When I approach something new I look at it from all angles. Analyze. Re-evaluate. Change directions and tactics as needed. I repeat this process until I’ve met the objectives I set out to achieve. Hey, I’m a scientist at heart. It’s how I operate.
That being said, the whole thing seems to go out the window in the publishing world. All things being equal, genre, length, level of writing … books are never equal. What formula worked for one writer and gleans huge sales, does NOT necessarily translate into a winning combination for another author. Why? Who the hell knows. Trust me, if there were a formula to guarantee success I would have it for you and happily share it.
In the grand scheme of things I haven’t been a writer very long. Six and a half years to be exact. By that I mean, I was a voracious reader of fiction, but never saw myself sitting down and actually writing a novel. Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed writing papers, but writing a novel hadn’t been a life’s dream. Now I live for it. And it’s not that I should complain because I have had many books published, but I’m not making a living by any stretch of the imagination. And that fact is driving me INSANE!
Because writing for me is first and foremost a job. (And probably the hardest I’ve ever had … and I’ve had A LOT!) It’s not something I started because my heart was aching to put words on the page. It was a business venture. And I’m not the most patient A-type personality. I expected by now that I would at least be earning a teacher’s salary and the contracts to be lined up as I happily sat at my computer penning masterpieces.
Ummm, yeah, not so much.
Which brings me back around to that whole analyzing thing. The “What am I doing wrong?” or “What is X author doing right?” questions that plague me. I write. I market. I keep abreast of the latest publishing news without obsessing over it. I analyze and reassess. And then I market some more. And I’ve finally figured it out. There’s one key thing missing. Any writer would see it in my statements above. Figured it out?
There’s just not enough of that in my equations. Ask me the last time I wrote a new paragraph on a blank page. No don’t. I’d be embarrassed to admit it to you. But last week as I was preparing a short story for THIS post, I realized … holy crap! this is FUN! And it made me wonder if that’s what’s been missing for me. Have I been so intent on analyzing the market and seeing what genre/heat level/length successful romance writers are selling that I’ve completely missed what makes my heart sing? Have I been pushing my muse in specific directions because it fit a submission call or seemed like the latest hot genre? Hmmm…
But now I’m thinking it’s time to hand over the reins. Time to let her tell me where she’d like to go. I suspect I’ll be much more productive in the long run. So I’m making an early resolution to myself. First and foremost. Write. I know … DUR. But hey when your muse is fighting you every step of the way and your personal life is in flux … it’s really easy to not open that manuscript and stay busy blogging and answering emails. It’s amazing how a day can be frittered away working without working.
So the books at my publisher aren’t a big seller. And though the books I’ve self-pubbed are slowly making enough monthly sales to treat Mr. Nina to a chain restaurant dinner … no dessert, I’m thinking that figuring out why that’s not working isn’t going to help me find new readers. Only writing another book and another book and another book is going to do that.
And you know what? My muse is happier already.
So how’s life going for you? Are you already setting new goals for 2012 or just trying to survive the final push of 2011?