2015: The Year in Writing

Let’s have an overview of the year in writing!

Just for interest’s sake, I’ve sent out 216 queries this year of a variety of sorts for 10 short stories, 1 novella, and 2 novels. The good news is that while I still receive impersonal rejections, I receive more promising than unpromising personalized ones. No one likes any kind of rejection, but the ones where you almost made it, or someone compliments your work are better than the cricket factor.

I also went to two writers conferences this year to pitch. That was an awesome experience and as soon as I have a fully done novel in hand again, I will undertake that again. I felt very professional and taken seriously. I attended the usual author conventions I go to, and did plenty of reading, being on panels, and moderating.

Of the two novels, both are still in play. Abigail Rath Versus Blood Sucking Fiends is still with an agent as a partial, and still has a couple of agents I’m waiting on. I will probably be done with it by March, if it is destined to be unpublished, and then I will think about what to do with it.

The Vessel of Ra is about 1/3 of the way through its process in terms of querying. It’s also had a couple of solid connects. Not only agents are getting it, but a couple of publishers have the manuscript, so there’s that. I think I’ll be finishing up the circulation process for it this time next year, if I don’t have good writer fortune.

In my hands right now I have another edit letter for The Ground is Full of Teeth. The publisher I’ve been sending it to continues to send me the same encouragement in each letter, but finds things it wants repaired each time. I will give it a try again. I believe it is a good piece, and they do too, but as they put it, it’s not quite there yet. I am reminded of my dissertation advisers. I did, however, eventually graduate, and I expect I will here too.

My most exciting authorly news this year is thanks to Sean Wallace, I made my first professional sale to The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, which was published in July of this year. In spite of all the flattering near misses, this was my one sale of 2015.

So, that’s this year. What does next year hold?

A revision of The Ground is Full of Teeth
Completion of The Pawn of Isis
Continued circulation of all 10 short stories and one novella until there is no where else for them to go.
New short stories to replace the ones that inevitably sell or don’t.
A decision on whether my very long Klaereon series would be better served to completion as a long-running serial under my control, a la Hugh Howey’s Wool. I worry that it’s too long for a publisher to want to commit, and I want to write the books regardless of monetary numbers, so there’s that.
A lot of fun podcasting with my other fellow Unreliable Narrators, which has paid off in immediate dividends of fun and contributing to the conversation, as opposed to the delayed gratification of publishing prose. This is not only just chatting and talking, but is also interviewing and reading stories and all sorts of fun stuff. Fun? Hmmm…
Possible writing in a shared universe with aforementioned narrators.
Attending one writer’s retreat and several writing conferences. Right now I’ve got an eye on conferences that can help me get published if I’m going beyond local. I would love to be able to make the transition to conferences that would help me promote published works. All in good time.

All of this would not be possible if I had received a job at the University of Central Florida, so I will endeavor to use the gift of this time, as it was given to me for obviously some sort of purpose.

As I look back through this post, and I realize that since VP XIII it has been 8 years, I see that I am clearly farther ahead in my writing career, working toward craft improvement, and more optimistic about publishing. I’ll be interested to see what happens in the next several years.

I hope you all ring in 2016 in a way of your choosing, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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