From November 2016 to the end of August 2017, I had one main focus: finish Unlimited and get it published. Immediately, my focused shifted to an entirely new goal: making people aware of the book.
When you don't have a big publishing company behind you, marketing a book falls solely on the author. Therefore, over the past couple of weeks, I've spent countless hours sending thousands of emails to teachers, librarians, and other "gatekeepers" who can alert children about the book (kids are hard to reach directly online). I've also submitted the book to contests, advertised on social media, given out a few free copies in exchange for reviews, reached out to organizations to see if they'll recommend it to their members, sent press releases to newspapers and magazines, and pretty much everything else I can think of to get the book noticed. It's a daunting task, which I've only just begun, and I dare say by the time I'm done, I'll probably have spent more time marketing the book than I did writing it.
Meanwhile, I've also been laying the groundwork for book 3 in the Milligan Creek series, The Water War. It involves a game Matt, Chad, Andrew, and Dean come up with to help get them through a long, hot summer. We even got a chance to test a version of the game at my son's birthday a couple of weeks ago. I've decided I'm going to tackle the narrative structure a bit differently than in previous books, adopting a non-linear approach. I'll experiment with the first few chapters and see how it goes.
In the meantime, dozens of copies of Unlimited have gone out into the world, and I can't wait to start hearing back from readers. Now it's back to the emails . . .