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.
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.