Update: Now What?
Secrets of PEACE was released this week and is now available on Amazon. It's been quite a whirlwind. I had a few hiccups with proof copies due to my color choices, and it felt like after reading the thing a million times, I was still finding little typos here and there. In the end, though, it all worked out, and it's been a success so far. I am so grateful for all the support I've received in this venture from my friends, family, and fellow writers. When I first decided to self-publish, I was terrified and overwhelmed. I had no idea what I was doing and constantly I wondered if I was making the right choice.
Now, I'm 100% sure that I did. It's been so awesome to see people share the book on social media - people I don't even really know, or who I do know but didn't expect to care at all. I got a photo from someone on Twitter sitting there and actually reading my book the other day and a phone call from an old co-worker who was super enthusiastic and supportive even though she hasn't read it yet. The book already has its first five-star review from the wonderful EJ Fisch, who does a beautiful job of summing up what it's about. It got up into the 300's for the science fiction/dystopian category the day of it's release, which I'd say is pretty darn good for a first-time indie author no one's ever heard of before. I'm pleasantly surprised and incredibly happy with everything right now, so I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey in whatever capacity that might be. You are all amazing and I am incredibly blessed to have such awesome people in my corner.
I'm kind of surprised by how much of a relief it is to know this is behind me now. Not just the first-time publishing thing, but the book itself. I poured five years of my life into that thing, and it was never easy. Secrets of PEACE challenged me more than anything I've ever written before, and I'd be surprised if I ever encounter such a tremendous challenge again. Maybe it's unfair to say that the book itself was challenging; I just didn't have the skills I needed to tell the story the way I wanted to when I first started writing it, and that was frustrating. So the book also taught me more about writing than everything else I've written combined, and it feels good to finally have something tangible to show for my efforts. Something I'm proud of. It's also a relief to know I won't have to rewrite it again. I mean, I could, but I probably won't. It's time to move on, and that's exciting.
And speaking of moving on, what comes next? The obvious choice would be to work on the next book in the series, and that's definitely on my short-list of priorities for the next 12 months. I don't have a release date yet and probably won't for some time, but I do have a title for you all. The second book in the Secrets of PEACE series will be titled Renegades of PEACE, which is pretty fitting and says enough about the plot that I won't give anything else away right now. I anticipate that it will be a little longer than Secrets was at somewhere around 90,000 to 100,000 words. I already have a solid plot outline that just needs a little more fleshing out. I'll also be working from an old draft of the story I wrote back in 2013, though lot of it will have to be changed and rewritten. For one thing, it's old and crusty and my writing has improved since then. More importantly, however, I made so many changes to Secrets that the first half of Renegades is going to be entirely different, so that's where most of the rewrites are going to come in. Still, the fact that I'm not starting completely from scratch means I'm pretty optimistic that Renegades will be ready for publication no longer than one year from now. There will also be a third book, though I don't think it would be a direct continuation of the story from the first two books. I had initially planned on it being a novella, but the more I work on outlining and putting pieces together, the more I think it's probably going to be novel-length, even if it is a short one. We'll see how that goes, though. It's still in very early stages of planning.
The other project on my priority list is Courageous Cody, a children's picture book I wrote in high school and began working on again in earnest last year. The writing has been done for some time now. Illustrations are about halfway complete, and after all the writing and editing I've been doing over the past few months, I'm definitely ready to put the keyboard aside temporarily and pick up my art tablet again. I don't have a release date for that yet either and probably won't announce one until illustrations are 95% finished, just because I tend to be a little picky about when and where and how much art I do at any given time. If I'm not in the mood to draw, I don't like to force it or the art suffers for it. Ideally, I would love to finish the thing by the holidays, but I'm not making any promises so don't quote me on that. School will be starting in about 4 weeks and I have a full schedule for Fall semester with 16 credits, a daughter starting kindergarten, and a toddler who will be at home without her sister to entertain her while I do homework. So we'll see how things go.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I'll definitely be posting more frequent updates there as I make progress. There will be sketches, illustration previews, word-count progress meters, and short excerpts as part of writing games like #1lineWednesday and #2bitTuesday. I'm excited to have new material to share; it feels like it's been forever.
Again, I want to thank everyone who has supported me on this publishing journey so far. It's so awesome to connect with you all, and the kindness I've been shown by the writing and reading community has been incredible. I couldn't have done this without you.