Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday!
I’ll probably have more thoughts about publishing next week or the week after. I’m looking at setting up a Patreon account (see yesterday’s post and comment if you have opinions, please) but I want to get a better understanding of that before I say anything other than ‘hey, this looks kind of interesting’. Which, hey, Patreon looks kind of promising for authors and artists looking to make a living from their art.
Advertising is hard. Promotion is hard. I don’t understand enough of it to really have a great opinion to offer you right now. But I can share my thoughts so far, under the cut. Personal opinions below, subject to change at any moment!
Writing is what I want to do with my life. It’s the career that I’ve aimed at since I was 14 years old. I went to college, got myself an English Creative Writing degree. That was spectacularly useless, BTW. I do not recommend getting a Creative Writing degree. The cost to benefit ratio just doesn’t justify it.
Wanting to write for a living and actually doing it are two very separate things, however.
Things I’ve learned so far:
1) You need to be prolific (at least 4 novels a year) to succeed.
2) You have to write what you love, what you’re passionate about.
3) It is possible to simply build your product, book after book, and succeed in time.
4) That isn’t quick.
5) You can do things that will help you succeed sooner.
But how do I define ‘succeed’?
Personally, my definition of success is multilayered. First off, I want to write every day, at least every weekday. That’s my daily measure of success on the writing front. Second, I want to put out something, a novel, novella, short story or collection every 2 weeks. That’s how I’m measuring my success on the publishing side of things.
And on the advertising / promotion side?
Well, that’s where I’ve fallen down so far. I know that there are a lot of promotional efforts you can do, like offering the first book in a series for free for a while as a loss leader to bring people into the rest of the series. You can tweet and put things on Facebook. There are Storybundles and BookBub and other paid promotions you can do.
I don’t feel that I’m ready for that yet. Sure, I have a lot of stuff out but I don’t have it in series that make it worthwhile. I’m working on that and hopefully next year, or 2016, I’ll have the minimum necessary to do such things. But not yet.
So I’ve been investigating what I can do in the meantime to spread the word and develop that core of True Fans that everyone talks about. People say that with 1000 True Fans, people who buy everything that you put out the instant it’s released, you can make a living. It seems to be relatively true though more experienced authors that I know quibble about the actual number needed.
The strongest suggestions I’ve gotten so far for this middle spot I’m in, between ‘I’ve published virtually nothing’ and ‘I’ve got 20-30 books out’ is 1) have a mailing list and 2) Patreon.
Patreon is new. I haven’t researched it much but I’m in the process of that currently. I will have more data and will report back on results of what I do with it, if anything. Seriously, so far it looks good and if you’ve done it I would love to hear how you’re doing, what you’re doing, if it works for you.
Mailing lists have been around forever, truly, since before the internet. They work. They work best when you don’t flood your list with updates all the time. So, given how productive I tend to be, my updates to the list will probably be monthly or quarterly. I’m planning on a section of ‘this is what I’m working on’, followed by ‘this is what was released recently’ and ‘these are links to things you might find helpful / interesting’.
You know, when I finally have a mailing list to send things to. *wry smile* Haven’t set that up yet.
But I probably will before January.
It’s always an issue of time, I think. I need time to write and time to publish and time to do my day job and more time for my home and family and health and entertainment and…
Well. Time is at a premium for everyone. I suppose the best I can do is to offer the most value for people as readers (and Patreon patrons once that’s up) and then not bother them too much.
Nothing coherent today but then I’m still working all this out so I suppose it’s not surprising. Truly, if you have suggestions or comments, I’d be delighted to hear them. Good luck in all your efforts!
I hope that you enjoyed reading this. Please do ask questions if you have any. I like sharing my world building but writing these takes time away from writing stories that I could publish. Thus, it would be greatly appreciated if you would consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these columns. Thank you very much!