A few months ago, when my son and I decided he was finished homeschooling, my writing strategy changed completely. Instead of simply writing for love, which is what I’ve been doing for years, I’m going to try to make my hobby replace the job I would now be applying for. (I DO NOT want to go back to teaching, nor do I want to take the classes to update my cert.) So I’ve been reading up on how to write for money.
By far, the best resources I’ve read are Boot Camp and For Love or Money, both by Susan Kaye Quinn. I didn’t learn that much new info about the publishing process, as I’ve been doing this for some time now. But I did glean some important information about launching a book, using Kindle rankings, how to gauge the selling power of a genre, and a few other little things. But the two biggest nuggets I gleaned are actually two I already knew. The first I could not do while homeschooling, so the second I didn’t bother with. They are:
- Publish often. Like, no more than three months between books within a series.
- Publish in hot-selling genres.
The first obviously implies writing quickly, which is what I could not do while homeschooling. And historical fiction, my first love which I’ve written in MG and YA, is notoriously labor-intensive, what with all the research it involves. And writing within in war years, when there are so many critical dates and events, is probably the slowest of all. But I loved it. I loved the research. I loved the stories I crafted. And I knew I didn’t have time to publish quickly, so I published for love. My maximum writing speed while homeschooling and writing Civil War historical fiction has been 100,000 words a year. This has always included taking the summer off to spend with my kids.
Having decided this past spring not to homeschool in the fall, I decided this summer I would experiment with my writing speed. I published Ebb Tide, my last Ella Wood book on May 25. During the final month of Ebb Tide edits, I decided I would write three novellas to accompany the Ella Wood trilogy, partly because I really wanted to explore three secondary characters during their “off camera” moments (still kind of writing for love) and partly because I wanted to experiment with publishing every few months. April 25 was the day I began writing the first one, Lizzie, and started tracking my daily words written. This novella series is still historical fiction, though most of the research is already complete at this point, but I wanted to see just how fast I could write it. I had already decided I would publish Lizzie on July 25 (two months after Ebb Tide‘s release), Jack on September 25 (two months later), and Jovie on November 25 (two months later). I also decided to flesh out a dystopian series I’ve wanted to write for a while now. (Ah-ha! Starting to write for money!) I do have one more historical fiction trilogy I will write. But this experiment is about writing quickly and in a hot genre. So I have postponed that for the time being.
Well, today is July 25, exactly three months since April 25. Lizzie released this morning. (Yay! The blurb and link will follow. Promise!) Here’s everything I’ve accomplished in those diligent three months:
- Lizzie, complete. 21,795 words.
- Jack, complete. 25, 834 words.
- Jovie, first draft nearly finished. Currently at 19,688 words.
- Axis, the first in my Recompense dystopian series, 100,000 words planned. Currently at 47,245 words.
My grand total (not including today’s work yet): 114,562 words! And this time frame has included final revisions on Ebb Tide, Lizzie, and Jack, a fair bit more research for both Jack and Jovie than I had planned on, covers for all three, and even a couple vacations with the kids. Am I pleased? YES, I AM! This experiment has proven I’ve got what it takes to do this!
So the plan now is to stick with my original release dates for my novellas. By November 25, I should have books one and two near completion in my Recompense series and launch preparations in place. I’ll choose a date shortly after the new year to publish the first one (maybe Jan. 25, lol). And books two and three (and possibly four and five) will each follow no later than three months after the last. My novellas won’t make much money. I already know this. But I’m hoping Recompense will. Stay tuned this fall for blurbs and updates and hopefully some awesome cover reveals!
And now it’s time to feature today’s release, Lizzie:
Lizzie has made it aboard a ship without anyone guessing her deception, but many miles still lie between South Carolina and freedom in Canada. With two small children to hide, she and Ketch will no longer have their former master’s daughter, Emily, nearby to protect them. They’ll need to rely on their wits, their strength, and each other.
Though Lizzie loves Ketch and longs to merge their two small families, she’s still haunted by that violent night at Ella Wood nearly a year before that resulted in the birth of her son. Will she be able to put that nightmare behind her? Will the north hold the peace, safety, and love she so desperately desires?
But before the steamer even leaves Charleston harbor, the water grows red with danger…
And now I’m off to get some writing done. Have a great day, readers!!