that happened this year. Unemployment continues to hang over my head like an ever-present shadow of doom. I had a couple of good contracts early in the year and thought that there would be continued work, but haven't been able to land anything since July. Fortunately, the DW has had some contract work and she's making nearly three times what I can on a writing contract at the moment, so even though it is sporadic, it has continued to extend our crisis point a month at a time. We can make it through January.

I've actually reached the point where I'm about to take one of my "retirement jobs" and become a barista. At least that way I will be out where I can meet people and feel like even though I'm at minimum wage I'm contributing something. Maybe gas money? I hope to get another contract soon, and have a proposal out that would provide income for a few months, but it's to the City government and they crawl more slowly than snow-removal in Seattle.

So that's the painful part of my 2010. I am putting negative space (the difference between my income and my expenses) behind me and looking forward to a better year in 2011.

So what did I accomplish with all the "spare time" I had this year?

In spite of unemployment, this has been one of the most personally productive and satisfying writing years I've ever had. I'll do a month-by-month recap.

January. I completed a third draft re-write of Gutenberg's Other Book and sent the synopsis and introductory chapters off to the PNWA Literary Competition. That was satisfying because I really liked the way the new draft turned out. After trying to write the book in 2009 and completely scrapping the unfinished first draft, I did even more planning and wrote the whole thing during NaNoWriMo in November. I took that and did a polish draft for the competition. Good. The year was started on the right foot, even though both my daughter and I hand-delivered our submissions at the office just before it closed at 5:00 on the deadline day for submissions.

March. I had great fun playing the role of Lazar Wolf in Studio East's production of Fiddler on the Roof. I got a chance to work with some fine adult and student actors, sing a little, and even dance a little. We were deep in the process of raising funds for a new theater and the production was the last mainstage show in the old space. It was very exciting.

April. First, I delivered the final draft of my guide to converting PDF to ePUB for a client, proud to have it complete. (So, see? I wasn't idle through February and March.) I also had my Secret Life of eBooks blog going full tilt by that time and was trying to put together a book proposal.

I also joined Script Frenzy from our friends at NaNoWriMo and wrote an adaptation of my book
Stn. George & The Dragon as a live radio stage play in two full acts. What a great experience. I've submitted that to a theater and it is under consideration for the 2011-2012 season.

May. I presented my first talk on "The Dark Side of Publishing" at the PNWA monthly writer's meeting. It was well-received and they decided to include a session in the conference in August.

July. I completed my Reference Guide for Field Sales Reps on Software Asset Management and Compliance. That doesn't sound that interesting, but the 150 page manual covered all aspects of SAM and the client was very pleased. The unfortunate part was that was my last paying contract of the year.

That was balanced with the fact that we brought two more books into print from Long Tale Press, including my For Blood or Money. I've actually started selling copies of the book now and expect sale to pick up after it goes on Amazon in both print and eBook and on Barnes & Noble in eBook later this month. It's an indescribably delicious feeling to autograph a copy of your book and hand it to a person who will actually take it and read it. One reader bought 8 copies to give a Christmas gifts!

August. Remember that PNWA Literary Competition I mentioned in January? Well, Gutenberg's Other Book won second place in the Thriller Category! I'm still over-the-moon excited about the prospects, even though I've been way to slow in marketing the book to agents/editors who requested it at the conference. That's a New Year's Resolution. The book is going to be sent out every week until someone bites.

I also presented a panel at the conference, continuing the theme of The Dark Side of Publishing and exploring the new options of self-publishing, small press, and eBooks. It was well-received.

September. I managed to use my earnings ($300) from the prize money and by exchanging a condo and using frequent flyer miles, took a week's writing retreat. I focused entirely on completing the "semi-final" draft of Gutenberg's Other Book. As soon as it was finished, I sent it off to my beta readers and got another raft of revisions that launched me into another rewrite before submitting to anyone. I also started work on my new cookbook.

October. This was a very busy writing month as I needed to have the cookbook finished and prototyped by the November Studio East auction where it would be used as a fund-raiser, got an article and a short story submitted to Line Zero, a new Northwest Literary Magazine, and got the final draft of Gutenberg's Other Book finished and sent to its first agent. It got an enthusiastic first response, then nothing. I've waited too long to send it to another agent/editor, so that is what is going out first thing this year.

November. Everything started coming together in November.
  • Both my article, "The Future of Publishing" and my short story "The First Clue is You Can't Find Your Coffee Cup" were published in the premier issue of Line Zero. I especially love the fact that the short story had staying power as I originally wrote it in the early 80s! Still fresh and relevant today.

  • I hosted an incredible HalloNaNoWeen midnight write-in to kick-off NaNoWriMo with over 125 people attending.

  • My cookbook Feeding the Board: 12 menus for 12 or more people for about $100 was finished and we sold 45 pre-orders at the auction. By Thanksgiving, I had the final layout completed and sent to the printer.

  • I raised $350 for the Young Writer's Program at NaNoWriMo through a challenge in sponsorships for my NaNo. I had to choose a story quickly that I could let people read as I blogged it, so blogged a new debriley Deb Riley mystery, the second sequel to For Blood or Money. But I had another story that needed to be written. So I wrote both

December. I went straight into rewrites on The Volunteer and by the end of the first week of December had a request from a publisher to see it. We'd talked in August at the PNWA conference and as soon as I said I had it finished they asked if they could have it before Christmas. I finished the rewrite and sent it off. Hope to hear from them early in the year, but I'm not waiting. This book is going to other agents and editors right away, as well as being my own PNWA competition entry this year.

My cookbooks were delivered just before Christmas and are now available from Studio East (425-820-1800) for $15. I sold half a dozen more over the break and will be selling them at the studio during intermissions for the January shows. As part of my process, I opened my new site at Signature Meals and am now available for cooking for dinner parties. I did three dinner parties in December and actually got money for one of them!

So how do you top that?

Well, the simple answer is that all of the self-satisfaction that I've had in writing this year is great, but it is time to monetize something. This year I will be aggressively marketing Gutenberg's Other Book and The Volunteer. That means at least one submission of each every week until there is a bite. If GOB is not picked up by June, I'll self-publish it so there will be copies available at the PNWA conference in July. And speaking of self-publishing, I'm getting Stn. George & The Dragon ready for self-publishing by the end of the week. It will be available in both paper and eBook as I move aggressively to get wider distribution of Long Tale Press books and my own books. I'll be editing and publishing the two Deb Riley mysteries, Municipal Blondes and Stocks & Bondage later in the year as well. I intend to have at least 4 books on the market by September. I'll be asking you to help support them!

I've decided to write a screenplay with a working title of "Untold Story" (not very exciting title, but it's temporary) in April, and intend to write the new story that I've been holding back called "Immortal Eternal" for NaNoWriMo in November. I've also got another Deb Riley Mystery in my back pocket if I happen to have time. Of course, that's along with my urban fantasy series that is begging to be rewritten and published. Book titles in that are Behind the Ivory Veil, The Props Master, A Touch of Magic, and Between the Worlds.

The sum total here is that if I can't get a job I'm going to get my books in the market and start selling the hell out of them. I may have to scale back how many projects I do this year based on whether I can get some paying gigs, either for writing or cooking, but that time that is not spent looking for work or on a paying job will be spent making money out of what I've started already. I've written nine novels in the past seven years and had a stock of five prior to that sitting in desk drawers and cardboard boxes. These babies are coming out to play!

I'll also be submitting more articles and short stories--maybe even some poetry--to Line Zero. My eBook blog is about to be revitalized for 2011, and I may produce a book out of that. Don't forget, I am also available for your eBook design/creation, book covers, and print book design and production.

Well, I lied about taking up my whole hour of free write on this post. I did. And then some. So, if you skipped right to the end to see what the point was, this is it. Have a happy, safe, and productive New Year friends. This is the year of the rabbit. Hop to it!