2015 Goal Update

Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

2015So here we are. The first quarter of 2015 is in the books. Let’s take a look at where I stand on the goals at the quarter-calendar mark, shall we?

 Re-release existing Hero’s Sword books

I’m pleased to say this one is complete. Everything is out under my own control, where I’m free to experiment with pricing as I wish. Yay me!

Release Snake in the Grass: Hero’s Sword Vol. 4

Also complete. I just wrapped a month-long blog tour for the book (complete tour schedule here if you missed it). It included some lovely reviews, so feel free to take a look.

Create a digital boxed set of the first three Hero’s Sword books

Another one complete. I’m not sure it did what it was supposed to in terms of leading up to the release of Snake in the Grass, but it’s there. The links are on my home page, if you’re still looking to catch up – or start, for that matter.

Release Hero’s Sword books 5 and 6

This is progressing nicely. The manuscript for Fire Storm is complete. We’re putting the final polish on the full-color art for the cover and I’ll be able to share that with you relatively soon. I say “relatively” because hey, you never know what’s going to happen. Fire Storm is on schedule for a June 2015 release.

Shadow Dance is scheduled to go to the editor in July. I haven’t started art production yet, but it’ll ramp up later this summer. As far as I’m concerned, we’re still targeting a September release.

Draft Hero’s Sword book 7

The first draft is completed. And yes, I went pretty far in terms of “danger” for this one. I hope I like it as much as I did when I finished the first draft once I get around to revisions. And no, I still don’t have a title. Working on it. I also hope Roger and Jaycee/Lyla will forgive me.

Finish current draft for Fallen

Progressing. I’m at almost the halfway point with critique. Made some changes, but nothing earth-shattering – yet. Good news: the critique group hasn’t figured out “whodunit”  so far, which is always good. Just because of the pace and nature of critique, I’m not sure we’ll be done by June, but I’m hopeful.

The title is probably also going to change.

Write synopsis for Every Other Monday

Query, synopsis (in two versions) complete. Are they good? Not sure. But I’m ready to…

Query Every Other Monday

Yep, it’s happening. I did a Twitter pitch party. Got a couple of requests, one of which resulted in a pass and one full manuscript request (haven’t heard back). I also spent a day on Query Tracker looking up mystery agents. So I have my list. I’ve asked for two agent meetings at the upcoming Pennwriters conference in May. Now, I just have to sit down and start pushing send. Yeah, yeah – easier said than done. I’m cribbing my friend Annette’s strategy. I’m giving myself six months to land an agent. If that doesn’t happen, six months to look at and pitch to small presses. If that comes up blank, I’ll look at publishing it myself.

This probably needs a bit of explanation. Like a lot of writers, I’m curious to see if this book has “what it takes” to land a traditional publishing contract. And since I wrote the book, that would me I have “what it takes.” And that’s a very cool thing to find out. However, I believe in this story. I’ve had messages from readers (some of whom I don’t know – honest), who like the short stories and have asked, “So when’s the novel coming?” I don’t think any of the existing stories have less than a four-star rating on Goodreads.

So the interest is there. I believe in this book and I want to get it out there. I’m not that fussed about sales. I mean sure, I’d like to see a bit of cash. But at the end of the day, I’m not doing this for money or to see myself on the New York Times bestseller list. I’m doing this because I have a story to tell. I want to share it with the world. And if the best way to do that is to publish it myself, well, that’s okay. If you told me, “Mary, you will never make more than you need to buy a Starbucks latte” I’d still write. Because I can’t not write.

Anyway, that’s probably a blog post for another day. But wish me luck. Since I have absolutely no (or at least precious little) control over whether this thing gets picked up, I appreciate the well-wishes.

Start revisions on A Matter of Trust

Started. The bones are good. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I like the first draft. Precious little cringing going on. I should have this done by the time the critique group is done with Fallen.

But I don’t like the title. What else is new?

Compile collection of existing Laurel Highlands Mysteries stories

Also done. Available in ebook and print – and I’ve even sold a few! It includes all of the existing Laurel Highlands short fiction, including Fatal Frost and Batter Down. I personally think short fiction is perfect for vacations, pool time, or relaxing on the porch after dinner – especially now that Spring seems to have found it’s way back to the Northern Hemisphere. So if you want to catch up on the adventures of Jim, Sally and crew this is a great time (plus the ebook is priced so that it’s equivalent to two free stories – bonus).
As far as continuing education and conferences, I’m attending Pennwriters (as I mentioned above) in May. That’s here in Pittsburgh. I’m also going to Bouchercon in Raleigh in September. I’m looking forward to both events. And I think I’ll be getting together with some friends for a “show your manuscript some love” weekend in Jim Duncan’s hometown. Those ladies are always a lot of fun, so I’m really looking forward to that.
And there you have it. The report at the end of the first quarter. I’m not doing to bad. Check back in June for the halftime report.

3 Replies to “2015 Goal Update”

  1. Sounds like you’ve had a productive 1st quarter. Congratulations. May I ask a question? How many agents did you consider a sufficient list? I’ve been harvesting names from QueryTracker, AgentQuery, Writer’s Market, and writing group announcements of recent “deals” but I’m not comfortable with how many is enough or too much. If you don’t mind sharing.

    1. Thanks. Yes, it’s been a busy three months.

      I don’t mind sharing. After I filtered QueryTracker for agents that repped mystery, then removed the names of folks not open for queries, or who looked like they didn’t fit my sub-genre (police procedural), I wound up with 57. A friend of mine said that was a good list to start with.

      1. Thanks. I’ve been searching for agents who read suspense rather than mystery since my current story falls more on that side, then checking the agent’s web site and narrowing down based on best matches. Then I’ve done the same on a few other search lists. It’s amazing how many agents are on one list but not others. I’m at 55 names with one list to go so I guess when I’ve finished combing that one, I’ll start sending queries. Good luck to us both.

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