2017 In Review: What Happened, and What Comes Next

So, before we begin, a little caveat: make sure you read what I'm actually writing in this blog post, and don't try to read between the lines. I'm going to be discussing some changes for my future, and I don't want any assumptions to be made. I'll try to make things explicitly clear, but I know sometimes, people try and figure out all the things I'm not saying.

Cool?

In 2016, I published five full length novels: The Queen & the Homo Jock King, Withered + Sere, Wolfsong, Crisped + Sere, and Murmuration.

In 2017, I published two novellas and three novels: Until You, Olive Juice, A Destiny of Dragons, The Long and Winding Road, and The Consumption of Magic.

Good lord am I tired.

I work hard. I write and edit and promote and post on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Goodreads and here on my website. Like with any job, it's exhausting. I love being a full-time writer. Holy hell, do I love it. Here I am, almost to the end of my second full year writing full-time, and it's only getting better. Gone, I think, is the sort of manic energy I had in 2016, where I was at once excited and terrified that I'd made the biggest mistake of my life. I've sold more books this year than any other before it. Thank you for that. You are helping me do this, and I won't ever forget it.

But Christ, is it a lot sometimes.

Which is why I'm okay with cutting back slightly.

For most of 2016 and large parts of 2017, I was writing 7500-10,000 words a day, four-five days a week. Then I would spend the other days editing what I'd written. I was go go go, sure that I needed more and more in order to stay relevant. After all, with the glut of new authors every day now, if I didn't have something out every few months, how soon would it before it was Tj Klune? Who dat?

It's irrational, but anxiety usually is. I can't do anything about that. It's just how my brain is wired. And while I can't stop it, I can learn how to control it better. I can allow myself to breathe.

Which means I am letting myself take my time. I don't do the 7500 words a day now. My goal is 5000, and if I hit it (which I usually do), great! If I don't (which happens), then it's not the end of the world. Daily word count is a double edged sword for an author. Frankly, it's maddening how much we care about it. It's maddening how much I still care about it.

But I am going through some changes myself. (Not puberty. I already did that.) I began 2017 with the idea of doing something different. Of working toward something more. Not because I wasn't happy with what I already had, but because I wanted to try new things. Those who read my work know that I don't write in a specific sub-genre. I bounce around all over the place. A lot of this is to stave off boredom and getting stuck in a rut, but it's also because I want to challenge myself to write different things or in different styles.

I'm always looking for ways to expand upon my craft. (Another thing an author loves to talk about--technique. Don't worry; this isn't that.) I want to find new ways to tell a story, or to try new genres.

Which is why I'm going to be publishing less with Dreamspinner.

(Remember what I said at the beginning? No assumptions, please.)

Oh, I'm still going to be writing MM romance. That's not going to change. We need queer characters falling in love now more than ever, and I love adding my own spin to this genre filled with great authors. But I'm experiencing some growing pains, and I need to find a place where I fit a bit better. DSP is amazing. The people are awesome. They have given me much. That is not up for debate.

But I want to try something different.

I have three books out next year. Two of those books--A Wish Upon the Stars and Ravensong will be published with DSP. The third book, The Bones Beneath My Skin, will not be. I have a graphic novel under construction that will be published elsewhere too, possibly in 2018, maybe 2019.

As some of you know, the biggest change for me in 2017 was that I recently signed with a literary agency after completing my first Young Adult MM book. This will be published elsewhere too. I am not giving up writing books for adults. This is just me trying something different. I'm excited about the possibilities that it could open up for me.

Things are changing, yes, but I think (hope) they're good changes. I'm tired, but it's a good tired. I have a notebook absolutely filled with ideas of what I want to work on (a western, a space opera, a spin on Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics in a retelling of Pinocchio, Corey/Kori, and many, many more). I'm not worried about running out of ideas. I'm just thinking of my future, and what I want it to be.

And I'm inviting you all along for the ride.

2017 has been my biggest year yet.

I can't wait to show you what I have in store for 2018 and beyond.

It's gonna be awesome.

Talk soon,

tj