Google tells me there are 68 days left in 2021. Slightly less than ten weeks. What if I used this time to focus on the things that truly matter right now in my writing business?
I've been spending some time on FaceBook lately caught up in the buzz and excitement of the upcoming annual 20BooksTo50K conference in Las Vegas in November. It will take place in exactly a fortnight from now. I'm not attending in person but virtually – at least that's what the plan was until this afternoon.
These past few days, I've been spending a lot of time on the many writers' groups I'm part of on FaceBook. The conversations are very interesting and informative. Anything I need to know about publishing and marketing I can easily find in these group discussions.
But, I'm not yet at that stage where I can incorporate these strategies in my own journey. For instance, learning about the ins-and-outs of running a Kickstarter campaign is not going to help me at this point in time as I have very little to offer to backers. It's great to know that Kickstarter is an avenue I could consider in future, once I have an array of products to offer.
Similarly, advertising or tricks to increase sales is not relevant to me at this point in time when I have only three books out there – a novella, a novel, and a book of poems. So yeah, not even a trilogy that I could have still worked out an ad or marketing campaign for.
So I want to hunker down to write and publish. I think I had said something similar back in September, when D was returning to school, and I wanted to use all of that time I'd get to focus on my work. It probably took me 2 days to get back to the grind of looking up what other authors were up to, what strategies they were applying, tactics that are completely irrelevant to me now, my backlist being what it is.
In one of the groups, a new author asked how to get over the catch-22 of being a new author who has few books to sell and few buyers who'd read her work. What do you do? Where do you go to find your readers when you have so little to offer them at the start?
And another group member by the name of James Day wrote the below in response.
So the best metaphor I’ve seen of this comes from Dean Wesley Smith.
When you become a self published author you are essentially building a store in the high street. And when you release a book you are putting an item on the shelf.
Now let me ask you this, would you walk in a store that only has one item on their shelf? I feel most wouldn’t, it feels weird.
So no matter how much advertising you do you won’t get around the fact that your business is not known yet. People don’t associate you with quality or trust yet. Having more things on your shelf basically puts that across.
So the best thing to do is just publish like mad and forget about everything else.
~ James Day in a comment in a FaceBook group for authors
Being a follower of DWS myself, I've known this and I understand this logically. But for countless reasons, I find myself happily distracted by the plethora of information out there instead of focussing on simply writing more, honing my craft, and then looking around to evaluate my options for marketing my works.
My earlier self would have decided I'd do this diligently for a year. In fact, she did precisely that a month ago. A year and a half of focussing solely on writing was her plan. Well, that plan didn't even sustain for a month and a half.
So, let's make new plans, this new self says. Let's try to focus solely on writing and publishing until the end of the year. A little more than two months. A little less than ten weeks. 68 days. Of which today is already done and dusted.
I know I want to. I trust I will.
And I suspect I'll be coming here often to report, if only to myself, because I'm also thinking of staying away from FB for a while. Nothing is going to change so drastically in the indie publishing world that I'd be affected by it — because I need to have more books written to worry about what's going on in the industry.