The end of the year is always a time of reflecting, to look back upon one's accomplishments and make plans for the next year. I think this could be a good time for me to take stock of my life thus far, to see where I've come with The Paladin and where I need to go.
For one, The Paladin is something of an experiment for me right now. I was a videographer in Las Vegas prior to this and I wrote my novel in my off time. I actually saved up a good deal of money and right now, I'm using that to give myself time. When I was behind the lens, I had no free time. Chapters went unwritten, shows went unwatched, games went unplayed. I shot, I edited, I took reporters live, I went home, I passed out.
Now that I've worked my butt off, I've given myself a year. It's somewhat arbitrary, but I figure I have more than enough money to live off of with the situation I'm in. I have one year to do everything in my power to find representation and get published. If that doesn't work, I'm moving on to self-publishing. Either way, at the end of the year, I'm going to look over everything and see where I am. Will I return to the news industry? Will I succeed and push forward with my literary career? I have no idea, but let's see where I am. You guys can help keep me accountable.
I've been working on the edit since September. I lost, more or less, all of my beta readers for one reason or another, so I've spent a lot of that time doing just basic edits. I'm on the fourth draft of The Paladin right now, so a lot of my edits are grammar and spelling, but I'm also looking at what I can cut.
As I've stated before, I need to get my word count down to somewhere around 110k words and I'm still hovering around 140k. Why? More words equals more pages, and more pages equals more cost to the publisher. Without a proven record, I'm not getting anyone to publish 140k manuscript. Look at Harry Potter. Check out the thickness of Sorcerer's Stone / Philosopher's Stone compared to one like Half-Blood Prince or Order of the Phoenix. Once she was proven, her publishers were glad to let her write more.
I am fortunate that I've managed to get four good betas to finally finish up. Ideally I'd have around... thirty? At least twenty... Still, with their feedback, I can finally make some real progress in editing the narrative. So far, fortunately, it seems to just be a matter of pacing in the middle. No one seems to hate the plot or the characters, it just gets a little slow around act 2.
So, that's what I've been doing, so what's next? Well, I was hoping to have my edit completed for the new year, but that's looking like a stretch. I'll try to have it completed by the end of January, after which I will focus on querying. I have a list of potential agents, I've followed a bunch on social media (and some have followed me!) so now I just need to get this in front of them and see what they think. Fingers crossed, guys!
But... querying is a long process. I won't be editing. I won't be writing The Paladin. So what do I do in the mean time? Well... I guess it's time to move onto the next project. I've got several to choose from. Within The Paladin's universe, I have a prequel story focusing on Reagan's time in the Academy and leading all the way to the start of The Paladin, I have a Simon Trevor spin-off for those who actually love that crazy hunter, and I the actual sequel following Jonathan's exploits after the events of The Paladin, and I have a side-story that follows the events of a group of new, fresh paladins as they adapt to life in their first parish.
Any thoughts? Have a favorite idea? I have three other stories completely separate from The Paladin I can focus on, too, so I'd love to hear from you guys.
Until tomorrow, Don't Forget to be Awesome!
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.