August Review 2019

So here is the August review.  Why is there a picture of Nutella biscuits, you ask?  I first came across these scrummy biscuits in Malta last October.  I am not usually a Nutella fan, but these biscuits are confectionary cocaine.  I scoffed the lot and then found out only a limited supply had been made available.  They are not available in the UK, and the Malta supply was some sort of stunt or market research.  My children have never forgiven me for not saving them any.  During August, on a day trip to Bruges, we stopped in the supermarket on the edge of Calais and found box after box of these biscuits.  The shelves were also packed with them.  They have been available in France for a few months now.  Needless to say, I stocked up on these addictive biscuits and finally gave some to my children.  We were probably the only British people in the supermarket without a trolley full of wine and beer.  We had biscuits instead.

August is the best time of year for me to write.  As a teacher, it is the month when I have the least schoolwork to do.  That doesn’t mean there’s no schoolwork, but less than normal.  As usual, this August has been better than all the other months so far this year.  However, this August has also been the best August I have had since I started writing.

August Review – word counts

So, July was my previous best-ever month for new words of fiction.  August beat it.  Aiming at is just over 9000 words, I managed to write 27,707 words.

Freed from the daily commute, I was quickly able to put in time most mornings to get some writing done.  The pushed up my daily average from 718 words a day in July, to 894 words a day in August.  I have also been experimenting with using Dragon Anywhere, a piece of dictation software. By dictating the text, I can write quite a bit quicker, although it does mean I have spent quite a bit more time correcting the manuscript.  This gives me a chance to review and improve the story.  It also makes it is quicker to get down key ideas, so I do not rush my typing when I want to get to a critical point.

The other key milestone in August was that I cleared 100,000 words written so far this year.  As I started the year aiming only to write 110,000 words, I am pleased that I should achieve my annual goal at some point in September.

August Review – works in progress

  • A short story set in the Royal Zombie Corps series.  I am yet to decide a title for this but have written the first draft of this short story.  It is a prequel, set just before the first book, telling the story of Dr Hudson’s early involvement in zombie research
  • Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, titled either Duel or Dead Handler.  As expected, I finished this at the start of August
  • Book 7 of the Royal Zombie Corps series, as yet unnamed.  I started this during the second half of August and am now 9000 words in.

August Review – other projects

The two main thrusts of my work in August have been in marketing and re-editing.  I have continued to re-edit and format Blood, Mud and Corpses, and am nearly finished on this.  I have also completed a relatively significant redesign of the blog site while revamping the mailing list.  A top cover artist has been commissioned for several new covers, some of which will be to replace the old covers of already published books.

During August, I incorporated the publishing process as Harvey and Harvey Publishing Ltd.  There was a fair bit of paperwork around this, but it should help organise my writing moving forward.

Publishing schedule

Plans for September

  • Maintain an average daily word count of 1000 new words – this will be quite a challenge as it is hard to find the time each day to maintain this level alongside my full-time job.  500 words would probably be a more appropriate target and may become the default
  • Publish a short story on the blog. This is almost ready but needs an edit. I had planned to do this during August, but it didn’t happen
  • Edit through the new Royal Zombie Corps short story and then make available via at the mailing list and advertise on Facebook
  • Complete the re-edit of Blood, Mud and Corpses and publish this new edition
  • Edit Outbreak London, something that was on my August list, but was not started
  • Continue to learn about publishing and writing

July Review 2019

The reason for a July review is that writing takes time, and I’m not blessed with lots to spare.  So while I already keep track of where I’m at, and what I’m doing, I think I should publicly share this as a form of accountability.  Accountability motivates me and keeps me focused, especially when there are other demands upon my time.

July Review Word Counts

July 2019 has been my best ever month for new words.  I was aiming to hit 9,453 words, a daily average of 305.  This would enable me to stay on track for my goal of 110,000 words this year.  However, I hit 22,268 words during the month, a daily average of 718.

Why did I smash my target?  One reason was that I was more disciplined during my daily commute.  I can usually manage 500 words on the way to work in the morning.  I’ve found the sweet spot on the train, where I can park my bike, get on, and still not be crowded out by all the other commuters.  I’ve also been a little more disciplined in the evenings, making sure that on average, I manage a few more words.  The last week and a half of July is also holiday time for me.  I managed to maintain my word totals when I was often clearing 1,000 words a day but did not overall increase during the holiday.

July Review Works in progress

  • Outbreak London – book 5 of the Royal Zombie Corps series.  I came up with the name this month.  I’m currently sitting on the book until I get an opportunity to edit it.  This will likely be my next release.
  • Butcher’s Funeral book 2.  Still currently unnamed, although I’m playing with titles at the moment.  This book is next on my editing list.
  • Book 6 of the Royal Zombie Corps series.  It may be called Duel, or Dead Handler.  Most of my writing during July was focused on this book, and I have one more chapter to write.  This it will join the editing list.

July Review Other projects

I’ve spent a lot of time this month looking at marketing, especially Mark Dawson and the Self-Publishing Formula.  Getting some of the ideas from these sources into place has taken quite a bit of my holiday time so far, hence no significant holiday boost in writing.  I have also redesigned the blog, a work in progress.  Finally, I have been re-editing and formatting Blood, Mud and Zombies as part of my efforts to improve my back catalogue.

Plans for August

  • Maintain an average daily word count of 1,000 new words – I’m currently working at this level, but need to cut down the low word count days that bring the average down
  • Publish a short story on the blog.  I’m making the finishing touches to this as it’s an unpublished short I wrote a couple of years ago
  • Edit as much of the back catalogue as possible
  • Edit Outbreak London
  • Rearrange the whole publishing process via incorporation
  • Continue to learn and apply as much as I can about publishing
  • Commission the artwork for Outbreak London, with plans to recover all the back catalogue where possible
  • Complete changes to the blog