Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DWS: "Go Have Fun"

Here's a little bit of inspiration from career author Dean Wesley Smith:
And it drives me nuts when a writer who has sold a hundred copies of a novel in a month on Kindle alone thinks that’s bad. Stop comparing yourself to other writers and just do the long-term math on your own sales. Those other writers who sold more aren’t writing, but promoting anyway, and will be gone shortly. You can beat them by simply keeping writing and producing more product and becoming a better storyteller.
And then...
So stop being in such a hurry and focus on writing great stories. If you do that and just keep going, the money will come. And when it does, it will surprise you because all you have been caring about is the writing. Also, not thinking about sales all the time, not checking your numbers all the time, and focusing on only telling stories is a ton more fun. Go have fun.
Like I've said from the start, my goal in this endeavor is to learn and improve as a writer and storyteller.  It's hard sometimes to not be in a hurry, especially when sales drop off to around one (1) book per month.  But there were also better months, and I've really sold 61 books over 5 months.  That's around 12 books per month.  If I'm going by Dean's napkin math (and hes' a pretty smart guy), well then I'm ahead of the game.  I may be no blockbuster, but five years from now, if I keep writing and learning... I should be in good shape.  And that's the point here.  You don't have to be a blockbuster to succeed as a writer.

Every month it's like rolling the dice. Maybe this will be the big one, maybe the book will take off. But even if you don't win the literary lottery, you've still got a book out there, and that's something.  I can't wait to add my second book to the portfolio.  Then a third, and a fourth.  They all buoy each other up, and eventually I'll be able to float.  It's just the waiting that's the hardest part (thanks Tom Petty).

You have to ask yourself: is it worth it?  Writing, creating, self-publishing... it's a lot of work.  But I don't think many of us look at it as work.  It's something I'd be doing anyway (at least he writing part). So, if a 5 year plan sweetens the plot, then so much the better.

I keep numbers because it's smart business.  We need to keep our expenses in line with our expenditures.  Otherwise, I do my best to ignore them.  Some months it's harder than others, some days it's harder than others (like, when you have the inevitable everything-I-touch-is-crap day), but if you believe in the craft and yourself, then you're in this for the long haul.  Dean's right: focusing on telling stories is way more fun than worrying about money.  I mean, I have a day job for that.


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