One of my main objectives in attending last weekend’s Indievengeance Day book-signing at Half-Price Books was that I wanted to see what I could learn from independent authors who had once been where I am now and who have made it. Of course, I ended up spending more time talking with them about what all authors tend to end up talking about: books. I did get some advice, however.
Just keep writing.
While marketing and advertising and getting the word out there is a HUGE part of being an independent author, every one of the authors I met told me the same thing.
“You have to keep writing.”
It’s a good thing to remember. It’s so easy to get caught up in how many people are (or are not) buying and reviewing your book. You want to tell the world your book. You want to fall to your knees and beg everyone who’s read it to write a glowing review that will inspire other readers to buy it. You want to market and advertise until your limbs fall off.
But here’s the thing. Independent authors are so much more likely to be successful if they have more than one book out, especially if those books are in a series together. The only way you’re going to get more books out is if you sit your butt down and write them.
I’m finally making some real progress on the Cemetery Tours sequel. I’d love to have the first draft finished by the end of NaNoWriMo (November for those who’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month). I’ve always wanted to participate, and I hope it’s not cheating that I’m already nine chapters in (and will hopefully be at least halfway through by the time November actually gets here). The funny thing is I’ve known what would happen in the sequel much longer than I knew how I would even begin Cemetery Tours, so theoretically, this book should be a lot easier to write. Unfortunately, sometimes when you’ve built something up in your head for so long, when the time finally comes around to write it, you’re afraid that you won’t be able to do it justice. I’m pretty happy with the first nine chapters though, and I’m looking forward to what happens next, so I think I’m doing okay.
Something else I’ve learned after having just published my own book exactly one month ago is that while writers will always want to write (it is what we do, after all), we also really like to take time to kick back, relax, celebrate a little, bask in our accomplishments, drink wine, and so on. However, when it comes to being an independent author, you are doing all the work yourself. You do ten times the amount of work as an author who signed on with a fancy publishing agency and guess what? You’re barely making any money for it. What I’m trying to say is it’s good to celebrate and feel good about yourself. An accomplishment like a published book is something worth celebrating! But amidst the fun, keep one foot on the ground. Stay focused.
I usually do most of my writing at night. I’ve always been a night owl, and even though I wake up early every morning for work, I’m always up until at least 1 or 2 working on my books (or my blog). Most of the marketing and advertising I’ve done so far has been online. That’s a little tricky, however, because of how many distractions there are online. You can use Pinterest to plan out your next book or to plan out your wedding to that guy you haven’t actually met yet. You can use Facebook to get people to “like” your book, or you can use it to creep on the all the drama-mongerers whom you haven’t talked to in years but whom you secretly like to keep tabs on for entertainment purposes.
You get the idea.
I guess I’m writing this post for myself more so than anyone. I’ve been trying to figure out recently how to get (and keep) people interested in Cemetery Tours. It’s easy to get discouraged, but the thing that every independent author needs to remember is that you have to keep going. You’ve been swimming against the tide for this long. You might as well keep going. The journey doesn’t end with your first publication. That first book is just a stepping stone. A pretty awesome stepping stone, but a stepping stone nevertheless. The only way to succeed in this business is simply to keep writing and keep trying. Never give up.
I’m pretty sleepy now, because I just got back from a Bon Jovi concert. For the record, Jon Bon Jovi is an awesome guy. Great performer, very charismatic, and fun to watch. However, I would like to add just one more image so I can actually use the phrase “Superwholock” in the tag section below.