Yes, we’re there, at this time of year where hundreds of thousands of established or aspiring authors are immersed in their next projects for a whole month of intense writing.
I’m participating for the first time, and after debating with myself about the different options I had—one of which being to finish drafting Phoenix’s sequel—I decided to go with the lyrical “Caribbean misadventure” where two high school friends have to deal with the turmoil of first love and self-identity and devastation as they find themselves emotionally and physically trapped in the midst of family crises and a hurricane.
While I started off rather well, above the targeted average words per day for the few first days, I had to go back to two early chapters as the story took a different turn. As it had happened to me before in another piece of writing, my characters took over and laughed out loud at my outline. So although you’re not supposed to edit and just keep going, I lost some time reworking the new outline, but I think it will be for the best in the long run. It is more logical, anyway—Thanks, Marion and Dannick! (Lead characters’ working names) Halfway through, I still haven’t yet reached 20,000 words, but I know I sometimes work like a diesel engine—I know absolutely nothing about mechanics, I’ve just heard that diesel engines are sometimes longer to warm, but when they get going, they’re on a roll.
24 Hours of the Phoenix
In related news, 24 Hours of the Phoenix has been released and I must say it was rather disheartening. Marketing is hard—I knew that of course—and I suck big time at it. I’m not an overly confident person and I don’t like to talk about myself or how I feel other than through my characters’ actions and reflections, in hiding, and genuinely don’t think it would be interesting otherwise.
I know the story is far from over, but in hindsight, I would have done things differently. I would have put the book on NetGalley for half a year instead of one month, and be more patient. Meanwhile, I would have tried to grow my readership and not have the book available to pre-order. Because pre-orders for an unknown author make no sense, and they were furthermore counterproductive, at least on Amazon where there resides a greater pool of potential readers. Finally, by releasing my book in one of the last months of the year, I lost all opportunity to enter it in two debut-novel awards I was interested in—I discovered them after I’d set a release date.
There’s probably more to my mistakes, and I’ll write a full post with tips from my experience. But that won’t happen today, because today, I have to go back to writing.