Let’s start the new year well! Words of wisdom and writers on writing to take home. Here’s to 2015 filled with more wise quotes!
How do people find your work? By having choices. Some people might like the cover on your very first novel, and buy it for that reason. Some people don’t find you until your fifteenth novel. Some people like your short stories or, as some of you have pointed out on a recent blog of mine, some of people find your fiction through your nonfiction.
Write. Write a lot. Then write more.
Don’t even bother to try to be “discovered” until you have a body of work. Not one novel. Not even two novels. Maybe not three or four or five. Worry about being discovered after you’ve published a good handful of novels or short stories or plays or nonfiction books. Enough to fill a computer screen when someone is scrolling, looking for something to read.
I am not telling you to wait to publish.
I think you should publish the very first thing you finish. If you want to be traditionally published, send that very first thing to editors who might buy it. If you want to be a hybrid writer or an indie writer, then publish that thing after it’s gone through a first reader and a copy editor. Get it out into the world.
You might not sell a single copy.
You might sell hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands.
The only way to know is to make the work available.
But first, you have to do the work.
That work is writing.
Write what you love. Tell the best story you can. Then, once you’ve finished that story, start a new story. Make it even better than the first.
Self-publishing is not a gold rush.
Success at writing requires, in addition to long hours and hard work, a lot of luck.
Check out my advice to aspiring writers, there on the left hand side of the front page. Check every interview I’ve ever given and any blog post where I mention what authors should expect. I’ve beaten this drum louder and longer than any other drum, including my love of self-publishing. I say it all the time. You have to write because you love it. You can’t expect to make a living at this. Luck is involved. Most won’t make it.
This revolution isn’t about Konrath making a million dollars a year.
This revolution is about writers, for the first time ever, having power.
We have a choice. And it’s our duty to make ALL writers aware of this choice.
Visit www.authorearnings.com. Fill out the survey and petition. Link to it. Tweet it. Discuss it on Facebook. Speak out and tell your peers what your experiences are. Even if you make $10 a year, you’re not a failure. Failure is giving up. Failure is handing your fate over to someone else. Failure is not arming yourself with information.
Ebooks are forever. Understand what copyright is. Understand that money flows toward the writer. Understand that the more control you have, the less likely you are to be at the mercy of others.
The first step, in any revolution, is making the exploited aware of how they’re being exploited. We have a growing body of evidence that shows self-publishing is good, and legacy publishing is exploitative.
We need to share that evidence if we want change to happen.
Tell your stories. Be proud of your accomplishments. Stop succeeding in silence.
If you want to make pictures or write stories, no one can stop you.
You do not need to be a pro to be happy. The pursuit of the pro career for which some people simply are not suited has led many people to great unhappiness. I was not suited for a career in music, despite 12 long years of banging away at it.
It isn’t a question of whether or not this is something you want to do: the question is, can you make a living at it?
You don’t have to make a living at art to enjoy making art. Give yourself the freedom to make art without the burden of art making you.
In this modern world of publishing, there is no one way, no right way, no perfect path.
My suggestion is to keep your eyes open on the publishing side, look around, try one way or another, and be willing to change if something sounds right.
Do a writing plan and a business plan as to where you want to be in five years and figure out if the plan is realistic for your writing.
Write to passion.
And never listen to anyone who tells you there is only one right way.
There is only your way.
Experiment, learn, find it, and have fun.