I had a rant planned, but I gave up on it. I prefer to stay calm, here in the now, and enjoy life. So I’m going to make two honest points here and let you all be. I hope you listen.
I read a blog post today on Bob Mayer’s site. It was to the damn point and I said to myself, “FINALLY!”
Any decent writers blog tells you you need to plan, you need to write, and you need to publish. But be honest, how many are actually doing that? Time after time I see people with one or two books desperate to make another sale, running around in a panic, making their books free, doing crazy offers or deals or discounts that yield nothing, only to end up asking WHY?!
And my response is the same… write another book.
My first point is this – write. It’s simple. Just write. My wife bought me a notebook for Christmas last year that says “If you wish to be a writer, write!” It’s the truth. Don’t worry about the outside world so much, worry about the open document in front of you. There’s always good news, there’s always bad news. There’s always people who feel big publishing is dead and there’s always people who feel big publishing had a hiccup and is coming to ruin us all. It doesn’t matter what people think… what matters is what’s one your screen.
Because if you’re doing your job, you’ll be writing… and if you’re really doing your job, you’ll have a plan. Screw this month. Screw this Christmas. Where will you be three years from now? Five years? Ten years? What’s the plan?! You better have one. Things change and you need a blue print to make it work. If you think you’ll write one book, sell a million copies and then retire to an island, then you’ll have to give me a second to excuse myself and laugh… and Tweet about it and Facebook it and laugh some more.
This is a business… if you want some fantasy moment or attempt, buy a lottery ticket (inPennsylvania, you’ll be supporting senior citizens).
You’ve probably me being a little quiet. And it’s not by accident. I’m so damn focused on writing and publishing, it’s really become a full time business. I check my usual hangouts every day and say hello to my pals online, but I don’t dive into much because – to be honest – it’s like word vomit. It’s all the same worries and thoughts…
When people posted their number for September on KindleBoards, I noticed something. Those who has multiple books out (6 or more) were the ones who had the big sales. The ones who had one or two books out, they were scrambling to figure out what to do next.
So again, I’ll say it: WRITE.
Now, for my second point – money. As a business, we want to make money. As part of your plan, you better have something worked out for money.
How much do you need to survive?
How much do you plan on putting away for taxes?
How much do you plan on putting away for savings? Retirement? Etc. etc. etc.
What’s your 401(k) and investment account look like?
Health insurance anyone?
And trust me, all of the above are valid points to think about. And ask yourself, honestly, are you okay with making enough money compared to someone else? Stephen King makes, what, $20 million a year? Are you okay knowing you won’t hit that? Or is it your secret dream to be filthy rich, rolling in cash, peeing in a gold toilet? There’s no wrong answer here, just truth.
Use your truth to guide you…
Money comes from point one – writing. And while some may feel they may reach a saturation point, I say erase those thoughts. Cross that bridge when it gets there. We all should have a notebook with us everyday to be jotting down notes and ideas. The world is full of them. You may come to a point where writing four or five books a year doesn’t seem likely, but if you’ve done your job before that time, you should be well enough with your previously published books that it won’t be such a hit. Again, it comes back to the planning.
I hope myself, or Bob (if you read his post) haven’t discouraged you, at all. If you’re a writer, write. There are dozens of paths ahead… none are easy. You just have to find the one that fits you. And only you.