Greetings all! I’m back from another one of my periodic long absences with some good news: I finally finished the first draft of my latest mystery novel, Identity! Now I need to do a couple rounds of edits, slap together a query letter and synopsis, and then send it out to a few agents (per my own advice) and see if I get any bites.
I’m going to do things a little differently this time around. Identity is my seventh full-length novel, and frankly this time I’m not in a rush to publish. I’m closing in on a major life change—I’ll be retiring from the military in Summer 2021—and want to devote more time to preparing for that. Specifically, I want to prepare for a second career.
“But I thought writing was your second career?” you might be thinking.
Here’s the thing. I gotta be brutally honest with you: after writing and publishing six books, I have yet to make any significant money from my efforts. In fact, taking into account the money I’ve spent on editing and marketing, I’ve actually lost money overall. This doesn’t mean it hasn’t been worth it. In the end, I’ve always written what I wanted to write, and my primary reason for writing is because I enjoy it. But it has not panned out as a viable income source, which is par for the course for the vast majority of authors.
However, now that my financial future is somewhat uncertain, I need to be more practical with my time. Writing and publishing a book takes a lot of time and effort, which at this point for me has resulted in little to no payoff except the personal satisfaction of doing so. In the beginning, that was enough. But after seven books…not so much. That could always change; most authors who eventually find financial success are several books into their careers. But for me, this means I’m making some changes to my future goals and path going forward.
This is what I’m going to do: like I said earlier, I’m going to first try the traditional publishing route for Identity. The reason I’m trying the trad-pub route at all is because my novel, as a classic murder mystery with a twist, is a popular genre that in theory should do well on bookshelves. I also want the support and at least a modest advance that a trad-publisher can offer. No, I’m not hurting for money; it’s the principle of the thing. At this point in my career, I’m not willing to publish for no money anymore. I’d rather not publish at all and wait for a better opportunity.
If the trad-pub route doesn’t pan out, rather than rush to self-publish, I’m going to shelve the book and take a break from novel-writing for a bit.
I say “novel-writing” because I’m going to transition to screenwriting as part of my goal to get into film school in Fall 2021!
…Okay, I know I said I wanted to be “more practical” with my time, and breaking into the film industry isn’t exactly a practical goal. But it’s something different and exciting I want to try, along with some other long-shot goals (maybe get into politics…). Basically I want to try new things, and my upcoming life transition presents the opportunity for me to do that.
I’ll eventually publish Identity, but if I have to self-publish, then I’m going to write two sequels first. Then I’ll publish all three within a few months of each other. I’ll take my time writing the sequels, because what’s the rush? (…Not George R.R. Martin time tho, damn) So that’s what’s going on with me! I might make the first couple chapters of Identity available online…we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll keep posting writing advice–mostly critiques of movies or TV shows, probably. And stay tuned for some homemade short films, and insights into the process of filmmaking and screenwriting I’ll post for your benefit!