For years, I’ve gone to conventions all over the continental United States. Some were genre conventions such as MileHiCon, Radcon, and Archon. Others were more media-centric, such as Denver Comic Con and Salt Lake Comic Con. Toss in a World Horror and a few writing conventions such as Superstars Writing Seminars and you’re looking at most of my traveling expenses over the years.
I’ve decided to pull back on the conventions this year. I’m only going to go to two – MileHiCon, because of a series of panels on anthologies that I help to produce with author Sam Knight, and possibly Archon St. Louis. Going to conventions has helped to get my name out there, and I sell enough books to offset some of the costs of traveling. I made quite a few friends along the way, and was able to get on panels with some of the best authors and editors in most of the genres that I write in.
Now it’s time to start getting work out the door. I wrote rough drafts for five novels during NaNoWriMo last November, finally breaking through one million total NaNo words. I am working on getting at least four of my novels finished, polished, and sent to publishers. I’m halfway through two non-fiction books that are new, plus a rewrite of a short handbook that will be republished soon. Add in some short stories for different anthologies and I’m on my way to having my name in at least eight titles this year. If that isn’t enough, I’m working on the artwork for a graphic novel script that I wrote last October.
It’s going to be a very busy year, assuming there are no medical issues.
I’m sure you’ve read authors saying that you just need to sit down and write. This is the year I focus on that task. Hopefully, one of those projects will be the kernel that pops, according to Kevin J. Anderson’s Popcorn Theory of Writing. If one of the projects can get some viral recognition, I’m hoping that the inertia will get my name in front of convention programming directors for the 2017 convention circuit. It would be nice if they were asking me instead of the usual me asking if there were any panel slots available. I’ve been the Guest of Honor for one convention so far, and several others have paid for my hotel. I’d enjoy the opportunity to visit places I haven’t seen yet, and there are still seven states I require to get all fifty — and luckily, I’ve already been to Hawaii and Alaska, although I wouldn’t turn down a return trip.
So, for me, it’s time to put up and shut up. Much of the hard work is done, since I have so many rough drafts to polish and rewrite. If I take breaks from the long works by cranking out several short stories or poems, I expect to increase my title count from the current 47 to well over fifty. Who knows, if I have enough short works, maybe I’ll also put together a collection to get closer to 60 titles to start off 2017.
Wish me luck!