Indie Writing Life: S1E6 – Launch Survivor

Welcome to Episode 6 of “Indie Writing Life,” my weekly series about my ongoing activities as a writer, i.e. – somebody running a business writing and selling books. My inaugural episode can be found here, if you’d like to start at the beginning. Last week’s episode is here.

Jonelle Crosse

The preorder for “Jonelle Crosse” is percolating right along. I might actually end up with more copies ordered than my last preorder, which was for my Fantastic Detectives anthology. And, somewhat to my surprise, online orders of my other books and anthologies have picked up, as well. This is making February into a “not too bad” sales month, which is unusual for me. I usually get my best sales in the spring and fall, with sags in mid-winter and mid-summer.

Meanwhile, I’ve submitted the final ebook update before the launch on February 29th. I also received the Amazon proof of the trade paperback, which came out perfect, including all the graphic flourishes. So, both editions of the book are fully ready for launch.

Next up, one more round of launch-related marketing activities.

WIP – “Invisible”

As you know from previous episodes, my current Work-in-Progress has been causing me problems. After a sweeping reorganization, I inserted some new scenes from a new POV character. Anyway, I gathered up her new scenes and submitted them to my writing group, along with this little intro:

Warning: This is a feral story; the beast has bitten the author several times already, and will probably do so again.

First, the story has demanded to be a novel. Second, it has demanded additional POVs besides Sander Grenfell, the primary protagonist. Third, it has evolved into a collision of characters on different sides of “Rictoff’s Solution.”

Since the story has been morphing, it’s been re-outlined and new scenes have been inserted in various places, inlcuding two new scenes featuring Jonelle Crosse’s POV.

Yes, I’m talking about Jonelle Crosse, the same character from the book I’m launching on the 29th. She’s a supporting character in this story.

Lone Survivor Outline

At the behest of some of the members of my writing group, I’ve started outlining a new novel with the working title of “Lone Survivor.” It’s about a teenage girl who has to survive an apocalyptic plague (a man-made doomsday virus with a devastating death rate) and its aftermath.

I came up with the basic story beats last April during a workshop I was conducting for my writing group. We do an annual workshop day with a bunch of different sessions, including the 90-minute workshop that I ran. In the workshop, I take the attendees through exercises designed to help them flesh out a protagonist and build a story around them.

As part of the workshop, I demonstrate each exercise on-the-fly with a brand-new story. Well, the story I came up with was, I think, unlike anything I’d done previously, in a new genre for me, with real marketing potential.

Strong Heroes Need Strong Heroes

And my friends kept telling me, “You need to write a novel!” and “Why not that one?”

My outlines start as a random collection of beats, scenes, snippets of dialogue, and anything else that I envision as part of the story. I worry about putting them in some semblance of an order at a later stage. So, “collecting” is what I’ve embarked on this week.

On another note, that workshop evolved into my Strong Stories Need Strong Heroes workshop.

Education and Research

  • The World of the French Revolution – This is research for Pivot Point, my alternate-history steampunk story. I’m still slogging my way through this one (without much urgency pushing me because Pivot Point is further down my priority list). It’s a good resource, but it’s certainly information-dense.
  • How to Launch a Successful Series: Your Book Launch Survival Guide – This book by Helen B. Scheuerer describes pretty much every launch tactic you can use, leavened by perspectives from numerous other indie authors.


This week was probably a little more hectic than usual, given the book launch preparations. If anything, though, it illustrates that good multi-tasking is a requirement for being an indie writer. I prepped for a book launch, worked on my WIP (new words this week), got my latest WIP content critiqued by my writing group, started outlining a new novel (and accidentally stumbled on the raw image that will be the cover, shown further above), and read a writing-related book.

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