I've written a lot of books. I've always kind of obfuscated this fact, figuring no one would take me seriously if they really knew.
After writing 7 books, the first 3 of which were published, I took 30 years off.
When I came back, I thought maybe I'd finish one more book just to prove I could do it. No expectations that it would get published, but I was encouraged by the thought that I could put it up on Amazon.
Flailed around a little, made some missteps. "Faerylander" was flawed from the beginning. I started with the wrong approach and never really recovered. But I suspect that whatever book I wrote first would have had problems.
I stepped back, tried to analyze where I went wrong and attempted "The Reluctant Wizard." Closer, but still all screwed up. But I got a tingling sense, a teasing memory of how I used to feel when I wrote "Snowcastles" and "Icetowers," both of which came to me easily. ("Star Axe" was hard, and "Bloodstone" and "The Changelings of Ereland" never did quite work.)
I grabbed that feeling and wrote "Freedy Filkins," my cyberpunk Hobbit book. I knew it wasn't the kind of book that was going to get much readership but that was sort of the point: To write the book for fun and for myself and just do it the way it came to me.
That was the book that freed me up. That was the book to said to me, write whatever comes to you, don't say no.
When the next idea was a vampire book, "Death of an Immortal," part of me said, "Oh, hell no. That trend is over. What new is there to be said?" But I'd just come off of a fun experience with "Freedy Filkins" so I just went ahead and wrote it, and then followed it up immediately with "Rule of Vampire." (Which I still think is probably the most put-together book I've written.)
Then I tried rewriting "Faerylander" and got closer, but it was still flawed. That didn't stop me from writing a sequel, though; "Wolflander."
I set it aside and finally tackled the book I'd had on my mind from the start as my best shot at breaking through: "Led to the Slaughter." I took the time to make it as good as I could, and sure enough, it got published. While I was waiting for an answer, I finished the vampire trilogy with "Blood of Gold," and then talked the publisher into publishing the trilogy as well.
During that first year, I barely poked my head above ground I was so intent on writing. I had a huge amount of creative energy. Not saying its good or bad, just that I was writing all the time, most of every day.
I mean, I can't even remember when I was writing what, now.
Rewrote "Faerylander" again, and then again, getting closer each time. Doing another sequel, "Ghostlander," breaking "Faerylander" in half and creating "Zombielander." Writing "Spell Realm," a fantasy in the same world as "Sometimes a Dragon," which I also rewrote. Writing a sequel to my earlier book, "Deviltree" which I called "Deeptower." A short story called, "Burp the Burrow Wight."
The second year was just as productive, because by then I had my process down. Wrote a second Virginia Reed adventure, "The Dead Spend No Gold," wrote a book about succubae (with an uncomfortable level of sex, heh) called "Blood of the Succubus." Wrote my book about a gangster golem, called "The Last Fedora."
Most importantly, writing "Tuskers," the book along with "Led to the Slaughter" that has done the best for me. And a sequel, "Tuskers II."
Meanwhile, I wrote a couple of partial books that I might sometime go back and finish. "The Last Sombrero," and "The Odyssey of Linger Longfellow," and probably half a dozen others that went nowhere.
The third and fourth years I slowed down slightly, but still produced a mountain of words. Writing "Ghostlander" and "The Darkness You Fear" and "Faery Punk" and "Gargoyle Dreams" and "I Live Among You." Some of these might have been written in the second year, but they're all beginning to blur together.
I wrote a business book called "The Small Business Survivalist Guide," which I may throw onto Amazon someday.
Rewrote "Faerylander" and "Zombielander" again. Still not there.
The fifth year going into the sixth year, slowing down slightly, "Tuskers IV" and "Snaked" and "The Scorching" and "Deadfall Ridge" and now "Takeover." Short pieces like "Free Mars" and"Big Liar, Little Man." Novellas like "Said the Joker, to the Thief" and "The Toad King."
"Tuskers IV" is supposed to come out in August, and "Snaked" is coming out in September.
I decided early on to act as if I was a "professional." Pay for editing, the best covers I could find. Pretend I was successful, even as I spent more than I was making.
Then I sold a ghostwritten book to a major publisher for more money than everything else combined, enough to put me well into the black. Someone asked me why I would do such a thing and I said, "It's not like I don't have more books."
I write just about every day. I endeavor to finish what I start. I allow myself to write whatever occurs to me. I feel antsy if I'm not writing.
Millions of words, I figure. Through it all, I'm refining the process, getting more comfortable, loosening up and at the same time asking more of myself, and slowly but surely learning how to write. Millions of words.
I enjoy it immensely. It is very fulfilling. I can't imagine not doing it.