…I’ve hit the wall. It actually took me a lot longer than it has some of my other writer friends, but after dealing with some intrusive and not very fun real-life stuff this past week, I realized that this crazy pace needs to slow down a little. Over the past 24 months (give or take), I’ve published/written (I have two novellas that are done but not released yet) 22 books. Nineteen of those were full-length novels of 80,000 words or more. At first I really didn’t mean to publish so frequently, but this is my full-time job, and I do tend to write quickly, so releasing that many books didn’t seem like such a big deal…at first. Also, this whole self-publishing thing has gotten a lot more competitive, and one of the best ways to stay visible and not have your career disappear in a puff of smoke is to get a lot of books out there consistently, and at short intervals.
Problem is, when your schedule is super-tight, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room when life throws some lemons your way. After having Barnes & Noble pull all my books simply because I had the audacity to change the mailing address in my account with Nook Press (a horrible “glitch” that’s caught some other writers I know), I realized the only way to get my books back out there quickly was to reupload all of them through Draft 2 Digital, an aggregator for people who don’t want to have to upload their books to all the various individual sites (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, some smaller vendors). The thing is, I have about 40 individual titles, along with all the various boxed sets. Just getting all those books on D2D took me most of today. Now I have to wait for the books to go live on B&N again so I can get the new links for those titles, put them in the back of ALL those books, and then reupload them all over again. I figure this is probably going to cost me about 20 hours of work time by the time I’m done…time I’d thought I’d be using to write. I was already scrambling because I’m taking a few much-needed days off at the end of July, and I still have a couple of novellas in various stages of editing that need to be sent to proofreaders in order to meet their deadlines before I go out of town.
Yesterday I came to the realization that I just couldn’t meet all those deadlines. I know there are other writers who can happily put in 12-15 hour days for weeks at a time, but I’m not one of them. I don’t mind working on weekends or writing on holidays, if that’s what it takes, but the sheer mountain of stuff I would somehow have to get off my plate in the next week smacked me right upside the head, and I knew I had to take a step back. I needed to not feel guilty about wanting to go see Spider Man. I live in a gorgeous town and hardly poke my head outside the house, and that’s just not healthy. :-/
So…I’m pulling Refugees (the next Gaian Consortium novel) off the schedule. It’s about halfway written; I hope at some point I’ll have enough breathing room to get back to it. I’m just not going to make any promises as to when. Next on the schedule after Refugees was Deep Magic, the next Witches of Cleopatra Hill book, and since it’s ramping up toward the end of the series (which will culminate with Darktide in January), the last thing I wanted was to go into writing that one completely drained and brain-fried. It’s too important…both to me, and to the series.
This is the first time I’ve had to do something like this, but I think it’s important to my mental health. Except for some extremely part-time assistance with my mailing lists, I do all this on my own — writing, formatting, social media, website, scheduling promotions, working with cover designers. I love what I do. And I want to keep loving it.
The good news is that, since I won’t be releasing a new book in September, I’ll probably end up moving the release date for Deep Magic from October 18th to October 11th. I’ll keep you posted.