July 19th, 2012
Pulling Words Up By Their Roots

There’s been a ton of articles published over the years about writer’s block and writing yourself into a corner, but very few writers discuss the difficulty of pulling words out by their roots. The latter happens when a writer is working on a story that for whatever reason doesn’t thrill them. Burn out is a major factor when this occurs. Rarely does it have anything to do with the quality of the story itself.

Writers often find themselves writing books/novellas because they’re contractually obligated to or they have to in order to survive financially. This is something that all writers face eventually, especially if they’ve been in the publishing business for a while.

I think it’s happening more and more with the onset of Indie publishing. Writers have taken on a tremendous amount of responsibilities, many of which have nothing to do with writing a book. The work it seems does not end. It can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting. For midlist writers like me, and many others, there isn’t much choice, but to continue on. Why? Because we’ve hit a level of success with Indie publishing that can’t be matched by N.Y. This in itself is a great thing. Something I never thought would happen. Prior to the onset of Indie publishing, writers were at the mercy of the publishing industry. Not so much anymore. But that freedom hasn’t come without its costs.

There is no way I could make the kind of money that I’m making with my Indie publishing in N.Y.–at least not with my adult work. That may change if I ever get published in the young adult market, but I don’t expect it to change for my other work. There are two kinds of successful Indie authors. There are the ones that hit it out of the park with one book. And there are the ones that have a big enough library to make up for not hitting it out of the park.

I’m one of those authors that have cumulative sales. No ‘one’ book stands out as a bestseller. I’ve had a few books make it onto Amazon’s Fantasy/Futuristic bestseller list, ranking as high as number 3, but none have dropped below the 200 mark on the overall list. Thus far this year, I’ve sold a little over 51,000 ebooks. Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t help me when it comes to getting a N.Y. book deal. (Again, those are cumulative sales, not breakout bestsellers.) N.Y. (and agents) like breakout bestsellers.

What does this all mean? It means that a lot of authors (me included) have to keep releasing new books at a fairly regular pace to keep sales up. That will mean pulling a lot more words up by their roots, while we search for a way to balance what we ‘have’ to write with what we ‘want’ to write. Ultimately, I suppose that’s nothing new. Writers have been walking that fine line for centuries. The line is just a little slippery now. 🙂

4 comments to “Pulling Words Up By Their Roots”

  1. No matter how you slice it or title it, my friend, 51,000 e-books smells like success to me. That is fantastic!

  2. Bernard, Thanks! I’m grateful that the books have done as well as they have, but I admit that I do wish one or two would take off, so I wouldn’t have to schedule a release quite so often. 😉

  3. I feel your…well, pain.

    I have an indie publishing schedule — a moderately ambitious one — that stretches for the next five years. I know it’s the only way I’m going to thrive in the industry.

    But the book I’m currently writing is doing exactly what you’re describing — fighting me every step of the way. It wasn’t the book I wanted to write, right now. But sales and reader expectations said I had to write it. It’s been a long hard slog. Every page completed has been a victory.

    I’m already behind schedule because of it and my sales are showing the impact.

    That’s indie life for you.


  4. Tracy, WOW! A five YEAR schedule??? Impressive! I can barely schedule what I plan to write next year, much less five years out. That’s wonderful. I agree that you definitely have to put a lot out there in order to thrive with Indie publishing, unless you’re lucky enough to hit it out of the park with a book.

    I think you summed my problem up exactly. This book wasn’t the book I wanted to write at this time. Perhaps later, but not right now. I think I’ll try to learn from this particular lesson because it doesn’t do me or the reader any good if I’m fighting a book all the way through. At this point, I’m just grateful it’s not a novel.

    You are not alone on being behind schedule. I am two weeks behind and counting. 🙁

    Yes, it is. *ggg