Now that Ashes is out everywhere, what comes next?
Other than getting the word out and making sure all the editions are available, I took this week off from writing endeavors. That ends Monday, when I get back to work on my next book. While more tales await following the end of Ashes, I’m giving the characters some time to breathe.
Instead, I’m writing a sci-fi novel. Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can write a novel I’m comfortable putting in front of the world, my challenge is to write one of equal or better quality in substantially less time. I plan to outline, draft, and revise all by the end of March, with roughly one month sprints for each phase. The biggest misstep I made writing Ashes was not having a solid plan from the outset. Draft One served as little more than an outline and springboard for Draft Two. Draft Three was much closer to what a thorough structural edit should have been. Draft Four was cleanup, with no major structural changes but many subtle, line-level tweaks and improvements. For this the sci-fi book, my goal is to do all of my pre-outline worldbuilding by the end of the year, finish outlining by the end of January, write the entire first draft by the end of February, then bang it into something presentable to beta readers by the end of March. It’s an ambitious endeavor, but it’s the minimum cadence I want to ultimately set for myself.
I’m not quite finished with Ashes, either. Many people expressed interest in an audiobook version. Having dealt with long, mindless commutes for much of my professional career to date (my current commute excepted, since it affords me time to write), I have an especially soft spot for audiobooks, so I love the idea of making one for Ashes. The question is, how much production to put into it. Do I record the entire thing myself? Should I read the narrative and have other people do voices? If others get involved, how does that impact distribution of royalties? Should I limit the narrators to just Cody and me? Are we equal to the task of providing good narration? Bad narrators destroy audiobooks; I don’t want to ruin Ashes for someone because I couldn’t narrate well.
While I’m not going to go out of my way to do more advertising than I already have, I will probably do a week’s worth of advertisements on The Morning Stream, the best podcast on the internet. Advertising only takes self-published authors so far; the real key to success is a combination of quality and quantity. I’ll also be mentioning Ashes on Scalzi’s blog on December 4.
Once I finish the aforementioned sci-fi book, I’ll turn my attention to writing Ashes‘ sequel. The collective Work of Alour-Tan is a trilogy, with Ashes only scratching the surface of the underlying machinations. There may also be a prequel story brewing, mostly unconnected to the through-line of the trilogy but perhaps of some interest to readers all the same. Tryneya has many more stories to tell, too, not just the The Work of Alour-Tan.
For now, go read Ashes! If you can find the time, leave me a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Smashwords (in roughly that order of preference, should it make a difference to you). Good reviews help more than all the publicity in the world.
Rest assured, more stories are on the horizon.