On the Precipice – What New Things are You Doing with Your Writing?

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane

I’m on a precipice with my writing goals this year. All good things to consider. I purposefully left my goals open in 2018 to allow changes. I wanted to back off on the Amazon Kindle World commitments I made, to allow more time to write full novels and start a new series. So far, I’m on target with my goals and it’s exciting.

MY BACK LIST – I loved Laura Benedict’s post yesterday On the Matter of Backlists. I will soon have my YA back list titles returned to me and I’m excited to expand my inventory of books that are under my control. As I have the time, I will reissue them with new covers and have the ability to control pricing and subsidiary rights.

QUESTION – For those of you who have had rights reverted back to you – Have you every considered adding additional scenes or content? Change an ending? Or even continue a series (at least one more book) to conclude a story line? I’d love to hear about that.

RADISH – I also was approved to become a writer for Radish – serialized fiction available on an app for your phone. The approval didn’t take long, after I submitted a project for their consideration. I’ve set up my author profile and financial info for payment, and have my first story (Mr January) split into episodes with cliffhanger endings to entice readers to buy the next installment. It’s been fun to rethink the story as in episodes and adhere to their guidelines on length of ep offerings and marketing suggestions.

Radish is not a publisher. They are only offering a platform to expose your writing to new readers. If you sharpen your skills to create enticing teasers and can break apart your book into serialized fiction episodes that appeal to the reader/subscribers, this is more of a promotional tool. Larger publishing houses are trying out this platform by selecting certain authors in their house to participate.

I’ll report back when I have anything new, but so far, it’s been relatively easy. No special formatting. No cover design. They only want 1-2 images for the book, without text (since they insert font over the image when you upload). They in turn send out email promos to their subscribers that feature your story/series under their guidelines as new episodes are launched. This is free advertising for your work.

NEW PROJECT – I always love it when a new project starts to take hold in my brain. I’ve been inspired by certain well-written TV shows that have a rhythm to the plotting turning points (beats) with key pivots that turn the plot on its ear. I’ve used my “W” plotting method with success, as far as developing proposals and outlines for new books. For someone who started out as a complete “pantser,” I have evolved. My last completed project – The Curse She Wore – hit every beat, turning point, black moment, and mirror. But I am now eager to get back after another project and will start on that this month. Every project is a new opportunity to learn and flex my wings.

PERSONAL GOALS/HEALTH – My regular medical check-ups have me visiting various doctors for different reasons – mostly prevention. I’m taking a healthier approach to my eating and exercise – and am allowing more time with family and friends. It feels really good. For me to control my deadlines is a real bonus.

QUESTION – Do any of you have challenges in balancing your health goals with your writing time?

FOR DISCUSSION

1.) What new things are you doing with your writing? If you’re excited about a project, please share what you can. We love good news at TKZ.

2.) For those of you who have had rights reverted back to you – Have you every considered adding additional scenes or content? Change an ending? Or even continue a series (at least one more book) to conclude a story line? I’d love to hear about that.

3.) Do any of you have challenges in balancing your health goals with your writing time?

 

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

24 thoughts on “On the Precipice – What New Things are You Doing with Your Writing?

  1. When rights reverted to me I re-read the books and for some, did go back and make changes. In some cases, it was a time factor–technology changes in a heartbeat, and I did some updating, but also added a preface letting readers know the book was set years before (and still had a reviewer complain the book was ‘wrong’).
    Yes, I have put back cut scenes when length was no longer an issue. I’ve changed names after running a book through my naming spreadsheet (and finding 3 characters named Hank the editor never caught).
    I haven’t changed endings, but I have definitely continued a series. My Blackthorne, Inc. series was three books long before rights reverted, and Book 8 will be coming out soon.
    My current “should I do this?” is wondering whether to change the covers of my 1st 4 Blackthorne books. They’re action-adventure/romantic suspense, and at Book 5, I gave in to the pressure/expectations to include a bare-chested man on the cover to make sure readers knew there would be a romance in the book. My concern (other than money) is how to make sure readers know they’re not getting a new book, only a new cover.
    And, in case this answer isn’t long enough already, I’m thinking about bundling the early books in the series — Books 1-3, and 4-6. Book 7 starts a slight shift in the series, introducing “new blood” so the bundling of the first 6 seemed to make sense.

    • Thanks for your input, Terry. Good stuff.

      How did you get your books scanned (as a starting spot before you made any changes)? I’ve heard there are services that scan print books to make a digital file of the original book. After copy edits by the house, an author doesn’t always get a copy of the final text file.

        • I’m not anticipating getting finals back. My YA books with Harlequin Teen are in the best shape since their editing process is very transparent. They’ve been great to work with. Thanks, Terry.

    • I’ve always wondered about the logic of bundling books 1-3 in a series that is comprised of less than 10 books. Personally, if I’m not familiar with the writer/series, I’m not going to buy three books. I want to try the first one before I commit to more. Once I’ve read the first one, I don’t want a bundle where one third of the bundle is a book I’ve already bought. It seems like letting the first book stand alone as a trial, and then bundling 2-4 makes more sense.

  2. I’m nearing the end of a 3-month journey to fix my writing hand and ankle/leg both which were broken March 10 while hiking. I was so busy being creative with how to get things done with two appendages in casts that I had no energy left over for writing. Last week with my hand back to normal and my leg tolerable, I found that I had no words to add to my current WIP (Book 11). I’m a pantser, so no brain creativity = no progress on the story.

    Thanks to TKZ , I went over several of the old blog posts in the library on Writer’s block. I followed your advice on how to get over this imaginary thing, wrote a blog post as a warm-up, and got back to production. What was supposed to be two months of uninterrupted writing and the fantasy of two books written turned into two months of zilch. Sigh.

    • So sorry for your accident, Alec. That would be frustrating. I hear that Google docs has voice commands. I did a post on this. Maybe others have spoken of voice command software like Dragon.

      On your dry spell, you might benefit from my “W” method of plotting before you write. I’m a pantser like you, but light outlining (7 points about your book) & organization of your plot structure before you start is a good way to make progress in the mean time. Plus you can flesh out your plot & do any research before you start writing.

      Once you start writing with some guide posts for the story, the writing should flow. Don’t lose hope. Once you find something that works for you, it will be liberating. Hang in there.

    • Your health is VERY important for your mental outlook. Take care of yourself first in order to eventually carve out quality writing time.

      I wrote most of my debut book while recuperating from my hysterectomy. 6 weeks. I ditched the pain meds & worked off the euphoric high that authors know & understand. Not everyone’s story will be the same, but keep plugging away. You won’t regret what you’ll learn.

  3. Interesting you should bring this up.

    Kelly and I got the rights back for four novels in our Kincaid series. (rest still have “inventory” somewhere.) We immediately repackaged them with new covers (you can’t legally use the originals) and put them out there. They have been a nice steady income stream. We recently decided to repackage them again to make them conform to the look of our upcoming release. (They looked outdated anyway).

    However, we have decided not to include our first series book. When going back over it, we realized we could make substantial improvements in it. Not just pruning out some adverbs or stuff. We want to rework some characters and plot points. So that is simmering on our back burner. We plan to include a prominent forward in the book (and make it obvious on all promotions) that this is NOT a new book that we’re trying to con into readers buying. We will explain in full why we felt compelled to do it. Don’t know how readers will take this…

  4. I was invited to publish on Radish last year, and currently have two project there, one backlist and one new.

    It’s kind of fun to run the new project there. Eventually, I’ll release it on my own.

    It’s sort of like the old pulp fiction on newsstands. The key to success here is the same as it was back then, building up a name with consistent production.

    • I’m so EXCITED to see you on Radish, Jim. I’ll check out your offerings. Yes, the pulp fiction aspects appeal to me.

      The advance promo on a new project can create buzz before a release, without committing copyright to a term deal or obligating the author to exclusivity. Thanks, Jim.

  5. Currently in the process of turning a fanfic into an original novel with original characters. It’s kind of superhero-y, and I don’t expect it to sell particularly well, but it’s a labor of love for me. It also served to build excellent backstory and worldbuilding for my more genre-focused urban fantasy series, so if that’s all it accomplishes, I’m happy. 😀

    • I was a fanfic girl before I started writing original material. You go, girl. You will be surprised how it will spark a new direction for you.

  6. Balancing health issues with family, friends, and writing time isn’t easy. Joint pain isn’t new for me; I’ve dealt with RA for 20 years. But the weather this past winter, combined with all the rain this spring, has really rocked my world. It’s all but destroyed my e-book reading time. Paperbacks allow me to get into a more comfortable position. When I am on the computer, I’m writing.

    As for good news, I just signed the contract for SCATHED, Grafton County, Book 3. So, I’m back focusing on SILENT MAYHEM, Mayhem Series, Book 3. Shawnee Daniels is a joy to write. I’m also picking away at a stand-alone that I’m really excited about, but it involves a ton of research since I’ve never written a story set in a different country.

    • I’ve seen all your good news on Social Media, girl friend. Keep up all the good work. Sorry about your RA. Sounds terrible, but writing sure has a way of redirecting focus onto something you’re passionate about. Hugs to you, Sue.

  7. Great timing for your helpful post, Jordan. Thanks!

    Question about Radish: their site mentions using Radish to generate interest for books slated for publication before they’re released. But what about unpublished books? Does putting a serialized version of an unpublished book on Radish preclude the author from seeking a traditional publisher?

    Heath: That’s number 1. I feel for Alec–the longest weeks of my life followed surgery on my writing hand.

    Jordan, you’re tough to write after surgery. When I had both knees replaced, I optimistically took my laptop to the rehab facility, knowing I’d get lots of writing done. Hah! Between PT 3 X/day and the hit to the body from major surgery, I barely had enough energy to collapse into bed. Plus mental concentration was zip-squat.

    My priorities are: 1. Family and friends; 2. Health; 3. Writing. W/o the first two, there is no writing.

    • Good question on the pre-buzz before a book is traditionally pubbed. You might have to do that in conjunction with your new publisher’s consent. It would be like taking out a BookBub promo while you are launching. For me, it exposes an author to new readers and can expand your mailing list and spread your author name. It can also be taken down fairly quickly.

      I’ve had 3 surgeries on my knees after playing too much volleyball, but even I wouldn’t try bringing my laptop to my PT. That is for a workout, darling. My sister is a PT. If she saw me writing, she’d up my repetitions and make me sweat. After my surgery, I couldn’t drive and was stranded at home with no heavy lifting. I decided to use my brain and my fingers instead. Perfect match up.

      You’re a good woman, Debbie, and I love your writing. Keep up the good work.

  8. I’m completely embroiled in completing my website and doing the final formatting and rechecking on my first book, that my wife has to remind me to eat and just about everything else. But I do have the next few books outlined. So the rest of 2018 is writing.
    Radish sounds interesting, will check out.

    • I am so proud of you, Brian. You sound like you are hard at work and this will pay off, big time. It’s amazing when you find a passion for something where you can forget to eat. Not many people in this lifetime have found what you have. Stick with it.

      Definitely check out Radish when you are at the point of having inventory or figure out how it can work for you.

        • That’s why we are all here. Everyone contributes and makes this journey fun, right? You’re doing great. I’m very excited for you. I’ve been there, brother.

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