Self-Published Writers: Should We Be Afraid?

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The end of this month is the end of a very long journey for my sister. After years and years and years (one more for good measure), her debut novel, “The Quest for the Holy Something or Other” is being released this Friday.

Can I get a Woop, Woop!

Can I get a Woop, Woop!

Of all the emotions we are experiencing right now, I’d say the predominant one is fear. That’s right FEAR.

Writers,

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And why shouldn’t we be? Most of what you read or hear about sales numbers and the success of marketing is pretty dismal. There isn’t a lot of good news out there for us in the DIY publishing world. And it’s only going to get harder they say.

Here’s the hearsay:

  • the e-pub market is over saturated
  • the novelty of e-books has worn off
  • advertising does not increase sales
  • a social media presence does not increase sales
  • price promotions have become ineffective
  • consumers are overwhelmed with the number of existing e-books on their e-readers, and will be slowing their purchases
  • increased competition from traditional publishers will hurt sales

When the future of e-publishing looks bleak, how can writers not worry about our own future?

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When we worry about the future, we lose sight of the present and forget to celebrate the journey. My sister and I have swallowed our fear with a big piece of cake and a shot of Captain. From here on out, we’re going to focus on being positive. After all, there’s plenty of things to feel good about.

  • a box of brand-spanking new books arriving in the mail
  • the launch party at Cook McDoogles
  • the fact that she is a published author
  • being able to find her book on Amazon
  • all positive reviews
  • having her own book on her bookshelf
  • other people have read and will read her writing

All of those items are successes, and that’s not even including sales.

Speaking of sales, there can be financial success for those who sell quality work and work hard. By quality work, I mean a damn good book.The days of writing decent books with good covers and making money is over they say. The key is to write an awesome book that will sell itself, edit it professionally, design a quality cover, and build your platform.

With that said, should we be afraid?

of failure

of not making money

or wasting our time

of negatives reviews

of fear

We can’t even worry about those things until we finish a book, which reminds me of my greatest fear:

never finishing a book

Seriously writers, never NOT be afraid, but don’t let the fear paralyze you. Fear stops us from doing the things we love. You just have to keep writing. As we speak, I’m editing my sister’s second novel and finishing the draft of my first book.

Take heart, take a bite of comfort food, and get back to writing. Never NOT write!

 

Forming the “Write” Habit

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I’ve heard it said that for every break you take from writing, it takes ten days to get back into the habit.

Ten days seems to be a popular truism. Everywhere advertisements promise you can lose weight or quit smoking in just ten days. Maybe there is some truth to the ten-day rule–or maybe it just looks good in print. After ten days of not running you lose muscle. I guarantee if you don’t go to work in that time span you won’t have a job.

There is a fallacy to the ten-day rule. Ten days is hardly enough time to form a habit. If forming habits could be done in a snap, we’d all eat well, exercise, show up to work on time, take our vitamins, and we’d never lose our keys. Another popular truism is the twenty-day rule, which my boss is a firm believer. Instead of ten days, this rule promises you can form a habit in twenty days.

It’s more beneficial to know how to make and keep a habit than to know how long it takes. For starters, you must first have a goal. This is the big picture you want to achieve. Without a goal, you won’t have the motivation to keep going. Do you want to publish, write a trilogy, become a best-selling author?

Second, you must complete smaller task that will help you achieve the major goal. With writing, it’s simple: WRITE. Set a quota. It can be pages, wordcount, or time limits. Let me just start by saying, you don’t need to write for hours, or give up an entire day (As much as we’d like to have an entire day to write). Even ten minutes a day counts. If time is the real issue (not browsing the internet, checking Facebook, and posting on Twitter) start by writing ten minutes every day. If you have more time, write for 20-30 minutes. I always shoot for no less than an hour. In that hour, I may only write a paragraph (or a sentence on really bad days), but it all adds up.

Taking a day off here and there isn’t that detrimental, but significant lapses will set you back. Real life example/cautionary tale: I haven’t written since April 28th. If I do my math (let me just take off my shoes), I’ve taken roughly two weeks off. When I opened my word document I had to go back and read a few pages to find where I left off. Not only that, but it took me forever to start writing and what I did write is cringe-worthy. The process of getting back into the flow looked something like this.

Ready to write after two weeks: full of optimism

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Reading what I wrote: realizing it’s crap

give up

Giving up: napping is easier

Let’s face it, your writing will suck after a break. It’s like when you return to work from vacation and it takes a day just to get back in the flow.

So let’s say you’ve missed a day, a week, a month, or a year (it happens), it’s never too late to start writing again. So whether it takes ten or twenty days to get back into the flow, it all begins with day one.