Home » Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Business of Writing » Things I Learned (Or Relearned) in 2014

Things I Learned (Or Relearned) in 2014

31 December 2014

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

2014 was one of those years where frustration seemed to be the dominant emotion for me. Some of the lessons I learned twenty years ago got refined for the new age, and some of the new things I learned took more time than I anticipated. I also learned a few things about other people in general, some of which I did not want to know. The good things about other people though, came through strong, and that was truly wonderful.

One of those good things happened in the last few weeks. It’s been great to come back to the blog, and to find so many of you still reading, still waiting, and still supporting. You’ve touched me with your kindness and your good words. Thank you.

. . . .

Big Projects Suck All of The Air Out of The Room

When people are working on a massive project, they can’t do anything else. So even important stuff goes by the wayside.

I finished the big Retrieval Artist project in the fall and have been cleaning up ever since. Lots of projects left undone, lots of people waiting for things, lots of little details missed.

I should have expected that, but I stumbled into this big project. I truly thought it was going to be smaller—three books instead of six. Jeez. It kept growing and growing, and I kept triaging.

I doubt I’ll ever plan something that big—I didn’t plan this one!—but next time I won’t be surprised by the way it took time from everything else.

. . . .

I’ll Probably Never Stop Working

When most people say that phrase, they’re whining. Me, I simply don’t understand retirement or relaxing. I tried to relax in a traditional fashion when I finished the massive Retrieval Artist project. I took a small trip, I saw a bunch of movies, I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve tried to stay away from my desk. I keep wandering back to it.

I guess when play is the same as work, time off isn’t necessary.

. . . .

Success Costs Money

Those investments I mentioned above, those wrong roads? Sometimes they happen because people like me try many roads and experiment and take chances. Those chances cost money too, but they always have a good return on the investment. So…the lessons are mixed here.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kathryn Rusch’s books

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Business of Writing

9 Comments to “Things I Learned (Or Relearned) in 2014”

  1. I liked this. It’s been interesting seeing a traditional author turn Indie and hear about what they have learned through the process.
    I like big projects though. I plan on taking one on, maybe this year.

  2. Go read the whole thing. There’s a lot of stuff to chew on.


    “Since I started editing in the late 1980s, I’ve had some persistent haters who naysay everything I do, both online and in person. These people (and there are always new ones) go out of their way to decry what I do in every single forum they’re on.”

    I’m still wrestling with not being One of Those Guys:

    “The writers who have made totally boneheaded comments to the media about things they don’t understand make me deeply uncomfortable.”

    And everyone should consider doing this:

    Recommend [contract workers] to other people.

    Earlier this year, I got a brainwave (yes, it’s a red-letter day when that happens) and included a link on some of my book pages back to Typeflow and BB ebooks, crediting them as ebook creators. I’m proud of the work they did, and I encouraged them to link back to their sites in the ebooks, so why not say so on my web pages as well? And yet I don’t think anyone else does this.

    • On point one, I think it’s part of an overall phenomenon where people just can’t stand knowing that someone out there doesn’t agree with them. And the higher the profile of the person in the “wrong” (and KKR has earned her high profile, in my opinion), the more people pile on. Choose your topic. You’ll find outrage.

      Point two isn’t a problem for me. The media don’t ask me what I think. It’s an arrangement that serves us all well.

      On point three, I wholeheartedly agree. I mention my designer and editors in my acknowledgement and give credit on my back cover. But why don’t I link to them on my site? There’s one for the to-do list.

    • I credit (and link to) my cover designers in my books and on my website and social media posts. There are so many times I’ve seen cover art or whatever that I admire on other people’s books and would love to know who did it. This way if people like mine, they know where to go.

    • Very much a must-read. I would also include her point about organizing the merchandise. Writers need to do this with their websites. Put a series in the reading order, and let the reader know. This is especially crucial if there are story arcs that develop from one book to the next. Group stories from a given universe together with others in that universe. I’m one of those people she mentions, who will give up and leave a store [never to return] if everything is thrown together in a messy pile.

      She is spot on about Black Friday. I assumed (correctly as it turned out) that if a store did a BF sale on November 1, then they would not be offering their best bargains. My suspicion was confirmed when I saw an item I bought a few years ago, being sold in one of the pre-BF sales for $15 more than I had paid for it. Writers won’t be any more immune from the sales-overload effect than the retail stores are. Insert cows and milk adage here 🙂

  3. My cover artist is usually my wife, Christi. She doesn’t design covers for anyone else, only me…and, recently, my dad, T. Whitman Bilderback. The cover for his “The Legend Of Blistering Billy Blaylock – Gunfighter” is absolutely awesome, in my opinion!

    Can’t link to her, since she would turn everyone else down…:D

    • 😀

      I do my own covers, drawing on my design background. I did have a writer visiting my website ask if he could hire me to create a cover for one of his books. That was very flattering, but I wouldn’t want to take the time from my writing that designing covers for others would require.

  4. I wonder if the promo she mentions would have done better at $.99 than $1.99. I ran a $.99 promo on a $4.99 book and not only increased sales volume on that title for the month, but also revenue. In my (albeit limited) experience, $1.99 is a dead price point, even for promotions.

  5. *Big Projects Suck All of The Air Out of The Room*

    “When people are working on a massive project, they can’t do anything else. So even important stuff goes by the wayside.”

    Not that I’m going to label my UF series a “massive” project, but yeah, this year, it was the only thing I published any titles for.

    I did some writing on other projects, but it was the only one I managed to complete anything for. =/

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