Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finding Time

It has been more than a few days since I posted, and much of the reason can be blamed on the clock.

The rest is my own fault (but don't tell anybody).

I have been hard at it with the follow-up to Blood of Two and it is going slow, but it is going.  I'll save some of that for another post.

One of the things about writing a book and working a full time job is finding that short span of time to dedicate to writing.  It can be quite the challenge.  Some writer's get up early and spew out a few words before work.  Some will utilized technology and hammer out a bit during breaks.  Since I crawl out of bed at 3am to get to work by 4, I wait till after work.

I am a creature of habit.  Such a creature of habit it is almost silly.  Oh, heck.  There's no almost about it.  I get home from work, check the mail, check a few websites I frequent, pay a bill or two, take a shower and pour myself something to drink.  Most nights it's just a Mountain Dew, other nights it calls for something with a kick.

I then ease into my office, which is my writing domain.  I will check in with some of my social networking that I joined up with specifically for my writing.  This here blog would be one, the facebook page for my writings is another.  I haven't quite found the magic touch with Twitter yet, though I do occasionally tweet, and Google+ is still a mystery for me.  Regardless, I hit em all and contribute if I can.

Then it is time to write.  I fire up the music, light up the incense, and away I go.  For how long?  Until the characters in my head grow mute.

So, you see, I have found time to write, however there is another issue:  I have forgotten about the time to vegetate.

Some people call this vegetation time 'Re-charging', and there is a lot of truth to that.  Don't get hung up with word counts and progress if your writing has turned into work.  Take a few moments and hang back with your family and friends.

Just this last weekend I had just completed a chapter that was a chore.  It was like every word I typed had to be squeezed out of me like a clove of garlic in a press.  I had spent most of the last week with that single chapter (which will likely get shredded on the first edit).  Saturday and Sunday, I didn't write a thing.  I hung out with my wife.  We looked at new motorcycles, bought some stuff for our May bike trip, ate a couple of meals, and caught up on some television.

When I returned to my writing domain last night, I spewed out a thousand words before the first stick of incense expired.

You will often discover that finding time to do nothing at all will re-invigorate your writing.  Take a day off and when you come back to the keyboard you just might get lost in your story.

Of course, you can take this thought too far...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Know What to Expect

When I jumped into the world of becoming and Indie author, I pretty much knew what to expect.  Or, I suppose, more of what NOT to expect.

I was not going to become an overnight success.
I was not going to make millions on my one title.
I was not going to grab the attention of a major publisher.
I was not going to let any of this slow me down.

It is really quite amazing to see how many of my peers expect the opposite.  I know of one author (and have read of many more like her) who published her book and expected it to sell in blockbuster numbers.  One of the problems was that the extent of her energy ended when she published the book.

Several weeks passed and her sales were non-existent.  She vented on her personal Facebook account about how people she thought were friends had obviously not supported her by purchasing her book.  That vent was the first time many of her friends even knew she had written a book.

Never mind the quality of work.  If you do not expend energy on marketing, you lose.  Unfortunately, there are a million ways to lose on marketing.

Research, research, research, research.  Before you publish and after you publish, research.  One marketing path may work for one author and fail for another.  A lot of it is a gamble, so you have to decide which avenue is worth the gamble for you.

I recently ran an advertisement on Goodreads.com because of the success stories I had seen about it.  It is relatively inexpensive, and it reaches my target audience.  I have sold books because of this campaign.  Not a lot.  I still have my day job, but through that campaign, I was able to reach more people.  My audience has grown, and I only spent the money I felt I could afford to lose.

The Leaf Pendant was released as a freebie.  Yes, it is another story, but it is also another marketing tool.  And this one cost me nothing.  That short story has garnered sales and increased the size of my audience.  I have broadened my exposure.

I didn't expect the world to know C. Hollis Gunter when I published Blood of Two, I did expect to have to tell the world who I was.  Nobody will open up their web browser and google your name if they don't know your name.  So, tell me, why do you expect instant sales of millions and an invite to Oprah?

I hesitate to call marketing work, because I have seen work (from a distance) and that ain't it.  Marketing takes time.  Time that could be spent writing your next masterpiece.  Your next masterpiece won't matter any more than your first if you don't spend some of that time to spread the word.

If you write, and that is all you want to expend your energy on, then know what to expect.