• The Word Counter of Shame

    Posted on May 8, 2012 by in Marketing, Publishing

    As you’re reading this post, let your eyes drift slightly to the right.  You’ll see, under Redemption’s Good Reads widget, a new sidebar section called Work in Progress.  With this handy dandy little widget, I can track my progress on my latest project, my third book which is tentatively entitled Impressions.

    Do you see the teeny tiny band of blue?  That would be how many words I’m into the project–only a few over 1,500.  I’m guessimating this story should clock in at around 75,000 words, somewhere between Redemption, which is right around 101,000 and Out of the Ashes, my second book (due out in August), which is currently (prior to feedback from its editor) at approximately 53,000 words.

    This is not my proudest moment as an indie writer.  Let me be very clear, it’s rare a day goes by that I don’t do something tied to my fledgling writing career.  I guess I just didn’t realize how much time the stuff that supports the writing actually takes.  It’s often hard to fit in writing something new.

    Josh Lanyon, the fabulous and prolific writer of gay fiction, recently blogged on this topic.  He talked about balancing art with business and how he, and writers like him, are actually small business owners.  Now, Josh has a heck of a lot more irons in the fire than I do.  Not only does he have more than 60 times the titles I have (literally–Good Reads lists for him 66 distinct works), his career is at a point where he has initiatives he’s taking on that I’m in no way ready to even think about–audio books, translation rights, and the like.

    I’ll confess–I kind of like the business side of things (which I suspect is part of my time management problem).  But it’s time consuming.  Last night, I spent four hours browsing through stock imagery, looking for a picture to use for Ashes’ cover (observation:  one person’s “handsome, sexy, shirtless man” is not everyone’s “handsome, sexy, shirtless man”–sometimes keywords are not our friends).  That’s on top of working a regular job that routinely has me leaving the house at 8:30am and getting home between 6:30 and 7:00pm.

    These aren’t excuses, per se, more just an explanation.  I’m behind on my writing.  Way behind.  What I’d wanted to do was release Redemption in April, Ashes in August and Impressions in December.  I don’t know if that’s going to happen now.  I’m still going to aim for a December release date  But anything being released for general consumption needs to be polished and complete.  I don’t want to publish something before I feel it’s ready.  That’s one of the advantages of being an indie writer–I get to set the deadlines.

    Still, I’m making every effort to push that little blue bar further along.  I leave town next Tuesday for 12 days–six spent visiting family, six spent working.  My trusty computer will be coming with me.  I’ve set a goal of writing 5,000 words per week.  That seems doable.  I might even be able to go over every once and awhile.  In July, I’m taking a week and going to the Seychelles Islands.  While I plan to spend significant time, lying around the pool with a frosty beverage, I also plan to spend a fair chunk of time each day working on my book.  I’ll have no dog, no cat, no office, no TV (okay, there will be TV, but I won’t watch it!)–no excuses.

    Who knows?  Maybe December isn’t so impossible after all.

    Keep an eye on the blue bar.

3 Responsesso far.

  1. KimberlyFDR says:

    I’m going backwards through posts, so forgive me :)

    I love Josh’s approach to his marketing (and it’s the way I’m trying to approach my own expansion of a certain genre writing). He publishes through small press, using their tools in order to promote and get the word out. Then, when the exclusive rights revert, he’s able to publish the titles himself to continue his readership and market on the prior publicity. Very business savvy.

    And writing is indeed a business. We all love our craft, but we also have to plan out a multitude of things to make it successful. We have to keep a schedule of when to write to make deadlines, how to publish the work once it’s polished, where to promote before it’s released and certainly after, all while working on our next novels and stories. A real balancing act!

    • OliviaDCraig says:

      I have all the admiration in the world for Josh. He’s one of my fav authors full stop. But I’m not convinced going the traditional publishing route is the way to go, at least not for someone like me, who is writing in a niche genre like m/m romance.

      From what I understand (and I hasten to add, I’m no expert!), publishers expect authors to shoulder much if not all of the marketing responsibilities. Even if I were to land a publishing deal, I would still need to have a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and to participate on Good Reads (which admittedly I don’t do all that much of–despite using the site to log my own reading). So if I’m going to do all that already, what is the publisher going to do for me?

      Yes, I would get to see my books in print. But I can do that already via CreateSpace. Yes, they’ll get me editors and cover designers. But I can do that for myself and I get to control the process and the overall outcome. I get to publish when I want to publish, and price my work at the level I feel is appropriate. In the end, I get more than double the royalty (if you go in at a price point enabling you to receive 70% royalty) than I would if I were going through a publisher.

      Perhaps someone might persuade me otherwise at some point, but right now, I don’t know that I’d be interested in pursuing a contract with a publisher. Not when what I’m writing is never going to cross over into mainstream, blockbuster territory.

      I hope you know, though, I wish you every success!

      • KimberlyFDR says:

        Exactly, we all have to find what works for us. Big Six publishers, small press, self-publishing…they are all viable options and authors get to decide what route is best for them.

        From what I understand (and I hasten to add, I’m no expert!), publishers expect authors to shoulder much if not all of the marketing responsibilities.

        It depends on the publishing deal, but yes the base level is to have authors involved in social media. The advantage (and exchange) you get for lower profits is increased branding through publishing houses. For readers who seek out certain publishers through reputation, having that branding associated with books plays a role in sales. And houses will promote to varying levels (anywhere from just having your book on their featured listings when it premieres to arranging interviews and tours for larger books), but it depends on the particular house and the deal as to what level of marketing they’re involved in.

        But, on the opposite end, as you said there’s the loss of control over many parts of the process. Self-publishing allows a larger control over editing and cover design and pricing. Promotion through social media can help boost sales and reaching out to reviewers can expand the readership as well.

        I was just mentioning Josh’s approach because he’s combined the two approaches through his business practices. He utilizes the publishing house for initial sales and then, upon contract rights reverting, he gets to carry over those sales into his own publishing.

        It all depends on what path is best for each writer. You’re doing a great job and you’re getting to do what you love. That’s the best part.

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