Progress Report #7: The Workhorse Edition

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am building my career strategically, by focusing on the work. That’s my choice to do that, and I feel that putting out quality effort is what will enable me to keep writing full-time. There’s a lot of planning and pitching I do as well, because this is my life and I want to be writing professionally for a long time. Sometimes, though, this puts me in the position of not being seen or taken seriously by certain folk, because doing the work isn’t the same as talking about the work or issues related to it. This is partly why I go to conventions, to connect with other people, but even then my budget and time is limited. I simply can’t get to them all.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I wanted to bring this up because I wanted to reinforce that this type of business plan is pretty normal. A writer who writes “a” best-selling novel, who makes a career writing professionally, doesn’t drop what they’re doing and simply spend all their time marketing themselves or the one book. Media/tie-in writers who get paid on a work-for-hire basis have to be more vigilant, I feel, because the rights are owned by the publisher. Regardless, my point here is that the most important thing you can do for yourself is to figure out your own plan–and own it. I certainly am! (And, it goes without saying here’s a note of encouragement: I believe in you!!)

No, there aren’t guarantees to success and luck doesn’t just favor the prepared. However, I feel you can never go wrong by focusing on quality work, because that makes all the difference in the world. I’ve had considerable more opportunities open up by showing what I can do, versus than trying to convince someone I’m amazing. The work, when you’re a writer, is proof that you know what the F-bomb you’re talking about–and that work is NOT just about hitting word count. It’s also about revising, polishing, reading, researching, and being able to disseminate feedback and criticism from those who either love everything you do or hate it.

In addition to my list of projects, I’ve also got more shows I’ll be going to than I have in the past few years; this means my focus has to be tighter. I recently spoke at the GAMA Trade Show and went to the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat, but I’m heading to OddCon, MO*Con, Origins, Geek*Kon*, CONvergence, GenCon, and UK Games Expo with a few more slotted in as potential trips. With a full traveling calendar, my work schedule will depend on hitting deadlines and staying on task–especially since I haven’t gotten around to spring cleaning yet. Ahem. I’m also sitting on a few announcements, too, some of which have been in the works much longer than others. Phooey.

Overall, though, I’m strongly focused on shoring up my portfolio by expanding into new areas. When you look at this list, please don’t make assumptions since these projects primarily reflect what I’ve done recently. If you want to hire me to write, please contact me and we’ll figure something out if possible.

On with the current state of the state!

Games

Q1 was highlighted by the World of Darkness: Dark Eras Kickstarter and some fun announcements–like how the Firefly RPG took 2nd Runner Up for Game of the Year 2014 in the Golden Geek Awards and The Escapist nominated the Firefly RPG for Game of the Year 2014. Shiny!

  • Things Don’t Go Smooth – This GM-facing Firefly RPG supplement is now available in digital and print.
  • Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim – This is a book filled with lots of great material for players and GMs. It released in digital early this year, and the print edition will be heading to a game store nearest you very shortly.
  • Ghosts in the Black – This is a Firefly RPG campaign supplement that we’ll be announcing on margaretweis.com shortly.
  • World of Darkness: Gothic Icons – What’s gothier and angstier than Gothic literature? Gothic Icons! It’s a free download that’s offered for Onyx Path Publishing’s April Fool joke.
  • World of Darkness: Dark Eras – Wrote the Hunter: the Vigil supplement for this book for 1690s Colonial America. We will be adding an additional 5,000 words to flesh it out with First Nations-related material, and I am also writing Geist: Roanaoke. Thanks for making this Kickstarter so successful!
  • Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn RPG – I contributed to the Skaa supplement for this game and Logan Bonner is my developer. It’s still on the schedule!
  • Vampire the Masquerade Dread Names: Red List – Sending it off to editorial within the next couple of days.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Ghouls – Once Dread Names: Red List is done, I’m tying up this project.
  • Conan RPG – That’s right CROM! fans, I’m writing for the Conan RPG and two of its supplements.
  • Unannounced – Working on an unannounced Savage Worlds supplement through a small press publisher. It’s hellacious!


Comics

Feeling crushed and defeated, so these are on hold. I come across opportunities for a single issue every now and again, but my options are bleak. I could write more scripts since I have an artist, but since I have a better chance selling my fiction? My efforts are going into that direction at the moment. It feels terrible that I can’t pay an artist to do the work, even with an artist who’s volunteering to do some work up front, and comics are very time-intensive. Also decided to skip the comic-related shows, since I’ve gotten nowhere.

Fiction

I went to a writer’s retreat and it was very, very good for me. Set aside a lot of bullshit, and have been diving back into storytelling.

  • Novelette – I submitted a 10,000 word novelette called The Women who Called Down the Worm for review.
  • Short Stories – I have a few reprints in circulation, and I’m also getting critiques on a few original short stories before I sub those out.
  • Anthology – I’m co-editing an anthology with Jaym Gates called Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling for Apex Publications. Here’s the announcement!
  • Novella – I have a dark, science fiction novella I need to finish revising so I can sub that out. Codeword: Red Byte
  • Novels – Another round of revisions on Novel A (Codeword: Silver Dagger) in May, Novel B (Codeword: White Fang) probably not until July. I want to rework the plot for B.


Non-Fiction

New for this project update! WOO!

  • Pitch A – Finishing up a pitch for Codeword: Palm Tree that’ll go out in a week or two.
  • Project A Plus – Working on revisions in April.
  • For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher – A book of essays written by Jason Sizemore, the publisher for Apex Book Company as part of the company’s 10 year celebration. I have written a satirical essay which is titled “The Case of the Mysterious Splatter.” It has footnotes. Many, many footnotes.

That’s all for now! More to come in the 2015 edition of: Work One’s Ass Off.



Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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