What are you moaning and groaning about?
Since we indie authors must network to learn our industry, what works and what doesn’t, I am in touch with authors at all success levels daily. I have noticed this phenomena: An author publishes one book, and next starts feeling less than because a colleague has published two. An author with no book in a series starts looking askance at his or her own body of work, because she doesn’t write series. An author with less than three titles than can be combined into a boxed set suddenly starts feeling he or she is behind the times and will never be successful. This phenomena of comparing your place in our indie universe with another indie author is a kind of author depression. It is a deep pit and an awful trap.
This is nothing new to authors. In my gloried past I attended major writer’s conferences in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, L.A. and the UK. I attended dozens of small regional conference all over Florida, Alabama, California and Texas. Without fail, one or more authors in our group would start to sag once she started hearing other author’s success stories. Get this: Would you go to a conference headlined by a failure? Heck no.
Success stories are fabulous. We learn from them. Keep in mind your path to success will not be the same as the next author. I am a slow creator. I type thirty dang words a minute–all misspelled, too. No way in heck am I going to churn out a book a month. I am in awe of writers who can do that and I buy their books. I wish my favorite authors would churn out a book a week! When I was under contract, I had deadlines to meet, two book a year was my limit–sometimes only one. Now, I’m an indie author, and two books a year is still my limit. I don’t go near NaNoWriMo because I would just be setting myself up for failure. I ain’t going there. I do admire those authors who manage 50,000 words in 30 days. It is critical for your success as an author to recognize your work patterns and how you approach creativity.
2015 is just around the corner. I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I have a To Do List. I started it December 1st. On my list are small steps to success. Master Twitter. Improve my Webpage. Write at least a blog or two a month. Review my Amazon Author page. Tweak it, if necessary. Reread my published books. Do any need revising? Do any need a new cover? Shall I freshen book descriptions? I have one book, The Reluctant Hero that just flat does not have an audience. That poor book is my stepchild. It is a cute story, well written, professionally edited, and formatted with a cover built by an award-winning artist. I have yet to discover this book’s path to success. I may never. But, I’m gonna try. The key to your success as an indie author is what YOU can do for your book or books–not how many books the next author has.
I often hear advice suggesting that if you only have one book, you can’t be successful. It is true you help your career by writing more books. But! You wrote one book and published it. I say: Don’t let it sit on a dusty cybershelf. Promote it and keep on promoting it until you have a second book published. I do not see any value in waiting until an author has two or more book before starting promotions. That first book can be building you a readership. Go for it.
I hear this from authors: Nobody likes me? Huh?
Get this: It ain’t about YOU. It is about your BOOK. Julie Whiteley, a TOP 1000 Amazon and Goodreads reviewer made this observation about author egos: “When I’m stuck in traffic or at the dentist, I don’t take an author ego out of my purse. I take out my Kindle.”
Does luck play a role in success? Yes it does. Two authors I know had great good luck and perfect timing: Donna Fasano and Martin Crosbie. Both ran free book campaigns when Amazon was still counting a FREE download as a full sale–not in $$$ but the book’s placement on best seller stats after it returned to priced. Amazon change that algorithm so that a down load only counts as one-tenth of a priced sale. Here is the kicker. Both are still best-selling authors today because they adjusted their marketing strategy. Donna markets her books on every sales venue. Martin stays exclusive to Amazon. You can do it either way.
If you focus on your book and what you can do for it, you will not fall into that horrid pit. Network with colleagues. Learn patience. Every single successful author I know faced a blank page at the beginning. And does so on every new endeavor. And for some of us, those first dang blank pages were rolled into a typewriter on a platen.
Sometimes you can sidle up to luck from behind. I adore Bingo. It costs. To afford it, I recycled aluminum cans. Picked those suckers up every Thursday until I was about to fold in half. Went to Bingo, won a jackpot and spent it on a Bookbub promo slot for my first indie release. I still recycle, but I don’t have to run around parking lots and road verges anymore.
I will leave you with this adage. I made it up. I say it out loud every single day.
I release the need to poor mouth.
Money flows to me freely.
The wealth and kindness of the indie universe flows through me
and there is always an abundance of it. #eNovAaW.
I’m Jackie Weger. Ya’ll have a good one.