The Upcoming Year

1 January 2016

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

I come to the end of 2015 dog tired. Not stressed, like I was in 2013 and 2014. Plain good old-fashioned tired.

. . . .

At this time last year, I wrote several pieces at year end about the state of the publishing industry. I had hoped to do the same this year. I woke up on Christmas Eve, and realized it was the end of December—which meant the end of 2015—and what with the health issues, the travel, the marathon book, and some changes in two of the other businesses we own—I hadn’t been paying attention to the publishing industry as a whole. I thought about cramming, but I had left some other projects for year end (one anthology to edit and four short stories to write—eek!), and I wanted some time off (we all need to see Star Wars,right?).

I didn’t have time for cramming on the industry.

But I did want to talk about the year end. I wanted to look forward as well. In doing so, I decided to read some of the blog posts other people have written about the state of their writing careers in December of 2015, and the plans they have for 2016.

I discovered a theme. And ironically, it was the same thing that Dean and I had been discussing.

. . . .

I said to Dean as we were planning our 2016, “I need some time to write, to be alone with my creativity, to just think about new stories, experiment, and focus on the writing, not on being a business person.”

Note the word focus. I didn’t say I was going to give up doing the business stuff and the business research. In fact, as I was reading the year end blogs, I made some notes of business things I wanted to do in the future for my own writing.

For the past four years, though, I have worked on building several businesses that are not my writing. Some involve my writing in a peripheral manner, and one publishes much of what I do (although not all of it—still hybrid, still proud of it), but none of them are writing-only.

How do I plan my writing?

I don’t. I write. Planning my writing is a business strategy. Writing is what I do and what I love.

. . . .

Over the past week, as I’ve relaxed into the idea of writing as my focus, I find my brain exploring ideas it was too preoccupied to consider in the past four years. I see that as a good sign.

What I find fascinating is that as I click through the blogs of friends, peers, and colleagues, I discover a similar sentiment. It’s not just Joe [Konrath] who stressed writing, but other writers as well.

. . . .

Our industry has changed phenomenally since 2009. Joe posted his resolutions for the past several years in that blog, and some of them are true blasts from the past.

What we’ve been doing is inventing a new way to go about being writers. In the past, the path was stable. If you wanted to get published, you had to go through gatekeepers. And if you wanted a career as a published writer, you needed a lot of resilience and creativity to survive inside a system that was hostile to your creativity and your needs.

The new world isn’t actively hostile, but it is difficult. And why shouldn’t it be? We’re working on an international level.

But one of the degrees of difficulty we’ve been dealing with since 2009 is that the new system hadn’t stabilized yet. Things changed, sometimes weekly, and those of us who jumped into indie publishing from the beginning were constantly revising expectations as well as ways of doing things. Even the kinds of files we had to upload for ebooks changed, and changed again, and then changed again. The files haven’t stabilized yet, but the rate of change (at least in that area) has slowed immensely.

We all had incredible learning curves, and we worked with each other—sharing information on blogs and in person—trying to figure out not only what worked best for the readers, but what worked best for us.

Most of us became what I call outer-directed. We focused on things outside of our writing and, for some folks, to the detriment of their writing.

Well, the industry is stabilizing. It hasn’t stabilized entirely, but it’s not going through such a rapid state of change either. We can actually envision parts of the publishing future.

And that has allowed writers to breathe. As we breathe, we realized—hey, I want to write more. I want to be creative, not in marketing or cover design, but in making up and living in imaginary worlds.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Business of Writing

13 Comments to “The Upcoming Year”

  1. Most of us who started self-publishing early are settled into our production schedules now. We’ve found cover designers and other professionals we can rely on, and we can get books to readers without much fuss. So naturally we have more time and focus for our writing.

    Many of us are rubbing our hands together with glee and saying, “At last! Playtime!”

    It’s going to be a fun year.

    • Gotta agree with that. I’ve got a cover artist and conlanger I like, my websites are at version 2, my social media is at least present, and I understand a lot more about what works best for me to maximize my writing.

      Still hafta concentrate on getting more short work into the market queue, and I’ve got an audiobook I need to release, but I feel like a lot of the learning curve is starting to become manageable.

      Book 5 will be out in January, and I’m looking forward to concentrating on writing. I ought to break my first million words this year, and then some. If I can just keep the black dog at bay, this should be a productive year.

  2. I think last year was the writing year for me. I worked myself into a snit over marketing in 2014 and needed a rest from it. I did very little of it in 2015. As a result I feel ready to tackle that again in 2016. Taking the pressure off made writing much easier. I published 2 books and plan the same for 2016. Now that I have developed writing habits I can slowly add in some marketing tasks without derailing productivity. I hope.

  3. I’m still stumbling but this year I finally hope to get publishing more and get out what I have written in the past. It’s time to get all this out and move on. Plus I have a to do list to tend to and plans to change things up on my own website.
    It should be a fun and interesting year.

  4. 2015 was awful. Did I do some writing? Yes. Did I re-release some previously published work? Yup. And I have more scheduled for 2016. But overall my focus this past year was not on writing. I spent too much dang time considering the market, social media, readers, what works, what doesn’t…
    Forget about it. 2016 I’m back to writing. Screw the rest.

    • I’m with you, Julia. Your year sounds a lot like mine. Like you my focus seemed to be on everything except writing. I felt as if the self-publishing/marketing learning curve was swallowing my brain.

      In 2016 it’s back to creative basics for this writer, which means–to me at least–writing the best books I can at a speed that works for me. (No doubt that learning curve will be there when I’m done and will have turned in a totally new direction.)

      • Exactly, EC. I got into this business nearly ten years ago – love of writing. Time to focus on what I love. 🙂

  5. How fun that so many of us have the same idea for 2016: WRITE. I do too. It started suddenly near the end of last year, and then my new way of writing was suddenly in demand. The publisher sent me a contract for both my new books, explaining why (she had read only 3 chapters of one and none at all of the second). She said, “Because I read your three chapters and wanted to read more.” Simple and perfect. The first book is out and doing well. The second is being reread and will be published in 2016. Then I’ll write the third book of the series. Just what I always wanted. Thank you, God.

    • Wow — which publisher — if I may ask? As most of them don’t seem to be able to get a book from writer to press in a year — much less two in less than two years.

      (and I hope the contract was good for you! 😉 )

  6. My One Little Word for 2016 is “productive”. So, writing is the way to get there, yes?

    I spent 2015 recovering from some pretty rough spots in life, battled writer’s block, and the upset of KUv2. Towards the end, I got back to writing (into the dark, as I should be), started to see some money coming in from said writing, and decided to hit all cylinders in the New Year.

    2016 is mine, baby.

  7. My word for 2015 was “change.” And my goal for 2015 was to embrace the change.

    Wow, was that hard to do.

    Retiring to become a full time writer at 47 was a shock and a half to the system since I’ve been a full-on workaholic most of my life. Turns out I still am, just in a different way.

    I put out 4 full length books (Between Life and Death series), 4 novellas (Perfect Partners, Incorporated series), did a bunch of shorts (which aren’t so short) for the Chronicles anthologies and as gifts for my readers, and more besides.

    So, the productivity and process for getting it to market is good (I love my editor and cover designer, love love).

    It’s the marketing I’m still scratching my head over. It’s such a time sink and I hate it.

    My word for 2016 is going to be “balance.” I’ve got to spend more time away from the computer, more gym time (I love the gym), more time out of the house.

    If that means I publish one less book, okay. As for marketing, I’m still shaking my head. All I know is Bookbub.

    • you are wise Ann. And your output is impressive for just 12 months. And you’re right, HEALTH, is everything. If you have it, you can have much else. If not, it is truly a challenge, even though it can be done– e.g, be productive.

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