Baby, I'm Ready To Go by J.C. Hutchins

There are few songs that fire me up like Republica's US mix of "Ready To Go." While the mid-90s tune is actually about a damaged romantic relationship, its pop-rock beat and chorus are an anthem for anyone craving to break free and take on the world: Baby I'm ready to go ... I'm back and ready to go ... From the rooftops, shout it out. Shout it out. (Listen to the song here.)

Goodness, yes. A thousand hell yeses. From the rooftops, shout it out. With the new year here, are you ready to go? Ready to roll up your sleeves, put on a playful self-confident sneer, and get your hands dirty with some go?

I am. 2009 was an epic year. Personal Effects: Dark Art. 7th Son: Descent. Both on bookstore bookshelves, a dream come true. I conceived and personally executed several ambitious never-before-seen online promotions -- Commit Yourself To The Brink, groundbreaking "vlurb" book trailers, multi-site cross-promotional projects (including a 10-chapter 7th Son excerpt distributed across more than 20 websites, and the recent "In the Nick of Time!" holiday sampler). More than 30 promotional blog guest posts. More than 70 podcast and radio interviews. Lots of first-evers and more-thans and many-mores.

I spent most of 2009 running on three or four hours of sleep each day. I went broke promoting the books. (This is not an exaggeration. Flat-ass, overdrawn-bank-account broke. My finances still haven't recovered.) The result was stellar "Week One" debuts for both novels, followed by weeks of better-than-average sales. The publishing business is brutal and hyper-competitive, people. Standing out requires a lot of creative thought and effort (which I had) and money (which I didn't, and wasn't provided).

I also released two podcast-exclusive fiction projects in '09, both prequels: Personal Effects: Sword of Blood, and 7th Son: 7 Days. Both were written in the midst of actively promoting the novels, and I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. This brings me to 2010.

I love the crazy-cool creative challenge of podcasting and promoting my stuff. For the past four years, I've lived to entertain you with my stories, and dazzle you with unconventional, fun promotions. I've made deliberate, informed decisions on how to spend my time, money and creative energy. Since 2006, most of my free time has been funneled into projects designed for you to consume and enjoy, for free.

Businesspeople talk about ROI: return on investment. I realized long ago that it would be impossible to receive an equitable ROI on the time, energy and monetary investment I've made in being an active creator in the social media space ... so I stopped thinking about that. Instead, I bit into new media and social media with the same abandon I have when chomping into a nectarine -- and you rewarded me with amazing feedback and unrivaled devotion, and helped make my lifelong dream of becoming a published novelist come true. My wallet may be a burnt cinder, but my soul lives in a palatial emotional mansion thanks to your generosity and kindness. I am forever grateful for that.

But baby, I'm ready to go.

Here are some not-so-secret secrets about most social media creators: We obsess about statistics. We keenly watch our blog subscriber numbers, our downloads, our website traffic, retweets and more. We crow about consistency, and how a steady output of content ensures the sustained interest of longtime readers (or listeners), and attracts newcomers. We relentlessly "feed the feed," as I call it -- we pipe out stuff of varying quality in our blog/podcast feeds to keep you coming back for more. Some of us do this successfully, and turn a profit. Some of us do this successfully, and don't turn a profit. Still others feel beholden to these rules and produce content, even when they don't want to. Burnout. A lack of perceived value from the audience. Real world obligations. It goes on.

I've been obsessing and red-lining it for so long, I've forgotten what a normal life feels like. I need to know what a normal life feels like. What eight hours of sleep feels like. What writing fiction feels like.

That last part -- writing fiction -- is critically important, peeps. This year, I felt my most alive when I was writing Sword of Blood and 7 Days, and brainstorming new projects. I took great pride in creating stories around my promotions (World War 7 is a recent fictional scenario that was a blast to concoct and execute), but when just it's me and the page and the words ... oh baby-baby, that's the primo stuff. I live to tell tall tales, my friends. I've missed telling tall tales.

And so it's time to go.

Time to roll up my sleeves, put on a playful self-confident sneer, and get my hands dirty with some go, that is. You didn't think I was abandoning this site, and you, and several thousand other awesome peeps, didja? Heavens no. The party's just getting started. I may not be the ever-present host I was in 2009 and years past, but I'll certainly be here to entertain you in 2010.

There's lots to give you. The Personal Effects: Dark Art serialized audiobook. My new podcast fiction project, The 33. I'll still interview people who amaze me -- the people I call UltraCreatives -- and I'll post written and podcast updates on my life, creative projects and other sundries. (I know most of you care less about my non-fiction content than my fiction. That's okay. But these non-fiction projects are important to me, and I will continue to pursue them.)

So yes. Content shall abound in this blog/podcast feed in 2010. But I need to make something clear, in the kindest and most constructive way possible: this content will be released when my schedule permits. In addition to the Dark Art audiobook (which will debut by Spring 2010) and The 33 (which will debut not long after), I have other creative projects to pursue. There are movie treatments I owe my film agent -- original story ideas we want to sell to Hollywood for big bucks. There are other novels to write, which I want to sell to publishers for big bucks. God willing, there will be 7th Son books Two and Three to edit for print release. And I want to pursue ways of telling stories you've never seen before; stuff that's as wide-eyed and untested as a newborn.

Jeepers, all the stories. All the stories I need to tell.

If you choose to abandon my blog/podcast feed because I won't be delivering free audio content on a weekly basis in 2010, I understand. I do hope, however, that you have an equal understanding and respect for my decision. Of course, I also hope you'll stick around. There's a great deal of fun and adventure in what I do ... and you can't beat the price with a stick.

2010 is my year of go. Go beyond podcasting, beyond 7th Son and Personal Effects, and Twitter and Facebook, and my always-shameless, sometimes-crass ass-shaking. It's time to take down the megaphones. It's time to start building more worlds. New worlds. Go worlds.

Wanna come along? Just take my hand. There'll be weeks when I'm loud and sassy, and weeks when you may never hear a peep. But we'll be running toward the horizon together, grinning at the sun. Running together, adventurers.

Come with me. Baby, I'm ready to go.