Patreon Short Story Progress Update

It’s been a hard week to focus on writing, but I did make some progress worldbuilding and thinking on my (probably) Patreon short-story project. Namely, I’ve worked on the magic system, created a syllabary and some language/grammar rules that were necessary for naming conventions, and drawn a preliminary setting map.

I’m not yet decided on whether I’ll post finished but unrelated stories in the meanwhile. That’s kind of a tougher decision than I thought it would be.

This weekend will be busy with real-life stuff, but I intend to take the time to draw a more official setting map with my Wacom tablet. Then comes the fun part of creating borders and the notes that go along with them.

I’ve also decided on the project format. Instead of just doing an array of short stories in this setting, as I initially planned, I’d like the stories to themselves tell the story of the setting. Think World War Z. So I will have to invest some initial time into loosely plotting out the stories and how I’d like them to connect.

The result will be that the Patreon project will have a delayed launch, but I think in the end, it will be more satisfying this way.

Why Go To A Writers Retreat?

As I mentioned in my last progress update post, I applied for the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat last weekend.  The application fee by itself was $25, but room and board for the week are $800 each, and I would also have to fly out to LA and physically get to the retreat.  There’s no guarantee that I will be accepted.  But even if I am accepted, why would I shell out upwards of $2,000 in room, board, and traveling costs to do some writing?

This was definitely a question I asked myself as I was filing out my application, while I was looking at needs-based scholarships that I’m sure I wouldn’t qualify for, and applying for an Editor of the Anthology Scholarship/position that I’m not sure I’ll receive.  So it’s very possible that I will end up being accepted and pay out of pocket to attend.  So why.

In the first place, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to get together with people who are specifically writing what I am writing (YA with queer characters).  I get a lot of writing energy from networking online with other queer writers, and I get a lot of writing energy from networking with other writers generally in person, so I imagine the energy from meeting queer writers in person will be immense.  In the second place, I saw that the mentor for the YA group was Malinda Lo several months ago when I began considering the retreat.  That is really what tipped me over the edge.  In the third place, the organization is Lambda Literary, instead of a for-profit writing retreat.  Not that I think that for-profit writing retreats are bad, writers gotta pay their bills, but the purpose of the organization definitely played a part in deciding to apply.

In the fourth place, think of how much work I can get done while having all that fun!

So in the end, I talked myself into doing it.  This is probably not something that would become a regular thing for me, if only because I couldn’t afford it to.  But I think something this targeted, with a good organization, is something I can save up and make an exception for.

Progress Update

As you can see from my previous post, I finished Surviving the Road!  I also submitted four out of my eight possible queries, decided that I’d see how the responses on those look before I submit the other four, applied for the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat, and did some major world-building and magic-system-fleshing-out for the secondary world setting in which I intend to set a bunch of short stories.

On the plate for this coming week is seriously looking into Patreon for my short stories and doing more world-building for what I’m thinking of as the Tattoo Magic world.  I likely won’t start revising Flight, my second book, until February.  I’m giving myself a little time to cool off from the high-pressure stuff like drafting and revising in favor of something a little more light-hearted.

Query Hell

A robot devil with a top-hat and a pitchfork standing over Bender from Futurama, while Bender holds his hands to his forehead and looks distressed.
I may currently have the robot hell song from Futurama stuck in my head.

It’s January.  I’ve finished a new manuscript, which means it’s time to query on my old one.  Why does it mean that?  Because I’m full of the finished-novel high and it’s a time of boundless motivation and energy.  So I’m putting the to good use to conquer something I dread.

I hate querying.  I hate trying to sell my work, and myself, to people who don’t know me.  I don’t like random contacts and I feel like everything about these interactions is judged, even though I know that in reality there’s probably just some tired agent on the other end shrugging and sending a form rejection.  I invariably screw something up (like the first query, in which I typoed my word count at 77,000 when it’s really 70,000, whoopsie) and it gives me something to beat myself up about for the rest of the day.

But I keep doing it, because I haven’t given up on traditional publishing yet, and if I’m doing traditional publishing, I want a professional to help me sell my work.  I think this is the lawyer in me.  Sure, you CAN represent yourself in court, but you really really REALLY should have a professional do it.  They know all the sticky little rules and procedural stuff.

So here I am, assembling my list and paring it down and sending out my queries to the professional representers in the writing field.

When I hear of authors querying hundreds of agents, it boggles my mind.  This year, my list of agents I’m looking at for Surviving the Plague is… eight.  Eight whole agents in the entire world who I feel like would be a good fit for this manuscript based on their stated interests and the story I’m trying to sell.  Eight letters before I shrug, set aside Surviving the Plague for another year, and wait for the rejections (or hopefully maybe the lucky R&R but I’m not holding my breath but man that would be nice) to roll in.

I have prepared my querying materials, the basic body of the cover letter, the synopsis, the sample chapters, anything they might ask for, long in advance.  Long enough in advance to revise those just like I have revised the story itself, trying to polish until they shine.  So really, Query Hell is just three days of research and querying, while I’m at my highest of novel highs, and then it’s over.

I can do this.

Start the Dance Party

Image, from HRC's Bollywood Dance Party benefit, of a bunch of dancing people in front of rainbow lights.
But only if it’s a rainbow dance party.

It’s done!  Surviving the Road, my third novel manuscript, clocks in at a hefty 88,415 words.

I’m very excited….

  • to finish a third manuscript
  • that was so hard for me to write the ending to
  • after the first novel in the series was rejected post R&R and I hated these characters for reasons that aren’t their fault
  • only 7 days after I told myself I would finish it
  • despite still feeling a bit off from having the flu

Let the dance party commence!  Let the celebratory meowchi be ordered!  Most importantly… let the rest of the day be a video game day, because tomorrow I have to apply for the Lambda Literary Writers’ Retreat and look into Patreon and start researching other agents to submit Surviving the Plague to.

Progress Update

Even though I’ve had the flu over the past week, I’ve done a lot of thinking about writing.  That counts, right?

I looked into Patreon a little and I’m feeling ‘eh’ about their terms of service.  I’m going to let that simmer a little while and maybe try looking into some alternatives.

I wrote a chapter of Surviving the Road.  This means I have one chapter and one scene to go before the book is done, which is also known as ‘when I can buy myself a celebratory meowchi’ to add to the finished novel meowchi collection.

That’s it, but I think that’s pretty good considering how sick I was all week!

Belated ‘Monday’ Post on Self-Publishing Short Stories

As well as being utterly down and out from the flu while having to work my day job from home because Things Are Due And I’m The Only One Who Can Do Them, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about writing.

I have a lot of short stories in my stable, and a lot more that I want to write.  But the time and energy I put into shopping them around to an ever-decreasing supply of professionally paying magazines is really not paying off.  Even doing a simple numbers crunch, if I sold one of my stories at a market rate (rather than accepting the below-market rate that many ‘but you get exposure and you’re published!’ places offer), I’d be making less than a dollar an hour in most cases.

I honestly think I could do better self-publishing these stories on something like a Patreon.  Because I love writing short stories, and I have so many other short story ideas floating around in my head, but the amount of energy I put into marketing them is not only not worth the payoff, but it detracts from the amount of energy I have to market my novels.  Which, honestly, that energy is at a premium right now.

If I did that, would I only publish short stories on it, or would I move my blog over there as a ‘perk’ of supporting me in my writing?  And what about my idea to pass a part of the proceeds on to other deserving artists?  These are all things I’d have to think about before doing an official Patreon launch.

But the seed has been planted.  And I think I might water it and see what it grows into.