|A very Hemingway Christmas...|
I don't want to fall into that, "It's Christmas and time for reflection thing," because it seems that's the general article every writer no matter his or her politics, religion, and or sexual preference writes on a nice day like today. But having spent the past two months in Italy touring a new Italian edition of MOONLIGHT SONATA and rewriting my newest stand-alone, THE DETONATOR, along with a full first draft of the newest in the Chase Baker action/adventure pulp series, CHASE BAKER AND THE DA VINCI DIVINITY, I have come to just a few conclusions that will propel me into the new year, not necessarily as a hard working writer (I always work hard), but a writer who will work smarter.
Some adjustments I'll be making for 2016:
--As a hybrid author, I enjoy contracts with several publishers, big and small. But this year, I'm going to pay special attention to growing my own, Bear Media, list of books. This was the first year where I saw significant sales in my indie novels. Namely, the Chase Baker books of which the first in the series, THE SHROUD KEY, was named One of the Best of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. Now that writer/journalist Ben Sobieck is also penning original episodes of the series, I expect to see significant growth in Chase Baker world.
--Less journalism, more fiction. Back in 1999 when I signed my first big contract for my first big novel, As Catch Can (now THE INNOCENT), I chucked journalism altogether, thinking I would nail a 250K contract once per year. What a dope I was. That said, I've always believed a writer needs many outlets for his work in order to make a nice living. That includes journalism outlets. I still write some journalism and maintain my membership with SPJ, but while I'm paid for my time as a journalist, the work isn't the gift that keeps on giving. That means, more fiction. Think the 80/20 principle here. 80% more time spent on scalable fiction projects, and 20% on the journalism.
--Blogging. Was a time when writers were encouraged to blog constantly, since the posts would inevitably lead readers to your books. That basic premise still holds true but blogging doesn't quite have the "Buy Me" power it once did. Let's face it, there's so much noise out there in the blogosphere already that chances are, your words are only making things worse. Again, write more fiction, less noise.
--Word Count. I'm not one of those Bananaramo writers, nor do I feel the need to state a specific word count for any given work day. But I do feel I the need increase my word count this year. I generally write between five to seven pages per day when writing a new book. But this year, I'll try increasing that to ten pages.
--Readings. I dreamt last night that I was giving a reading to a student body. I take that as a sign that I should be out there doing more readings and speaking engagements. Therefore, if you're reading this, and you want me to read and/or speak at your school or function, just email me at Vazandri@aol.com and we'll set a date.
There's probably more things I'm going to try and improve upon this year, but I drank way too much wine last night in beautiful Florence, where the smells of roasting garlic pervades the air and the Christmas bells are ringing in the cathedral towers. I think I need to head out for a run and then open up some gifts with my family who have flown over the Atlantic to enjoy the holidays with me. I might be an ocean away from my American friends and fans but that doesn't mean you're not always in my thoughts. Thanks for making it a spectacular 2015!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.