STUCK? STALLED? SLOW TO START?
You want to write. Maybe you’re not sure how to start. Maybe you don’t know what to write. And heaven forbid, how do you go about publishing the darn thing once it’s written?
You’ve listened to other authors. You’ve absorbed their talks of indie versus hybrid versus traditional publishing until the words swirl in your brain. They talk about data and sell-through and content marketing and platforms. They toss around lingo such as pixels, analytics, keywords, click-thru ads, algorithms, 90-day cliff, rapid release, and exclusivity. Let’s not forget the acronyms: AMS, KDP, KU, D2D, NFTs, and more. On top of it all, there are the discussions of how to monetize your website, leverage your email marketing lists, and engage your social media followers. Not to mention...do you need a virtual assistant?
Or do you need an agent?
Meanwhile, all you want to do is write.
It can be overwhelming. Make no mistake. It is overwhelming, even for seasoned authors. You long to find an hour to sort through it all, but that hour is not enough. You dig deeper. That hour then becomes a week, and the week turns into a month, and then before you realize it, you’re lost in a sea of marketing strategies and promotional who-ha, and you haven’t even written the book yet.
Don’t do that.
So, you take a break from the peripheral publishing chaos and vow to write. It feels good. Words on the page. You’re in your happy place. A few weeks (months, years) later, you raise your head and step back into the external writer world and rapidly feel lost. There is new lingo. New writerly discussions in your social media groups. Should you go indie or trad? Are you a pantzer or a plotter? How does a vanity press differ from self-publishing? What the heck is a hybrid author or publisher? Are you KU or wide? Do you sell direct? What about audiobooks? Licensing foreign rights? Large print? Hardbacks?
STOP. Just stop.
All the above can stall your writing and your writing career. It’s easy to get stuck in place, in the middle of that writer world swirl, and not find your way out. If you are a new writer, wanting to break into the publishing world, all the above and more can slow you down. Or worse, send you down the wrong path. If you are an established writer with a stalled or stuck career—no matter the reason—you may be desperate to get back on track.
One step at a time.
ONE HOT MESS
I started writing toward publication in the mid-1980s. I wrote a few articles for the local softball newsletter, a couple of Op-Eds for the city newspaper, entered some short stories in local bookstore contests (and won!), became the newsletter editor for my local RWA chapter, took a lot of writing courses, and started critique groups. I’ve blogged, attended conferences, stalked agents and editors, and finally published traditionally in 1997. Then, I jumped into independent publishing in 2010. For six years, I also owned and ran a small press publishing company, working with 50+ authors, and putting over 500 books in e-book and print.
All the above either moved me forward, or set me back in the grand scheme of things. While publishing other authors, I learned a lot; however, I could not focus on my writing career. While I helped jumpstart quite a few author’s careers, my writing career took a back seat.
We make choices. I certainly have done that.
For a few decades, I balanced a day job and a writing career. I quit writing once for five years when I landed a new, higher-paying day job. When I came back to writing, everything I knew about publishing had changed. My traditional publisher had orphaned me when the lines I wrote for closed, and one of my editors retired. Ebooks became a thing. And self-publishing was beginning to make a turn. I had to pivot. Since then, I’ve rebranded and reinvented myself in triplicate, at least, throughout my twenty-five years of publishing.
Yes, I’ve run that hot mess gambit of publishing like a champ.
What about you? What's your author journey story?
We talk about these topics and more in my Write Path Workshops, books, and coaching sessions. Details coming soon!