Every December I do a post about resolutions for writers, and every year I add more of them.
Newbie Writer Resolutions
- I will start/finish the damn book
- I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
- I will attend at least one writer’s conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
. . . .
This year I’m only going to add one resolution to this growing list, but if you’re writing for a living, or trying to write for a living, it’s an important one.
I Won’t Blame Anyone For Anything
It’s tempting to look at the many problems that arise in this business and start pointing fingers. This is a slippery slope, and no good can come from it.
Do agents, editors, and publishers make mistakes? Of course.
You make mistakes too.
Hindsight is 20/20, so we can all look at things that didn’t go our way and fantasize about how things should have gone.
But blaming others, or yourself, is dwelling on the past. What’s done is done, and being bitter isn’t going to help your career.
. . . .
I Will Self-Publish
Just twelve short months ago, I made $1650 on Kindle in December, and was amazed I could pay my mortgage with ebook sales.
This December, I’ll earn over $22,000.
The majority of this is on Kindle. But I’m also doing well self-pubbing in print through Amazon’s Createspace program, and will earn $2700 this month on nine POD books. I’m also finally trying out B&N’s PubIt program, which looks to be good for over $1k a month, and I’m doing okay on Smashwords, with Sony, Apple, and Kobo combining for another $1k.
This is nothing short of revolutionary.
The gatekeepers–agents who submit to editors who acquire books to publish and distribute to booksellers–are no longer needed to make a living as a fiction writer. For the first time in history, writers can reach readers without having to jump through hoops, get anointed, compromise integrity, or fit the cookie-cutter definition for What New York Wants.
. . . .
I’ve lived long enough to see my advice become obsolete, and that gives me hope for the future.
Back when I began, this business was all about finding an agent, finding a publisher, then doing whatever you could to promote yourself.
This blog spoke at length about social media, and book tours, and partnering with your publisher.
Things have changed.
I have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but I only use it occasionally Facebook? Haven’t been on there in eight months. I witnessed the rise and fall of MySpace. I’ve opted out of Google+ because I saw no benefits. LinkedIn? I can’t even remember my password.
I’ll never do another book tour. I doubt I’ll ever do another official booksigning. I’ve stopped speaking in public, stopped attending events. Once it was important to meet fans and network with peers. Now I can do that just fine via email.
Partnering with your publisher? Why would you do that, when they offer so little? 17.5% ebook royalties with them, vs. 70% on your own.
I haven’t blogged or Tweeted in months. I’ve been busy doing what writers should be doing: writing.
And guess what? My sales have remained constant.
Many times this year, I took industry practices to task. I saw stupidity, or unfairness, and I did my best to discredit it. I fought, tooth and nail, for what I believed, and wasted untold hours arguing with pinheads.
Which brings me to my resolution for 2013.
Get Over Yourself
I have turned off Google Alerts, and don’t Google my name or my pen names.
I don’t go on message boards.
I don’t read my book reviews.
I don’t care what people are saying about me, good or bad, in blogs or on Twitter or in the media.
There will always be people who don’t like you, and don’t like your books.
Trust me, it is liberating to be free of the opinions of strangers. We all need to focus on our writing. Because the millions of readers out there don’t care about your blog. They aren’t searching for you on Twitter and avoiding your books based on the comments of others. They aren’t taking one star reviews seriously.
It’s very easy to obsess in this business. But I haven’t seen a single shred of evidence that obsession helps careers.