I think I’ve said it before, but I think it bears reiterating. When I first started writing Ancient Ruins, I had no intention of publishing it. It was a one-off story that I expected to die after 2 pages, no more. When I finally decided to publish it, I was going off conventional wisdom that said I should expect very little success, and thus that I should expect money to pay for my supply of soda at best. Thus, I had very little in the way of goals for writing. I’ve had to think about the subject since then, though, and I’m starting to nail things down.
I Write Because I have Stories to Tell: I’m not actually out to make a fortune off of writing. Oh, I wouldn’t object to making a fortune, but that’s not why I started writing. I come up with ideas for writing at the drop of a hat, most of which are garbage, others of which aren’t. I have had people ask if they could send me ideas for stories in the Ancient Dreams universe, and I politely declined for two reasons. First, legal liabilities are a beast. If you want to write fanfics in the world, go for it! However, I won’t read them, as I don’t want the risk of being sued. Similarly, though, don’t try to make money off said fanfics, as I’ll have to defend my world too (unless I somehow get it into Kindle Worlds… but that’s an entirely different subject). Second reason (yes, I got sidetracked) is that I have too many ideas. I have about eight pages of short summaries of books I’d like to write, most of which could be multi-book series. I’m never going to have time to write all of them, let alone if I used the ideas other people offered me.
I Want to be Fair to the Readers: The reason I put up Sunday updates is twofold. It helps to give myself a solid kick in the ass when I’m being lazy, because my goals are public, and because I feel it helps readers have a sense of progress on the books, rather than leaving people wondering if there’s a book in limbo or not, then appearing out of nowhere. I’m also not going to gouge on book prices. Sad as it may be, I actually make more money off the ebooks priced at $2.99 than I do off the paperback books of Ancient Ruins and Spells of Old.
Future Writing: So, what am I going to write in the future? Fantasy for certain, it’s what comes easiest to me, but beyond that… I’m starting to dabble in the immense pond of science fiction with the Stars & Shadows setting, with its superheroes and supervillains, and I may, may one day be able to bring one of my science fiction settings to life. However, for the next year, my goals are fairly simple. First comes Halls of Power, then Born a Queen and Before the Godsrage (I’m not sure which order, I keep flip-flopping). After that, I’m probably going to be writing the sequel to BaQ, tentatively titled Down with the Queen. Between various projects I’m going to work on short stories, building up some material for a Patreon or such. It’ll be odd, I’ll admit.
After that I’m going to try to put out the trilogy starting with Through the Fire. Personally I expect this trilogy to be composed of much shorter books than Ancient Ruins, probably about half to two-thirds the length, but there’s no way to know until I write them, as my writing style has changed immensely since I started those books. Once that’s done, I’m going to finish the first book of Sisters of Radiance. That’s either going to be a book and its sequel, or a trilogy itself. I’m not sure which, to be perfectly honest. Both Through the Fire and Sisters of Radiance are set in the same world, one which I’ve been working on for years, and which the world of Ancient Dreams was heavily based on. The two worlds are too different for me to merge them, and the stories they can allow are too different, so they’ll stay different.
As you can see, I’ve got an impressive amount of writing that I intend to get done. This is going to keep me occupied for some time, however, I’m not abandoning Sistina and company. Well, maybe Sistina, because she’s very hard to write stories for, but other characters will get short stories at the least, and potentially novellas. I’ve got a few ideas for full books and plots after the events of the Ancient Dreams trilogy, but they’ll be a separate thing entirely, and likely to go off after Sisters of Radiance is out of my system.
My Writing Goals: Now, this is purely speculation on my part, as I don’t know how much writing I can keep up in the true long term. However, I’ve found myself consistently managing between 10,000 to 12,500 words a week for my writing goals. Let’s assume that I only ‘work’ 40 weeks a year, and you get 400,000 to 500,000 words a year. With Ancient Ruins coming in at a bit over 117,000 words, that means I could, in theory, write 4 books a year no problem.
I’m not going to try for that. That sort of goal could drive myself mad, and I don’t want to do that. It also doesn’t account for editing, re-writes, or writer’s block. Let’s assume instead that 1 book worth of time is eaten by editing and publishing steps (NOM!). That leaves 3 books a year. That’s my current goal. Assuming Halls of Power comes out by my birthday (October 3rd), I’ll manage that much. My current goals are actually to get at least Born a Queen out this year as well, since it’s about 75% complete, so we may exceed my goals… and it’s entirely possible we could see Before the Godsrage in addition to that, so this year could be awesome… or it could flop, hard. We’ll see.
Final Thoughts: I’m a brand new author. I had absolutely no clue about the business when I got into it, and I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t know how much I can keep up, or if a major publisher might approach me. If they do, I’d be slightly wary, as they may want me not to be so transparent with readers, and that would make me sad. I like the interaction with people, with talking to them. It’s why I’ve answered every email I’ve gotten from those of you who’ve emailed me, and I’ll keep it up until I can no longer handle the load without impacting my productivity.
But in the end, I just want to write and tell my stories… and there’s little I enjoy more than talking about them with others. If you happen to run into me at a convention someday, be aware that I’d be more than happy to talk your ear off about them. It’s who I am, and I dearly hope I never change on this.