A reflection on 2020 would be perfectly normal this time of year, but let me be the one to say it: I’d really rather not. Writing-wise, 2020 wasn’t such a bad year. I found a fantastic beta partner, grew my writing ability greatly, read some amazing books (both fiction and on the craft), and completed the second novel of what has become a trilogy.
The rest was not so hot.
So let’s talk 2021. I plan to do one final round of queries in February. If nothing comes of them, it is time to turn my focus to self-publishing. A lot of what I have seen and read points down this path, and I’m both excited to explore it and confident I can at least make a decent try. A slow but steady start. Some parts (procuring a cover) scare me more than others, but as my youngest likes to say, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
I also intend 2021 to be my first two novel year. I am in the early stages of plotting out book three, and my goal is to have it drafted by May so I can put at least some focus into a new project that I will draft by (maybe as part of) NaNoWriMo 2021.
It isn’t the pace many successful self-published authors reach, but I’m also homeschooling a third grader, managing virtual school with my other two kids, and navigating a pandemic. I’ve also never completed a novel in less than a year, so this feels like…a good starting point.
My mindset is shifting. I can feel the change. I’m starting to think less in “I would like to” and more in “I am going to.” I know at one point I said 2020 would be the year, but…2020. So let’s just continue forward from where ever we are.
2021 will be better. If nothing else, I will make it that.
The querying process is, I’m sure you know, a waiting game. This is fine – I have a full time job this year that takes up a great deal of my time, along with writing projects and children to keep me plenty busy.
But it isn’t all quiet.
While I have not gotten a full request yet, I have gotten a LOT of positive feedback in the last few months. Much of it has been actionable too, which means I have some work ahead of me. I am energized by the agents who have told me to keep going, they liked a lot of what they saw, and let me know what held them back from the “yes” I was hoping for. One even encouraged me to resubmit if I did revisions based on her feedback!
Somewhere along this path, it became not only real but possible in my mind. I started as a “why not?” and now am thinking in terms of “how will I?”
I will make 2020 my year.
As of today, I have officially started the query process to find an agent for my debut novel. What is life?!
I haven’t submitted anything to anyone since I was 17 and thought I could do no wrong. I submitted a terrible novel with no beta reads and only my own editing directly to a few publishers accepting open submissions. Big surprise, I was rejected. After that, life got busy, I moved to a new country, started a family, and basically adulted all over the place.
I’m back to dreaming. I’m serious about writing. The game plan? My first round of queries has gone out. I will continue to send out waves of queries until I either am accepted by an agent or I have my second book ready (betas, edits, the whole shebang). At that point, I will wait for the final round of queries responses and then begin the process of self-publishing.
One thing that attending Penned Con taught me was the significance of having multiple books in the indie world. I am not able, at this juncture, to write a ton of books in a short span of time – so I am giving myself time to expand my catalog.
I will keep writing. Keep building my platform. Keep loving books. And I will see where this ride takes me!