Year In Review – Cidney Swanson

Year In Review

For those of you who are writers, or considering writing, I cordially present: my year in scribbling. For the rest of you, this will probably be deadly dull, and I advise finding a more interesting website, post haste.

Fresh back from a fab Big Sur Workshop with ABLit. Inspired. Instructed. I eradicate thousands of words from WIP thanks to great advice from Jenn Rofe and Mary Kole. I am introduced to several of my bad author-ly habits, and I send them packing. Yay! I realize I don’t know where my WIP should begin. *Is annoyed* I join kindleboards and lurk watch the Writer’s Cafe with interest.

WIP is looking thin and fit thanks to December/January weight loss program. I still fear I haven’t found the correct beginning for my story, but I go with one I think might work. Now a polished manuscript (ms), it circulates amongst a handful of agents. I remove the completed first draft of what will become Chameleon from the deep freeze and begin applying the weight loss regime to it as well. Meanwhile, I write bits of what will become Unfurl and lots of what won’t become a part of anything. I acquire several very polite rejections of my full ms, with requests to submit something else if I have it.

I participate in the conversations on kindleboards after lurking for over a month and begin to consider indie-publishing. More polite and encouraging rejections, more requests for something else if I have it. Barry Eisler walks away from SMP deal, Amanda Hocking signs with SMP. I am realizing my ms doesn’t begin at the right place. Completely befuddled as to how to begin it. I set it aside to age.

I write a sci-fi novel (first draft) and set it aside to age. I hear back from the last agent and last editor who had expressed interest in my ms. (Another appetizing serving of “no, thank you.”) I decide to indie-publish my ms, since it is nearly done–if I could just find that slippery, that elusive . . . beginning. I feel pretty certain there is a market for this story, even if that market isn’t the traditional one. I work with the amazing Claudia at to get a cover for my novel, Ripple.

I buff Ripple ’til it glistens. The novel gets a last minute name change when PW Daily announces a July release of a YA paranormal romance with my title. What??? (My preciousssssss . . . ) Ripple becomes Rippler, going from a nice noun-verb double-entendre to a merely descriptive noun. Le sigh. I get stellar advice from a best-selling YA author who tells me two possible places she would begin my novel if she were writing it. One of them rings one-hundred per-cent true to me. I write it down in a frenzy. I delete 15,000 words from my lame beginning. I have a book I am proud of! I publish it on Amazon days before my birthday.

I sell a few books! I get several reviews! From people I’ve never met! It’s amazing! I worry that having four 5-star reviews will make it look like I asked friends to review my book. (Something I asked them to please not do.) Then I get a 2-star review and a 4-star review. I feel legitimized. I write, write, write the second-in-series.

I write, write, write number two clear to the end and set it aside to age. I go back to the sci-fi novel and polish it. I check my sales far more often than is strictly rational. The numbers creep forward slowly, and more reviews start coming in. Every time a 5-star comes in, it is followed by a 4-star. Every time. *Is amused*

I polish the second-in-series, realizing it will be better than its older sibling! The story arc progresses more naturally, and it reads a bit like a thriller. *Is thrilled*

I put Chameleon, the second-in-series for sale days before I embark upon a cruise across the Atlantic celebrating a big anniversary with my BFF/DH. We talk about book three, but I Do. No. Writing. For. Two. Weeks. Chameleon sells moderately well, and sales are up for Rippler as well. I outline book three once we reach home.

I write like a woman possessed.  2,500-3,500 words per day. I’m determined to get book three out by Christmas. A women’s book group hosts me; they discuss my book and ask me questions. It is more fun than riding Pirates of the Caribbean.

Still possessed. A polished draft is completed. Beginning of work with editor who tells me what scenes go where. (Several were completely backwards! Imagine that!) I have an author event at Vanilla Jill’s in Eugene, Oregon. I sign books, do readings, and answer questions. It is more fun than Toy Story Mania!

Edits, edits, edits. Followed by copy-edits, copy-edits, copy-edits. Trailed by beta-reader responses. Chased by publication around 11:00PM on the 25th. I met my goal! Plus, 2400 downloads of Rippler when I set it free as a Christmas thank you. Wow. That’s a lot of downloads. I sell hundreds over the following days, doubling my sales of the first seven months. All those new Kindles require feeding, apparently.

There you have it, my pets! Anyone still awake?

12 Replies to “Year In Review”

  1. I'm awake! Congratulations, dear Ms. Swanson. I knew you could make the promotion game work in your favor, if anyone could. It takes good writing in the first place to make it a lasting endeavor, and you're on the way to lots of adventures in writing for a living. God bless you all through the next year.

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