This Strategy Builds Your Writing & Publishing SuccessOne size doesn’t ever fit all.
Because we are individuals.
And also why no advice is useful until you test it. I like the phrase, “Opinion is like a belly button, everybody has one.” And like some parts of the anatomy, they are better kept out of sight and not discussed in public.
That said, I’m violating what Dorothea Brande talks about in the third chapter of her “Becoming a Writer.” (book | course) Well, mostly. (She says there, basically, keep your dreams to yourself until you have a decent first draft to hand around.) And my advice here is free, with the idea is that you test everything I say here. (Though some of us expose more than we should, perhaps.)
What you read here will either work for you or it won’t. Or parts of it might work.
In looking over what I’ve produced in this career as a writer, and where success hasn’t followed, some things stand clear:
- You have to keep metrics.
- You have to keep some sort of schedule.
- Finish what you start, but come back to things you had to put off.
- Audience building is key.
What you Measure, You Can ImproveYour top metric is subscriptions. Because being able to send information about new releases (and samples) to your audience keeps them in the loop.
Next below that is paid subscriptions. This allows you to keep your lights on. Bills paid, etc.
Before you can track book income, you have to have published words. That’s the word count of books you’ve published that week.
Also, to succeed as a writer, you have to read and you have to write. Daily.
The Writer’s ScheduleThe trick with all these lists of things is to get a schedule you can keep.
Stephen King, in his “On Writing” said his schedule was basically
- Writing in the am.
- Anwering emails and doing business in the afternoon.
- Reading at night.
Dean Wesley Smith starts writing about midnight and goes through until about 6am. He does business the rest of the day. And blogs about what he does every single day (http://ift.tt/1Game89)
Rachel Aaron in her “2K to 10K” says to basically keep notes on what you are writing, where, and how much. Once you have several weeks of these notes, then you can see where your best production occurs and when. She found going to a local coffee shop was best, out of the house completely. And writing what she was most interested out of the story. (This agrees with D. W. Smith above, as well as several other writers who recommend writing what you’re interested in, then come back to fill in the holes.)
How you write, when, and where is completely up to you.
What metrics you keep are just those that make sense to you.
If you keep words written daily, then you’ll be able to improve your word count daily.
I prefer words published, as I usually work on completed works, and then need to get these out so they don’t sit around and ask for endless revisions. (Muses can be nags.)
Also, if you publish two stories a week, like the prolific Corin Tellado did. (http://ift.tt/1NXGzTL) She wrote mostly short stories and novellas. An average of one and two-thirds (1.67) titles published every week for 60 years. That’s prolific.
This was from a point that Dean Wesley Smith brought up. All the pulp fiction authors you really remember stayed at it for decades. And authors like Smith who made the transition from pulp fiction to corporate and self-publishing.
Corporate vs. Indie – How Printers Became Publishers“Traditional” publishing has long been mis-named. It’s all corporate, including the in-house imprints Amazon has started. Traditions change. Printers used to produce magazines and books. Then some figured out how to make more income by adding marketing to the mix. Then editors had to be hired as well as proofreaders.
Corporate book publishers also did magazine print runs. There has always been independent authors and entrepreneurs willing to pay printing, marketing, and distribution costs for their own books and magazines. The corporations eventually either grew and merged or went out of business.
When Smashwords helped ebooks became a “thing” then these print-based corporations made the ponderous shift clumsily. Print on demand was pioneered by Lulu.com helped Indie authors to keep their printe books available indefinitely – a tactic the corporate publishers have also adopted.
There have always been corporate and independent. Self-publishing is just the bottom rung of indie publishing.
Charles Dickens ran his own magazine and produced most of the content for it as serials.
As printing technology evolved and made printing more profitable, authors like O. Henry could submit short stories to magazines and make a living from their longhand writing.
Jack London came a little later and was able to make the transition to printed collections of his short stories, for the audience he’d built from magazine readers.
Pulp fiction started as magazines and after World War II went to inexpensive paperbacks (mass market.) These would republish the novels they’d been publishing in installments monthly as regular books. Many science fiction, fantasy, romance, and detective authors were able to make this transition.
Isaac Asimov is probably the most well known of these. And he is credited with over 500 books of his own, plus another 200 that he co-authored or edited.
Frederick Schiller Faust (Known for his 15 pen names such Max Brand, as well as creating Dr. Kildare) started in the pulps and moved to Hollywood script-factory at the studios there. He published over 500 novels for magazines and nearly that many shorter works as well. His books are reprinted today.
Faust and William Wallace Cook (of “Plotto“) were known for hammering out a million words a year of production.
Authors after that point had fewer magazines to support their works, and the narrowing of corporate publishing opportunities tended to weed out authors.
Our current Internet-based publishing has enabled writers to now do their own “printing” and marketing, so filling most of the work that the corporate publishers would do. Practically, this is making it easier for the corporate publishing houses, as they can now recruit and sign indie authors. Like Amanda Hocking who already established an audience for herself.
There is a huge, almost unsatiable demand for stories these days. Because anyone can buy them cheaply (or “license” them, from Amazon and others.) And carry them around in bulk with their smartphone. If they don’t like the computer-rendered audio, they can also buy audio books.
Anyone can publish these days. The ones who are prolific and keep at it will be able to make a decent living regardless of the roadblocks put in their way. Corporate publishers like Amazon can’t corner any market of indie publishing.
The Tricks to Indie Publishing SuccessThese are mainly just a few:
- Be prolific.
- Consistently publish weekly and monthy.
- Enjoy what you do and so will your readers.
- Publish wide, everywhere you can and in all formats possible.
- Keep at it and build a long career.
The Simple Strategy for Writing Success:
- Keep your metrics.
- Figure out and keep your schedule.
- Write as good as you possibly can and make every story better than the last.
And if you like what you just read:
from The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Living Sensical http://ift.tt/2DeOigM