Facing the facts, Linkin Park style.
If you’re a new author, the struggle may be to try to write the perfect book. You’ll want the plot to be just right, every word to flow together, the world to be intriguing, and the list goes on. This is a great way to be, but in the end, you have to get the book out.
I find that a lot of new authors spend years on the first novel, and what ends up happening is that they’re getting so far behind the authorial writing curve that by the time their book is published, the market and the trends have changed substantially.
The experts on indie publishing are saying that the author gold rush is over, so those making it big on book 1 are few and far between.
Here’s the good news though: if you’re not in this for the money, then that should actually be fine with you.
Why? Because it allows you to build your business. Yes, your business. Writing is the art; selling is the business. And we have to view ourselves as entrepreneurs. If I didn’t look at myself this way, I would have quit a long time ago. I’ve thrown money all over the place, trying to find the right cover designers, the right marketers, the right this and that, and if this were just money that I was bleeding into a hobby, then I’m not sure I would be okay with that.
However, when I consider the fact that all new businesses and entrepreneurs make tons of mistakes early on, then I can stomach the losses with my chin up.
And here’s the exciting thing. Writing is a business that will always, always, always, have a product to sell, especially with the ebook boom. It’s not like we have to pay for our creativity as a person selling energy drinks must pay for materials and such.
We have an endless supply of resources, and you can scrimp by with covers, selecting inexpensive options such as Fiverr.com (a place where book covers can be created for 5$). Skip Starbucks for a day, and buy a cover!
But we have options as writers. However, the number one thing is to get your product to the people, and let them judge it for you. There are fans for literally every quirky genre out there. And now, more than ever, readers have the ability to lock themselves into their true niche markets, since there is such a wealth of writers out there.
Don’t be discouraged at the endless writers who are surfacing. Some have come into the business and left within just the 2 years that I’ve been around. I’ve seen new authors hold on and edit and tweak their new manuscripts to exhaustion, never giving themselves solid deadlines to get their books out.
But, if we view what we do as a business, that is not acceptable. And if you can’t put out new content and new material regularly (every few months or so), then this business is not for you.
That’s the harsh reality. But listen to this. If you hunker down and decide to write 1000 words a day, you can literally write a 100k word book in just over 3 months. That’s easy!
And look at it this way. If your novel is 75k words, then that’s a 2 and a half months. Add some time in there for editing, and you’re on track for 4 books a year! That’s remarkable.
You have to see yourself as a businessman/businesswoman if you want to be a full-time writer. Those who struck it big 3 and 4 years ago fell into the ebook boom and were lucky that the market was expanding. But now, we don’t have that option. The race is not given to swift, but to him who endures to the end.
Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing!! I’m such a champion for people who want to follow their dreams. But I get frustrated, because sometimes people don’t understand the level of tenacity they have to have to make it in this business.
Do you need to be a salesperson? Not really. Do you need to be a smooth-talker and go to conferences and retreats and the like? Nope! But you do have to sell, and you do have to learn the business. You have to be willing to fail. Because when you fail—and you will—that’s when you learn to get up, grit your freakin’ teeth, make a cup of coffee, pick up that laptop, and crunch out some words until your coffee is cold and stale.
Make goals. Make deadlines. Meet those goals. Tell yourself how you’ll feel when you don’t meet those goals. There are goals set for us every day at our jobs! Every single day! And we have no problem with them, because someone is holding us to them.
What about your goal to be a full-time writer though? What about that goal? Who’s holding you to it? No one. No one except your dreams. And your dreams are literally screaming at you every day to get up and produce! Stop making excuses. Stop letting yourself watch Vine after Vine or send Tweet after Tweet or take Instagram after Instragram or watch YouTube video after YouTube video. Stop reading about writing to pretend that you’re writing. Stop acting like merely thinking about the book constitutes as writing the book.
It doesn’t. You can effin’ do this! I promise you, you can. You can and there is a market waiting on you. You have everything you need to be successful. Don’t let another month pass without cranking out some words. You can literally have 30k words written by 3/17.
Think about that. That’s roughly a third of a book. Don’t worry about perfecting it. Just get it done. And once it’s done, then you can fix it. And here’s the thing. Once it’s done, you’ll be more motivated to fix it, because you’re that much closer to being finished.
Get back in the game, get your head on straight, and follow your dreams!