I am nearing the end of Livvy’s story (and God I hope a title strikes me soon). I’m very pleased with it, and really excited to sit down and read the whole thing, cover to cover. It’s been about two months since I’ve done that, and I’ve added quite a few words at this point. 🙂
I almost achieved what I set out to do: to write a story that my dad would be able to read. (Remember, the sex and language were a big deterrent for him in my Emi Lost & Found series. I don’t blame him, and while I do NOT want him to read them, it would have been nice for him to at least want to.) There are two scenes that are borderline, so I’m going to really rethink them. After all, this is intended to be a YA book. There is no offensive language (can you believe it?), and there’s no sex… but the two scenes in question are situations many teenagers find themselves in at some point. Whether or not I’ll take them out will have to be decided a little further down the line.
Anyway, my conundrum: after I make my first pass at editing, then what? With Emi Lost & Found, that was the only project I had in the works (for the most part), so it was obvious what I would do after the first pass. A second pass, third, fourth, fifteenth, etc. But I have three more books that are half-way written in a completely different a series. A series, by the way, that does relate to both Emi Lost & Found and Livvy’s story, but is chronologically sandwiched in between them. This creates a publishing dilemma.
Nothing that happens in the second series really affects Livvy at all, so people who have read Emi Lost & Found would be able to pick up with Livvy’s story without missing a beat. The second series is more of a spin-off, if you will. The problem is, if I publish Livvy’s story next, then relationships that are formed in the spin-off would be revealed that I would like to keep hidden until that series is published.
I figure I’m about half-way through with the spin-off series, but only 1/3 of the way finished with the first book in that series. So the publishing of that could be years away. (If only I could write full time…)
And then, it’s not just deciding what order to publish… it’s deciding how to publish, as well. My rationalization for self-publishing in the first place was to get my work out there, so I could amass a giant following (stop snickering!) and then go back to querying agents. I still firmly believe my work is good enough to be picked up by a traditional publishing house, especially with the popularity of ebooks. I’m still in the “oh, my God, your book is how long?” category with Livvy’s story, but I am hoping to edit it down a bit. It’s not 375,000 words too long, but it’s the length of one of the Emi Lost & Found books… and for YA, that’s hella-long. Querying can take a year to give it a good chance of getting picked up… so editing may take a year, querying may take another one, publishing after that… oh, I don’t want to count. (Do you see why self-publishing is so attractive?)
But what makes self-publishing so unattractive is the constant need for self-marketing… and I mean constant. It’s draining, and I’m not good at it. I understand that even traditional publishers expect some level of self-marketing, but hopefully they have some tried and true methods that would guide me in the right direction.
Sigh. What to do, what to do?
I really just want to write. And now, I have more on my plate than I’d planned to. Livvy’s story was supposed to be one book… but I now have a story that carries it into three… and I’m very excited about it. I have made one decision, though. I’m going back to the spin-off series and finishing it once and for all before I start Livvy II and III. I’m excited to get back into an adult frame-of-mind… or three adults’s frames of minds. (Huh?)
Any thoughts on this? Should I edit Livvy I to perfection before delving into writing the spin-off again? And what about self- vs. traditional-publishing Livvy’s story? I could always get hers out there and try to get an agent for the spin-off series. But I have no doubt I’ll be facing the same questions when that series is complete.