My New Normal

In my last post, I talked about focusing on the writing more and on the business side less. Well, I’ve been doing just that, which is why I haven’t made a post here for over a month. I’ve been writing, reading, and learning.

I write every day and I stick to my quotas. This is my new normal.

I made a few resolutions at the end of 2012. The first was to stop obsessing over sales. I finally did that. I check them most days, but I don’t dwell on it or fret about it. I also only check once, maybe twice.

My books are now on every platform: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Diesel, and factory direct from my website.

I’ve been continuing my education in order to become a better writer.

I’m ignoring just about everything that doesn’t add value to my life. That’s provided me with lots of time and the ability to focus on my writing.

In 2013 I’ve settled into a nice pattern of simply sitting down and writing each day without worrying about sales or any of that bullshit. It’s been a blast. I’m really happy with how my sequel to Into the Badlands is turning out. Currently it sits at 55,000 words. Target is around 90,000 words.

Dean Wesley Smith says that 2013 is the first year of the new normal. Ebook sales growth is slowing to a more reasonable pace. Some traditional publishers are now having their books discounted by Amazon, narrowing the pricing gap between indie and self-pub titles. Lots of folks already have a Kindle now, so they’re not rushing to fill it with new books.

I’ve read on the Interwebs that some indie/self-pubbers have seen a drop in sales. I don’t want to quote numbers anymore, so I’ll use year over year percentages. Compared to December of 2011, my sales went up 140%. Tempering that is the fact that back then I was brand new with only one novel released. I’ve since released another novel and some shorter works. Plus my debut novel has had time to generate some buzz for itself.

January of last year was a magic month. My sales went through the roof then. I think a lot of people experienced this. This year I’m down to the tune of 2% in January (compared to last year). And that’s only because I have other titles to offset the loss. But this is why you keep writing books, the more you have the more you’ll sell.

So for me, January is down a little from last year, but not significantly. I’m still incredibly happy with sales thus far. And that’s all I want to say about sales.

I think that Dean is right. People who, last year, thought that self-publishing was some sort of gold rush have realized it’s not. Not anymore, at least. It’s still a tough game, requiring both hard work and luck. I think the get-rich-quick types will drop out of the game, leaving only those tenacious enough to keep trudging along. And I’m just fine with that. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was very young. I’m not going to let a little bit of hard work stop me. I never had the delusion that it would be easy. Nothing worthwhile is.

So here’s what you can expect from me and my new normal. More books, first off. At the rate I’m going, there’s no reason I can’t publish two novels a year. You can expect fewer blog posts. I’m spending my time writing, but I’ll check in when I think I have something to say. You can expect virtually no activity on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. I’ll try to let folks know about book releases and other real news, but random, quirky status updates are not, nor have ever been my thing.

But seriously, don’t we all just want more books from our authors?

And speaking of, you might see a third book from me this year, but don’t hold me to it. I have one with a completed but nasty-looking first draft. I’m also looking into an audio edition of Into the Badlands, but don’t hold me to that either. That could be 2014.

So, fellow writers…the new normal for 2013 is write, write, write. Let’s review Heinlein’s five rules for writers one more time:

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

If you ask me, this is what you should be doing. Write it, finish it, don’t rewrite it to death. After that publish it yourself (or get it submitted). Rinse and repeat.

And this is going to be the normal for some time to come.