Here we are in the becalmed Saragasso seas of the final week of the year, and I’m thinking about what I’ll be doing in 2006.
Just as 2005 was significant for me in that it was the year I checked off the last thing on my adolescent “to do” list for my life, 2006 promises to be significant in that it’ll be the first year (so far as I can tell from this end) that the majority of my income will come from, and the majority of my work time will be devoted to, writing books. Here are the books on my slate for 2006:
1. The Last Colony: The third (and for now, final) book in the Old Man’s War series. I’ll be spending some of January doing some research on that and will start writing in February for a June deadline. TLC is tentatively slated for a May/June 2007 release.
2. Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: Selected Writings 1998-2005: This is the book of Whatevers that Subterranean will be publishing. Clearly most of the writing for this is done, although I’ll be writing a book introduction and chapter introductions as well. This is slated for June/July of this year.
3. Book One of the Two-Book Project I’m Currently Secretive About: I’ll start this one after I finish TLC and God willing, it’ll be done about this time next year. No release date set for this one yet but it’ll probably surface sometime late 2007/early 2008.
4. The Rough Guide to the Universe, 2nd Edition: As with Hate Mail, the writing here is already largely done, but several chapters will get a touch-up, particularly the ones on Mars and Saturn, about which we’ve learned quite a substantial bit more than what we knew when the first edition came out. I believe the second edition will be out in late 2006, just in time for holiday shopping.
I have a couple other book ideas I have rolling about in my head, but you know what? I think I’ll hold on to those for 2007. Four book projects are enough for now, and at least one of them is going to be a significant challenge to my writing skill (that’d be the BOotTBPICSA). I do already have one book project slated for 2007 (the second book of the TBPICSA), and it’s kind of a wacky thought to consider that I am (pun intended) booked up for at least the next sixteen months, and that — counting paperback iterations — books of mine will likely be coming out through 2009. I mean, damn.
I am pleased but strangely ambivalent about the idea that writing books will be my primary income source in 2006; pleased because nothing makes you feel like a writer like writing books for a living, ambivalent because I have no expectation that this state of affairs will last, and I don’t want to be bummed out if in 2007 (or 2008, or whenever) most of my income once again comes from sources other than book writing. This is one of those times where I intentionally keep myself from thinking too much and focus on enjoying how things turn out.
Non-book-related income-bearing projects at the moment are largely confined to what I already have going: My DVD columns for Official PlayStation Magazine and the Dayton Daily News, and the AOL Journals gig, for which I recently received a contract extension through March. I’m particularly pleased about that; AOL Journals went through some growing pains this last year, so I’m looking forward to more community building over there. I’m very attached to the AOL Journalers, you know, and I enjoy doing the By the Way because it’s so different in tone and substance to what I do here. I expect I may also do a bit with the Uncle John’s folks again, and I’ve let my business writing contacts know I’m available for spot work, but in both cases things have been quiet for a bit. While I enjoy doing both, I don’t mind taking a break to work on the novels.
Non(-directly)-income related writing projects in 2006: Well, there’s the Whatever, of course. It also looks as if I’ll be doing at least a few short stories; I have these listed under “non-income” not because I won’t make money off them (I expect I will, and I’m not in the habit of giving away writing for free) but because making money from them is not a primary consideration. My primary consideration at this point is to get comfortable with the form and see where it takes me. That should be fun.
Bear in mind that all of this can and probably will change, because I have yet to have a year that went anything like I expected it to. But it’s good to at least have a plan so that when you veer wildly off it, you’ll know. This is my plan for 2006, and at the moment, it seems like a pretty good one.