My Self-Publishing Journey: The Muse We Really Need

I love this cartoon by Jim Hines. It is exactly the kick in the pants I need right now. I’m nearing the end of my first foray into self-publishing. I’ve uploaded LIGHTBRINGER to Kindle and Nook and Smashwords. Early next week I’ll be uploading to CreateSpace and hopefully I’ll have books in hand for TusCon .  Then I’ll start contacting reviewers. In the meantime, I’m working on my next book, FIRSTBORN.

Or trying to. I haven’t been making swift progress. There always seems to be something else that distracts me. (SQUIRREL!)

The problem is, there are two things alone that seem to have the most impact on growing a career.

  1. Word of mouth.  Multiple surveys of readers indicate that the two things that influence readers to buy an author’s book are previous experience with that author and a recommendation from a trusted source. Thus my interest in contacting reviewers. (I also welcome reader reviews. :-))
  2. Multiple books for sale. When a reader acts on that recommendation, buys, and loves my book, I want to have something else available for her to buy when she asks, “What else has Frankie got?”

Ideally, I’ll have lots of something else for her to buy, but I only have two more completed novels. John Locke didn’t start his campaign to sell a million copies until he already had five books available. Readers read much faster than most of us write. I have to keep the pipeline full if I want to build momentum. I intend to bring out two to three new books or collections each year, and that will be a stretch for me.  Most professional writers have taught themselves to write fast. Dean Wesley Smith writes more than four books a year, and he’s not alone in that. Me, I’m not there yet.

Obviously, to maintain that kind of speed we can’t wait upon some ephemeral muse for inspiration. What we really need is the kick-ass muse from the comic. Until she shows up: WRITE!



Filed under Publishing, writing

8 responses to “My Self-Publishing Journey: The Muse We Really Need

  1. I love the cartoon! I’ve been known to hold the whip over my fellow Scribes (at their request) from time to time to prompt the muse. I completely agree on having enough stories in the tank. I’m trying my darndest to finish a sequel to something! Since I sold Mystic Ink, the sequel to that book has become a priority now. So much to do so little time! Eek!

  2. An important point is not to sacrifice quality for speed. As Bob Mayer says, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

  3. Love the cartoon! I sympathize with the writer in the crosshairs at the moment. I’m feeling a bit like an alter ego is holding my muse at gunpoint after having put my release dates in writing and lined up the editing and the cover art, etc. This is a confronting experience. I’ve always had to go like a bat out of hell for my IT job. But now I have a project management spreadsheet for my books that commits me to a rigorous schedule through 2013, and the professional editing process is not something I can cut corners on. Having committed to a schedule has my muse yelling, $%!&*, and me up writing past midnight lately. That approach is probably not for everyone, but it’s kicking my tookus into gear for now.

  4. My new favorite cartoon! Now if I can just get my muse to do that……

  5. I had to borrow…ok, steal the cartoon! I need to enlarge it and post it on a wall behind my desk.

    Congrats on your book release! And I scrolled down looking for the excerpt (couldn’t find the ‘tab’) and love what your hubby says about indie publishers being the ones traditional publishers can’t control!

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