May 2016 Status Update

Wow does time ever fly! My last update was on the 12th of February, and I don’t honestly remember what I was doing between then and the start of March, but I expect there was a lot of print proofing, marketing and administrative stuff that must have taken place.

Fortunately, I was able to start writing on the first of March. I picked up the 5th Broken World book managed to finish it off by the end of the day on the 22nd, writing just over 95k words to bring the book up to a total of more than 138k words—the largest I had ever written.  In comparison, Broken was 127k words and Left was 125k words, but the real surprise was that along the way I figured that my 5-book series (originally intended to be 4 books) was actually going to have to be a 6-book series.

That was a little bit of a disappointment to me because it meant that my carefully planned schedule was going to have to change, but the story that I still need to tell after finishing the 4th book was just too large to fit into one book, so that was just what needed to happen.

On the plus side, I managed to maintain a production rate of just over 5k words per working day from the 1st to the 22nd, so I was feeling pretty good about that, and as I got to the end of book 5 I started playing with a crazy idea… What if I were to push really hard for the last week of March and the first week of April? 5k words per day works out to 30k across 6 working days per week, so if I really buckled down I just might be able to write all 80k words I figured it would take to close out the series in just 2 weeks.

Katie was a little doubtful, but if I could pull it off, it would mean that I would start my editing round only 1 week late, and there was a chance that I could then push hard enough to get all of the editing done in April and start the next Compelled Chronicles book in May just as I’d told all of you I was planning on doing.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. It wasn’t that I didn’t put in the effort—in fact, I managed to average more than 6,800 words per day (possible the highest long-term average I’ve ever achieved), and along the way I had one day in excess of 12,583 words (beating my previous personal record of 12,321), a day of 14,106, and what is my current personal best of 18,400 words in one day.

Given all of that, I really should have managed to do exactly what I set out to do and finished A Broken World #6 in just two weeks, but it turns out that the story I had left was a bit longer than I’d been expecting it to be—more than 211k words to be precise.

For the last couple decades or so traditional publishing has considered 80k+ to be novel length, but recently without the push to ‘pad’ a story so that publishers could charge more for it, a lot of indie authors have found that their stories end up in the 60k-70k range. By that metric, I wrote three books in April, and I’m going to be taking a hard look to see if there’s any way to split this manuscript up into two or three books rather than one giant novel. We’ll just have to see what happens there.

If you haven’t started The Society I really hope that you’ll give it a look—I’m really thrilled with how the series turned out, and the next four (more if I can find a good place to break the 6th book) releases are all going to be in the Broken World series.

Beyond that, we had the normal trips to the doctor to get little fingers x-rayed (it ended up not being broken, thank goodness), crashed computers (I ended up losing files—including my dragon naturally speaking profile, which slowed things down as a result even once I got my desktop up and running again, but I didn’t lose any writing), and the wonderful trip for one day to the Salt Lake Comic Con/FanX that I emailed you all about before we left (which is where these pictures are all from).

Where does that leave us in the Murray household? Well, as much as I want to just jump into the next book on May first (I’m writing this on April 30th), I have a whole host of things that I really ought to do—things like this status update, a survey, print books, just to name a few.

Given that, and the fact that Baby #3 is due to make an appearance in June, I think I’m probably realistically going to not have much chance of getting any significant writing done until July, which isn’t ideal, but if I can keep up my newfound productivity, there’s a chance that I can make up an extra book’s worth of writing across July and September, which would put me back on track.

With regards to our print layout efforts, it’s easiest now to name the books that haven’t been laid out yet rather than listing off the ones that we’ve gotten squared away. Currently we still need to get all three of the books in The Awakening series done, along with The Society, The Destroyer, Stone Heart and Left. We also need to get the 4 books in the Guadel Chronicles series redone so that the price is updated and the cover is snazzier.

Out of that list, Katie has covers done for everything but Left (I haven’t laid it out yet so she doesn’t have the dimensions available to her), which means it’s just a matter of getting the scene break graphics right (we’ve been struggling there with these most recent books) and then me getting proofs ordered and checked. That’s definitely a big part of where I’ll be spending my time during the next two months.

Our hope is still to get some business with libraries and indie bookstores, but Katie and I have decided to go ahead and try to book a table at the Salt Lake Comic Con in September this year. That’s going to involve a significant amount of work, but we are hoping that it will pay off with a chance to interact with a ton of readers and a bunch of books sold.

Beyond that, the plan is to resume writing in July and then write at least one new book every other month, although I’ll still be doing what I can to try and fit an extra book or two into that schedule if I can. I’m still going to work on finishing up the Compelled Chronicles, at which point I’ll be able to give the Reflections and Dark Reflections books the focus they deserve.

I don’t have any official release dates for anything yet, but hopefully during the next two months as I get through some of the editing passes that are starting to pile up I’ll have a better idea—either way, once I get the production pipeline filled up, you should be able to see a steady stream of releases every month. 🙂

As always, thank you for all that you do—I’m excited to see how the rest of 2016 goes!

Dean

4 thoughts on “May 2016 Status Update

  1. Temira

    I have only read the Awakening series so far but they are wonderful!! Now I am trying to decide on which of your series is going to be next…yeah! I appreciate how fast you are writing and getting new books to us, unlike some authors who leave you waiting years for the sequel, but your kids are only little for a short time so enjoy them as much as you can especially that new one on the way. Most of your loyal fans aren’t going to leave you if you slow down a little for your wonderful family as long as you don’t stop, I can tell you I am now one of those loyal fans.

    Reply
    1. Dean Post author

      Hi, Temira.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment! I’m glad that you enjoyed the Awakening series–I’m really glad with how that series turned out and it’s always a pleasure to hear from someone who had as much fun reading it as I had working on it. 🙂

      It’s always hard to figure out the right balance between work and family life, and in a lot of ways it was easier when I had a boss and less freedom with regards to how I spent my time, but I’m definitely trying to make sure that I spend the time with my family that they deserve and need. I wrestled with my girls yesterday and they were super excited when they teamed up and pinned me–I’m glad Katie prompted me to let them win as I don’t always think of those kinds of things. 🙂

      Never fear though, as long as I can bring in enough money to pay the bills I won’t be stopping–and with any luck the work I’m doing this year will get me to the point where I can bring on some extra help and I’ll be able to increase my production of new books next year while still spending more time with my family.

      All the best,

      Dean

      Reply
  2. Kerin

    Congrats on baby number 3! I have 3 also. I am in love with your books. I haven’t read one I didn’t like yet! They are very compelling and so hard to put down. I catch myself clocking in late to work reading!! Bad! Bad! I really enjoy reading all these updates. Thank you for keeping all of us in with everything you do. I can’t wait to read more!!

    Reply
    1. Dean Post author

      Thank you, Kerin. Congrats to you on surviving with 3 so far! 🙂

      I’m glad that none of my books have let you down yet, and I hope that continues to be the case. It sounds like you have as hard of a time putting stuff down as I do. I can still remember when we moved and I ended up downstairs in the unfinished basement. Best move ever because my parents never seemed to realize that I was staying up late reading by the light of a lamp. 🙂

      All the best,

      Dean

      Reply

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