Sign up to hear about new releases and other exciting news from Annie Bellet.

Archive for the ‘plans’ Category

What About That Career, eh?

I want to talk a little about career stuff and how being a writer has been and might be going forward for me. This is some deep random thought bullshit getting into things that likely most of you don’t care about, so I totally understand if you look at the wall of text and nope out now. If you are reading this looking for news about Harper’s Tale or Bad Moon on the Rise, the only news is the same old which is Kira’s book is coming in October as scheduled (pre-orders are up!) and Harper’s book will come whenever I finish it but likely this year also (and if you can’t wait to read the first three chapters, you can join my Patreon here where they are posted).

This post is going to cover a few things. First, looking back on the phases of my writing career so far and why/how each evolved and changed. Second, I’m going to talk a bit about what I hope for going forward, and why that might look a lot different than the past. If I was a good essayist, which I am not, I would conclude with something pithy but brilliant, insightful and wise that gives hope for the future while showing that I’ve learned valuable lessons of the past, but I don’t (spoilers: only bad metaphors and maybe a kitten end this post) so there’s no feel good intelligent philosophical cookie waiting if you read through this, sorry.

I’ve been a full time writer for 11 and a half years, and I’ve been thinking a lot now that I finished 20sided about what my career has looked like and what it might look like in the future. The world, to put it mildly, has changed a lot in the last decade, and that includes the landscape and world of publishing. I’m a hybrid author, which means that some of my work is self-published and some is published by larger publishers who publish multiple authors (we call this traditional publishing usually, and I will in this post). This post isn’t about changes in publishing, either, other than how those changes and how publishing in general works might affect my career (at least as much as I can predict).

My career has definitely gone through phases, and I think it is important to talk about those to understand what might happen going forward.

Phase 1 was figuring out not even what I wanted to write but how to write at a level I felt like anyone would want to read. Most of this phase nobody saw (and it started before I quit my job to be a writer, so a lot more than 11 years ago). I started with short stories partially cause I was told that was how people broke into publishing (you write short stories first, get some publications under your belt, and then someone might want to buy a novel from you. I won’t go into how this advice wasn’t maybe the best and was kinda outdated even when I started, cause that’s a whole other blog post probably). The other reason I started with short stories is that they are very forgiving in terms of time investment vs craft exploration and learning. Short stories are not forgiving at all when it comes to if they are working or not, and that very rigidity in some ways makes it easier to learn while doing them, at least for me. When a novel isn’t working, sometimes it is the part you are working on, sometimes it is the opening or whatever, and sometimes it is because of stuff you haven’t written yet, and it can often be rough to diagnose on the fly, especially if you are six months in and thousands of words deep in the mire. With a short story, the most you’ll be tossing away is a few thousand words at a time if things aren’t working. They were a great learning vehicle for me, other than the tiny little detail where writing short stories didn’t really teach me a whole lot about writing novels.

In many ways, Phase 1 lasted up until about 2014, so the first five years of me being full time (and a bunch of years before that, though I did write a few novels in this time as well). Phase 1 was turning into Phase 2 by 2014, probably the mix of those phases was 2011-2014, where I was still trying to get as many short stories done and published as I could, but also writing a novel here and there and still hoping for traditional publishing to somehow magically give me the money and acclaim I sought. My goals at this point were very simple: I wanted to be rich and I wanted to learn how to consistently write books that readers couldn’t put down and I figured that if I could master that second part, it would likely lead to the first. My ultimate goals was “Forbes list of most-earning Authors” but “consistently make six figures a year” was the smaller goal. Which a lot of people laughed at or shook their heads and tried to tell me wasn’t likely, but unlikely isn’t the same as impossible, and fortunately for me, I didn’t listen. Six figures a year seemed impossible as I headed into 2014 drowning in medical bills, on bed rest, and struggling with physical and mental health. I had already begun to have a sort of “you need to make a change because things aren’t working” epiphany in 2013, before I got sick, but there’s nothing like facing rock bottom to drive home that as lofty as my goals were, I wasn’t doing things that would work to get me closer to them.

I think at this point most peeps reading this know how that story goes. I decided to focus on novels, and to focus on self-publishing, which I’d been doing for years but with irregular output and a habit of writing something, and then writing something entirely different. So phase 2: just pick a thing and stick to it, was born. I’ve said this before, but 20sided came about because I made a list of all the things I loved to read about and then I figured out how to cram almost all that list (sorry, spaceships, no room!) into a single series. Turns out, somewhere along the way I had started more or less consistently writing books that people didn’t want to put down, and that I was right about how that would work out for me.

Phase 2 of my career has been focused on that one series almost entirely (I have a thriller pen name also, but almost nobody reads those books so we’ll just ignore all that haha). Finishing it, getting subrights sales like audio and translations sold, the unexpected but super cool print-only rights deal with a major US publishing house, etc. Twenty-Sided Sorceress got me to my six figure income goal (though getting there and staying there are different things, publishing income is a rollercoaster forever it seems, at least at my level) and brought me an audience that I’d been working for and trying to build for years. Book 10 is done, the series is wrapped up (ok, I know, Harper’s Tale, but it’s in progress and likely done and out in the next few months), and while I’m writing a spin-off novel in the same world right now, that’s part of what I want to talk about here.

Because we get the crux, what brought on all these thoughts about careers and phases etc.

I love Urban Fantasy. I love reading it, I love writing it, I’ve loved being able to play in Jade’s world and cram in references to every nerdy thing that has saved my life or helped shape who I am as a person, and I’ve loved sharing that world and those characters with other people. But I don’t think I can write nothing but Urban Fantasy, and nothing but Jade’s world forever (though I definitely have some plans for more in the world and maybe with Jade eventually). I’ve lived and breathed that series for six years.

I think I’m done for now, which are the scariest words to write ever, because I know that is what my audience wants and what keeps a roof over my family’s head and allows me to keep my immigration status in my new country etc. Which is probably why I buried them down here after a giant wall of text.  But I’ve been writing UF and Jade and almost nothing else for so many years that I feel like I need a real break, and that brings us to where we are now.

So what does this mean? It means I’ve been asking myself two really important questions: Who am I now as a writer and who do I want to be?

On the practical side, I will definitely honor commitments and Kira’s book and Harper’s book will both be released, because I’ve promised them and I’m already writing them and frankly Kira especially is a joy to write and I am excited to share her with readers. I have three more books in Six-gun Shifters planned out with lovely Gene Mollica covers already shot and paid for, but the decision of if I write them or not and how quickly will rest a lot on the combination of reader demand and my own desire to do so. I can say with moderate certainty that I won’t be writing more than one a year at the most. I want to deliver books that I feel good about and though that isn’t always the most financially sound decision in terms of speed of release, it is something I’ve always stuck to and I’m not going to start compromising on now.

But we have those two important questions. My focus is novels, and has been for a while. I miss short fiction, and I might do more of it for my Patreon, though I also hope to get back to finishing projects like Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division via Patreon in the near-ish future. But for the moment, longer work than short stories is where both my brain and the market in terms of “pays enough to keep lights on” are at.

As a writer right now, I am a primarily a novelist who writes Urban Fantasy for self-publishing. But I think I have more in me and I know that there is a larger world of publishing possibility out there.  I want to write bigger books (Kira’s first book will be almost twice the length the average 20sided novel, for example, so hopefully y’all like longer works) not just in word count but in scale. I want to write more epic fantasy, and I want to incorporate more romance elements. I think doing those things will be a fun stretch and challenge not just for my world-building skills but for my writing skills in general. I don’t want to stagnate or stay comfortable. I still have a giant list of things I love to read about and I think there’s room for that list to translate into more books, new work and a new-ish genre, or at least sub-genre. (Fantasy is my first and truest love and I’m sticking with it)

Obviously I want to keep paying my rent, but I think that fear of failure is how people (and careers) shrink instead of grow. I took a huge leap in 2009 when I quit my job to be a writer. I’ve taken other scary leaps in terms of what I chose to write or by jumping both feet into self-publishing and survivorship bias or no, those leaps worked out for me. My 2020 motto was BE MORE and while 2020 has been an unpredictable dumpsterfire of epic proportions for everyone, I feel like there’s still time for me to fulfill that.

So what is Phase 3? I have a trilogy idea that has kept me up at night, filled my dreams with scenes, and so far filled more than thirty pages of notes. It’s a scary project, with a bigger scope and more characters than anything I’ve ever successfully written. It’s epic fantasy with a heavy romantic component (multiple romances!) and going to require a lot from me as a writer in both time and (hopefully!) skills. I’m planning to give this project to my agent upon completion (of the first book anyway) and to take the huge risk that is traditional publishing. It might not sell. It might sell and then not sell to readers. It might not be the big series I feel it is with the scope and power to ignite a readership into fandom. With something new there is always risk. But I’ve always believed that without risk and trying new things, it is hard to grow. I am not the end stage of whatever writer me I envisioned. I’ve hit “career midlist writer making a living” goals but I still have the “Forbes list” stars in my eyes and while I know that reaching for the moon is often a fool’s errand, I’m aching to keep trying to fly.

Because some people get to go to the moon, so why not me?

I hope you’ll come with me on this new phase, this new journey, however it shakes out.  I promise I’ll keep writing stories that you won’t want to put down. I’m ready to take a bigger risk and to change and evolve, to stretch my writing wings a little further.

I’m ready to be more.

 

if you made it this far, here, have a kitten!

Holidays 2019 Update

Long time since an update, I know. There just hasn’t been much new to say other than “still working on book 10” so…

That said, there’s good news! I have to finish up final editing and maybe tweak a couple more scenes, then it has to get copy-edited, one more proofing pass, then formatting, and we’ll be across the finish line on book 10.  I don’t know if I can get all that done before December (especially since some depends on schedules of others like editor/formatter etc and they have holiday plans I’m sure) but the book is nearly here and we’ll probably squeak it into 2019 so I can close out the decade with a finished series for you all.

In other writing news, I’ll be at Dutch ComicCon this weekend as an author guest (site has both Dutch and English options if you want to take a look).  Here is the website: https://www.dutchcomiccon.com/

Also, my Patreon is up and running and the patrons chose Wrath: Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division Book 2 as the project so the first chapter is live to read right now! There will be at least a chapter every month (and of course, the final version will be available as ebook and print once we wrap it up on Patreon). If you want to read along and possibly get some extra things like sneak previews of upcoming books, short stories, and a chance to vote on things from new projects to character names, click HERE and come join!

Thank you all again for your patience while I figured out this final Twenty-Sided novel and dealt with a lot of life stuff this year.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and winter season. It’s going to be a great new year in 2020 and I’m excited about the post-20sided projects I have to share with you (that I’ll talk about after I get book 10 out, cause first things first).

 

Book 10 is still coming, promise

Hey, sorry for the silence. I’ve been dealing with same old same old back injury stuff plus some crazy family stuff that came up (that I might talk about publicly eventually but am not ready to do so yet, sorry).  That combined with me tearing apart book 10 and redrafting it cause I’m mega-paranoid about getting the grand finale of Jade’s story perfect has meant delay after delay.

But the good news is I had the final late night epiphany moment (for me, writing books is full of these moments, ha, but there is usually at least one big one each book where everything my conscious and subconscious brain has been working on comes into focus and I feel like I can finally put the words down in a way that does it justice) and I am full steam ahead on final chapters and edits.

I won’t give an exact date cause some stuff (like copy edits etc) depends on other people’s timelines etc but I think I can confidently say March.  Which I know I confidently said January and we all see how that went, oops, but life happens and I am grateful that people are understanding that authors are human.  This book will be worth the wait, in my totally biased opinion.

And again, before anyone panics that 20sided is ending, Harper’s Tale: Tribes is next on my list to finish and there will be an epilogue novella later this year that revisits Jade combined with a prologue/intro novella for Kira, Alek’s sister, who will be getting her own series in 2020. (I’ll do a separate post about those after Harper’s book comes out, complete with the amazing Gene Mollica cover art I’ve been sitting on and unable to share for nearly two years).

So thank you all for your continued understanding and patience.

2017 Wrap-up

Quick update:

I hurt my back while traveling at the end of August and instead of getting better it got worse until it has severely impacted my ability to do anything, sorry.  I am seeing yet another doctor in December, and I think we’ve finally figured out what is wrong, but it is going to take 4-6 weeks to know if treatment/physical therapy is working and likely many more weeks of physical therapy before I’m back to some semblance of normal.

So… writing is going slowly. If you’ve ever been in a lot of pain, you know how unpleasant and difficult it is to do even the most basic tasks, much less keep track of complicated tasks, characters, time-lines, etc.  As always, I won’t release a book I’m not 100% satisfied with.

That said… Book 9 is almost done (but not edited etc yet) and I’ve already written some parts of book 10 (it follows closely on book 9’s events). So my plan at the moment is to finish both books before the end of the year, and then release them in January fairly close together (depending on edit time needed etc).

I’ve got a lot of plans for next year, but of course my health is always the limitation on my life plans. It sucks, but it’s my reality and I’m trying to work through it as best I can. My hope is that I can stay illness and injury free next year and bring you all a lot of kick-ass books because this book-a-year pace makes me sad. I have far too many ideas to get out before I die and I want to write them all NOW, damnit.

The TLDR: bad news- I’m hurt and work is going slowly due to that, sorry.  Good news- books 9 and 10 should release in the same month so you won’t have to wait nearly a year for the end of Jade Crow’s story.

 

(also, I’m planning a novella epilogue for Jade and another novella prequel for Kira’s series. I’ll be doing a cover reveal for Kira’s series in February as well and trust me, these covers are knock-your-socks-off awesome)

October 2016 Update

Quick update.

Harper’s book is taking longer than I expected. The themes in this book are very close to home for me and I want to make sure I do it justice. I’m almost done, but considering time for external editing and formatting etc, it’ll be another couple weeks until release, sorry.

Book 8 is in progress also (yay juggling multiple deadlines) though I’ve set it aside for the moment to give Harper full attention at the end here. But I don’t foresee missing any deadlines on book 8, so still aiming for that to release before end of 2016.

Also have a secret project I’m involved in that I think ya’ll will love and that should be revealed soon, too!

In even better news, just approved the audio for book 4 of 20sided, so Hunting Season should be up on Audible within the next two weeks (depends on how long it takes them on their end to get it live). It sounds awesome. 🙂

Also… I’ll be doing a signing with a bunch of other awesome science fiction and fantasy authors at Powell’s on November 20th. For details click this sentence. So if you want signed books or just want to nerd out with me, come hang!

And that is October’s update.

What’s Next?

Book 7 of The Twenty-Sided Sorceress is out in the world, and now I get to think about what is next.  First, to answer to main question I’ve been getting: Magic to the Bone ties up the Samir storyline more or less, but it is hardly the end of stories for Jade Crow and her friends.

So… what’s next? ALL the things. Here’s a list, by no means set in stone, of what I’m going to be working on over the next year.

tribes_promo

The next 20sided book will be a side novel and I think from the cover there you can guess whose story it is. It’ll follow Harper as she deals with the events of the previous books and has her own adventures in the world of gaming conventions and tournaments.  I’m loosely aiming for this book to come out late summer or early fall of this year.

Book 8 is coming, as well, but likely not until the winter of 2016. It’s set chronologically after book 7, of course, but will have its own stand-alone story with Jade and company.  Here’s the cover for that one (it’s one of my favorites and should be a blast to write, since this plot is going to be balls-to-the-wall gamer fun):

dungeon_promo

Notice how those things are loosely set to come out later this year? That’s because, for the sake of sanity, the quality of my work, and my health, I’m doing a couple things differently going forward. First is… I am not going to set deadlines or release dates until a work is pretty much done and ready. My doctors (and my husband) have demanded I reduce stress, so… deadlines are out the window.  Another thing I’m going to do is take a break from writing 20sided books for a few months. I have other series I started, other ideas I’m dying to work on, and I want to make sure I’m writing books because I’m ready to write them and not just because people want them now now now.

Here are the non-20sided things I’m going to work on this year. I’m pretty excited about them and hope my readers will be also (and if you are on my mailing list, you might get to read some of this stuff for free, just saying…)

GPC N2 - Brood Mother

First up is Brood Mother, the 5th Gryphonpike Chronicles novella.  I feel pretty confident saying it’ll be out in June or July because it’s half done already. It’s another fairly stand-alone adventure with Killer and her group. If you like D&D-inspired epic fantasy, then give that series a shot. First novella is free.

The big project this year will be getting going again on the Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division series. The first book, Avarice, has a beautiful new cover. My plan is to work on books 2 and 3 (they are outlined but not begun quite yet) and release once I have both done so I can make sure to release in a reasonable time frame. Each of those books will stand more or less on its own also, as they are mysteries at their core. Think Law&Order but with sword fights.  Below are the covers for the three books in the series I’m planning on working on this year (book 1 is, obviously, already done and out if you want to read it).

New Pyrrh covers together

So… there’s my plan for the next year or so. I also have book 2 of the Cymru that Was duology about 70% finished, but I am not sure if I’ll get to it, so I’m making no promises on that one. I might finish it right after Brood Mother, though, since it would be good to finally finish that. That might not happen until 2017, however.  I can’t answer how many 20sided books there will be right now, because I don’t know. What I do know is that the next few will be stand-alone stories without a huge over-arching plot. I definitely know the very end of Jade’s story, but there might be more stories I want to tell before that.  I have at least two side character novels planned as well, plus I might spin off Alek’s sister and her crew into a whole different series (she’s so different from Jade, she’d let me write some really cool stuff that just wouldn’t fit with Jade’s story). I’m going to follow my muse on this and write until I don’t have ideas that I feel are worth sharing. When Jade is ready for the end, I’ll know, and wrap it up.

Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me through this crazy journey. The last couple years have been a lot of fun and I hope to keep the crazy roller-coaster flying along. The support and awesomeness of all my readers are what make this even possible. You peeps kick so much ass. Thank you.

Three Book Box Set!

People kept asking me for a box set for the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series, and so it is now a thing.  Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, and Pack of Lies are all collected in a single ebook now for easy binge reading.

box2

Get it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZEQMP8U

Barnes&Noble hereOr Kobo here.

In other news, Justice Calling is free again and will be for the summer since the response was so awesome from my birthday free run with it. So tell all your friends, because the first hit is still free. *grin*

 

Orycon 35 Schedule

My one convention appearance this year will be at Orycon in lovely Portland, Oregon. Here’s the info: http://35.orycon.org/

I’ll be on six panels over the course of the three days. Here’s my schedule:

Publishing Your Ebook
Roosevelt            Fri Nov 8 2:00pm-3:00pm
You’ve just gotten back the rights to your backlist! Or you have a
manuscript you KNOW will find its audience. What next? Make it into an
ebook and get it out there making you some money. Where to publish, how to
publish, and how to get help.
MeiLin Miranda, Annie Bellet, Dave Smeds, (*)Kamila Z. Miller, Tod McCoy,
Peter A. Smalley

One Lump of Science, or Two?
Ross Island          Fri Nov 8 4:00pm-5:00pm
How much science does science fiction need? What’s more important, the
tech or the story?
Richard A. Lovett, Patrick Swenson, (*)Gordon Eklund, Annie Bellet, David
W. Goldman

Hybrid Vigor: Choosing Both Traditional and Self-Publishing
Hamilton             Sat Nov 9 1:00pm-2:00pm
Don’t believe the True Believers on both sides of this non-existent
divide: you can be both a traditional AND a self-published writer. Learn
how to let the project choose the path.
(*)Annie Bellet, Phoebe Kitanidis, Tod McCoy, Ken Lizzi, Jennifer
Brozek

The Real Middle Ages
Ross Island          Sat Nov 9 6:00pm-7:00pm
Why do writers love the Middle Ages?  What do writers leave out or get
wrong?
Annie Bellet, (*)Blake Hutchins, Renee Stern, Alma Alexander

Audiobooks
Madison              Sun Nov 10 11:00am-12:00pm
Selling the rights, ACX, hiring a narrator or–gulp–doing it
yourself!
David D. Levine, Annie Bellet, Mark Niemann-Ross, Phoebe Kitanidis

BBC Sherlock, Orphan Black, Etc.
Morrison             Sun Nov 10 12:00pm-1:00pm
Which new shows are the best?
(*)Dave Bara, Annie Bellet, Brian J. Hunt

 

(Yeah, that little * next to my name up there? They made me a moderator of one of the panels. Mwahahahaha…ahem. I’ll be good. Probably. Maybe. I’ll try at least 🙂 )

Until then, writing ALL the things. Also attending a week long workshop on writing Science Fiction. Because hopefully I never stop learning.

New Audiobooks!

Two new audiobooks are out, both of them in the Remy Pigeon series and narrated by the awesome Dan Boice.  Below are cover pictures for the audio versions. Click on the covers to see the books at Audible.com.

In other news, I’m hard at work on more Gryphonpike Chronicles novellas, with the next Pyrrh novel also in the works.

Forthcoming

As I said before, I’m super busy catching up on all the work that fell by the wayside this last six months.

But here’s a little preview of what to expect from me (and Doomed Muse Press):

First, the Pyrrh Series.  Avarice, the first novel, will be out in October with the next three books following in 2013.  The series is basically “Law & Order” with swordfights.  Who wouldn’t love that? And check out the awesome cover by Nathie.

 

Then, in November, the first book of the Lorian Archive Trilogy will be out.  You can read the first 3rd of the novel for free (see the sidebar under Casimir Hypogean) or the finished book will be available in November.  The rest of the series will come in 2013.  The series has lovely covers done by the awesome Tom Edwards:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Oldest ›