2012-12-02

12-02-12: 50,000 words and counting

I am making good progress on Peacekeeper with 50,000 first-draft words complete.  This morning, I was up at 0430 so I could get some writing done in the morning.  Later today we are going to the bookstore where I should be able to throw more words into the electronic box.  Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to publish the novel until around May of 2013.  Before you start screaming at me, let me explain how this works.

The hardest part of writing a novel is getting the first draft done.  Once that's complete, you have an entire story written.  I hope to finish this part by the end of the year.  Next comes the rewrite.  For me, this is a very important stage because it allows me to go back and fix parts of what I wrote earlier to better conform to what was written later.  I have a to do (todo?) list of things I need to enhance, change, and fix.  The entire rewrite can take a month or longer depending on how much time I have to work on it.  Let's assume the best and it takes me a month - now we're into February.

At this point I have a fairly complete, well-structured novel.  Since changes have been made, I will read it again and make more editorial changes.  That usually doesn't take more than two weeks.  Next, I read it yet again but this time at high speed to ensure that the entire storyline holds together.  Once that process is done the book is pretty much complete.  Two final steps remain.  My wife (who is also my copy-editor) does her magic on my sometimes terrible grammar.  I am getting better though and she finds fewer and fewer mistakes to fix.  She is not a science fiction fan and her detailed look at the book will take a month.  This puts us at the middle of March.

In March, the nuclear plant I work at shuts down for a refueling outage.  I shift into 12 hour days, 6 days a week, for about 2 months.  During that time I will not get any writing or proof-reading done.  Immediately after the outage, I will incorporate my wife's changes and make a final pass through the book checking with her before any other changes are made.  Then it can be published.  Oh - hopefully by then I will have a cover for it as well.  The wife of my best friend from high school days is redoing all my Galactic Alliance covers and she will also be doing the cover for Peacekeeper.  I'm sure she will have it ready by the time I'm ready to publish in May.

Sorry - but that's just how things are turning out.

One more item before I go back to writing.  One of the unique advantages of being an indie publisher is I can count daily book sales as well as monthly totals for each book.  I used to use an Excel spreadsheet to track these and generate graphs.  As the number of books I tracked rose, the spreadsheet became more of a pain and I shifted over to using an Access database.  Graphing from Access wasn't working out and so I looked for alternatives.  Since I use Quicken to track the financial end of writing I thought I could use it to track book sales.  I created two accounts, one for Amazon and one for Smashwords.  At the end of each month, I simply make an entry for each book (Translight, Chroniech, Dragonverse, etc.) in the appropriate account and put down one dollar for each book sold.  Quicken graphing can now show me graphs of monthly sales by book or by seller.  When tax time comes, I hide the accounts.  I still use the Excel spreadsheet to track daily sales.

Okay - enough blogging.  Back to writing...