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Progress Report 2023 Week 38

It goes without saying that Real Life Family Events (RLFEs) are all the rage now, so of course a couple of them struck this week. But so did a major new phase of the A Plot, and it caught me unprepared! D’oh! Also, I’m refining my marketing plans, and I think I’ve got it kind of worked out. Let’s talk about it after the infographic!

Progress Report 2023 Week 38 By the Numbers

The weekly goal is 10,000 words. So, yeah. Not a goal-hitting kind of week.

Putting the RLFEs aside, I ran into an issue this week in my A Plot. I transitioned into that perpendicular universe’s spacefaring era, which meant I needed ships. And a new planetary political structure. And all that goes with it. I had to go on shipbuilding and set-building spree.

I think I have it under control. Our protagonists are on two Black Sky-class ships, the Ahahuh-nish and the Ahahi-nir. I think I have fleshed out enough of the political background to support the action that’s going on. I also had to build out their military and corporate rankings, with the itz kido being the captain (or first military leader) and itz kide being a CEO (or first corporate leader). I also made sure not to capitalize the word “corporate” or any of its trappings. That’s an element of the dystopian world Earth has become in the novels. Of course our protagonists would avoid that in a perpendicular universe.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m worried I’m glossing over too much, plot-wise. The narrative I’ve envisioned calls for it; I’ve paired it with something decidedly (and literally) down-to-Earth back on, well, Earth. It’s the story I want to tell. But I’m not sure it’s the story the readers want to read. But I have a plan to give me more data to make that decision going forward.

I’ve finished 15 of 21 beats. Looks like I’m getting close to the end!

Deciding Which Series to Write Next

I just bought Chris Fox’s book Writing to Market. I understand the basic concepts. At the very least, I realize that “writing to market” does not mean “selling out.” I have also used a lot of the books core ideas, like trope mapping. But, you know, I’ve gotten tired of imprecision in this space. I’m tired of “having an idea” and no being a freaking expert. So I turned to an expert.

I miss the days when I used to write articles helping people master techniques around technologies like Lotus Notes Domino. Those articles are so old that most pre-date the internet, but I had over 150 articles commercially published. As in, people sought me out and gave me cash in return for articles. I miss those days. I’m going to get them back.

Chris Fox has given an enormous amount of advice back to the community. His YouTube channel has a wealth of information, and it’s all based on his successful experience. So I’m going to leverage that for my next series.

I’m going to use his techniques to identify an under-served science fiction genre with huge potential. I’m going to analyze the tropes in that genre, and I’m going to use the results of that analysis to see which of my potential series will come next. I’m going to write the damned thing to market. And then I’ll see what I’ll see.

Yeah, it’s vague. But the plan and details will become more clear. The master’s already published the material I need. I just need to make the time to learn it. This is my native world, after all. I’ve been writing longer than I’ve done anything else. It’s time I put my hand-wringing aside.

This image from Pixabay (author and image have since been removed) has been on my mind. I’m feeling itch to write a space opera or some such.

The End Game for Evolution’s Hand

Chain of Tropes

Marketing Evolution’s Hand has been painful. I expected a lot of pain because it’s my first series. But it’s more than that, and I think I know why. I didn’t write it to a specific genre. I can’t cleanly categorize it. I wrote what I wanted to write. I wrote the story I had to get out of my system before I could move on. The core elements of all six books has been rattling around in my brain for forty years. So it’s no wonder I can’t figure out what genre it belongs to.

If I can’t figure out the genre, I can’t map it to tropes. If I can’t map the tropes, I can’t come up with an effective marketing blurb or ads. Basically, I wrote myself into a marketing corner. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

Have you ever found a new writer? Someone whose work you loved? You’d finish the first book in the series, tear through the rest of the series, and then look for what else they had? I love that feeling. I also love finding that the author had a lesser-known series that was well-rated, but not as popular. I think that’s what Evolution’s Hand will become. So that’s what I’m preparing it for.

Good Proofreaders are Worth Their Weight in Gold

I finally found a great proof reader. I’ve paid professional proof readers for each book published so far. In fact, for the first three books, I paid two proof readers trying to find one that was head-and-shoulders better than the rest. I found great beta readers. But I only found okay proof readers.

My new proof reader found 800% more typographical and grammatical errors than any other proofreader — and she had a lower incidence of false hits. I have idiosyncratic dialogue. Some characters say “all of” when they should say “all.” Some proofreaders would mark that as an error.

Seriously, people. Have you never heard of dialect?

I’m going to pay that proof readers to go through the first three books (she already edited the fourth). I’m then going to re-issue them. And then I’m moving onto the next series. I’ll continue to marketing Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action until the next series comes out, and that’ll be that. Any purchases from that point forward will be from read-through or happenstance. I like the series. I put everything I had into writing it. Now, I’m ready to leave its fate in the hands of the cosmos.

Which is a fancy way of saying I won’t throw any more marketing money at it!

Behind a graphical representation of Evolution’s Hand! It’s the best Tigakeet you’ll ever find. And likely won’t ever go looking for on purpose! Maybe having a handle on genre is a good idea! Image from Pixabay’s artist SarahRichterArt.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Might be in the Future

I’ve been thinking hard about Kindle Unlimited. I do not want all of my eggs in one basket. But as a new writer, I’m leaving money on the table by not being in Kindle Unlimited (KU). I’m 85% sure I’m going to pull Evolution’s Hand out of all other venues and focus on Amazon.

Want to hear something embarrassing? Want to know what’s stopped me so far? It’s the feeling I get when I hover my cursor over Draft2Digital’s “Delist Ebook” button. It feels almost the same (in a lesser form, of course) as when I had to euthanize pets in the past. There’s a visceral revulsion from the very idea of de-publishing my works.

Yes, you’re right — I need to put on my big-boy-pants and click the damned button. I will, too. Just not right now. I’m still processing it. I’ll move the needle to 95% sure, then do it.

I think.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’re my goals from last week, along with whether I accomplished each:

  1. Finish Mariam Al Khatib’s Pinch 2 Part II: Done! And I realized that beat really wasn’t her Pinch 2! It was a bridge chapter. But I stil finished it.
  2. Finish Melchizedek Conrad’s Pinch 2: Done!
  3. Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Pinch 2 (parts 1 and 2): Started! My set building got in the way of finishing part 2.
  4. Finish Catalina Ojeda’s Plot Turn 2: Not started
  5. (Stretch) Start Magali Suarez’ Plot Turn 2: Not started

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 38

Here are my goals for this week:

  1. Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Pinch 2 Part 2
  2. Finish Mariam Al Khatib’s real Pinch 2
  3. Finish Catalina Ojeda’s Pinch 2
  4. Finish Magali Suarez’ Pinch 2
  5. Continue to evaluate Kindle Unlimited for Evolution’s Hand

What Do You Think?

Do you write to market? Only write according to your own muse? Mix the two? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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