So I was gone for a while and then came across some stuff that’s been going on and realized I needed to come back. :)
I’m not sure where to start. I have a lot of things on my mind, and it’s been (what feels to me) a long time. Probably, the most pressing thing on my mind is what’s been happening to a few authors I know. Some authors who did well in 2012 have seen a drop in income this year. I’m not one of them, but I have noticed my new releases don’t sell as well as they used to. The only thing that might be buffering me is the fact that I am able to write fast. But that doesn’t mean writing fast will always mean that income will continue to go up, or even that income will stay steady.
Writing books is one of those businesses where income is a roller coaster. Some months are better than others. You can’t predict which books will do well and which will bomb. Attractive covers might help but they don’t guarantee success. The same is true with titles or even the type of book you write.
I’m inclined to agree with an author friend who says the self-publishing bubble has burst. What worked effectively back in 2010-2011 doesn’t have the same effect as it does now. 2012 was a good year when I look back on how things played out. For some, 2013 was better or just as good. But I’ve talked to enough authors who did very well in 2012 who didn’t do so well this year. I understand the influx of free books, cheap books, and increased supply of books has played a part in it. I’m not going to argue the pros and cons of those things.
What I’d like to do is try to find some strategies to help us as we venture into 2014. I’ll do a couple posts in the upcoming weeks to better explain these. I don’t want this post to get too long.
1. Map Out Your Goals
Yes, this is a simple step, but I think this is a good starting point. I notice if I don’t have a list of goals, I get less done.
2. Form a Daily Routine.
The best way to reach goals is to try to find a routine. I know someone who has to adjust her routine on a monthly basis. For me, it’s based on the school year. What I do in the summer when the kids are out of school is different from what I can do when they’re in school during the day. If you can find your routine, you will have a better time finding time to write.
3. Track Your Progress Every 3-6 Months
There will be some setbacks. The unexpected will come up. People get sick, someone throws a wrench in your plans, etc. These can’t be helped. But overall, what is working and what isn’t? Look at your list of goals. What did you accomplish? What didn’t you accomplish? Why? Is there anything you can do differently or can you keep doing to maximize your ability to reach your goals?
4. Reward Yourself For Small Victories
It’s okay to celebrate the small things. I know the public tends to glorify the major league players (like Amanda Hocking and other authors who make it big), but the small victories is just as important. (And sometimes the top comes with a lot of hassles that’s not worth it.) Embrace the small steps that lead you on the path you’re walking.
5. Keep Learning
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Research what you want to know. Talk to others in your circle of friends. Read through threads and participate (if you have time). Talk to your readers to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Some conferences can be good for keeping abreast on the changes going on with the world of publishing. Some blogs and websites track trends. Some books also do this, but books can also get outdated quickly in this area since the face of publishing is changing fast.
Those are five points I think that can help as we go into 2014. I’ll take a look at all of these more closely in the upcoming weeks.