Mid year update (and some news)

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Somewhere along the way, I blinked and it was half-way through June. How did that happen? I’m not sure who pressed fast forward on 2018, but I’m ready to hit the pause button and take a breather!

It’s been so long since I blogged, that it’s taken me about fifteen goes to write this post. But at least I can say I have good reasons for not keeping up with my blogging and social media of late. I’ve been busy; writing.

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So what have I been up to?

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Richell Prize

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been concentrating most of my writing time on preparing my entry for the Richell Prize. The Richell Prize is an excellent opportunity for unpublished writers to have a shot a winning $10,000 and 12 months of mentoring with one of Hachette’s publishers. To enter I’ve had to prepare a written statement, submit three chapters of a manuscript, a chapter summary for the full novel, and a synopsis. The great thing about this prize is that you don’t need a completed manuscript. As long as you have the commitment to completing the manuscript and have a firm enough idea where it’s going (so you can do the chapter summary and synopsis) you can enter.

I decided to enter the manuscript I began a couple of months ago. It’s a bit of a different style than what I’m used to writing, but the story and characters are solid and detailed in my mind. I’ve never had a story come to me so vividly. I hope I can do it justice!

I can say with relief that I’ve finally submitted my application, so now all I can do is keep writing and wait. Hopefully, by the time the shortlist is announced later in the year, I’ll have completed the first draft.

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Getting words down

I don’t know if I’m crazy, although it’s probably most likely, but I’m currently working on two manuscripts at once. The one above, and another manuscript which after feedback from my freelance editor, I’m redrafting. As mentioned above, I’m aiming to have the Richell Prize manuscript (working title ‘Chance‘) completed by October. The second one (working title ‘A Case For Love’) I hope to finish by September. As it’s a second draft, the bones are there, but it’s closer to a full rewrite. There are a few chapters/scenes that will stay in the second draft, and the general plot will remain the same, but there are lots of new words to be added.

Again, as crazy as it sounds, I’m enjoying working on two manuscripts at once. I don’t have a structure or plan as to which one I work on each day, I simply¬†sit down and open up whichever one is calling me. Although, I do make sure I’m doing close to an equal amount on both each week. I’m enjoying it because they are entirely different styles and genres, which brings me to my next point…

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My writing future

That sounds serious, doesn’t it? Well, I guess it is. It’s something that has been brewing for a while, and in my head the decision has been made for a few months. I’ve just wanted to sit with it privately to make sure I’m firm with it. And *gulp* I am.

I’m planning on taking my writing career in two directions – traditionally published, and indie published.

I’ve long been torn between what I like to write. On one hand, a lot of my writing is serious fiction with elements of mystery and the psychological complexities of people and society, on the other hand, I like writing what you’d call lighter ‘summer reading’ fiction or ‘chic-lit’.

I don’t want to choose which stories I want to write, but I know that in today’s competitive publishing landscape you need to be clear on your genre. This is why I’ve decided to continue pursuing traditional publishing for my domestic noir fiction, and indie-publish my chic-lit. And in doing so, one will be written under a pen name.

I’m in the process of setting myself some deadlines for my first indie release, but it will most likely be mid-2019. Which gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I’ll be releasing my first real book out into the wild! OMG!

I’m still committed to one day becoming traditionally published, and just because I’m indie publishing my lighter fiction doesn’t mean the quality won’t be there. It still takes a lot of hard work to self-publish. There will be rounds of structural editing with my editor, then the copy edit and proofreading phases. I will have the books professionally formatted and engage a professional to design the book covers. In many ways, indie-publishing takes more work, as the author is responsible for everything, from the writing right through to marketing and promotion. There’s lots to do other than just the writing!

It will be a huge learning curve, and I’m sure there will be things I get wrong in the process. But I’m excited to begin and see where it leads. I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks.

 

Finding the balance

Writing two books at a time and embarking on an indie-publishing journey isn’t going to be easy. There’s going to be no time for procrastination, no time for writer’s block or self-doubt, and certainly no time for faffing about on social media masking it as ‘research’ or ‘networking’. But I will need to find the right balance between writing, networking, and keeping up appearances on social media. What that looks like, I don’t know yet. But I do know it will take commitment, hard work, sacrifice and dedication. And I’m ready for it.

And now everyone who reads this knows it too – which makes me accountable. Gotta love some accountability, right?

My aim is to blog once a fortnight, and post regularly on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. But my main focus will be on writing. That’s why I’m doing all this – because I love writing. And I want to build a career out of it. I may not see the dizzying heights of Liane Moriarty, but if I can have at least some people who enjoy my books and want to read more, then that will be enough for me. (Although, I wouldn’t say no to a best-seller status either!)

And don’t forget you can always keep up to date with what’s going (as well as lots of readerly and writerly stuff) in my monthly newsletter. If you aren’t signed up, you can do so here.

 

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