Never-ending List of Things to Do, June 2018 Edition

10 Jun

This is one of those semi-regular “What am I working on oh that’s everything” post.

Okay. Whee. Let’s organize some thoughts.

The big news is that I’ve got an agent! I’ve signed with Diana Fox of Fox Literary. I’ve met her, she’s fabulous, she’s a sparkly disco ball made of tiny razors. I have a hugely positive outlook for my future career, as long as Screamy Orange Grandpa doesn’t tank the national economy to the point where books are reduced to cheap kindling.

The principle project I’m working on for traditional publishing is the Helen of Troy (*cough* Sparta!) manuscript. It’s an aggressively feminist retelling of The Iliad, and I love Clytemnestra with all my heart. I think that’s all I can say about this project at the current time.

But! A major reason I signed with Diana is because she embraces self-publishing as a way to bring stories into the world that don’t have enough viability for the traditional marketplace. Which is a fancy way of saying that I’m working on the next Hope Blackwell novel. It’s about ghost hunters (of course) and dead pirates (…okay?) and a wild roadrunner which may or may not be possessed with the spirit of the Sonoran Desert (…wait what…). Plus, Speedy. I’m aiming for a Halloween release to drop this sucker on an unsuspecting planet.

What about Rachel Peng? you ask? The Rachel Peng books are heavily political in nature, and I…look, things are absolute shit right now. I’m working on the next two books in the series, because the upcoming book is when That Bad Thing happens to Those Two Characters and I want to have a unicorn chaser follow it as quickly as possible. So I’m working on two books in the same series at once, which is difficult but will be worth it.

What about the Kickstarter? you ask? It’s not dead. I’m slowly but surely mailing out the bonus items to Backers. The production of the audiobooks might be removed from my hands entirely at some point, which is excellent because I’m not a sound editor and I cannot produce these books myself, not without sacrificing quality. And yes, there’s a huge complicated story here that I can’t disclose even though I just want to scream about the whole mess forever.

Other items of note:

The second act A Girl and Her Fed is winding down. Thanks to my Patreon Supporters, there will be a third act. This was in doubt for a long time–the comic has never paid for itself, ever. It was only when I started putting out the novels that I earned enough to become a full-time creator. Patreon has been a blessing and it’s a source of income that I try not to take for granted, as it could go away in a heartbeat (see: last December). With that said, Patreon’s income has allowed me to continue work on the comic when the money from the books slows down. But I’m getting stretched thin for time. For the third act of the comic, I’d like to use a large chunk of my Patreon money to hire an artist to do the art while I concentrate on the writing. This is a good thing! Yes, we all hate change. Yes, I’m a huge control freak and don’t want to put my characters in someone else’s hands. But facts are facts: I’ve always been a better writer than an artist, and complicated story comics should be updating at least three times a week. I want to hire an artist and pay them an industry-standard per-page rate, plus benefits so they don’t flake and leave me trying to find someone new in the middle of the third act.

That’s all I can think of right now. Ask me questions in the comments and I’ll update this post with anything I’ve missed.

10 Responses to “Never-ending List of Things to Do, June 2018 Edition”

  1. wetdryvac June 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm #

    Go go go / don’t die / oh dear gods and kittens / THANK-YOU

  2. clemmie's my dog's name June 10, 2018 at 11:07 pm #

    So don’t take this the wrong way, but honestly, I like your fiction a LOT more than the comic. Don’t get me wrong, the comic’s fine, but the fiction’s what I came across first, and I’ve probably read the Peng series about 5 times by now. So do what you have to do, and I’ll buy any new books you publish as soon as they come out.

  3. nimelennar June 11, 2018 at 4:43 am #

    Yay! This is the update I’ve been going to see whenever I check your website!

    It’s good to know that I have four more books on my reading list, even if some of them will take a while to get into my digital hands.

    Congrats on getting an agent! I hope this means you can start bringing in the big bucks and get yourself some income security!

    And always remember: lots of us are pullin’ for ya; we’re all in this together.

  4. Jules June 11, 2018 at 9:50 pm #

    Go Otter! Congratulations on getting an Agent!
    Does the razor-coated Discoball come with skull-embedded quantum computers too?

    Feel free to project another few sold copies of all four upcoming books. Anything you write is an instabuy for me, and you haven’t disappointed!

    I’m also glad to see my Kickstarter faith is still not misplaced. I _knew_ you would see this through, under all reasonable circumstances; From the hints you’ve dropped over the years (years?!) we’re well into “seeing it through even in UNreasonable circumstances” by now, and I respect you all the more for it! You have all my sympathies, and admiration for perseverance!

    I see shittons of potential in partnering with an artist to free up writing time for yourself. I’d L.O.V.E. more comic updates!
    Stylistic breaks between acts/books are not a problem IMHO, erfworld did such things too, and is probably a worthwhile example to look at for experience (another perseverance masochist b.t.w., still updating (albeit slightly less) despite Balder’s wife currently battling cancer)

    Thanks for the update!

  5. Lisa Keogh June 21, 2018 at 8:12 am #

    All very positive … I’ve been reading the comics since early days … back when Jeph first linked from QC and crashed your site (Maybe about 2006?) and I think hiring an artist is an excellent idea if it helps you.

    Cause I am also a massive fan of the novels, which I came to through my love of the comic.

    Just wondering if there are more Stoneskin novels in the pipeline … even if they’re lodge up near the back?

  6. Pinoghri July 3, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    I had been irregularly checking this website for news ever sinc0e I devoured the Rachel Peng novels. By all the saints and demons am I glad that you are doing well and have so much planned!

    I don’t really understand publishing but if having an agent is a good thing for you, then yay! I look forward to the Helen book. There’s never enough feminist history.
    I am excited to read more about Hope’s adventures — Greek Key was a very fun read — but it’s nothing compared to how pumped I am for more Rachel novels. I am more drawn to your political sci-fi than the “fantasy” elements of Hope’s angle of their universe. I do dread the Bad Thing but I know you will take care of us readers.

    I discovered the AGAHF universe through the Rachel Peng novels and maybe that biases me towards her character, but nonetheless I burned through the comic archive in a couple of weeks (spoiling myself the identity of Those Two Characters, greedy little imp that I am). I look forward to the higher update rate 🙂
    A new artist will be a nice little change in the routine. By the way I applaud your desire to pay them as decently as you can.

    I’m sending you good vibes in these trying political times. Stay strong and keep being awesome!

  7. Heron61 July 18, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    I fell utterly in love with Stoneskin, have you been working on the next Deep WItches novel, and when might one come out?

  8. John Hatch July 22, 2018 at 11:38 pm #

    I realize that this (blog, comic, novels, house, yadda, etc.) is a heavy burden that you and yours have been carrying for a long time and I don’t want my sincere appreciation to add to it. The to-do list sounds like a good stab at making things a bit less burdensome but give yourself some space for play and joy as well. And some quiet reflection. Thanks very much for the bits of insight into the process of living and writing and making them fit together. Like many others, I came here by way of your novels and I own all of them in digital format, which is what I can afford. (I’ve never been well off and am currently living on SS and a small VA benefit.) And I’m looking forward to whatever comes next but NO PRESSURE! You are doing good work and it is appreciated.

  9. John Hatch July 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm #

    Quick addition: Do you have adequate help on audio edition production? I’m sure I know (MUCH) less than you do about it, but my youngest brother is an actor on Broadway (“Come From Away”) and I’d ask him for whatever suggestions he might have if you are interested.

  10. Tigerrrcat July 30, 2018 at 5:49 am #

    I came for the original artwork on the comic. I loved the minimalist feel. I’ll live with a new artist and it’s your vision – and still, I want to say that if you’re willing to look at returning to that style (and if it saves you time), you’ll have made at least one fan happy.

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