Midweek #ROW80 Check-in and Amazon’s Going To Monetize Fanfic?

So the Hammer and Gobsmacker are still working their way through Riven.  I’m not bleeding too badly yet.  There’s nothing being mentioned that I didn’t kind of expect.

While I’m waiting on that, I’m up to my ears in historical research, dipping into all kinds of interesting stuff, figuring out what I want to keep, what will change and how that will impact the course of my alternative universe.  Kid.  Candystore.  SO FUN.

I’m on the Chapter 14 lecture for my new class.  There are only 15 total, so I’ll finish WRITING lectures at the end of next week.  Then I get to start recording them.  Joy.

Last night I tested organic (or at least grass fed no hormone) beef.  And it’s the crap that’s in regular beef I’m apparently sensitive to.  No swelling or inflammation or feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.  Which makes me wonder if I’ve developed a sensitivity, or if there’s a lot more crap in beef now than there was even a few years ago.  I’m still kind of scarred by watching Food, Inc. and some other documentaries on the commercial food industry.  But anyway, it does mean I can still have beef, it’ll just have to be a rare thing since it’s so SO expensive.

So also in the world of writing, Amazon is monetizing fanfiction.  I…don’t quite know what I think about this yet.  First off, this isn’t opening the doors willy nilly to anything.  They’ve acquired rights to particular worlds from particular companies (including stuff like Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, and others).  From an author’s standpoint, nobody is going to be stealing your world and darlings without your permission (unless you’re traditionally published and your publisher decides this is a good idea and doesn’t care what you the author think).

The bigger concern from an authorial standpoint is competition.  This will be particularly salient to those of us in the self published category.  It means we have to work even harder to get Mary Jane to spend her limited discretionary income checking out OUR work, when she could go over here and get a story she knows she’ll probably love because she’s a rabid VD fan (aside–this abbreviation bugs me as it also stands for venereal diseases, which given the way they’ve taken that franchise, is not entirely inappropriate).  Of course, there’s also nothing stopping us from writing some kind of fan fic that’s awesome and pulling those people in as potential new fans of our original work.

On a broader scale, one of my long term big problems with fan fiction has been the absolute crap quality of most of it.  You have to DIG to find the gems, the well written stuff.  And I have neither the time nor patience to do that.  For the free stuff, I can’t really trust ratings because people tend to have different quality criteria for that.  Will that change with a paid format?  I would expect at least SOME standards to go up given people are having to spend money on it, but I’m not sure.  I mean, the 50 shades franchise books have an average of 4 stars or higher and I know they fall into the crap prose category, so…

I have mixed feelings about fan fiction as an author.  On the one hand, I always wonder why people would waste their time and talents writing about someone else’s characters instead of creating their own.  I have a zillion and a half ideas and have no intention of wasting my time on somebody else’s characters.  For my own part, I’m also divided on how I might feel about somebody playing in my sandbox.  On the one hand, if somebody loved my world enough to want to play in it like that, that’s amazingly flattering.  On the other, it’s mine, MY PRECIOUS.  I’m so small potatoes, I have no concerns that anyone would ACTUALLY want to do this, so it’s entirely a theoretical argument at present.

Apparently there is a thing where for all the fan fic sold, the world owner does get a percentage of the sale.  Which is kind of cool.  It’s a sort of…passive income stream, which is not to be underestimated in this changing publishing world.  The writer gets a bigger percentage of the pie (which makes some sense, I suppose, as they did the writing of that particular piece).

There’s a lot of concern, a lot of talk going on about this in the Twittersphere this morning.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

 

Thoughts on Amazon and India and the Future of KDP Select

Today I broke a 12 minute mile! 37:49 for 3.2 miles, thank you very much.

It’s amazing what dropping the temperature 20 degrees will do for my performance.

Ahem.  Back to our regularly scheduled post.

So I got notice in my email this morning that there’s a 70% royalty option for Amazon India.  Of course it’s only for KDP Select members.  Of which, I am not one.

My initial thought was, meh, because other than the UK, I don’t get a lot of foreign sales.  But as Susan pointed out, why would they add this stipulation to this new channel if they don’t expect it to be an eventual source of good revenue (for them in particular).  According to one estimate I read, there are 60% English speakers in India, one of the most populated countries in the world.  No idea that their literacy rate is, but still, that’s a lotta people who could be potential readers.  Still, not enough of an inducement to get me to join KDP Select.

It’s too important to me to be available across as many platforms as possible, in as many formats as possible so as not to exclude someone who chose to be different and get something other than a Kindle.

But for the hell of playing devil’s advocate, I broached the notion of what happens if Amazon decides to make their 70% royalty rate PERIOD contingent upon being a KDP Select author?

I mean, that wouldn’t change the importance of format availability in my eyes, but it is a fiscal truth that for MOST self published authors, Amazon makes up the lion’s share of revenues.  For me right now, that’s approximately 60% of my sales (in terms of number of copies sold).  If I were to take that amount of income and slash it by half, it would be…not a good thing economically.  Because, at the end of the day, the point of all this is to actually make some money at this while reaching as many readers as possible.

Now, best case scenario, Amazon pulls this and SCORES of self published authors pull their work from all those other venues, which COULD lead to a potentially exponential increase in discoverability at said other venues for those of us who were left.  If Barnes and Noble EVER actually got their crap together and fixed their search, this could be a good thing.  It would mean a potential big increase in sales from them (and others) simply because of reduced competition.  Maybe.

The other scenario is that I choose to use KDP Select for future self published releases, continue to eschew DRM, and have a nice big fat, easy to find detailed instruction page for how to buy the Kindle version and convert it to whatever format you actually WANT.  The other potential alternative being a deal where they buy it from Kindle, email me their receipt to prove it, and I’ll email them back with whatever format they need.  This does not TECHNICALLY violate their current ToS.  But probably if this became a thing, they’d just change their ToS so that it was a violation, because, of course, they want people using their device alone.

It’s all a fairly moot point at the moment because that isn’t what Amazon has done.  But the point is that they could.  And we should have a plan if that day actually comes.

So what do you think?  Are you into KDP Select now?  Would you go that way if they made 70% exclusive to Select?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Get Back To Work!

I woke up this morning to a post by my pal Andrew Mocete that really resonated with me.  Write More, Market Less: The Proof.  It was, quite obviously, about how we should write more and market less.  He linked back to this article about self-publishing statistics, which I found quite interesting.  I was curious to see how I compared to the 1000+ respondents (a pretty small sample of the self publishing population).  I self published early and while I’m not among those making a living from my pen yet, I do seem to be doing better than the majority of their respondents.  According to this survey, self published women authors earn more than men (random and interesting–I’d like to know the gender breakdown of the overall sample).  And not shockingly, those who were rejected from a traditional house and then chose to self publish said rejected work were among the lowest earners.  There are a lot of other interesting factoids in there, but the part that really rang for me, which is what Andrew was drawing attention to, was this:

The Top Earners group spent more time writing than they did marketing, and those in the group who spent the least time marketing were making the most money. Out of all respondents, those who spent the most time marketing earned the least.

I think, for those of us who are still struggling to balance day jobs and family and other obligations, that this is an incredibly salient point.  There is so much pressure to MARKET MARKET MARKET.  And while marketing is important, too many people aren’t good at juggling the two and wind up doing nothing BUT marketing and not actually working on the next book.  Or, worse, they wind up marketing so much that they annoy the poo out of everyone they know and tank their chances of building a good fanbase by their tactics.  (See Kristen Lamb and WANA International to learn the correct way to market without being an annoying eedjit).

Finding this balance is a challenge for me because I have such limited time, and admittedly, other than the social media I enjoy, I do very little continual marketing once a book is launched.  It takes me several months to write a book.  Red took about 8 months.  DOTH is looking like it’s going to be the same, if for no other reason than I lost about six weeks between moving and Daisy’s FCE (seriously, I need to just plan my years such that I take March or April off since life always explodes then).  These are full novels, 90-100k.  DOTH will be shopped traditionally, without being self published first, as Red was (I’ll talk about that experiment some other time), so if I’m to get anything to market for readers this year, it’s going to have to be a novella.  Novellas take less time, but still about 3-4 months to write well (shorter does not always mean faster).  The good news on that, the one I have planned is in the Mirus world, so my fabulous and patient fans will have something fun to read.  The bad news is that it’s still not Revelation.  I swear, I really am going to write that book.  It’s next on the docket after the novella (depending on what happens with the DOTH trilogy).  And I could write it next, but I really really want to have something to release this year, other than the anthology short story I’ll have coming out in October–because momentum on that series–I haz lost it.  Blame it on the teenagers who’ve hijacked my brain since last fall.

Anyway, the end take home message here, is that you have to find a minimal level of marketing (or dare I say, not marketing, but social media presence just so people know you haven’t fallen off the face of the earth) that you are comfortable with, and spend the rest of your available time writing the next book.  And, you know, save a little time in there to refill the well by reading or hitting the movies or doing something fun so your brain doesn’t esplode.

Now get back to work!

UPDATE: The ever thoughtful Gene Lempp provided me with a link to another post discussing the methodology of this survey which was–well, there’s no other way to say it, as I do this for a living in my EDJ–total crap.  Still, the point that you must always keep working on the next book is still valid.

Amazon You Confuse Me

So Susan’s been updating sales numbers this morning and asked me if I’d had many of my $2.99 + titles sell at the 35% rate.

Say what?

Honestly, I’d never looked.  I have my spreadsheet where I enter total copies sold and it calculates the royalty for me.  There’s a whole other page where I keep track of how much I’m actually paid and so long as that page matches up with my tax records, I haven’t given it another thought.

But I went to look, and yeah, I’ve had a fraction of my Amazon.com sales on titles above $2.99 go at 35%.  According to the KDP FAQs, the 70% royalty rate only applies to those sales made in a select list of countries.

• Andorra
• Austria
• Belgium
• Canada
• France
• Great Britain
• Guernsey
• Germany
• Italy
• Isle of Man
• Jersey
• Lichtenstein
• Luxembourg
• Monaco
• San Marino
• Switzerland
• Spain
• United States
• Vatican City

Fail on me that I actually don’t know where a few of these places are.  But that’s neither here nor there.  The point seems to be that one can purchase products from Amazon when you aren’t in America.  Well okay then.

So why, when I tried to gift an ebook to a friend in the UK from Amazon.com (a purchase made by me here in the good ol’ US of A) could she not access it?  Why did you go and tell me this B.S. about how the publisher hadn’t made the book available in Britain?  Because I bought it here and gifted it.

All the international copyright stuff on digital content confuses me.  And please, I’m really not asking for an explanation of the legalities.  I don’t care that much.

I’ve got way too much on my plate to try to go back after the fact and wrestle with the complicated formulas that would be required to make my copies sold spreadsheet match up with my actually paid spreadsheet.  Perhaps someday when I’m bored and have time, I’ll bother to go back and calculate the difference.  Frankly, that part doesn’t matter so much to me.  I know how many total copies I’ve sold via assorted distributors, and I know how much money has gone into my bank account.  Knowing the particulars of what percentage of my higher priced titles is selling at 35% isn’t all that useful a piece of information, as I don’t know where those buyers are in order to try to target market more effectively.

So…yeah.

Did you know some of your $2.99+ titles could sell at 35% even when price matching keeps them above the 70% mark?

Readers Matter

So yesterday my pal Kristen Lamb made a fantastic post about the new publishing paradigm offering suggestions to the Big 6 to keep them from sharing the fate of the Titanic.  It’s brilliant and spot on.

Something that stood out for me was a quote she pulled from The Author’s Guild post, Publishing’s Ecosystem on the Brink: The Backstory:

For book publishers, the relevant market isn’t readers (direct sales are few), but booksellers.

Say what?

I’d wager you never thought about the fact that as a reader, as a buyer of books, your opinions don’t actually matter to big publishers.  They don’t really care what people are really reading.  They’re busy making projections about what will sell in two years and that’s what they are buying.  Which comes back to that futures analogy I used a while back. Because at the end of the day, while they are making educated guesses about what will sell, they’re just that.  Guesses.  They’re passing left and right on indie stuff with proven sales potential (and I don’t mean mine).  Hey, their loss.  The readers still get their shot courtesy of self publishing.

The whole idea of the reader’s irrelevancy simply because they are a step removed from the publisher (at least in traditional publishing) via the bookseller seems totally…well, whacked.  If all the bookstores go belly up, what does NY plan to do then?  Not considering that issue is just like all the newspapers that are playing ostrich and pretending that this online, web-delivered FREE NEWS is not going to change their business (they’re going out of business, in case you didn’t know).

Readers matter.  In the long run, readers are the only thing that matter because whether you are traditionally published and have the intermediary of the bookseller or if you’re self published and sell directly to the reader online, if you have no readers, you have no sales, period. Nobody wakes up and says “I want to write so that I can sell to BOOKSTORES!” (apart from that whole yearning to see our physical book IN a bookstore which is a whole other thing).

Readers are the whole reason we do what we do.  Sure, we hope we’ll get paid for it, that we’ll eventually make enough money to quit whatever asinine evil day job is trying to destroy our creativity like a cancer (or maybe that’s just me).  But the reason we write is that we want to share our stories with other people.  We want to entertain them, make them laugh, make them cry, touch something deep so that they’re thinking about our characters and whatever message they shared long after the last page is read.

Never forget that.  Never lose your respect for the reader or forget the end game.  It might behoove traditional publishers to think about changing their business model to reflect that rather than the business of selling paper.

Lessons Learned In The Self Publishing Trenches

I’ve been at this indie publishing thing for 2 solid years now.  Longer if you count the platform building I did before I released my first title in March of 2010.  Each year I do analysis of productivity, sales, ROI for time and promotion method, etc.  And every year I learn stuff and adapt what I’m doing to try to raise all of those things. Beyond all that, of course, I learn as the market and publishing climate changes.  It’s totally adapt or perish out here.  I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned that I kind of wish I knew or had thought about at the beginning:

  1. Unless you are one of those writers who never abandons a project, don’t buy cover art until a book is finished or nearly so.  While having lovely cover art is often a good motivator and certainly makes for pretty desktop wallpaper that makes you grin from ear to ear, if you buy it for a project that isn’t finished, you risk the possibility of becoming disenchanted and falling out of love with a story.  Or worse, figuring out that the story just flat won’t work with the metaplot you’re creating (if you’re writing a series).  This happened to me with Riven.  It’s gorgeous cover art and yet the story’s been abandoned.  I’ve been kicking around ideas and may have come up with another story that could use the cover finally (incidentally recycling a heroine from ANOTHER abandoned story in the archives), though who knows when it’ll get written.
  2. By the same token, don’t list one of your books on Goodreads for people to add until you’re finished or nearly so.  This was another lesson learned with Riven, which I ultimately had to email Goodreads to remove since the book was never going to come out.  Plus, in general, it’s good to not have it there and reviewable until the book is actually out.  One of the massive irritations of Goodreads is that if the listing is there, even if it’s months before even ARCs are available there will be trolls who review it based on nothing or who misuse the rating system instead of using a TBR shelf as intended.  Of course they’ll still do this once the book is out, but at least they should be balanced out and tempered by ACTUAL READERS.
  3. Never, ever make proclamations or announcements on your website, blog, twitter, in the back matter of your published works, etc. about the release date or expected next project unless you have said project finished or in the final stages (by which I mean the draft is done and you’re doing the formatting).  This is because no matter your good intentions, you never know what will happen to change that release date or order.  Um, hello, Revelation?  The book that I expected to be the first full length Mirus novel following Blindsight?  Yeah…it’s gonna get written at some point, but I have no idea when.  There are other stories that must be told before that one.  And yet fans are reading Blindsight and they want to know what happens!  Which is totally fair.  It sucks to have to tell them I don’t know when I had announced it as the next release.  So just save yourself some headaches and don’t do it.
  4. Accept the fact that even though one of the cool things about self publishing is that you can jump around and publish unrelated projects in different genres, doing so will probably slow down the momentum of building your fanbase.  I don’t regret pausing work on my Mirus stuff to write Red.  I love that book and I think it’s the best thing I’ve written.  But the people who read one are not necessarily the same people who read the other, so I have split my resources on that front and really slowed down the build I’d started with the releases of Forsaken By Shadow, Devil’s Eye, and Blindsight.  When you have limited production time and lots of wide and varied interests, this is just kind of a fact of life.  And it’s one of the reasons that in traditional publishing, they tend to prefer you stick to one genre unless you’re freakishly prolific.
  5. There will be indie darlings who are hugely successful.  Studying their every move will not make you equally successful.  They are outliers.  There is no substitute for BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) finishing your freaking book and making it the best possible book you can make it before turning around and doing it all over again with a new book.  Self publishing (or any publishing, frankly) is a long haul game and you cannot go into it expecting any kind of instant success.  You’re more likely to be hit by lightning or attacked by a grizzly bear in Central Park.  Focus on your own work and getting it finished and polished to the best of your ability, then go learn more.

Feeling Grinchy About KDP Select

It’s the holiday season.  Writers across the land want to say thank you to their readers and many are offering up one of their books for free.

Awesome, I think, as I continue to read through the newsletter that has hit my inbox.

And then I see that it’s free only on Amazon because those authors have chosen to take part in KDP select.  Which then totally takes what was intended to be a goodwill gesture to readers and turns it into a great big

to those of us who chose an e-reader other than the Kindle.  Screw you, you’re not worth my goodwill or making my books available on your platform because you dared to go against the stream of uber popularity and get a Nook (or a Sony or  Kobo or any other reader out there) and I’m way more interested in trying to take my share of the pittance I’m likely to actually earn out of the $500,000 Amazon has designated for the month of December.  Oh but you can read it on your phone or computer.  There’s a Kindle app for them. (Note: I’m sure this was not the actual thought process of 99.9% of these authors–but this is the message that they are sending to non-Kindle owners)

To which I feel like replying (because I am not yet caffeinated on this my first day of holiday vacay), you know what, screw you, I’m unsubscribing and taking your books off my TBR list.  There are many other authors out there who respect me as a reader and believe that I have the right to enjoy their books in my format of choice without making me wait at least 3 months like the red-headed stepchild of the e-reader world.

Am I going to be in the majority among non-Kindle owners?  I have no idea.  Maybe my reaction is in the extreme, but it’s legitimate, and it’s entirely possible.  KDP Select alienates readers, which is exactly why I’ve been warning against it.  Being able to give things away for free is not worth that.  Plus, you can absolutely still do it without being a part of KDP select.  You list it via Smashwords for free and it trickles across all distribution channels, then you report the lower price.  It just takes longer.  Both to get set up and to take down.  But it can be done.

And if you want to just do a temporary sale?  Then put it up on Smashwords, which has EVERY POSSIBLE FORMAT, and give your newsletter subscribers a coupon code for 100% off.  No, it won’t drive your ranking up at Amazon, but it gives readers a chance to try your work and makes them happy.  And a happy reader who enjoyed your work, will tell her friends.  Believe me, you’d much rather I take on THAT role than that of the KDP Select Grinch.  Because I’m loud and I have a lot of friends.

Thoughts on KDP Select

So by now everybody who’s currently distributing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (and everybody else who’s seen it on Twitter) has heard about this new KDP Select.

I am not a fan.

Is this a good business decision for Amazon?  Sure.  They’re doing something else to try to corner the market on ebooks.  Since largely Kindle is synonymous with e-reader the same way that Kleenex is the universal word for facial tissue, attempting to make books a Kindle exclusive–even if only for a limited time–is a smart move for them.

But is it a smart move for writers?

As a Nook owner myself I can say with conviction that I’d be right ticked off if one of the books I wanted was available in ebook on Amazon and not anywhere else.  I didn’t (and still don’t) want a Kindle.  I love my Nook and I feel that all books released should be released on ALL PLATFORMS simultaneously.  I don’t think it is a wise move, long-term, to alienate those readers who chose an e-reader that wasn’t a Kindle.  And don’t you DARE pull out the “but you can read it on Kindle PC or your phone.”  I don’t give a rat’s ass.  I don’t want to read on my phone or my computer.   That’s why I got an e-reader in the first place.  Don’t discriminate against me because I chose something different.

Will authors make money via the KDP Select program?  Sure.  Will it be comparable to profits from other venues you’d be forced to forego for 90 days?  There’s no way to know.

Certainly the option to promote your book for free for up to 5 days out of 90 on KDP Select is an attractive one.  Free is definitely a way to zip up the rankings.  And, in fact, this could potentially result in enough visibility that your sales could supersede what you might make via those other venues, particularly given that for almost every independent author I know, Amazon makes up the majority of sales.

So I guess the decision comes down to your goals.  If you’re entirely about maximizing profits in the short run, this might be a means to do so.  But if you are about building a solid fan-base ACROSS PLATFORMS, I think that participating may just be shooting yourself in the foot.

I, for one, won’t be signing up.

An Open Letter To Barnes & Noble

Dear Barnes and Noble,

When you announced plans for Pubit!, indie authors everywhere rejoiced.  You were going to be another venue, a direct competitor to Amazon, and a means for those of us who chose Nook over Kindle to get ebooks that aren’t victims of price inflation by New York.  It took you a while to get on your feet, but you opened your doors about a year go.  I signed up immediately.

There were expected hiccups.  Incorrect product descriptions.  Some funky inability so find stuff initially.  But you listened and tried to adapt.  Kudos.  The adaptation came with more hiccups.  Suddenly keywords we entered to find our books no longer worked.  We emailed you.  We talked about it on the Pubit Help Boards.  We were told “We’re working on it.  Be patient.”  Estimations that it would be fixed were pushed back to December.  Then January.  Then you stopped responding to us at all.

You rolled out more changes to the site.  Smoother interface (thumbs up).  A customers who bought also bought feature (thumbs up).  Better linkage of paperback and e versions (thumbs up).  You made a lot of good decisions.

But you’ve made an equal number of bad ones.

  • Keyword searches for pubit books still do not work, after a YEAR. (at least for every single Pubit author I know–and I know many)  This is unpardonable, as it is vital that authors are FINDABLE via searches for readers who may not be aware of them.  That is, after all, the entire POINT of having us enter keywords.
  • Category searches do not bring up all books in that category.  This does not seem to be a bias against Pubit books or books in the BN catalog via Smashwords, as I see enough lousy covers to indicate self pubbed work (which is no to say all self pubbed work has lousy covers, but usually that’s a hallmark) in there, so what precisely is your criteria?  And how is anyone expected to find new authors if you don’t show them everyone?
  • You’ve removed the Free Nookbooks listing.  Yes, we can do a search by price, but this STILL does not display all available books, even when winnowing down to specific categories.  I looked for my free title.  It’s not there.  I looked for my friends’ free titles.  They aren’t there either.  It’s not like you actually have a ranking attached to these on some kind of Best Seller List (like the Kindle Top 100 Free where you only see the TOP 100), so again, what is your criteria?
  • We’re coming up on yet ANOTHER holiday season and you STILL haven’t implemented a way to gift people Nookbooks.  Get with the program!

I hope you’re listening Barnes and Noble because if you want to be a true competitor in the ebook market, it isn’t JUST about creating an ereader that can go neck and neck with the Kindle (and I am a very happy Nook owner).  You have to create a competitive marketplace, where authors stand just as much of a chance at being found and being made visible as they do at Amazon.  You benefit from that as much as we authors do.  The more we sell, the more you make.  And that is a win win situation for both of us.

Fix your search engines. 

Show category rankings on individual book pages. 

In essence, look at what Amazon is doing and emulate it because they did it right the first time.

Mental Reboot

Beware the angst kittens! (via Wikimedia Commons by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sanchez)

I’ve done a lot of freaking out this year (and last year, and probably other times before that).  It’s kind of a natural end result of being a Type A workaholic who constantly runs at the edge of Maxed Out.  Anything that implies more work or that things won’t pay off or work out as planned or as fast as intended tends to just flip that switch.  And then something or someone (:cough: Susan :cough:) resets me.

When I got into self publishing, I expected that I was on a five year plan until I could quit my job.  When I got picked up by my agent, the Magnificent Laurie McLean, I dared to think that might happen even faster.  Not the smartest assumption I’ve ever made.

I’m nearing the end of Year 2.  I haven’t put out as many titles as I expected for various reasons that don’t bear going into.  I’ve done quite well with what I have put out, but last year’s stuff has absolutely peaked and is slowing down.  This is the natural progression of things and why we keep putting out new things, keep working on attracting new readers who will go out and check out all our other work.  That’s the whole point of marketing.  Which has never been easy and has gotten harder.  The market is flooding and will only get worse as more and more people flock to self publishing for assorted reasons.  The economy has totally tanked, so everybody’s sales across the board have slowed.  And there are no signs that’s going to change much anytime soon.

So many of the success stories and gurus that people follow–well, frankly it makes no sense for us to listen to them.  Because they’re all outliers.  They were traditional authors capitalizing on years of reverted rights to backlists and the reputation already built among fans for solid work.  Or they produced at the speed of light.  Not a one of the paragons held up for us to emulate actually make any SENSE for a true, entirely indie author to try to duplicate.  There are plenty of people out there who purport to have all the answers.  But the market is changing so fast that the truth is that NOBODY has the answer, nobody knows how things will shake out.

The one thing I feel confident in saying is that my five year plan is probably crap.  Building a career as a professional writer, whether indie or traditional, takes time.  I’m 31.  We’ll be starting a family in a couple of years probably.  There is no way on God’s green earth that I’m going to manage to quit my job before then.

SO…

Instead of freaking the hell out about it, which I have devoted a great deal of wasted energy to over the last year, I’m changing my outlook.  Creating my career is going to take however long it takes.  Worrying about wasted time from the past is useless.  I can’t change it.  All I can do is keep writing the best books I know how and moving forward.

But by God, I’m gonna pull it off before I turn 40.