January 2015 in Review

I’m starting to think it may be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

The biggest thing that happened this month was that I finished The Winter Garden (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #2).  I’m still shocked that I can now say I have two novels under my belt.  It’s pretty amazing, considering a few years ago I couldn’t finish anything and had plots that meandered for a hundred pages.  So far, I have finished The Winter Garden and gotten through a major round of editing.  Two out of three of my beta readers have gotten back to me with ideas to improve it.  Within the next few days, I will be rereading my book in it’s entirety and implementing quite a few of their suggestions.  Then, it will be back to the minor editing and proofing stage before formatting *screams internally*. So close yet so far.

Spring 2015 marks my third semester of working toward an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing.  I only have two semesters to go after this, and during that time, I will be working on my thesis, which will be the third (unnamed) book in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series.

Brainstorming for book three has been like pulling teeth.  Sometimes a new book’s plot pours out of you.  You can see the characters, you can see the events unfolding before you and know pretty much where you are going with the plot.  Other times, not so much.  This is one of those times.  I’m not sure whether I am putting a lot of pressure on myself because it will be my thesis project or if I’m psyching myself out or if I’m just still half in The Winter Garden since I’m editing it and polishing it for publication.  I swear I have more of a plot for book four than for book three, but I really can’t do the other first (somehow I feel they may be written at the same time).

Part of what I need to work on after this month is letting go.  I need to be able to step back and let things happen.  My uptight nature is one of my flaws for sure.  As soon as I get feedback, I feel I need to rush out and fix my work immediately.  Sometimes that is to my advantage, but other times, it’s just ridiculous. When I workshop my work in class, I am good at handling edits and criticism, but when I get negative reviews from anonymous people, it still stings, especially if they are vague. It’s hard to not let that type-A, somewhat people-pleasing ego not get hurt.  I need to remind myself that my work is out there, plenty of people like it and have enjoyed it and are eagerly awaiting the next one.  The odd ones out don’t reflect on your work as whole, and there are plenty of books I hate that everyone seems to like.  it happens.

What has gone well this month is my marketing.  I put The Earl of Brass (IMD#1) on sale for 99 cents two days this month, and ever since, it has had great sales and ranking in Amazon’s steampunk category.  I also received a few pre-orders for The Winter Garden, which is coming out at the end of March.  It’s exciting to see my meager marketing plan actually pay off.

Hopefully, next month I will have part of book three done or at least have a solidified plot and I won’t be so stressed over book two’s release. Onward to February!

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