I have been thinking a lot about my writing career, and no, I don’t think it’s presumptuous of me to call it that.
I can’t make people pay money for my writing, and I wouldn’t if I could. Either people will like what I write and decide it is worth spending money on, or they won’t. That’s not something I have any control over.
Once I got past that hurdle, I began to realize that there are things that are under my control.
First and foremost, of course, is that I can make my work the best product that I capable of producing. I honestly believe that I did that with Catskinner’s Book. It was the best book that I could write at the time. It is not, however, the best book that I can write now. I have learned a huge amount in the past year about the craft of writing, and when I look over Catskinner I can see flaws–a lot of them.
Fair enough–that’s part of the process. Mistakes that I can avoid on my current one. No doubt I will see mistakes in Cannibal Hearts after I have published it and am working on The Worms Of Heaven (working title for The Book Of Lost Doors, vol 3.)
Again, though, I can’t worry about what I don’t know now, and just concentrate on using what I do know to put together the best book I can.
In addition to writing, the business of being an author involves promotion. I’ve learned a lot there, too, but I can see how much I have to learn. It doesn’t come naturally to me, the way that writing does. I have another promotion going, this one at Story Cartel, and I’ve already I’ve had a dozen or so people download it. It remains to be seen if it generates any reviews or other publicity. I learn by doing.
I am trying to generate some interest through this blog, naturally. I find it tough to do any kind of hard sell, though. “Hard sell” isn’t necessarily a dirty word–it’s just one way of doing promotion, and some folks manage to do it honestly and well. When I try I end up sounding (to myself, anyway) strident and annoying. So I just write what occurs to me to write and hope people like it. I must be doing something right, I keep picking up followers.
I know I should be doing more networking and arranging blog tours, but I have no idea how to even get started on something like that. I’ve done a couple of guest posts, and am always open to doing more, but sending out a bunch of “I want to promote my book on your blog” messages is beyond me at the moment.
I just got my 1099 from Amazon, and I made $62 from sales Catskinner’s Book in 2012. I probably spent twice that on promotion (mostly on a Goodreads giveaway that didn’t lead to one single review.) So I still have my day job. A man’s gotta eat.
It’s tough, trying to juggle two jobs and still have some time and energy left for my home life. I’m not ready to give up on it yet, though. I’m still learning the business of writing, and learning how to find enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done is part of that.
If you read this far in the hopes that I was going to have some secret to reveal to my public, I’m sorry. Unfortunately your wasted time will not be refunded. I’m making this up as I go, and some things work, some things don’t. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa.
Sometimes I feel like Boxer from Animal Farm–I’ll just keep saying “I will work harder” until the day I drop dead and get shipped off to the knacker. But, you know, I’m okay with that.
You got to die of something, and I intend to go out on my feet, head up, in harness, pulling my heart out.