Right, time to review my progress and what I've learned this week. I'm trying to make it a regular feature to do a sort of round-up (hopefully normally on a Saturday) to collect together anything I've learned that might be useful for someone in my position to know. Doing these omnibuses also helps me file and organise what I've learned for my own benefit.
What I've learned this week is that I don't think 'theme weeks' work for me. It works OK for some topics (like the research planning stuff last week), but not for others - and a whole week of abstract academic philosophy is a bit much in one go. As a lot of what I'll be blogging about is philosophical in one way or another - philosophy being what I do, and all - I think it'd be a bad idea for me to keep doing theme weeks. I might do a few here and there, but only for special occasions.
As I don't want to just blog willy-nilly about whatever comes to mind - that's a surefire way to find oneself without blog topics many days - I'm going to have to find a different way of giving some structure to my efforts. What I'm going to try next, and I stress this is an experiment, is running several series in parallel. As just mentioned, I'll be keeping Saturdays as a sort of 'week in review' day, but I don't plan on keeping to a strict schedule of other topics on certain days. I may even broaden my topics a bit and throw in the occasional non-series post when I have something I think is worth saying.
Here's a list of series ideas I have so far:
'The Death of John Collins': In many ways, this is the big one. I'm expecting 'The Death of John Collins' to be my biggest seller in my 12-month target period, because, of the two books I'm launching on November 1st, I think it's the much easier-to-market volume. As such, my biggest focus over the six months remaining til publication needs to be getting the book ready and building a platform for it. This series will chronicle my efforts to do exactly that, from cover art to Twitter promotions.
'Bad Romance': I may not be expecting 'Bad Romance' to sell as well as 'The Death of John Collins', but there's still a lot of work to be done to get it ready for the big day. 'Bad Romance' faces some challenges which 'The Death of John Collins' doesn't, particularly in terms of marketing and placement, so while the series on 'The Death of John Collins' will concentrate more on issues typical for genre writers, this series will be more specifically how to deal with more unconventional novels.
'Objective: objectivism': My next book, which I aim to start writing in July, is a sort of left-wing response to 'Atlas Shrugged'. In this series, I'll be discussing the issues I have with Ayn Rand's philosophy and assembling the arguments which my novel, 'The Earth Trembles', is to make. I'll also be talking about why it's important to keep thinking about and critiquing ideas of this kind.
'Time for a sequel': Don't expect to hear much from this series until 'The Earth Trembles' is in the bag. This series will follow the process I go through as I plan and write the two sequels to 'The Death of John Collins'. I'll use this series for talking in general about my writing process and any recommendations I have for writers. I'll also, as I progress, doubtless be letting slip hints about what happens in the sequels and generally being a tease.
I'll also be running a series of some sort about the business side of the operation - taxes, sales figures, budgeting and so on, but I can't think of a pithy name for that right now. All in all, that gives me five series, but I'm sure I'll think of a sixth in time...
Anyway, I can take away one positive from this week, which is that platform-building has sort of automatically started for me. Why? I started using #pubwrite on Twitter in the last couple of days, and it's been a revelation. I've already gained around 15 followers. I don't have time right now to compile a complete list of the #pubwriters I've chatted with, but I particularly want to thank @steveumstead @threecifer and @kayepeters for making me feel so welcome on my timid first steps into the bar (shout-out also to @Sguron, my #pubwriteUK buddy).
I'll do a more detailed post on #pubwrite and other things like it soon, possibly during next week. For now, though, I've got hijinks to get up to.