We’ve all heard the well-intentioned advice: Write every day. It always seems to be spewed by privileged people who have a flexible schedule or a stable income without a day job or who have somehow managed to eschew all other commitments. And while there’s truth to the advice–I certainly find that writing is easier when I’m doing it consistently–for most of us, the pressure only leads to a cycle of despair that actually reduces our creative output.
So if you’re not one of the privileged few, here are some tips for getting all that daily writing in:
Find yourself a wealthy significant other/sugar daddy/sugar mama/patron who will support your daily writing habit, and maybe buy you bonbons to munch on too.
Wake up three hours early and get your writing in before your day job. Then hope that no one notices that you’re sleeping at your desk or in front…
All writers get the same advice. Read the great writers; study the great works. Learn how seasoned, professional, and successful authors get the job done. All true, but I maintain that it’s also crucial for writers to read crap to learn what not to do.
Everything David Gittlin has written in this post sounds remarkably familiar to me, as my own experiences are very similar.
This is precisely one of the reasons that I developed some budget-friendly book promotion options for Indie authors via Book Squirrel – it costs a lot less per month to get your book seen by people than it cost me, or David Gittlin, or countless others for that matter, for the months of promotion paid for with very low return.
Of course, I don’t pretend that Book Squirrel is the entire solution. No one package ever is. But his options for book promotion definitely offer a few affordable opportunities, and provide some valuable parts of a good overall promotion plan.
The other thing to keep in mind that promotion will not always directly result in sales. It’s also about building familiarity with your book and brand, getting your name out there, developing some credibility and presenting opportunities for people to think about your book as well as to buy it. Realistically, very few people will immediately buy a book by someone they haven’t heard of: in fact, very few people immediately buy a book by someone they have heard of. Those readers who have a “one click” response to books and authors are worth their weight in gold.
Comparatively speaking, writing a novel is the fun, easy, first step of the self-publishing process. The second step, creating an attention-getting book cover, offers its own unique set of challenges. However, the most intimidating and difficult undertaking, to most authors, is the third step—marketing. The word strikes terror in many authors’ sensitive little hearts because they want as little to do with the outside world as possible.
I am a real sucker for posts that offer writing tips, publishing tips, and the experiences of other authors and bloggers. I’ve shared a number of them on this blog, because some people have genuinely good advice and share their experiences in a very positive and constructive way.
This response to those kind of posts is quite refreshing in its honesty and in its explanations of why those posts can actually be demotivating for some people. I can totally relate to the feeling of disappointment in myself that I haven’t adopted and implemented more of the great advice given by other Indie authors since beginning my own author journey, and to the sense of “exhaustion” at the number of “You Can Do This If You Follow My Formula” posts out there.
It’s true that those hints and tips for success aren’t “one size fits all”, and nor is success. There are many ways to measure success, and we all have individual goals that determine what our own standards or images of success might be.
It is also fair to say that there is so much advice, so many tips, so many things people tell us to do, that it’s simply not possible to try it all out, and we really do need to remain realistic about what advice we are going to take on at any given time.
I do like Daegan’s points about daily and weekly reviews of what has been done or achieved. I actually do this, and it helps me stay on track because I find achieving small goals and milestones along the way incredibly motivating.
I don’t meditate as such, but I do set time aside for quietness and reflection in my daily routine. I wear a lot of hats in my day-to-day life, so taking even just a few minutes when my brain has nothing to do is a vital means of refreshing and resetting my mind at various stages of the day. As an introvert who is often surrounded by people all day long and again at home, that quietness is also how I recharge my energy, so it’s a crucial thing for me to do.
My “takeaway” from this article is that it’s important for each of us to set our own goals, define what sort of “success” we are hoping to achieve, and find what works for us as individuals.
The one thing we should all do is keep striving to make it happen.
I have read so many articles that have a headline similar to:
“If you want to be successful, adopt these 5 habits right away!”
The problem is, the author is always telling me what I should do to be successful as if my success and their success looks exactly the same.
I get so many of these articles telling me about the habits that I should have or my life is clearly falling apart. I’ll admit, many are good and I have certainly tried them.
But what about the author? Are they using all of those tips? Do they really have all of those habits locked down when they had a post a month ago telling me 12 other success tips? I want to know the person behind the word and if it’s actually worth my time.
Maybe I’m small minded and not wired for success, but…
I’m always interested to see how different people react when I tell them I’m a published author. You can never really tell which way it’s going to go.
I’m accustomed to people saying, “Oh, that’s nice” or “Oh, interesting! I’ve never met an author before!”. Some people look at me with pity, others adopt an expression that suggests I have three heads.
I am, I confess, always puzzled by people who say, “I don’t read”. I have absolutely no idea what that kind of existence must be like, so I just smile and nod.
The response I find most confronting, though, is “Oh, you must be rich!”
I have two favourite responses for those people: I either say “Nobody gets rich writing poetry!” or “You don’t become a writer if you’re looking for an easy way to make a buck.” To write really well is hard work. It takes time, commitment, energy and attention to detail – and those things generally don’t see a vast return in cash.
My motivation as a writer doesn’t come from money – if it did, I’d have quit after the first book. Sure, I’d like to sell more books, and be able to quit my job and write full time. That would be great… but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
For me, writing is a passion, a drive that I find it almost impossible to resist. When I write something good, I feel fulfilled. When I refine it, edit it, craft it, polish it and finally publish it, it’s both exciting and immensely satisfying.
The real thrill comes when a reader responds positively to my work, especially my poetry. To know someone has enjoyed one of my stories or been touched by one of my poems is the best feeling because that doesn’t happen accidentally.
This post by Sara Wolf, which I found on Ryan Lanz’s blog, addresses the issue of the vast differences between what the majority and the minority of authors earn. It’s a well-written article with a message that comes as no surprise to me or any other Indie author.
Most authors aren’t rich. Some manage to make a living. Only a very small percentage make it into the big league and get rich and super famous.
It is a frequent occurrence in the news to hear about authors cutting multi-million (or even billion) dollar book or movie deals. Famous examples of ridiculously successful authors, such as J.K. Rowling, E. L. James, and Stephen King, often lead people to think that becoming an author will undoubtedly lead to an equally as lucrative outcome. However, it turns out that the average author makes much, much less.
They say having an email list is crucial for an author. It’s the one sure-fire way to reach your readers.
I am clearly the exception to that rule.
Either I really suck at creating newsletters, or my subscribers signed up for the wrong list. It’s why I am very reluctant to send out newsletters now.
When I send emails with other people’s books in them, my subscribers click through to those books.
Do they click through to mine? Nope.
And sadly, I get as many clicks to unsubscribe as I do on the links in my newsletter.
It really is quite depressing.
Yet I don’t do anything different than any of the dozens of authors whose newsletters I receive. Well, that part isn’t strictly true:
I don’t spam my books repeatedly. I don’t email every week, let alone every day or two, like some do. I don’t use high pressure sales pitches. I don’t beg, and I don’t whine. I don’t even include only my own content. I always share other books and bookish events that readers might be interested in.
I have observed all those things happening in various different authors’ newsletters at different times, and have always tried to avoid doing anything I have found off-putting.
Honestly? I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I appear to be doing it consistently.
I do suspect that maybe newsletter writing is not for me. I’ve given it a fair crack and it hasn’t been at all well received.
The reference to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the title of ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ is blatantly obvious.
The irony is that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is probably my least favourite play from among Shakespeare’s works. As I often explain to my students who think it’s romantic and all about love, it’s really not. It’s a tragedy that demonstrates what happens when people do stupid things on impulse and don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions.
They’re teenagers. They met on Sunday, and by Thursday, they’re dead.
And, as Shakespeare points out in the epilogue, they end up that way because their families both prioritise their stupid feud over the happiness and the future of their children. How much more like a badly plotted teenage soap opera could it be?
It’s more of an anti-Romance, if you ask me. They’re not in love, they’re infatuated. Romeo really is quite an idiot, and as for fickle… how quickly did he forget his passion for Rosaline the moment he met Juliet? If you ask me, Rosaline dodged a bullet – or a dagger, or a vial of poison, there.
To be fair, the fault isn’t Shakespeare’s. He based his play on an old story that was very popular back in the day, which was a brilliant marketing move. The other factor that made his play such a hit was the beauty of the language with which it is written. There’s nothing at all wrong with the writing: it’s magnificent. Nothing can convince me otherwise. If anyone could give a story about two silly teenagers from equally silly families another 600 years plus in terms of longevity, he was the man for the job.
So, is it odd that I’ve used ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as one of the starting points of my story? Not really, because I wanted my story to be something of an anti-Romance, too.
‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ draws on ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of ‘Rapunzel’ as starting points, then twists and tangles them together to create a mashup of the two stories with a very different ending. Romeo is still an idiot, it still ends in tragedy… but it’s a completely new story. It’s medieval fantasy, laced with faint traces of my subversive sense of humour.
I like to think of it as the story that Shakespeare and the Brothers Grimm never told. But I bet if they’d thought of it, they would have.
It is easy for an Indie author to become discouraged by the challenges that come from various sources. It’s a tough gig sometimes, especially for someone who is new to the world of self-publishing.
So how do we develop and maintain a thriving and motivated Indie author community that we all want to be part of?
These are the key behaviours we need to adopt and make regular habits:
Encourage each otherRead each other’s work
Give honest, constructive feedbackHelp each other achieve excellence
Share each other’s work and social media posts
Be professional about every phase of the writing, editing, publishing and marketing process.
Be free and liberal with sharing insights, experience and knowledge that will help those who are new to our community.
How do I know these things work?
The more time you spend in the community, the clearer the divide between those who do them and those who don’t.
Those Indies who already do these things consistently demonstrate that they are are the most engaged, motivated and productive authors. They are positive and proactive.
Most significantly, they express joy in doing these things. You can’t fake or manufacture that.
Those who don’t support others are more likely to express jealousy and resentment in response to the success of others. They are more likely to be critical and competitive.
And those who adopt the “success at any cost” will be far more likely to turn to less ethical avenues of advancement. It is from this small, murky pool that those willing to cheat the system will emerge.
All in all, that doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me. I want my books to sell because they are good, not because I am pretending to be something I am not.
Another dark February day dawns and we continue our daily dose of hellish horror with author of dark fiction, Kris Weeks.
Kris Weeks has been writing since she was young with many of her stories published in Hustler Magazine. As well as writing together with her husband, horror writer TJ Weeks, she has published quite a few standalone horrors. She loves writing about crazy women who have the urge to kill yet live normal lives.
Which horror genre do you write in ?
Why do you write horror? Tell us about your horror journey?
I started writing erotica as a teenager and had numerous stories published in Hustler magazine. I quit writing for a long time until I met my husband. Once he realized I liked to write as he does, we began to write together and I began writing my own style of…
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong. Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A graveyard. A talisman. A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events. Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon