Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'writer advice'

2016 Stat Thing

Since I’ve figured out that I’m not going to write any more this year… Final stats for 2016. As a full-time freelancer, stats are important to me. They give me a concrete, discrete measurement for accomplishments. None of the word count below includes social media or blogs.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 195,416 (2 novels, 1 novella, 12 short stories, 3 RPG projects)
Article words written: 25,780
My novels/collections edited: 11
My short stories proofed: 9
Other novels/anthologies edited: 14
Events attended: 12

Short Story Submissions:
Total subs: 19
Acceptances: 6 (35% average)
Rejections: 11
Pending: 2

This year was almost all tie-in fiction. 2017 will be all about my new teen series. (And, of course, all the edits for the turned in novels and novellas.)

November Monthly Stat Thing

Sekrit Project Alex already has revision notes back. So, I’m in the thick of that. I’m also almost done with an interview for a conventions and I’ve finished several interviews for The Last Days of Salton Academy as well as turned in another short story. Left this year… revisions and another tie-in short story that has been outlined and started and maybe do quickie RPG splat for a funded kickstarter. The year is wrapping up nicely.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 185,645
Article words written: 23,200
My novels/collections edited: 11
My short stories proofed: 9
Other novels/anthologies edited: 14
Events attended: 12

One more of these after the new year, then I’ll have to think of something else to stat for you guys on a monthly basis. I like to mix it up. Next year, I’m going to attempt to do less conventions and 90% original, non tie-in fiction. But, the universe sometimes laughs at my plans.

Ten Years as a Fulltime Freelancer

As of this week, I have survived ten years as a fulltime freelance author/editor and created a career I am proud of. The past decade has been nothing like I expected it to be. When I began, I wanted to “just write” and to see if I could make it as an author. Within the first year, I started editing. Time has flown by as well as taken forever. I had a plan and a series of professional goals to meet. I have met every single one of these. Though… the last one, “get an agent,” happened in the last couple of months.

  • Sell short stories to pro markets
  • Get into SFWA with novels or short stories
  • Sell a novel
  • Sell a trilogy
  • Get an agent
  • Be invited to conventions as a panelist

Ten years later, I have discovered there were a whole lot more professional goals I wanted to achieve that I didn’t know I wanted to achieve when I started out. Some of them shocked me when they happened. (Honestly, some of them still surprise me when they occur.)

  • Sell a short story collection
  • Have a story listed in a “Best of” collection
  • Have my books become audiobooks
  • Have a stranger squee over my forthcoming presence at a convention
  • Have a stranger come to a multi-author event to see me specifically
  • Learn how to say “no” to a gig
  • Be nominated for an award – any award
  • Be nominated for a Hugo award and a Bram Stoker award
  • Be mentioned in Locus Magazine and Kirkus Reviews
  • Win an ENnie award, a Scribe award, and/or a Cleo (Origins Game Fair) award
  • Be a Guest of Honor of a convention in America
  • Be a Guest of Honor of a convention abroad (Sweden, Finland)
  • Become a Director-at-Large in SFWA
  • Become an adjective (a “Brozek” book or a “Brozek” anthology)

It’s been ten years. I’ve achieved so much and I’m so grateful to the people who have helped me along the way—editors, publishers, other authors, fans, cheerleaders, shoulders-to-cry-on, friends, family, and my husband. I’m not going to stop now. I just have to set goals for the future. Here are the ones I know I want to achieve:

  • Sell stories to Analog, Asimov, Psuedopod, and EscapePod
  • Sell stories to Ellen Datlow and to John Joseph Adams
  • Create a long-running Teen/YA series (6+ books)
  • Create a successful fiction podcast
  • Have someone option my work
  • Have my work become a TV pilot, TV series, and/or movie

The more I know about the publishing business, the more I can narrow down what I really want out of my career. Now that I have a wonderful agent, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

In celebration, and out of duty, I have filed ten years worth of editing and writing contracts… much to the enjoyment and annoyance of my cats. (The red folder is filled with 10 years worth of editing contracts and the black one has 10 years of writing contracts.)

October Monthly Stat Thing

I’m about to turn in Sekrit Project Alex and begin work on the extra bits I’ve been contracted for. Then I will work on the contracted short stories. With that, I will end my year of tie-in fiction and begin a year of my new YA series.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 174,450
Article words written: 18,300
My novels/collections edited: 11
My short stories proofed: 8
Other novels/anthologies edited: 14
Events attended: 9

Event-wise, I should have only three events left and all of them are in November.

This November is very special to me. I’ve got a forthcoming blog post to explain why. It’s a milestone. A big one.

Drafting Life

I’ve started drafting the new tie-in novella, Sekrit Project Alex. This novella is due in early November. It’s got a very specific style of writing to it and is a demanding subject matter—yes, fans will know if I get something wrong. Not to mention, this project has one of the most technical and interesting editors I’ve ever had. I gotta get this one right.

When I’m drafting a long project (novella, short novel, novel) I move into a “drafting lifestyle.” I don’t do my usual internet tour in the morning. I get my coffee and I begin. I usually re-read and edit the last page I worked on. This puts me into the correct frame of mind and tone of the project. Then I work until I meet that day’s word count.

This isn’t to say I don’t take breaks. I do. I get breakfast. Sometimes I look at a video. Sometimes I look at a webcomic. These are all limited time breaks to let my hindbrain gnash through whatever I’m working on. I don’t play around on social media. No twitter, no Facebook, no Tumblr. None of that until I’ve gotten my word count done.

After I meet my word count for the day, I look at my outline to see what I’ll be focused on for the next day. I think about it throughout the day and am usually ready to work the next morning.

Some days the words come easier than others. Some days, I’m done by 10am. Some days, it’s noon or 1pm. The afternoons are for everything else—SFWA duties, editing projects, blog posts, social media, etc….

For the next 2 weeks, the afternoon is for working on my flash fiction ebooks. I’m prepping them and writing the new flash fiction pieces, for eventual publication. I’m examining each piece for podcast suitability. In early 2017, I plan to have the new podcast up and running. That means I’m doing a lot of foundation and prep work now.

But through it all, I’m still thinking about Sekrit Project Alex. It is my main focus. I’m drafting. I need to have it done by mid-October so I can do one full re-write before it is due in November.

I’ve warned all my friends that mornings are sacrosanct. No visits, no favors, no nothing unless it is an emergency. Afternoons are for those things. I’m fortunate that my friends and family understand when I’m drafting a novel, everything else is secondary.

That’s basically the novel drafting life for me. Morning novel work. Afternoons for everything else. If I fail at getting word count, nothing else gets done until the day’s word count is done.

August Monthly Stat Thing

July was all about editing. At least it seems like it. Editing a novel for an agent. Editing a novel for EGM. Editing a novel and a novella for AIP. Doing some maintenance on 2 anthologies in progress—one reprint, one original. Editing a couple of my short stories and, editing the Speculate! story. My mind rebelled on all the editing and started a whole lot of background world building for the MG/YA series I’m going to start writing next year.

Year-to-date stats
:
Fiction words written: 135,810
Article words written: 15,000
My novels/collections edited: 5
My short stories proofed: 6
Other novels/anthologies edited: 10
Events attended: 6

August and September are going to be weird stat-wise because I’m doing so much traveling. Much of it will be in Europe. I do not expect to get /any/ work done.

July Monthly Stat thing

I finished up Makeda Red in June, did a couple of rewrites on short stories, and went to Origins Game Fair. This month will be all about editing for me, Apocalypse Ink Productions, and Evil Girlfriend Media.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 135,810
Article words written: 14,120
My novels/collections edited: 4
My short stories proofed: 4
Other novels/anthologies edited: 7
Events attended: 6

Also, I participated in an hour-long SFWA roundtable, discussing the vote to admit game writers into the organization. This is something I’d worked for since I joined SFWA. I’m super happy about it.

Plus, I am the featured author at Capitol Indie Book Con in Olympia this month. Come by and say hello.

June Monthly Stat thing

May was more about finishing the novel than writing it. That, and going to StokerCon. This month, I will finish Makeda Red and turn it in. Then plot out the Battletech novel. I’m currently calling it The Gienah Incident. I don’t know if the title will stick. Also, there’s Origins Game Fair which will kill about a week’s worth of writing.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 118,410
Article words written: 10,219
My novels/collections edited: 3
My short stories proofed: 2
Other novels/anthologies edited: 6
Events attended: 5

Also, I was interviewed on SFFWorld about my story in the Decision Points anthology.

May Monthly Stat Thing

Yay for eight year wedding anniversary with my beloved Husband! He’s so awesome. On May 1st, he went hiking today to give me private, quiet time to work on MAKEDA RED. That’s love and marriage for you. Besides, Saturday, we went to a rock and gem show and bought a rock for our anniversary.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 108,810 (Yes, that’s over 50,000 words in April.)
Article words written: 7896
My novels/collections edited: 3
My short stories proofed: 2
Other novels/anthologies edited: 5
Events attended: 4

I’ve got StokerCon and the Bram Stoker Awards to go to this month. My goal is to have the first draft of MAKEDA RED done before I leave. Then I can spend a month fixing it and freaking out when I get back and finish before I go to Origins Game Fair.

March Monthly Stat Thing

I’m going to ignore that it is the first of April and pretend that “lie and be cruel to the people who trust you most” day doesn’t exist.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 58,210 / 200,000
Article words written: 4230
My novels/collections edited: 3
Other novels/anthologies edited: 4
Events attended: 4 / 9

Mostly, I’m boring. I’m drafting my Shadowrun novel, MAKEDA RED. This means no social media until I hit word count unless there are extenuating circumstances… like picking up my new car.

I didn’t want to have to buy a new car, but mine got totaled at the end of February. I’m still reeling from sticker shock, but I do like my new car. It’s a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in sage green. I got my all wheel drive hatchback. The Husband got his hybrid. We’re both happy.

We think he’s told us his name but we’ve got to drive it a bit more to be sure.