Sunday 5 September 2021

Quo vadis?

With Burn this City done, where will I go now?

I've spent some time working on concepts for a couple mainstream trilogies (non-M/M) I'd describe as historical fantasy - the leads will mostly be female, but minor characters will most certainly be drawn from diverse backgrounds and sexualities, because the last thing the world needs is more fantasy with straight white cismale leads set in heteronormative worlds. I'll now spend some time reading in the new genre to see what's going on and to make sure that my ideas can stand up.

The first new project will be that WWII novel I've had in my head for years and where the leads (one apparently asexual and the other gay) wouldn't have worked out as lovers, which stalled me for a long time. I'm still pondering whether there's a way I can turn that book into a trilogy or series because the concept is huge and might simply not work out as one book.

The second project will revisit concepts and ideas I had in the Memory of Scorpions trilogy and which I never really fully developed to their full potential.

And to be perfectly honest, I'm still trying to find a way to weasel my way out of the genre switch. It goes like this: "But my readers will be disappointed, and I shouldn't disappoint people who've supported me for that long", "What if you throw away a career that didn't work out for another career that also won't work out?", "Maybe you could make it all work out okay if you managed to write a book a month, too, can't be that hard because so many people are doing it", and the classic, "But what happens if you get another M/M bunny?" and "But what about those fragments of M/M books you have on the hard drive and that you've kind of been promising people?" (There's pages and pages and PAGES of that stuff in my journal.)

And yeah, I have a beautiful M/M concept I've been itching to write. There's also Franco's story and Julian's story and both guys deserve some kind of closure. I have another Witches of London romance plotted out completely. I have a 20k fragment of an enemies to lovers/secret baby romance with a decidedly lighter tone that would only need a couple months to make work. That's five M/M books that are in various stages from concept to 30-50% written, and I'm not even talking about that really painful WWII romance that has 50k written and that I promised a friend (who didn't live to see completion - I'm sorry, R). Six novels in total. Hundreds of hours of work already done, thousands of hours of work still to do.

Basically, I have no idea what to do. I might reactivate my Patreon (asleep for lack of time for the time being) to share the fragments, or even to complete the books just to get them out of my head. Any funds raised on Patreon would go towards paying for editing and covers. Not sure a Kickstarter for those funds would work - nothing is more embarrassing than asking for money, and it takes significant energy to promote a Kickstarter.

I could publish those books on AO3 as original fiction - at least that would be a completely free - since it's non-commercial work, my standards regarding editing are lower, so I could just clean them up as best as I can and put them there for free.

What I definitely can't afford is to go on the way I have - burning money on books that just won't earn the money back. I already face pretty large investments on getting those fantasy books edited and covered. I have to have a trilogy ready before I can even make a start in that market, which is very much driven by trilogies and series. It's very likely I'll need two or three trilogies before I even get anywhere there.

So, yeah, I don't know. The rational mind tells me to write off all the work I've already put into the M/M books and not hurt myself by putting out subpar, unedited work or spending thousands of hours on a mission to get those books out there at a financial loss. My rational mind knows what the sunk cost fallacy is. My heart is still in love with those concepts and ideas and characters and wants to give those characters a happy ending.

Nobody said writing was easy. 

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