Monday, February 5, 2018

New Mindset -- Write and Enjoy the Process

I'm tired.

I'm tired all the work required of authors these days -- work that we authors have put on ourselves.

I'm tired of chasing the readers, the sales ranks, the reviews, the bloggers, the release schedule. Tired of trying to figure out which ads are the cool ads to buy and which ones don't work anymore. Tired of fighting algorithms I can't control. Tired of the competition.

Because that is what it is, you know. Competition.

We authors are competing and killing ourselves in the process. We are mentally and physically exhausting ourselves. Burning ourselves out trying to make numerous deadlines a year because someone, somewhere (probably a retailer) told us that we need X number of releases in a year. That we need a release every X number of months. Threatening us with losing our ranks in the vast book world online if we don't.

And to whose bottom line? The retailer.

And to whose health detriment--mental and physical? Ours.

After several years of chasing the sales ranks, my brain gave up on me. Striving to get a release out at least every 2-3 months, I killed my creativity. Suddenly I found myself writing books I really didn't want to write--shorter and sexier books than what I had set out to write--because of the market. Because of a chance for increased exposure. Because it's what the readers want. Because it's what sells.

Fuck what sells. Fuck it all. No more.

I've had a 20+ year writing career. It has waxed and waned. I hope the career waxes and wanes for another 20. But for the next 20, I'm no longer chasing the expectations of others, whoever they may be. Retailers. The competition. And yes, even readers.

I know you guys are important. I love my readers. But I have to be true to myself, my writing, mental and physical health, and my own peace of mind.

You may see some changes in my future works. You probably won't see me at Facebook launch parties. I won't be spending money I can't afford to spend on ads that don't work for me. I will be focusing on the things that are important. To me.

1. Writing the best book I can write and enjoy the process.
2. My newsletter will be my main source of communication with readers so make sure you are signed up there. I'll still maintain my social media accounts for announcements too.
3. Occasional in-person events
4. And lots of behind-the-scenes marketing where I do not necessarily have to have a public face.

That could change, of course. It all could, and will, change. One thing I have learned over the course of a 20+ year writing career is that industry change is inevitable. Accept it. Embrace it. Drop back and punt and take another tack.

Here is my tack for now. Write and enjoy the process.