Hard: I wrote a novel, Another Place on the Planet. I won’t go into all the ways life tried to get in the way of that. I amazed some people, including myself. It has all the elements of a story, including great characters, a page turning (at times, anyway) plot, and some themes that resonate with readers. I learned a great deal about the craft of writing and myself. It was a great joy and a great trial. And I’m doing it again. Harder: Publishing my novel. I submitted to a few agents, mostly for the experience because I know a story of Christians behaving at times very unlike Christians are supposed to behave is not going to fly in regular publishing and certainly not traditional Christian publishing. So, indie publishing was a great option. A whole bunch more learning there. Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace, editing, formatting, Word v. Scrivener. Learning what I don’t know so I can learn it just to know I need to learn something else. Good thing I like learning. And I did it! And, I hope to do it again. Hopefully, it’ll be easier this time. Hardest: Promotion. Marketing. Discovery. I published a book! Who cares? It got some good reviews from mostly people I know somehow. They want book 2! Awesome! How do I get other readers to read number 1? That’s the hardest part, I think. I’m getting a little better at putting myself out there, grabbing opportunities that come my way online. I responded to someone looking to interview author’s on their quest to market their book. I booked myself on a blog in the UK for next week, and set my book to go free for few days. I’m looking for ways to advertise with the small budget I have. It’s a long term kind of thing. Most indie authors build readership book by book over time. All this marketing stuff takes away from my writing time to get those books out there. As does the editing and publishing process. I love writing. I’ve been making up stories in my head for most of my life, so it’s only natural I put them on paper or little screens. I love, to one degree or the other, the entire revising-editing-formatting-publishing process. I enjoy making new connections in the world of indie publishing. I love each time I sell a book and read a new review and know I entertained someone. I’ll love when I get some royalties in my Pay Pal account! The really hard part will be staying the course, not giving up when there are no sales, no new reviews. That’s the thing for anyone pursuing their passion. Believing in your work enough to see it through the dry spells. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part.
And it’s not like I’m not trying. It just ain’t happening. Yet.
I always have a long (mental) to do list of what I should try/learn/do.
Recently I accomplished:
Newsletter sign-up form for my website. It wasn’t too hard, but took some research and figuring out because I can never seem to get something right off the bat the first time.
Went to a writer’s workshop-all day. That involved finding the place–always a challenge for me to find a new place in Scottsdale. And meeting entirely new people–which I did, and wondering if I would end up eating lunch alone–which I didn’t.
Reset the theme of my blog/website.
What else I think I should/need/can do:
Add buttons to website where my book can be purchased on different websites where it is available.
Work on deep edits to Another Place…
Decide whether to query an agent, which case I have to:
Research agents specific to my genre
Formulate perfect query letters specifically to the requirement of each agent which includes a synopsis of a certain amount of pages (varies), a few hook paragraphs to get the agent to believe this is the best thing to cross their desk all year, a bio (which I need to redo) and a few other things.
OR should I keep going indie?
Decide about book covers (again) in case that’s why I’m not getting sales (who knows?)
Keep working on Potholes, my newest novel.
Begin revising/rewriting Places Bright and Dark (Lilyland 2)
Begin writing Lilyland 3.
Find a way to get involved with several author or writer/author communities I joined.
Decide the most effective way to spend the little budget I’m allotting to promotion.
And a lot of other things.
Someone recently commented that I live in a fantasy world. If I believed that, I wouldn’t have to work so hard. I live in a business world where I am trying to sell a carefully and lovingly crafted product that is but one in a vast ocean of like products in an industry that is in flux and confused. I’m not a business person by nature. But along with all the technology that goes into indie publishing, I have to learn business, too.
But I have to believe in myself, my skill, my stories. I have to keep improving at everything. It’s easy to get discouraged when I don’t see books selling and when I’m not making any money. When all I can be seen doing is wearing out the keyboard of my laptop.
But I’ve spent years at jobs that ended unhappily. This is the hard work I’d rather be doing.