A Change In Direction

I’ve been doing a segment on this blog for the past nine months or so called Transparency in Indie Publishing. In these posts I discuss sales counts and royalty earnings, I analyze the data and I make decisions on what my next move will  be. I also make a few predictions.

My reason for doing this was simple: to help other writers. I figured if they could see what I was doing based on the data I had available it might help them make their own decisions. I think anecdotal information can be useful, provided it’s not take as gospel and is tempered with other data.

Unfortunately talking about sales can come off as either bragging or whining. I’m purposely doing neither, but interpretation is up to the reader. I can only hope that some found the information useful or inspiring.

That said, I’ve decided to shelve this segment of the blog for the foreseeable future. I’m heading into nearly a year of self-publishing and I’ve provided more data that I think most indies ever would. These posts will remain for posterity. I think it provides a good picture of what can happen when one indie writer gets lucky. It shows potential, in real-life numbers, which I still contend is valuable.

But I don’t want to focus on sales counts or money so much anymore. My wife and I have been relying on this income to help pay the bills for the past five or six months which has caused me to focus on the numbers more than I normally would. In three months we’ll no longer need this income to pay our monthly bills, after which all royalties will funnel directly into savings.

I’m a full-time programmer. That’s my day job and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. You know what? I’m just fine with that. I really enjoy the day job and I make good money. By focusing so much on the book sales these past six months or so, I’ve been ignoring the main focus of why I write in the first place.

Happiness.

The reason I like having an enjoyable day job is because it frees me from having to rely solely on royalties to survive. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (and I’d love to be able to do it), but having the day job is a safety net. I can enjoy my life every day and then come home and work on whatever the hell I want. Whatever project strikes my fancy I’ll work on it, whether it’ll sell or not. That’s a very nice place to be and I think this blog should focus more on that reality.

I’ll still talk about sales sometimes, but I’m not going to focus on it. In my situation I don’t have to. I think it’s now more timely and valuable to talk about how writing makes me happy in the hopes that it might inspire others to focus more on their happiness. I’m not saying I have the secret to happiness for everyone, but my anecdotal information might be valuable.

Maybe I’ll call my new series Happiness in Indie Publishing. I doubt it’ll follow any kind of regular schedule, just here and there when the urge strikes.

After all, when your life is at its end and you think back on it, are you going to remember how much money you had or how happy you were?

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4 thoughts on “A Change In Direction

  1. Jane August 19, 2012 / 6:02 am

    Has someone said something to make you feel this way? I don’t see it that way at all. I’m always looking for advice and suggestions, and reading of another writer’s success keeps me motivated. I’m currently beginning my thesis phase (over the course of two semesters) to complete the requirements for an MA in English. My project is a memoir, which I’m using to experiment with the “Blog in a Book” technique I’ve been reading about lately. I’m also in the (very) early stages of creating an internet platform. These have come about from the research I’ve been doing to complete my thesis/project. By May, I hope to come up with some analysis and info, sort of a “see where I was last July vs. where I am today” (which will be next May). My dreams include publishing my memoir (obviously 🙂 ) and creating/teaching a class on memoir writing and/or building an internet platform. I will jump off my soapbox now, but I hope you continue down the path you truly aspire to, and congratulations on your successes! I look forward to perusing your blog in the future. Best to you! Jane

    • Brian J. Jarrett August 19, 2012 / 10:52 am

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and congratulations on beginning your thesis. Sounds like fun.

      Everyone who visits this site has always been very supportive. My shift in direction is to ensure that I don’t forget to remain cognizant of why I write in the first place: because it makes me happy. It’s easy to get very focused on sales, promotion and strategy and forget to have a little fun along the way.

      I still plan on writing about the business side of this little publishing endeavor of mine, but fewer long and drawn out information dumps. Rather than one long breakdown of everything I’ve done in a month, maybe two or three short, anecdotal posts more tightly focused on specific aspects of self-publishing, posted at random intervals.

      In other words, I do still believe that writing about my sales and strategy can be beneficial to others, but I want to ensure I’m taking a more holistic approach to this entire process.

      Good luck on your memoir and your thesis. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read this blog and comment. I hope you continue to find the site helpful and relevant.

      Take it easy,
      Brian

  2. Pete Denton August 19, 2012 / 6:06 am

    I’ve found the stats very interesting reading, but I can understand you not wanting to concentrate on them. For the record they didn’t come across as either bragging or whining, just informative.

    I agree about the comfort of the safety-net of a day job. I would love to be able to live off writing, but reality suggests I’m not going to do that and it is a big gamble in the current climate to take that risk.

    Good luck with your writing.

    • Brian J. Jarrett August 19, 2012 / 11:12 am

      Hi Pete,

      I’m glad you found the stats interesting and informative. Like I said to Jane above, I’ll still be writing about sales, just more informally.

      Working as a full-time programmer does take away from my writing time, but it also provides a solid income. Plus I love the work. I’m sure there are others in my same situation, so writing a few articles about it might be helpful to those folks.

      And I’ll try to maintain the same tone when talking about sales and such; it seems that’s coming across as helpful which is what I was going for all along.

      I’ve got some posts coming up over the next couple months discussing book covers, full-time jobs, genre-focused writing, local book stores, sales, measuring success and striving toward happiness and contentment with life and art. Should be fun.

      Take care,
      Brian

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