Commitment to making it as an author (when you have a fulltime day job) - AKA – Sleep is for the meek
By Claire Thompson
Ok, so it’s Thursday, and Devon asked me to please have this to her as early in the week as possible. Like all rocky roads, mine is no exception, paved as it is with good intentions! But good intentions don’t write books or sell them either. Good intentions don’t get things done.
So, I have a bunch of kids at home (the number is always rotating, I can hardly keep track, they are all over sixteen, none of them fully independent, all of them money-sucking slobs), a disabled spouse who doesn’t work, two shedding dogs, a cat and one bathroom. I work a fulltime job for a school district, and then there’s my real career – writing!
Oh, oh, oh, I am a lucky girl because I love to write. I don’t just enjoy it or do it well (though I hope I do!), I freaking love it. No. Love isn’t a strong enough word. I eat, breathe, sleep, dream and wake it. I couldn’t not do it. Writing is what I do, a part of who I am, a very key, core part. I couldn’t imagine life without my laptop, my dirty mind and my stories.
I follow a lot of chat groups and blogs where folks are lamenting the fact they have no time to write, or they have been polishing up that one manuscript for the last five years and know that soon, soon, they are going to work up the courage to submit it. You know what I say to this?
Just do it.
Gosh, that sounds easy, but I have always maintained, and still believe, once you make a decision, the rest is just details. And once you decide, damn it, I am going to be a writer—a published writer!—that is the key. The rest is details. Admittedly there are lots of details.
The main number one thing, up and above any kind of blogging, advertising, chatting, posting, dreaming, is to write. Every day that you can, every spare minute that you have, sit your ass down and get those fingers flying. Buy a digital Dictaphone so you can tell yourself your ideas while driving or in the cereal aisle at the supermarket. Skip those stupid TV shows and all the time-wasting crap you do after work (Dishes? Laundry? Making dinner? Delegate, baby!). If you’re too tired after work to write, get up early (I aim for 4:30) and write then, when you are fresh and the world is still.
Yes the marketing is important, but not nearly as important as you might think. The real key is getting with a publisher who has a good distribution network, and getting your name out there by getting your books out there! The old adage – “write your story and the market will find you” IS true, at least to a point. If you have a good, compelling story to share, and it’s distributed where folks who want that kind of story are hanging out, it will sell!
Yes, it’s good to blog and chat and post and all that stuff, but only to a point. If that’s what you’re spending your time doing, instead of writing, you are missing the boat! Do that stuff after the book comes out, and even then, limit it.
What about advertising on review sites, stuff like that? I have personally found that advertising does not make much difference. I have tracked a book before and after an ad went up, for example, and noticed no difference in sales. Good reviews do cause a small increase in sales for a while, though I haven’t noticed that bad reviews negatively impact sales (not that I ever get them, ha, well, hardly ever! Groan).
The main thing is that you have a good book to sell, and a place to sell it. Sounds simple and guess what, it is! With ebooks and the Internet, the world has been split wide open and made hugely accessible. There is still lots of room for a good writer to break in, and pretty easily.
So, all you aspiring authors, stop reading this blog right now and go write! (and don’t worry, I wrote this during my day job, so I’m not taking time from my writing! (and don’t tell!))
Claire is a multi-pubbed erotica and erotic romance author with over 50 titles in ebook and print. She recently went "indie" with her imprint, Romance Unbound.
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