In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: On Having “Enough” Inventory, Supporting Readers, and Other Things
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“But the truth is, that pushing yourself often yields great results. If you push yourself and fail, at the very least you’ve exercised your writing muscles.” David Farland
I expected yesterday to be a really big day, but it wasn’t. I diverted my efforts to helping my wife clear the yard of piles and piles of saltbush and mesquite tree trimmings.
We transported four pickup-bed loads to a future burn pile. Of course, all of that wore out this old man. (grin) So when the day was over I’d written a little over 1400 words (see Day 15 below).
Yesterday I also forgot to attend the new vids on the Advanced Depth course AND the Licensing 101 course, so I’ll do that first this morning.
Topic: On Having “Enough” Inventory, Supporting Readers, and Other Things
A mentoring student brought up an interesting topic in an email. Frankly, it was something I’ve thought about recently myself.
With almost 60 novels and novellas, over 200 short stories (and a bunch of collections), a couple dozen nonfiction books and courses, and hundreds of poems (in several collections), maybe I have enough inventory. Maybe I should stop or at least slow my writing and creating and focus on marketing what I have.
Really, that isn’t a bad idea. But I can’t do that. I’m talking about me, personally.
As I wrote to my student, I’m a child of the 60s, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because money has never meant much to me. I’ve seldom had savings (though I readily admit to the wisdom of having savings) and I’ve never cared much for money beyond having enough to provide myself and my family with the basics: water, food, shelter (including clothing) and my writing computer. Everything else (to me) is luxury.
Would I like to earn a bunch of smackers each month on my writing? Of course. In fact, if all of my books sold only one copy per month (say $5) in every venue around the world (about 450) where they’re available, that would net me a cool $2250 per month.
I figure $5 is a good, realistic average. My blog posts are free, my short stories are $3 each, my novellas and novels range from $4 to $7, my nonfictions and audios and collections range from $10 to $60 or so, and so on.
Only it doesn’t work that way. What I do is make everything in my inventory available to as many readers as I can around the world in as many forms as possible, then stop worrrying about it and write the next thing.
My only failures in that regard to this point has been
1. Not having all my longer works available in paper (which I hope to resolve soon), and
2. Not having my audio courses and other fictions and nonfictions avialable in audio (which I hope to begin resolving soon, but more slowly than getting them into paper).
But I can’t base all of that on “supporting readers.” That way leads to madness.
I DO support readers, and I hope my giveaways and sales make that apparent.
But if I base my business decisions on supporting readers, that ties me directly to the outcome, and that’s unrealistic. Here’s how it works in the real world:
1. I offer freebies or sales, complete with direct links so readers don’t even have to type in or copy/paste the URL.
2. I expect readers (whom I’m supporting with those freebies and sales) to actually take advantage of the free offer or sales.
3. Most readers don’t. They just don’t.
And I’m not talking about writers who are also readers. Writers very seldom buy books from other writers. My best guess is that familiarity breeds contempt, and I’m one of the most open, familiar guys out there.
But I’m talking about the millions of readers who don’t know me from the original Adam and who browse my freebies and sales every single day and never click the Download link.
I can’t tie my sanity to such inexplicable silliness as that. (grin) All I can do is write the best story I can at my current level, design the best, most genre-specific book covers I can, and write the best sales copy I can.
Then I can either sit back and wait for the dollars to roll in or I can forget it and write the next story. They say, as a point of trust, if you build it, they will come.
Well, I did my part. I built it. I followed Heinlein’s Rules. I wrote. I finished. I did not drain all originality out of it by rewriting. I put it on the market. The rest is up to the readers.
Okay, so with all the inventory I already have, why can’t I just slow production or stop altogether and focus on marketing?
The short answer is because I’m a writer. And really, I don’t write “lightning fast,” as some have said. I write a paltry 1000 words per hour (about 17 words per minute). I just prioritize writing and spend more hours in the chair. (shrug)
The longer answer is what I told my mentoring student: For me the writing really does come first. Not to build more inventory, but to be entertained, to find out what happens next, and in the next story and the next world with the next cast of characters.
So with my wife’s help, I’ll do the marketing stuff as I get to it, including moving things to paper and audio.
But I have to keep writing. As my buddy Dan says, when I’m writing I’m truly “in Hebben.”
I know me. If I stopped writing today, chances are I’d leave everything up and continue collecting $$s from it, but I wouldn’t spend my time marketing. I’d find something to do that I actually enjoy. Like fishing. (grin)
But like Bradbury and countless others, I hope to kick off while I’m sitting at my writing ‘puter, my fingers on the keyboard. And I really, really hope whoever finds me will be a reader. And I hope they’ll shove me aside (after all, at that point I’m the coroner’s problem), look at the screen, and mutter, “Damn! I wonder what happens next?”
And I hope I’ll somehow be able to see that happen. That would really be Hebben.
Late start today considering I have vids to watch and listen to in catchup mode and given that I lost a lot of time on the novel yesterday. So writing today will be my reward for doing other things I have to do first, like write all of this stuff.
I got through the vids, and I learned a ton. (I recommend both of them and the Depth class, which is a prerequisite for Advanced Depth.)
I checked email and received a great email from a mentoring student (Thanks, Rob!) wondering why I didn’t take my audio lectures “public” to Audible or one of the other big services. Great question, and one I’d never considered. Now I will.
I finally checked for items for “Of Interest” and added a few. I didn’t read all of them. Some by some authors I automatically add because I know they will be of value to writers.
As before, I’m posting this early and will report today’s fiction numbers later.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Internet to the Rescue!” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/03/internet-to-the-rescue.html. Contains a links to a site that generates character names, and other links to other helpful sites for writers.
See “Writers of Apocalyptic Fiction…” at https://prowriterswriting.com/need-writing-ideas-no-time-like-the-present/.
See “Card Sharp Silver… Day 6” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/card-sharp-silver-day-6/.
See “Balancing Productivity and Art” at https://mystorydoctor.com/balancing-productivity-and-art-3/.
See “Peer Critique Versus Professional Editing: When, Why and How to Use Both” at https://www.janefriedman.com/peer-critique-versus-professional-editing/.
See “Romantic Christian Suspense: A Roundtable Discussion” at https://crimereads.com/romantic-christian-suspense-a-roundtable-discussion/.
Now, for a very limited time and only for subscribers to this Journal, I’m offering a special bonus to anyone who read this far. I’m giving away my audio lecture “Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist” (a $40 value) to anyone who requests it by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) on or before March 31.
The course is presented in 8 audio lectures in then state-of-the-art and now-antiquated MP3 format. (grin) I’ll send you the files via return email so you can download them to your computer, tablet, phone or whatever.
Fiction words today…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 1400 (Journal)
Writing of The Othgygnrkthers (tentative title, novel)
Day 10… 1622 words. Total words to date…… 28128
Day 11… 1263 words. Total words to date…… 29391
Day 12… 0992 words. Total words to date…… 30383
Day 13… 1897 words. Total words to date…… 32280
Day 14… 1199 words. Total words to date…… 33479
Day 15… 1444 words. Total words to date…… 34923
Day 16… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 47244
Total fiction words for the year………… 183939
Total nonfiction words for the month… 22100
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 76580
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 260519
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 6
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 48
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 202
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31