Happy spring! Alina K. Field here, back with another Quarter Days’ post.
In the midst of a dry spell in my writing life, I was welcomed into a group of Historical Romance authors called The Bluestocking Belles. From medieval times to World War I, these ladies know their history. They also know how to use the historical milieu to shape compelling characters who will appeal to modern readers.
One of those authors is Jude Knight. Jude is a prolific author who features short historical romances in her newsletters, just the right length for a worktime lunch break, She also gives away made-to-order stories as prizes for winning readers at her Facebook parties.
A few years ago, Slice of Orange blogger, Tracy Reed, blogged about her 12 books in a year publishing challenge. I found her posts very inspiring–not of course that I’ve ever been able to match her accomplishments.
So in the hopes of perhaps inspiring authors reading this blog (and myself!) I’m sharing an interview today with New Zealand author Jude Knight, a founding member of the Bluestocking Belles. Jude is in the thick of a super ambitious publishing schedule!
So without further ado:
I worked in 2022 to have enough books written that I could publish at least one a month from November 2022 to February 2024—so sixteen months of promotion, with at least eighteen books for keen readers to explore.
Yes, I know. It sounds a bit mad.
It’s not quite as epic as you might think. Last November’s and this January’s books were both collections of prepublished stories: one a set of short stories originally written for my newsletter, and the other the first four novels in my Golden Redepenning series. Two of the others have been out before in another guise—this month’s The Husband Gamble was in a multi-author box set, and July’s Grasp the Thorn is a rewrite of a novel for which I’ve just got the rights back.
That leaves ten novels and four novellas. Five of the novels are written. Three are between a quarter and a third done. The last two have a vague plot line and characters who are beginning to come into focus.
Of the novellas, two are written and two are still twinkles in the eyes of my plot elves.
But I have done the sums, and I need to write 265K words before the end of November. That’s nine and a half months, so 289 days. All I have to do is write 1000 words a day, and I’ll have 30K words a month. 31K most months.
In the past 12 months, with bathroom renovations, a garden makeover, family sickness, and all sorts of other chaos, I’ve averaged 35K a month, and still managed all the other work of running my own publishing imprint (I’ve been almost entirely a self publisher, but this year I’ve moved to hybrid, placing five books with Dragonblade Publishing).
Publishing at this scale is a bit like eating an elephant. But I’m just going to take it one bite at a time.
Here’s my list of what I’m working on:
Some of the dates may slide a week or so here or there. More may be added–if I can consistently write more than 30,000 words a month, while keeping up with editing, marketing, and all the other stuff that goes with being an author. Those with links in the list are on pre-order.
26th April 2023 The Talons of a Lyon in The Lyon’s Den Series
11th May 2023 One Perfect Dance, book 2 in A Twist Upon a Regency Tale
15th June 2023 Chaos Come Again, book 1 in Lion’s Zoo
16th July 2023 Grasp the Thorn (House of Thorns revised and republished), book 2 in Lion’s Zoo
8th August 2023 Snowy and the Seven Blossoms, book 3 in A Twist Upon a Regency Tale
24th August 2023 a short story in the multi-author book Night of Lyons
16th September 2023 One Hour of Freedom, book 3 in Lion’s Zoo
10th October 2023 Love in its Season a novella in the Bluestocking Belles 2023 Harvest box set
10th November 2023 Perchance to Dream, book 4 in A Twist Upon a Regency Tale
15th December 2023 The Darkness Within, book 4 in Lion’s Zoo
16th January 2024 Concealed in Mist, book 2 in A Game of Mist and Shadows
23 July 2024 The Blossoming of the Wallflower, a book in the multi-author series The Revenge of the Wallflower
14 November 2022 Chasing the Tale Volume II, in the Lunch Time Tales collection
15 December 2022 Belles & Beaux, a Bluestocking Belles collection
24 January 2022 The Golden Redepennings: Books 1 to 4
22 March 2023 The Husband Gamble, book 13 in The Wedding Wager (which is a multi-author series)
I started a publishing and writing consultancy company in the late 1980s. For years, when people asked me why I decided to run my own business, I used to say that I’d gone to music festivals for five of my six children in a single fortnight, and my brain was numb.
That isn’t the explanation this time, but I suspect the real truth, both times, is that I like stretch goals. I always have. You’ve more chance of landing on the mountain tops if you aim at the moon rather than the foothills.
The other reason is the desire to be noticed. I have dozens of stories out in the market that are receiving good reviews and not all that many sales. In an overstuffed marketplace, especially when you’re an author that writes books that can’t easily be pigeon-holed, getting noticed is hard. Publishing at the rate I’m planning will at least mean that the retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble will have a new release in front of them all the time, and I’m hoping that will translate into them putting my book in front of their customers.
Dragonblade has worked. I’ve found them brilliant in the prepublication stages. My first book with them—Lady Beast’s Bridegroom, Book 1 of A Twist Upon a Regency Tale—came out four weeks ago, and I tripled my backlist sales for the rest of the month.
Having someone else do seven of the eighteen covers has also worked, as has hiring personal assistants to get me newsletter and Facebook Group placements, and to manage the contest I held for the launch of the new series.
I think the main negative I’m having to manage so far is psychological. I keep looking at that elephant and thinking, there’s no way! I’ll be fine as long as I don’t let that scare me off.
Perhaps the whole plan won’t work, but I’m just four and a half months and four published books into it. I’ll report back.
Writing every day, no matter what, no matter how little. I wrote 1000 words this week in the waiting room of a hospital while my daughter was having an operation. I wrote 150 words the day my personal romantic hero and I drove for seven and a half hours to be with my sister whose property had been flooded in a super storm, and enough words in dribbles that very busy week of cleanup to put 2000 words towards the month’s total.
When I don’t write every day, I stop writing. I lose all impetus, the plot elves sulk and refuse to talk to me, and I don’t like myself very much. But it happens. The challenge is to stop it from happening.
Yes. Break your plan down into monthly goals. Be adaptable. Major commitments this week to throw your plan off track? Recalculate and keep going. And be kind to yourself. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Take a walk. Have a glass of wine. Do some gardening.
I write historical romance because I love history and because love stories with happy endings are a joy to read. The world has enough authors writing serious books that challenge and depress. I want to bring joy.
I made a decision in 2021 to spend 2022 concentrating on books for 2023, including a series for Dragonblade Publishing. The series is A Twist Upon a Regency Tale, and it’s coming out one book every three months 2023. The four novels plus a book in the Lyon’s Den series are all written, and the first was released in February.
I’m also writing some other books, and I think I’m on track to have books out (either sole-author publications or novellas in multi-author publications) every month from November 2022 through to January 2024.
Alina here: Jude’s new Dragonblade release, Lady Beast’s Bridegroom is a great read. In fact all of Jude’s stories are fascinating, but I especially like her Return of the Mountain King series about the heir to a duke who returns to England to take up his title with the children of his late Persian wife.
Jude Knight always wanted to be a novelist, but life got in the way for decades and she nearly lost the dream. She wrote a thousand beginnings, but it took a huge life event to shove her into writing an ending. That was in 2014. Eight novels and counting later, plus short stories and novellas galore, she’s living her dream: writing historical fiction with a large helping of romance, more than a dash of suspense, and a sprinkling of humor.
Learn more about Jude at:
Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jude-Knight/e/B00RG3SG7I
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