Getting back into the grind and playing games.
Okay, so. After the whirlwind of August, my September was about settling down and getting back into the grind to work. Unfortunately this coincided with a decision to go over my outlines for the next work-for-hire, which briefly turned into an obsessive hunt for problems and trying to fix them which ballooned the entire preliminary work/outline process to eat up most of the month. Feature creep, am I right?
Feature creep aside, the gears are now turning, prose is now falling from my keyboard, and the trick is to start clinging rigidly to my schedule once more. No real work news beyond that, though…
Well, okay. There’s a little other work news. My Amazon self-pub sales have completely and utterly flatlined.
The last time anyone bought one of my books was late August. Personally? I think this is a sign that I haven’t really published anything self-pubbable in more than a year, and have been putting zero effort into that whole side of things. What this year has really been about, in terms of material presented, is Orbital Decay/Journal of the Plague year, from Abaddon, and my short piece — Pavlov’s House — which went up on Strange Horizons. That is literally all there’s been to show, despite the fact that I finished writing Dog Country. 2013? 2013 was not a great year for me, writing-wise. This all really highlights the weird lag we see as writers. We won’t know the real consequences of what we work on today until months or years have gone past.
See. My amazon sales flatlining? This is against a background of one of the most productive years I’ve had since I started writing, finishing off my first novel, attending a Worldcon where I had a great time meeting friends, editors/support staff I’ve worked with, being contracted to write another novel (in five parts — more on that later) and generally having a great time. There are some foundational things going on with my career that are absolutely great.
But my self-pub sales are flat.
And obviously that doesn’t feel good.
Why are my sales flat? Because in 2013 I spent about half of my time spinning my wheels. I produced two works that were any good — Orbital Decay and Pavlov’s House — and the rest of the time on abortive half-projects, feeling bad, rehashing older works, and generally not getting anything done. It was a lousy year for so many reasons, as was 2012 really, but the knock-on effect has only really started coming home to roost now. The benefits of this year’s productivity? Don’t expect to see any of it until 2015, if not 2016.
I need to put together some more material for self-pub again sometime soon, is the real conclusion to draw from all that.
In other news, in an effort to keep my schedules schedule-ey I’ve signed up for a competitive Mechwarrior Online team. Practice is four nights a week. I may well write more about my experiences here, but, for now, in the early days, let me just say that I am being reintroduced to the fact that playing games competitively is exceptionally technical. For a game about giant robots stomping around, the approach is almost unforgivably scientific with discussions on approach angles, in-game systems like ECM and sensor drone UAVs, and the relative merits of clusters of missiles versus lasers. Also? All my reflexes are wrong and I need new reflexes.
I don’t think I can buy those on Amazon, though.