Jan 162013

Checking back, I started writing the 12 for ’12 novels back on this day in 2012. As you might remember, this was my crazy plan to write a dozen 50,000-word novels over the course of 2012. I managed to fund four trilogies through Kickstarter drives, which was the biggest hurdle.

(Thanks, backers! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to express how much that means to me. The best I can do is write great novels for you to read, and I’m working hard at that.)

So, how’d I do with that crazy plan?

In the strictest sense, I failed. As of December 31, 2012, I managed to write ten novels, nine of which were part of the 12 for ’12 project. The extra one was Leverage: The Con Job, which hit stores at the very end of the year.

The Leverage book clocked in at 80,000 words, so that wound up taking a bit more time than the regular 12 for ’12 books. On top of those, I wrote nine comic book scripts for the Magic: The Gathering comics I write for IDW. (Paths of Vengeance #2 is on sale today, by the way.) I also:

  • Wrote an unannounced tie-in novelette (10k words)
  • Finished off a massive story bible for an unannounced game (30k words)
  • Wrote a short story for the Don’t Rest Your Head anthology Don’t Read This Book (3k words).
  • Wrote an even shorter story for The Lion and the Aardvark anthology (600 words)
  • Wrote pitches and samples for books for which I’m waiting on imminent offers.

All told, that’s well over half a million words of fiction, plus the comic books. Beyond that, I produced and shipped the first four books in the 12 for ’12 series. As you might imagine, there was a bit of a learning curve there.

While I’ve published many books before, that was all in the days before ebooks, so that was a bit of a new world for me. A lot of the skills from the old ways carry over to the new, but I put a lot of trial and error time into getting things exactly right.

If anything, this is where the 12 for ’12 plan fell down. I didn’t estimate the time that book revisions and productions would take very well, and that ate into my writing time. Between that and conventions and spending time with my kids while they were out of school, I didn’t write any books in the middle of the summer, which put me way behind come fall.

Still, I made a game attempt to catch up, ending the year on a strong note. I stopped producing the books so I could write them, which allowed me to write two books in November and (with luck) two this month too. To make that up to my backers, I’ve been sending them PDFs of my first drafts, something that would normally be reserved for those who backed my Kickstarter drives at higher levels.

So far, everyone’s been wonderfully understanding, despite the delays, and I’m grateful for that, as I want to make sure that the final books are as good as they can be. As my friend Mike Selinker says, “It’s late once, but it’s bad forever.”

It’s wild to say I wrote that much in a year and strictly speaking failed to hit my goals, as insane as they might have been. Still, there’s a less strict way to look at this, as I mentioned last month when I announced I was going for 13 books in 13 months instead. At the moment, I have 11 of those books written. Given that I started the project on January 16, 2012, that would (in a generous person’s mind) give me until February 16 to meet that challenge.

That’s still doable. I finished the first Monster Academy book on Friday, and I have outlines in hand for Books 2 and 3. So, I’m putting my nose back to the keyboard once more. Wish me luck. 

P.S. Oh, yeah, the one time sink I really forgot to think about: running a Kickstarter. This takes a tremendous amount of time to do well and sucked up every available brainwave I had while they were going on. Demanding but rewarding too.

  6 Responses to “12 for ’12: One Year Later”

Comments (6)
  1. Matt. You are awesome and inspire me to push myself harder in several directions. I’m glad you SURVIVED 2012!

  2. Now if only I had your strong work ethic, I could get a move on with my writing too! Still, I’m glad I did as much as I did last year, which is far, far more than what I did the year previous. I wrote over half a million words too, but that also includes almost 150 reviews and numerous blogposts and interviews and what not. Now that I have the data for this across 12 months, I’m hoping I can plan things better for 2013, which is why I haven’t set myself a particular writing goal like I did for 2012, which was 420,000 words of fiction and non-fiction. Flexible projects and goals are going to give me less of a head-ache, and I’m all for that!

    • I didn’t count up all the blog posts, guest posts, interviews, and such in my total, but that’s a huge accomplishment, Abhinav, especially considering you’re working full time too. Good luck with 2013. Deadlines can inspire, but it’s great to have some time to let things breathe too.

  3. I found this all very interesting. Glad you found time to stop by the local barbershop with the kids during your 12 in 12 rush.

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