My publishing plans for the next five years

Everyone has a five year plan, right? Just me? I like to have a few goals to work towards in the short and long term, to keep me on track.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll never get there, but if you have a destination in mind you’ll eventually reach it, even if you take the scenic route.

Okay, enough of the driving metaphors. Here’s what you can expect to see from me in the next five years:

2022

January: The Solitary King, The Fair Chronicles #2

April: Baroness of Blood and Bone (Once Upon a Name anthology)

July: One Fair Eve (Enchanted Forests anthology)

December: The Fair War, The Fair Chronicles #3

2023

April: Twice Upon a Name anthology

July: Enchanted Flames anthology

2024

The Rose and the Serpent

April: Thrice Upon a Name anthology

July: Enchanted Anthologies (possibly Enchanted Winds)

2025

The first three books in a new prequel series to The Fair Chronicles, tentatively titled the Crowns of the Fair Saga:

A Crown of Thorns

A Crown of Embers

A Crown of Pearls

2026

The final two books in the Crowns of the Fair Saga (titles TBD)


So, there you have it! Which book are you most excited about?

I’m really looking forward to writing The Rose and the Serpent (historical fantasy set in Victorian England, for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper) and plotting my next five book series, the Crowns of the Fair Saga! It’s going to be set a few decades after the creation of the Fair Realm, and follow the five children of Queen Oriana as they each marry into the Five Kingdoms and face the challenges and politics that come with royal life!

Lyndsey

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When to shelve your manuscript (and when to just take a break)

Does anyone else find it almost impossible to DNF a book?

What about you, writers, how hard is it to abandon a manuscript you’ve worked on for a long time, but know will never be ready for publishing? Or even, that you’ve simply fallen out of love with?

There’s this concept called the sunk cost fallacy, and I think a lot of us can identify with it. In a nutshell, it means you refuse to give up on something, even when it’s terrible or has come to its natural end, because you think the time and energy you put into it so far will have been wasted if you quit.

It’s used a lot to explain why people stay in relationships and jobs that no longer serve them or make them happy. But it also applies to your creative projects and WIPs.

So, how do you decide when it’s time to abandon your current novel and start working on something new?

Should you shelve your current WIP?

There are a few questions you could ask yourself to determine if it’s time to move on from that book you’ve been writing for years, or that hasn’t gotten any requests from agents or publishers:

  • Are you hoping to publish it one day, or are you just writing it for fun? (There’s nothing wrong with writing something you’re passionate about but have no intention of sharing, it’s good to have a comfort WIP you can turn to when you need a break)
  • Does it fit into a recognisable genre and have clear comparative titles?
  • Is the genre you’re writing in selling/popular right now? (If not, it doesn’t automatically mean you should abandon your WIP, trends come back around and it could be the next big thing!)
  • Have you had beta readers and editors look at it, and did they enjoy it?
  • Do you feel as though there’s still work to be done, revisions and edits that will make your story better? (If you feel like you’ve done everything you can and the story still isn’t working, it might be time to shelve the MS)
  • Do you enjoy working on your story? Do you fall asleep thinking about it and daydream your way through the work day, jotting down snippets of dialogue and ideas for plot twists? (Then it’s probably not quite time to abandon your story! Another round of betas might help you get closer to being publication ready)
  • Is there another idea or plot bunny that’s been nagging at your brain? (You’re not alone, we all get shiny new ideas, but if you give up on your current WIP every time you get a new plot bunny you’ll never finish a book, so make all the notes you want, and then get back to your WIP!)

We all hit road bumps in our writing journeys, and some days getting the words down is like pulling teeth, because writing is hard. It is hard. But we’re all in this together, even when writing feels lonely, there’s a whole community of us out here who you can reach out to for support and encouragement.

And even if you shelve an MS, that doesn’t mean you can’t take it back out months or even years later, dust it off, and get it ready for the world to read. We need your stories!

Lyndsey

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Why consistency is better than originality

The title might be a little misleading, I guess it should read “why consistency is just as good as originality”. But when it comes to your writing and publishing career, especially if you’re an indie author, then consistency really is king.

For readers, a book that gives them a completely new perspective and a fresh take on the genre is amazing. But they might love it just as much as that other book that features all their favourite tropes and feels like a warm hug every time they reread it.

And which one can you write more quickly and easily, and publish more often? I’d say for most of us its the consistent book rather than the original book.

Consistency makes a publishing career

As an author, you might have a few truly original books inside you, and I absolutely encourage you to write them! But they can take years to finish because you need the right inspiration, the right headspace, and let’s be honest, we’re much more particular about these special books-of-our-hearts – the weird little WIPs we’re nervous to share in case nobody else likes them – than we are about the ones we know people will love because we’ve put the old, tried-and-true tropes to work.

Your readers love your writing, your voice, your world-building and storytelling. And their absolute favourite thing? When you bring out a new book. So give them what they want and consistently write and publish, don’t keep them waiting because your shiny, original story isn’t quite perfect yet. Get it perfect in the moments of inspiration and flow, when the muse is kind and the sun shines on your soul project.

But in the gaps between, write that comfort book. Employ all of your favourite tropes. Fan of friends-to-lovers? Write it. Secret royalty? Give it to us. And don’t feel bad if it’s not the most original, earth-shattering, mould-breaking story you’ve ever told. We all need those books that feel like coming home and putting on our oldest, cosiest sweater.

Original is overrated

You’ve probably heard that there’s nothing original left in this world, and it’s not far wrong. The rare book that comes out and shakes up the industry, turning everything that’s gone before it on its head, is all the more exciting because it’s just that – rare.

Humans love familiarity. We love comfort. Our brains are really stressed out by the new and different. There’s a reason why tropes are a thing, why so many stories follow the same old patterns and yet are still told centuries, if not millennia, later. It’s because we love them, they make us feel safe, they give us an experience we crave, which is to know how it’s going to end, how the story will turn out, and where the twists and turns will come.

Storytelling is the oldest method of spreading news, warnings and information. Hearing the same story, told in different ways, over and over again, is how we learn. So don’t shy away from retelling, tropes, and even prequels, sequels and tie-in series that fans of your other books will love.

It might be fan-service, but at the end of the day, we’re here to serve our fans, so why not give the people what they want?

Lyndsey

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