Year 3 of My 5-10 Year Overnight Success Plan

by | Jan 25, 2016 | Checking in | 0 comments


So… January 31st marks the 3rd bookiversary of Firehurler. I’ll have been a self-published author for three full years. I’d like to say the time has flown and it feels like just yesterday. But really it’s been the exact opposite. It feels like I’ve been at this for decades. In an ever-changing, ever-evolving industry, I feel like a crusty old-timer. I’ve written and published 15 books now, including the Twinborn Trilogy, Mad Tinker Chronicles, and 8 books in the Black Ocean series. I’ve had Mad Tinker’s Daughter make it through the gauntlet of Immerse or Die and get included in a StoryBundle.

Looking back at my two-year mark and the plans I had at that time, how did I stack up?

2015 Goals:

  • 6 Black Ocean books (1 already came out in February)
  • Produce a manuscript for traditional publishing
  • 1 Non-fiction release on the topic of worldbuilding

Well, I hit the 6 Black Ocean titles: Poets and Piracy, To Err is Azrin, Alien Racer, Retro Version, Siege of Mortania, and Moon of Odysseus. I also produced a manuscript for an urban fantasy tentatively titled Shadowblood Heir (currently in editing). I didn’t go through with the plan to delve into non-fiction. Instead, I ended up entering the world of audiobooks with versions of Tech, Lies, and Wizardry and Salvage Trouble. A version of A Smuggler’s Conscience is in production with the series’ narrator, Mikael Naramore.

As far as actual success as a writer, I have yet to become an overnight sensation. Since this only marks the end of the third year of my 5-10 year plan for overnight success, this isn’t a surprise. I still have 2-7 years to go. But in real terms, I’m doing better than I was a year ago. It’s incremental change. I haven’t gotten a movie deal or signed with a big name publisher, but month-over-month I’m selling more books than I was this time last year, and making more money doing it. This year, it actually hasn’t seemed like I should take up panhandling or a paper route for the salary bump.

I also know more people than I did a year ago. This is something that’s hard to quantify and measure in terms of progress, but as an introvert, it’s something that I have to make a conscious effort to work at. More people know my name. More people have worked with me and know the sort of writing I do. I think normal people call this networking.

Of course, what annual retrospective would be complete without a set of goals for 2016? Answer: one for a year other than 2016. But since this is 2016, let’s take a look ahead.

  • 4 more Black Ocean missions, the first of which is tentatively titled Syndication
  • Find an agent
  • Secure a publishing deal for Shadowblood Heir

I’m sure I’ll do other stuff, but those are the ones I really want to hit. A lot of where things go beyond those three bullet points depends on how the traditional publishing angle works out. If I get a deal, I’ll be putting a lot more work into the Shadowblood series (I have it planned for 3 books). If not, depending how long I persist in trying the traditional route, I’ll work on self-publishing that as well, and working on manuscripts for books 2 and 3. If I keep knocking on doors with it, I may be able to sneak in another Black Ocean mission or two.

Well, three years down, X to go on my get-rich-quick overnight success plan. Years of hard work and scraping by will surely seem like a price well worth paying once I emerge onto the scene as an overnight success. Here’s to another year at the grindstone in the meantime.


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