Friday, June 6, 2014

Taking Stock

It has been approximately two years since I published my first novel.  I’m too lazy to look for specific dates, but it was June 2012 when I was reading Windswept on my Kindle while I edited the rough draft of Kentucky Summer, which was published a month later.  In the following two years, I have published eight novels under my own name, another under a pen name, and two novellas under an additional pseudonym.  I also submitted Heart Trouble and had it published via Crimson Romance, which gave me the opportunity to have one of my works available through more than one sales channel; the paperback edition has also been added to the collection of at least one public library.  I am currently working on another novel that is taking much longer than my standard pace; at nearly three months and counting, I am still not sure when I will put this one to bed.  I have ideas for at least one further novel, but aside from that I am nearly tapped out in the ideas department.  So what have I learned from these many, many hours of hard work, multiple rejections, and many sleepless nights where the ideas wouldn’t be silenced?

1. Writing is never easy.  Even when it’s easy, it’s still not easy.  You’re always digging, searching, and forcing yourself to make everything the best it can be.  In the course of typing, you will put words where they shouldn’t be and in the process of editing will have to try to figure out what your intended message was.

2. Writing is not a quick trip to fame and fortune.  It has been my only income for the past two years, through no fault of my own—I’ve been in the job market for more than three years, and it has been almost as long since my last interview.  I have had decent months of income, but none of those occurred until I had published my sixth novel.  There have been other months where I made so little that I didn’t merit a payment at all.  My sales have really trickled down to nothing over the past several months, which doesn’t exactly provide a great incentive to continue with writing as a vocation.  If I ever built up a nest egg I would love to pay for professional covers if not professional editing for my novels.  Heart Trouble undoubtedly has my best cover.  If worse came to worse, I wouldn’t mind learning how to create my own covers via some type of graphics program. 

3. Writing does not necessarily lead to instant popularity.  Not everyone will care about your writing.  Some people will care about it only so long as it doesn’t cost them anything.  Ultimately you have to work to make sure your completed novel is something you enjoy, a piece of product that is the best it can be—and if not, spell check and edit the darn thing, massage it and streamline it until you can love it.  As conceited as this might sound, if you don’t love your own work, there’s very little point in putting it out into the world.