Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If It's Not About the BOOKS...It's Probably Not Worth Doing.

OK. Here are my profound thoughts for the day. 

Writing great books, and writing enough of them that you have a presence out there, is key. 

Writing one book and marketing the bejabbers out of it isn't a BAD idea...but once your fans have all bought it, it grows slowly, if at all. It tends to have a peak of activity when people first learn about it and/or you, and then it subsides. Then, you and it get lost in the 44,736 other books that all come out at the same time or right around the same time (at least two of which will probably have exactly the same title yours does)...and you end up in those rankings that have multiple commas in them. 

So writing bookS...PLURAL...and writing them quickly...has always been a better idea than writing one slow book per year and hoping people will wait for it. 

Note: this is not to say that you CAN'T succeed with only one book, once in a while. It's just harder.

Sometimes, people will wait for you, of course. Best-selling authors can get away with one book a year. But these are people whose books already have sales figures (not rankings) with multiple commas in them. If you are them, you're not reading this. If you are not them, then you and I are in the same boat, and this is something you no doubt have told yourself already.

But notice what I do NOT say about selling books. 

I do NOT say to get on every social media board out there.
I do NOT say to make sure you're tweeting X times per day.
I do NOT say to make the Neverending Blog Tour.
I do NOT say to have a splashy book party online.
I do NOT say to give unlimited books away for free to get new "fans."
I do NOT say to sign up for pricey publicity services that send announcements of your book to 35,000 book clubs.

I personally don't believe in any of these things anymore.

I am not saying those things can't HELP. Lightning in a bottle, after all, does happen.

But for those of us whose only meaningful resource is our own creativity... 

Those of us who are not blessed with 28-hour days, 28-figure bank balances, or 28 servants to take care of Real Life while we do the Publicity Darling bit... 

For us, it has to be, in the end, what it should be about anyway. Which is the BOOKS. 

Not frantically jumping on the next publicity bandwagon.
Not even if our publisher demands that we do it. Unless that demand comes with one of those 28-figure advances--and we all know it doesn't--it's just another guess in the big pool of "guesses" about "what's gonna work to get your name out there."

The problem is...EVERYBODY's name is out there. And no one human being will have either the time or the energy to see us all. EVER.

So don't fall victim to the panic. You won't miss anything. There's nothing TO miss, in the end, unless you've got Another Book to Sell. 


In the end, we are usually our own best career managers. 
Yes, even those of you who think you're "hopeless with business."
You know what you can write, how much you can write, and how much of yourself you can afford to give away before you start to suffer.

Notice I didn't say before your WRITING starts to suffer....because YOU'll suffer way before IT does. Eventually, it will catch up. But by that time, not only won't it be worth much; it won't even be fun anymore.

So...write the books. 

If you can do nothing else--or especially if you CAN do other things--WRITE THE BOOKS FIRST anyway. You will never have a career without them.

NOTHING else... 
...not all the Ads, Pins, Tweets, Updates, Statuses, Bleeps, or Links... 
...can take the place of the books.

Make those your mission, and let the rest happen as it will.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OK, I Don't Really Mean to Write a "Gripe of the Day"...

...even if that's how this is going to sound.  Or, even if that's how some of my blog posts have come across (LOL)....
Just something that needs to be said.
Note to potential clients:

I'm a fiction writer, and I'm a book editor. Don't confuse that with "I will write your novel for you."

Even if you make a somewhat convincing case...

Even if you've got an airtight outline...
Even if I kind of like your idea...
You can't afford me. smile emoticon

Nor will you EVER be able to.

Because...and I'm going to say this slowly, and in small words... 
If it's MY story, it goes out under MY name.
No exceptions.

We clear now?