Now I am writing a new book. Recently, Derek Murphy posted a list of the most popular keywords in YA titles, winnowing down a nice word cloud from 1,000 descriptions and titles he fed into the keyword machine. At the same time, I read an article about the state of the self-publishing industry, and what authors that earned 100k per year did versus what emerging authors did.
Naturally, I want to be an author that earns 100K. Heck, I’d be happy to earn 5K right now.
The takeaway from that article is:
1) On average, 100K authors spend about 30 hours a week writing
2) For the most part, they’ve been in the business for about 3 years
3) They have about 30 books out – many emerging authors just have seven.
I’m working as quick as I can to get those 30 books out. My little Alphasmart Neo helps me write a lot. (I am actually typing this at the ballfield with four kids next to me talking about how, at their school, they have ice cream to eat).
One thing I’m missing is a book in the popular categories. So I took those keywords that Derek and I’ve started a story, a YA fantasy with some romance and warfare.
It’s actually a story I started ages ago. It’s basically a Dante fanfic based on his Vita Nuova. You all might know Dante as the guy who wrote the Divine Comedy, an epic poem that takes you from the bottom of hell to purgatory and to the top of heaven to meet God himself, and Beatrice is in there, and she shows up in Purgatory with some of the most amazing poetry you’ll ever run across, I am not kidding.
But anyway, in the Vita Nuova Dante wrote about how he fell in love with Beatrice, and how she died. The book is actually more about how to write poetry and cram a lot of meaning into the lines, but most people read it for the Dante swooning over Bea part.
Well, the story I’m writing, Bea is the star, and she’s a really good swordswoman. I hope the hell she doesn’t die in this book because I like her a lot.
And it’s set in Florence, and I have some tiny dragons in there, and we have an assassination in the first couple of pages. I know a lot about Dante’s life, having taken several stabs at various rewritings of the Vita. Being the ambitious nut I am, I read a lot of Florentine history and Dante scholarship and explicated the heck out of it. This time, I’m just taking what I remember and just running with it. But, as I mentioned, I like Bea a lot, and she has a sword, and she ain’t afraid to use it.
I moved this up on the priority list because this one I’m writing to the market. Kind of. But mainly I write for myself because I’m bullheaded that way.