A couple years ago, I decided to leave full-time employment in a stable industry to pursue writing fiction. At the time, I had four books under my belt, sales were good, and I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take the risk.
So I did it.
I turned in my notice and began dedicating all of my working hours to my career as an independent author. My days quickly filled up with brainstorming sessions, outlining, writing, editing, formatting, graphic art, marketing, and all the other tasks required to extract a story from my mind and deliver it into the hands of a reader. The variety of that work forced me to grow in ways I never thought possible.
Along the way, many of you wrote to express your thanks. To share a little about yourselves. To discuss your favorite characters. To ask when my next book was coming out. Or just to encourage me to keep writing. That’s been my favorite part! Your support has been incredible, and has made writing fiction one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Since going full-time, I’ve been able to complete one series and make a significant dent in the other, bringing the total to ten novels, two combined editions, a short story (technically a novella based on the word count), and another project in the works.
But you’ve probably noticed something—it’s taking me longer to write a book than it used to.
Is it because I’ve gotten lazy? Maybe I don’t feel like finishing The Awakened and I’m dragging my feet? Perhaps I’m lost in the details of my own stories? Am I pulling a George R. R. Martin?
The real answer is that I can no longer afford to write fiction full-time.
Book sales have been steadily declining since 2012, and I’ve been doing everything in my power to reverse the trend. I’ve read books on how to write captivating dialogue and create believable characters. I’ve studied different theories about storyline elements and how to craft a more effective tale. I’ve purchased software to organize and clarify the outlining process. I’ve tried to secure literary representation for my stories. I’ve experimented with advertising. I’ve redesigned my website. I’ve written more books. I’ve used different editors and editing software. I’ve read marketing advice blogs. I’ve expanded my social media presence. I’ve studied other successful authors to learn what they do. I’ve read their fiction … etc., etc.
I could write a whole other post about what I’ve learned from folks on the traditional side of the publishing industry, but the bottom line is … no one really understands how to be successful at this. The industry is extremely competitive, and it’s difficult for everyone.
So I’m going to keep doing everything I can (like the stuff I mentioned above, and more). But more importantly, I’ll keep doing what I love. I’ll design the most fantastically realistic worlds that I can dream up. I’ll populate them with the most intriguing characters I can think of. I’ll weave their lives and conflicts into the most gripping stories I can tell. And I’ll continue to share them with you.
Maybe that will be enough to reverse the trend. Who knows what the future holds?
But in the meantime, I’ll be working to support that dream. Currently, I’m spending three days a week writing technical documentation. It’s helping to pay the bills, and I’m grateful for it. It also allows me to exercise the technical part of my brain so the creative part can recuperate. While I only have two days a week allotted for writing fiction, those two days have really become something special to me. It seems that, in the process of coming back to reality, I’ve rediscovered the joy of writing. Hopefully that will become apparent to you with my latest project, Consensus. It’s been so much fun to write, and I can’t wait to share the next part with you!
On that note …
I’m pleased to announce that Consensus: Part 2 – Delusion will be released on March 4th!
So mark your calendars. You won’t want to miss this one.
I also have something special for those who download Delusion in the first two weeks after it’s released. I’ll give you more details about that next week.