Friday, January 16, 2015

The harsh reality of self publishing from someone on the front lines...

In 2009, when I started writing my first book, there was a revolution going on. People by the hundreds of thousands were grabbing pitch forks and torches and storming the gates of the Big 6 gatekeepers. These guys were the "gods" who deemed whether your book was worthy or not, regardless how good it is. However, Amazon released the kindle and gave writers direct access to every reader who wanted to see your book.

This was never heard of before... it was incredible! It was like when the Internet was being opened up to the world all over again (I was on the Net before it changed everyone's lives so I remember it well.) Well, now that we had fun stormin' the castle, and the torches are burnt out, reality is setting in. Just because we can publish a book on Amazon doesn't mean what it used to mean.

Yes, it's still a big deal for every author/writer when we hit the publish button (at least to us) but that was just one step on a journey of a thousand miles. There are a lot of steps still ahead. There is so much work you must do to make yourself seen, to be heard, and to get your book in the readers hands that a lot of people are quitting because it's work and they don't to do it.

Many people (including myself many years ago) believed in the potential of making a lot of money. I still believe in it, but it's not as easy as many people once thought. Now there's a lot of competition and things that pull people's attention away from seeing your work. Society is one giant ball of ADHD where we're multitasking and making split second decisions without even noticing because so many things are trying to get our attention.

Colors, lights, flashy thingies, pop-ups, catchy tunes, there's such a psychology and marketing brew going on all around us, 24/7 that people don't realize we're attracted to. It happened when I was a kid with clever marketing towards me when I was watching saturday morning cartoons. Example, if I say Tucan Sam's line... "Just follow my nose..." and you fill in the blank ____________. (If you answered "it always knows." Then you're hooked.

See, I just went A.D.D. off the subject! What was I saying? Oh yeah - people's attention is always in flux. As an author, my job is to not only write, but to capture these butterflies (people with ADHD) long enough to let them know "Hey, check this out." After all is said and done, my job is to also sit back down and write some more. Why? Because to be successful, I need to keep adding to my 401K, and not the one you're thinking of, but an author's 401K.

What's incredible about writing is that once you're done, it's going to make you money forever (or at least past my lifetime) because the kindle revolution has changed the world the way the internet did back in 1993. (Does anyone remember when AOL was 9.99 an hour? Gah! You Got Mail!) Every book I write adds money to the pot (not much to live off of - but a little) and it makes me feel good because I enjoy writing and creating. I even LOVE the feedback from my readers who also love the characters in my books. To them, they are real, and they care about what happens to them. There's a certain magic - to be able to do that.

So going back to the harsh reality I mentioned... for those thinking this is a get rich quick scheme? I say - HA! Never in my life have I worked harder than I have these past six years. I say that because when we stormed the gate, there were no rules, no safe path to follow. We were trail blazing and exploring new territories...

Well, here we are! Not sure where, but a lot further ahead and wiser from the lessons learned. Now what?

I still believe "there's gold up in them - there hills!" but we need to haul our ass over all the obstacles that get in our way, and it's no easy task. Ask any somewhat successful author and they'll say they worked their butts off. In the long run, people will find those of us who didn't quit or burn out, and we'll have our day in the sun. My advice is to write not for the money, but because you want to... because you have a story you need to tell.

Do you know what's so awesome about writing? You get to play make-believe all over again. Ever play lava floor? Where you jumped from couch to couch, avoiding touching the floor because you make-believed it was lava? Being an author is being that kid again, but you're inviting more people into your world to play with you.

That's why I write, and if I get lucky people will buy my work - which is even better, but if you do what you love, the money will follow regardless. Don't give up... this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Beginnings...

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over and things are quieting down for another year, I'm actually looking forward to 2015 with a very positive and hopeful feeling. I'm excited to be adding the ability for people to buy books directly from my website via Paypal and early reports from people who are reading my book are very promising. It's going to take time for my book Self-Aware (A Zombie Series WIth A Fresh Twist!) to take off and who knows... maybe i'll get lucky and it'll become a best seller?

They say that being an writer/author is not a sprint, it's a marathon... that it's not what happens in just a few days or a few months that determines your success... it's what you do over the long term. Write, edit, publish and repeat... over and over. People will find you, people will talk and before you know it ~ it'll snowball. For now, keep doing what I have been doing since 2009.

My goal for this year is to finish book two of Self-Aware (Revenge Of The Fallen) by Christmas 2015. That means I need to get on the ball soon (And I will.) Anica Storm (my first fantasy novel) will have to wait until book 2 is done (unless some how I can write two books at the same time.) Who knows?

2015 promises to be a better year on so many levels. I can't help what the rest of the world does, but I can help what I do as far as writing quality content, making it available for my readers, and being there for my fans. Without you, no one would enjoy my books and all this would have been for nothing. Yet, you guys are enjoying them and having a blast and that makes me so happy. My goal is to someday make enough to quit my day job and stay home full time - writing. I'm not there yet, but I'm one step closer thanks to you.

I wish you guys great success and fortune on your adventures and whatever you are striving to do. I hope the world comes together this year and realize that time on this planet is very short. No one is promised tomorrow, so let's make the best of today. On that sappy note, I'll say Happy New Year and end this post.