As soon as I turned in TOO BIG TO DIE, the 12th book in my Odelia Grey series, I was no longer under any obligations or deadlines from any publisher.
I am officially an INDEPENDENT AUTHOR!
TOO BIG TO DIE, which comes out December 2018, is my 25th novel, the 23rd contracted by a traditional publisher. That's not to say that I will never ever again contract with a traditional publisher, but I will never again contract for multiple books.
In the words of the great Danny Glover: I'm getting too old for this shit.
I turned in the last contracted book two weeks ago today, and followed that up with a two week hiatus from writing. I wrote here and there during that time, but not much, and I didn't have a set schedule, which is important, whether you are an independent author or working through traditional publishing channels. When I'm asked about how I'm able to produce so many books in such a short time, my answer is always the same: I have a writing schedule and stick to it about 90% of the time. Without setting a writing time, and sticking to it, many authors tend to meander off course and produce little.
Bottom line: I treat my writing like a job. A job with regular hours. Weekdays, my hours are generally 6:00 am until about 8:00 am. Weekends are about 4 hours a day, mostly done in the morning, but I'm more flexible about the exact times. I always have treated it like a job, a job I love most of the time. But now it's even more important to maintain that mindset.
Today I sat down at my computer at 6:00 am, after feeding the cat and cleaning the litter box, and armed with my morning coffee, began my life as an independent author.
Wow, no deadlines, except my own.
Wow, I don't need to be to my day job until 10:00 am, so i could go back to bed for another hour or two.
It's both exhilarating and scary, like a tall winding roller coaster.
One of the things I did during my two weeks off from writing was to prepare a writing project list. This is a list of novels and short stories I want to work on, along with target dates for completion. This will be my road map so I don't wander lost and unfocused without structure. It's long list of book ideas I want to bring to the page, along with maintaining my long-standing series. Right now, I have ideas scheduled through 2019.
I guess you could say I still have deadlines, but these are gooey deadlines that can be manipulated if the need arises.
Between now and the end of the year, I plan on finishing two short stories and a non-mystery novel titled FINDING ZELDA. I've been working on FINDING ZELDA for several years, here and there, as I had the time. The first draft is nearly done, and my plan is to get it done and published sometime in 2018.
To celebrate my new freedom, I'm giving away two character names in FINDING ZELDA. To enter, simply send an e-mail before 9 pm PT, August 27th, to firstname.lastname@example.org with ZELDA in the subject line. Winners will be drawn at random and announced on August 28th.
NOTE: You must be a member of the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club to enter, but come on, you always wanted to be a member, didn't you? Fess up.