I am grateful to see the calendar turn. 2022 was not a year I want to re-live. Long post ahead, so pull up a chair.
2022 was a year that included too much loss and grief, I wrote books I didn’t love (for various reasons), I ignored my emotions at the detriment of my mental health, I DID finally get a handle and managed to get back to low carb at the beginning of December (it’s a lot harder with MCAS) and started actually getting some movement in that doesn’t trigger reactions.
So for 2023 I’ve made some plans (not resolutions–to me those are just wishes…plans/goals require follow-through):
- I will only write books in series I absolutely love this year.
- I will put my own needs first before agreeing to anything.
- I’ll resist FOMO and listen to my intuition first.
- I will set my health as a priority and stick to my diet and movement. I’ll be 62 on January 17th and I have NO desire to go through my 60s in pain.
- I’ll pay more attention to my spiritual and magickal needs.
- I’ll attempt to find joy every day.
There it is–my plan for 2023. My reset plan. My plan to bring joy into my life. I tend to plan out my writing schedule year at a time because things will change during that time period And while I would love to have a five-year writing goal all set out, I tend to pivot as necessary.
As I said, I didn’t get done what I wanted to in 2022. My grief over Caly was rooted far deeper than I expected and it interfered with my writing. There were days were I sat, staring at the screen, unable to think, and all I could do is cry.
I also made the mistake of trying to write a series to market — the Magic Happens series. I went against all of my advice, I ignored the advice of my coach because I really wanted to reach a larger audience, and I ended up bored as hell. Now, I don’t think the books are boring because I think that I actually did a good job on them but it was a struggle and it took far longer than it should on both of the books. And I am just not connecting with Marquette in the way I hoped.
As far as the Hedge Dragon series, well writing that got entangled in my grief over Caly and every time I thought of approaching it again I felt an intense sensation of loss. I do believe will be able to go back to Storm in time, but don’t have a date for it. It has to wait for when I don’t break down crying when I start working on it.
As I said above, I have decided that during 2023 I am only going to write books in series that I LOVE (and that sell, a few series I love just don’t sell enough for me to viably write). In 2023, I hope to release — and of course this is subject to change should something drastic happen — three Moonshadow Bay books, three Night Queen books, and two books in a secret project that I’m working on. I have a very good feeling about the secret project, but I don’t want to talk about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it.
You know, when I first went indie, and even up into the past few years, I had a hard time with the fact that I’m so prolific. First, I LOVE that I can write so fast. I LOVE being able to release books when I want, and not feel confined. And yet there was a little part of me still caught up in that trad mentality of only being allowed to write three books a year because anything else was too much for them.
They actively prevented me from writing extra books. They only wanted three a year, and though those were longer than the books are right now, they still wouldn’t equal half of the work I write at this point.
I was also prevented from writing for another publisher unless it was in a drastically different genre, due to strongly worded do not compete clauses. And I was prevented from writing anything other than what they wanted because they wouldn’t issue contracts for the other ideas. So I was hedged in.
It’s a different world when you’re indie. For one thing, an indie author can work on a schedule that is drastically faster than a trad publisher. Two, the trad pubs are out to make money for themselves, not for authors.
So by preventing me from writing more books they opened up slots for other authors. I see that logic for a big publisher, but it doesn’t work well when you’re prolific and don’t have another outlet.
I’m just rambling here, but I’m realizing how differently I look at publishing now. I use to almost revere it, as those hallowed halls in New York were sacrosanct holy places.
But now, I look at the publishing houses and I see constriction, I see publishers actively working against the authors, I see inefficiency and gatekeeping based on faulty data. I have met so many talented indie authors who are very successful, who write wonderful books, and have never been able to get into New York because they don’t write exactly what New York thinks it wants. I’ve seen indie authors so successful trad publishing couldn’t afford to give them advances that would make it worth their while.
One of the problems is that trad publishing is a dinosaur. They’re far behind the times. By the time the trad publishers recognize a trend, that trend’s almost over. What they see as dead is still selling on in indie.
At one point I was amazed because an editor from a different publishing house whom I used to talk to on a regular basis told me that I was considered a groundbreaking author in the trad publishers. I asked why because for the life of me, I couldn’t see it.
Well, it turns out that in my Otherworld Series, one of the main characters — Menolly — was having a lesbian relationship, and I left the door open on her sex scenes. Apparently in mainstream fiction–which I was considered part of–that was almost unheard of. And then I remembered that my editor at the time had told me, once she got the book Darkling on her desk, that I needed to decide whether or not I was willing to lose readers. She wasn’t going to force me to remove the sex scenes, but she wanted me to decide whether I would be okay losing readers because of the explicit lesbian scenes.
I told her I was more than willing because I wasn’t going to force Menolly to hide her passion for Nerissa. And so the books came out with the scenes intact, and yes I lost some readers who were disgusted by the fact that two women could love each other — even though they’d never objected to the violence in my books or the heterosexual sex scenes — but I gained more readers. And I gained the trust of my readers who felt they were represented.
So yes, apparently I was a groundbreaking author. And that just blew my mind because it seemed like what I was doing should be a no-brainer. But as I said, trad publishing has always been a dinosaur, and if it doesn’t change, it’s going to eventually crumble into the dust. I only wish that I had went indie earlier than I did. But I was afraid.
So, now, I’m back to Moonshadow Bay, back to Lyrical’s world, and to a secret project I’m looking forward to.
I’m not sure how many books I’ll have in the Moonshadow Bay series, if they keep selling really well, I’ll write more because I enjoy January’s world to a point that I never thought I would.
I guess that’s it for now. I hope your coming year is wonderful, and I hope the new year brings some gentle relief for the world. I know I am now facing the fact that it will take me years to get over Caly and I will continue to cry over her when I think about her. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my life and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love our kitties and then I’m not ecstatic with Ellie and Kirsi and Apple and Brighid but it does mean that a bright part of my life was extinguished too soon.
This might be a little more than you planned on hearing from me, but it’s where I’m at.