List of Lessons Learned

I went to Starbucks today, as I usually do on Tuesdays, and noticed they'd broken out the holiday cups. As lame as it might be, I always take this "event" as a marker that yet another year is coming to a close and it's time to give a good think to what's happened between now and when the red cups last appeared.

So what's happened to me? A whole lot and, sometimes, very little. I'm going to break my year-to-date down in easy to managable chunks because this is as much for me as for anyone else.

One: Writing and Pricing 
The Brenda Diaries started as a fun Twitter feed and tumblr blog for my alter-alter ego who used to be my imaginary assistant before she went to work for my husband. Now Brenda has almost 5,000 followers and a novel with another to come 2012. But first, she's getting the TV treatment. I'm working on a pilot script while keeping up with her Twitter feed.

Also, and more importantly, I've lowered the price of the ebook across the board and for all ereaders to 2.99. The print version will be out in time for the holidays for those of us who still love the look and feel of a good old fashioned book. Not sure what the list price will be, but it'll be priced to sell.

Two: Shorter is Better
I know what my next novel is going to be (see Four below), but I'm also aware that I need to maintain a steady stream of fresh content for readers to enjoy. This December I'll be releasing my second "reality meets fiction" short story and essay collection, Domestic Arts.

Once again, I'm liberally mining the lives of friends and family, but fictionalizing it enough so they'll still talk to me after it comes out. I'm not only doing this because I value their privacy and friendship--if they cut me off, there won't be a third in the series.

As I've discovered that I rather enjoy the almost instant gratification of short stories, both reading and writing them, I'm working on a sexy, smart and sassy contemporary romance series. They're going to be funny, people are going to get busy, and endings will be happy but not cheesy. My poor graphic design goddess has been instructed to come up with a cover that perfectly reflects all my vague yet specific notions and I'm looking forward to unveiling it soon along with Traveling Companions, the first in the series in early winter. 

Three: Teens Today and Tomorrow
Teenagers today are incredibly sophisticated this is why writing for young adults isn't as easy as most people think. One thing teenagers don't like are phoneys and whiners and I'm guilty of being both when it comes to writing YA. I have more than two, but less than five YA ideas in various states of development. (One was almost a reality show series before I backed out after admitting to producers I just didn't have it in me to delve into that world.) And, as I take a swing of my no water, no foam, extra hot soy chai, I've decided to put up or shut up. 

I've made it my goal to start and finish (then polish and publish) at YA novelette by spring 2012. To make things more interesting--at least for me--I'm posting chapters of The Fat Girl Chronicles as I write them on wattpad.

Four: The Next Novel Idea
I don't have an image for my next novel as the nut of the idea occurred to me yesterday as I was handing out Halloween candy. I'm still working it out, but I have a feeling there is enough there to carry me through a full length book. Even though I want to set a "published by" date right now, I know I can't and shouldn't be more specific than say it will definitely be out in 2012.

Writing a novel is a time consuming endeavor and there's a 100 percent more work when you're doing it all yourself. As I want to make sure the ebook and print version come out at the same time, it's going to take a lot more coordinating and favor asking to make sure it happens and the outcome is professional and polished.


Tari said...

I also evaluate and set new goals this time of year. We're in some similar places right now. I'm working on rewrites of my first manuscript, want it to be polished and ready to go out. Luckily getting lots of qualified support in that area. Hoping to be on to the next book by January.

Looking at the positive results I've add, and ways to improve. Sometimes the red cups make me smile, because it means happy holidays!!

Thanks for sharing!

Mayra Calvani said...

Cute blog, Margo! I'm enjoying reading your novel!

Gale Martin said...

Like, wow. You are the most driven, hardest-working writer I know. I gotta get me some of that soy chai. Look forward to more of your work to read.