My critique group meets this Friday. We’ve set a tradition of putting down our writing resolutions at the first meeting each year. We will also review last year’s resolutions to see what we accomplished and where we fell short. I’m sorry to say I fell so short I’m now walking in a ditch. I didn’t achieve a single goal from my stated intentions.
Not to make any of my resolutions is a major mea culpa. So where did I go wrong? Did I set my goals too high? My first resolution was to sign a contract with a major publisher for PowerForce. I had just signed with a new agent in December, so while I knew that was a high goal, I felt PowerForce was a very commercial product and the possibility was there. What I didn’t anticipate was my agent retiring after 7 months. Pregnancy lasts longer. In hindsight I think she took on my book because she thought she could sell it fast and when it didn’t sell in 3 months, she took a trip to Africa, then moved, then retired. I don’t think I got a fair deal so I get to say, “Not my fault,” on my first resolution.
My second resolution was to write a new book, probably the third in the PowerForce series. I had some wonderful rejection letters from some editors about the first book and I wanted to talk to my agent about making changes to satisfy them. I thought the second book in the series would actually take care of the objections the editors had, but my agent was off to Africa and I thought I’d wait till she got back to discuss sending them the second book. I had started putting together notes and ideas on the third book but, again, decided to wait until she got back before doing any more prewriting on it in case I wanted to rethink how I was approaching the series. My agent got back about 6 weeks later but then she was busy moving. Put the book off again until she had time to talk. The next thing I heard, she had decided to retire. At that point I didn’t want to expend the energy to write a third book in the series until I had sold one already written. I was too down to think of a new book outside of the series, so I get to blame my agent for putting me into a depressed writing funk. “Not my fault” again.
My third resolution was to make an ebook of On the River A, B, C, a picture book I illustrated that Caroline Stutson wrote. I went to the RMC-SCBWI Fall Conference so I could hear Will Terry speak. I love his blog and he’s got a couple of top selling ebooks. The one I have is Monkey and Croc and it is delightful. I wanted to find out what software he used and what advice he had about the market. His advice was to get into apps. He thought that people didn’t understand a picture book ebook. They expected some type of interaction and simply having a picture book available in digital form wasn’t enough. They wanted sound effects or the type to highlight while you’re reading it, or objects to move at a finger touch. Everything that you would find in an app. So I decided to shelve making On the River into an ebook until I could figure out a way to do it as an app instead. The market isn’t there for an ebook version so, for the third time, “Not my fault.”
My fourth, and last, resolution was to make an app of Big, Bad Bunnies, a picture book I had written, but not yet illustrated. In my defense, I decided to write Monster Numbers first as I thought the format would be easier to do while I was figuring out the software on the Interactive Touch Books website. Next came Monster Puzzles as it allowed me to reuse the artwork and get a second app out really fast. Then came the summer Olympics and Alien Olympics was an obvious tie-in to the publicity. Next I thought of approaching Mary Stern, an author I had illustrated two picture books for, and asked her if she’d like to turn one into an app. Farm Fun is now number 9 on ITB’s website. (Note: Farm Fun is under Mary’s name.) Finally, I thought of doing a Christmas app, and though I worked really hard on it, there wasn’t enough time to finish it so Christmas Bo will be out this fall for Christmas of 2013. That makes 4.5 apps finished in place of Big, Bad Bunnies. This time I get to excuse myself and say “Not my fault.” I was too busy getting other apps out.
How’s that for justifying? Do you think my group will buy it? Can I get out of my ditch?