October 19, 2011

planning a writing career

As you all know, I’m plotting the second novel in the steampunk series while tinkering with revisions on the first. I plan to have ten to twelve months between releases, giving me plenty of time to finish the novels and do a good job of it. Yes, I can write the first drafts in practically no time, but revisions, beta-readers, and critique partners stretch that time out. I want to produce the best book possible, and I’m fine with taking a little extra time to do that. Originally, I wanted to publish The Clockwork Giant by the end of this month, but that’s not a realistic goal. I need to finish revisions, write up the extra bits for the book, formulate a marketing plan, format the eBook, etc. That will take a bit more time. Yes, I could release the book by the end of the month, but it wouldn’t be the best book possible, and that’s a disservice to my prospective readers.

There’s a second reason I want to put so much time between releases. It’s entirely possible that I’ll finish the third book before the second releases. And that’s ideal. Because you know what I can do in the time between the release of book two and book three? I can work on book four, whether it’s part of the series or not. I can build up a sort of novel queue. If it takes me six to eight months to finish a book, and I release them ten to twelve months apart, in three years, I could potentially have three books released and six books written. And I could get to the point where I had so many books lined up that I could start releasing more than one a year, like two books from two different series, or two standalone novels. And in the meantime, I could release short story collections or singles.

So, if I’m to make a career of this, I figure I need to write at minimum, two books a year (and that’s first drafts). I could already be halfway done with a second book if I wasn’t writing a series, but seeing as sequels rely heavily on what happens in the first book, I couldn’t really move forward until now, when revisions are more of a tinkering nature than huge changes. It’s entirely possible that I may be able to write three books a year when I focus on standalones, but for now, I’m writing a series, and I’m content with that taking more time and concentration. On top of that, writing may not come so easy on some projects. I may need that extra time between releases to write.

So what books are in my future? Right now, I’m working on the steampunk series, and that may take another year or longer to complete, depending on how many books I end up writing. After that, I have a bajillion story ideas, some good, some bad. Some are little more than tiny fragments of an idea. But I know that I don’t want to always write steampunk. I want to write a bit of fantasy too, maybe some science fiction, maybe some non-Victorian historical fiction. There are two stories that I really want to write, stories I have no idea how to write. I don’t even know where to begin. I want to write a Norse epic, and I want to write a military space opera romance. Beside those, I have about thirty other ideas for stories.

I’ll probably wait a few more books before I attempt the Norse epic or the space opera. I’m not quite comfortable with my abilities as a writer to attempt such a project. Once the steampunk series is finished, I want to write a few standalone fantasy novels and maybe a standalone steampunk. Maybe once I have six or seven novels under my belt, I can write the Norse epic. And maybe twelve books from now, I can try the space opera.

This is my career, and I take it seriously. My goal is to have ten books released by the time I'm thirty. I think my ultimate goal is to have fifty books released by the time arthritis sets in. That's a reasonable goal, I think. Or maybe it's extreme. Who knows? Only time will tell. All I know is that I love my job, and I'll keep writing as long as there's a mode of putting words on a page. Even blindness and fingerlessness couldn't stop me (though they would certainly slow me down).

So that’s what I plan to do as far as my writing career goes. What about you? What books are you working on now? What books do you hope to work on in the future? Is there a story you’re dying to write, but you feel you aren’t ready to write it?


  1. Military space opera romance?!?!?! That sounds AWESOME!!! Space opera has always been my favorite genre, and (in my opinion) no story is quite complete without a little mayhem and a dash of romance.

    However, I totally see your point. I think Science Fiction, and especially space opera, is one of the hardest fiction genres to write well. That's why there's so much more good fantasy than good science fiction. Still, I think a good science fiction pretty much wastes all but the best fantasy.

    Also, I really envy you for having everything planned out.

  2. I admire what you are doing. You are writing and planning, planning and preparing. You are plotting and developing. These are things I see will definitely help you in building, not just a novel queue, but a successful writing career.

    Good on you :-)

  3. So nice to see someone so young with a good life plan laid out. I spent the first 55 years of my life keeping all the balls in the air raising a family, running a company, etc. etc. At 64 I wrote a memoir, followed by a novel, a second memoir, and now a fantasy. It seems like writing one book just spurs one on to keep writing. My memoirs I wrote to explain to my children why I seemed so unbalanced at times, and I am like Forrest Gump - once started, I just keep running.

    Good luck to you Brooke - Let me know where I can buy your books.

  4. Reece, I love space opera in TV and film. Battlestar Galactica is one of my favorite TV shows ever. However, I've never read a space opera (I'm severely lacking in the science fiction books department), so it will be even more difficult for me to write! I am trying to read more science fiction, I have the Ender Wiggins series on my TBR list, and my husband has the Lost Fleet series that I may read at some point.

    Angela, I hope you're right! It seems a bit daunting at first, but entirely doable. I really want this to work out, to be a career and not just a housewife's hobby.

    Rosemary, I do have the most wonderful husband to help me out, so I can stay home and write. I know that won't always be the case, especially when we have kids, but even then, I think that if I dedicate my time appropriately (and tote a laptop everywhere I go), I can stick to my plans. And as far as purchasing my books, I'm releasing the first one in December.

  5. Sounds like a good and ambitious plan. Go for it! I have only recently starting planning my writing career, but I agree that releasing two books a year seems like a good plan. I'm planning on a mix of shorter, novella-length works and novels and am currently working on revising a novella and a novel, both paranormal romance. Can't wait to hear more about your books!