Writing Through the Unknown

About a month ago, my wife dropped a bombshell on me regarding our finances. The projected costs of daycare for our son next year will be roughly equivalent to what I bring home from the day job, which leaves me in a bit of a tough spot. Although nothing has yet been decided one way or the other, at the moment it is looking like I have two options. I can continue working so we can break even on the budget, or I can become a stay at home dad with zero income. While I would love to stay at home and spend time with my son, this latter option would force me to change the way I write and publish. The day job, you see, is how I pay for editing and cover design. Without the day job, I have no income for publishing. But with the day, going into next year's round of tuition hikes, I'm working just to pay that bills and still having no income for publishing aside from whatever revenue I can generate from selling those titles currently available.

And that income? ... Well, it ain't much at all, really.

As you might expect, this news has thrown me for a bit of a loop. I've spent much of this month trying to recalibrate and plan ahead for a bit, and try to get a grip on the shape of the rest of this year.

I've also been submitting to several different markets in the hopes that something lands. The recently released CLONES: The Anthology was a good, but brief, bit of exposure. For a few hours, I was even in the Top 100 of all science fiction authors on Amazon. That did not last long, but it was fun momentarily, until it was time to get back to work.

I haven't submitted to any markets in more than two years now. I shopped Convergence around for a bit after hitting the quarter finals and scoring an insanely positive review from Publisher's Weekly in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 contest. I didn't get any takers (or even any responses to inquiries), and self-published it to pretty solid reviews (it's currently sitting at 4.4 star rating, so if you've read this book, or any of my other works, please leave a brief review), and was quite content to carry on as an independent author-publisher.

Now I find myself potentially facing a pretty massive change. I don't foresee abandoning writing anytime soon, but I may have to alter how my work gets published and distributed. If it's to get published and distributed at all.

I do still have some tentative plans to release a few standalone titles later in the year, the bulk of which will be publishing several short stories that appeared in various anthologies recently. An audiobook of Revolver will be starting production soon, and I've got a terrific narrator on tap to bring Cara Stone to life. This is going to be a really exciting project to direct and produce, and I'm hoping to share more on this in the coming months.

In the meantime, I'm submitting. I've gotten some feelers out there with various publishers of science fiction and horror. I'm about half-way through a sci-fi novella and staring down the end of an open-door submission period that I may not be able to make, but we'll see what happens. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I've got a short story in review for a magazine, and a horror novella submitted to another publisher. It would be stupid of me to pin all my hopes and dreams on being accepted to any of these, let alone all of them, so I'm keeping my hopes firmly in check.

I'm also writing. Writing, writing, writing. That's the only thing I can do. Maybe these works will get published, maybe they won't. All I can do is work, and, hopefully, be able to keep working, even if at a reduced capacity next year. Worst-case scenario, I suppose, is that I get plenty of trunk novels saved up until I can make my grand re-entry.

Or, you know, maybe my books suddenly take off like wildfire and I build up a nice cushion of savings to keep on publishing (hint hint).

But, again, nothing has been decided one way or another yet, and it will take a few more discussions with my better half before we figure out the logistics and what will work best for us as a family. Of course, I certainly hope and want to continue releasing my work and am planning as such until I know otherwise. So, this is not goodbye. This is merely me venting something I've been thinking about for a while now.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for news on that Revolver audiobook and future short story releases later in the year. And plenty more book reviews are on the way!

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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