2021 Publication Plans: SERPENT SWORD (BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS #2)
Former member of my writing group Jeff Baker attended the Liberty Con convention a few years ago and brought back word from a self-publishing panel that the best way to self-publish is to "churn and burn"--put work out there quickly. Although independent publishing allows me to put out stuff faster than a traditional publisher (I put out Battle for the Wastelands in December 2019, "Son of Grendel" in May 2020, and The Atlanta Incursion in July 2020), I listen to a lot of writing podcasts and there are indie writers who put stuff out much faster. Heck, closer to home I have the example of current writing group Dave Schroeder, who puts out 1-2 books per year.
("SOG," TAI, and especially Battle had been written years in the past and had been sitting in my file, so 2019-2020 was not my usual production speed.)
Some of my slowness in comparison to others is hard to get around--the Wastelands books in particular are very research-intensive, I run the whole manuscript through my writing group and then heavily revise based on their suggestions, I hire a professional editor/formatter and cover designer rather than do it myself, and I commission illustrated cover art rather than using pre-made covers--but I also tend to dawdle and spend too much time on things like my blog, Twitter, etc. So I'm going to do my level best to make sure that Serpent Sword: Battle for the Wastelands #2 comes out sometime in 2021, the earlier the better. This involves committing in advance to have chapters for my writing group even if they're not finished when I make the reservation, which was a major reason I got The Thing in the Woods, Battle, and Little People, Big Guns finished as quickly as I did.
So far so good--I have the first six chapters completed out of around 33-34, and lots of chunks of future chapters already written. The total word count is around 37,000 words and if the expected final word count is around 90K, that's a great big chunk done. I also have the cover art already made, which will save even more time.
(If you like the cover, check out West Coast artist Matt Cowdery, who's illustrated a lot of my independent projects. The people you meet on the last day of DragonCon when tickets are only $30.)
I'd initially hoped to get it done sometime over the summer and potentially have room to finish and publish The Walking Worm, the second sequel to Thing. However, owing to the need to cycle that through writing group, the whole editing/publishing process, and whatever conventions I can scrounge up for the year, it seems very unlikely that I'd be able to get it out in 2021.