Thursday, March 26, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: Buy Services AND Build Skills

I don’t know everything. Let’s just start from there. None of us knows everything. 

Everyone comes at this writing pursuit with different backgrounds and skills. Some of us can tell a great story -- have readers at the edge of their seats and keep them there -- but we need a good editor for our work to really shine. Some of us have marketing chops, and come ready to do serious business with our writing careers. Some of us have a smattering of skills, and make up the rest as we go along. One characteristic that tends to connect writers is the drive to keep on learning.

One of the best ways to learn is from each other. When it comes to the creative aspects of a writing career, and to the business side, we have to keep chasing the writers we admire, practicing and getting better with each and every book.

I always consider building my own skills before I contract for any purchased service. Yet I come down on the side of purchasing services fairly frequently.

Here are my considerations when evaluating whether to learn a skill or contract for a service:
  1. How much would the skill in question benefit my arsenal in the long term?
  2. How much time do I anticipate investing in learning the skill? (Multiplying the hours by my hourly wage gives me a rough calculation of financial investment in learning.)
  3. How much does it cost to contract for the service instead of learning to do it myself?
  4. How often will I need to purchase these services if I don’t pick up the skill? (Multiplying the anticipated number of purchases by the cost gives me financial investment in purchasing services.)
  5. How excited am I by the possibility of learning the skill?

That last one is important. I have invested countless hours, for instance, in developing cover design skills. I think that investment has benefited me because I can now picture how to take an image of stock photography and craft a compelling cover. But my cover design chops are not grand -- I’m not a visual artist. I would need countless more hours to really become one. Thus, cover art is one of those areas where I do a lot of purchasing. I am currently releasing short stories with my own cover designs, as I plan to finish up a lot of shorts over the next couple of years and can’t currently afford that many covers, and because for me the math doesn’t work -- I don’t think I can make back the initial investment in cover art within the next couple of years. Eventually, yes, every story will probably make me at least $50. Either way, for now that’s my strategy.

I don’t use myself as an example because I think you should make the same decisions I’m making. I’m trying to point out all of the issues we need to decide as we publish fiction, and show you a bit of reasoning from my own experience. Your math could be quite different from mine -- so don’t take anything I say here in terms of specific strategies to be “the one way.” I don’t believe in any one way.

I will give another example of this dichotomy between buying a service and building a skill, and how you can potentially get the best of both worlds.

I’m building a new website. I’ve been thinking about it for ages. I had a decent idea of what I wanted and the questions I’d need to research at the onset, which was very valuable. With a large project it pays to take the time to consider what you’re after, before you’re too far into the weeds to backtrack to a suitable trail.

Still, as I researched I decided that I don’t currently have the technical chops that were needed to get where I wanted to go as quickly as I wanted it to happen. Something was going to have to give, because the math wasn’t working out. I decided it would be both the budget (larger) and the timeline (longer). Then I began to see my path forward.

I didn’t purchase a LOT to get the website rolling, but instead of learning to build a site from scratch, I purchased a premium WordPress theme, and paid for it to be installed. That cost me $97 total. Deciding to purchase those services moved me what felt like lightyears ahead. I already had a list of premium themes I liked, and I began going through them with fresh eyes. I wrote up a detailed “must have” list and shopped it around to my favorites. In no time I had a theme, and by the next day it was installed and ready for me to start design.

I am investing the time to learn to work with shortcodes on my site, because it will save me major time and pain in the future to learn to use them now while it still feels exciting. Gotta know what drives YOU, too.

While I purchased services that helped me keep the project on track, and that were worth it from a financial standpoint, I’m also learning a lot about website design and how they operate behind the scenes. So I’m skilling up even after purchasing the service. And I'll have a much more functional website at the end of this process.

Another note: the Internet is your friend. Usually, another writer has tackled whatever is currenlty bogging you down (in business, and creatively). Do a Google search for the problem, search YouTube for videos...don’t take anyone’s word as gold, but look into it with the resources you currently possess (which are VAST!) and you’ll be surprised what you pick up along the way.

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Buy Services AND Build Skills" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: To Stretch Thy Wings, Thou Must Try New Things


This should be obvious to anyone trying to build a writing career. To build implies that you are making something new, that has not been made before. You are stretching yourself. To be successful, you must constantly stretch out of the zone you’re comfortable in and push yourself to try new things.

There are more examples of this than I can possibly mention. But here goes.

Maybe you’ve always outlined stories, hunting down and organizing every detail before setting the pen to the page. Maybe by now it feels like drudgery to reach the point where you can WRITE. Let me tell you, if any part of this journey you’re taking on for the joy feels like drudgery, you’re doing it wrong. Or at least, you need to try something new. Set aside the outline and just start writing. Or, if you can’t do it with the project you’re now over-attached to, daydream for a day and then attack a whole new story. Do it fast, in a glorious rush. Whatever you’ve done before, try the opposite.

What do you have to lose?

Or suppose you already have books for sale, but only on Amazon, because you’re worried that managing all of the sites will be too much. At this point, I encourage you to think over everything you’ve learned and become comfortable with so far. You climbed a mountain reaching the point where you could publish fiction. Do you really believe you’ll be stumped by retailer sites that want you to sell more books? Take it on. You can do this.

Again what do you have to lose?

Maybe you’ve never networked with other writers, because the idea of calling yourself a writer in public freaks you out to the marrow of your bones (I felt that way, once upon a time). Don’t cave to fear. You will miss out on so much! Every other writer on the planet has dealt with fear. If you know their names, it’s because they didn’t let that stop them. I don’t know many uncool writers, by the way. Most are quite friendly, and encouraging of writers newer to the craft. The best writers know that they, too, still have plenty to learn, and they continue to learn all of the time. That takes networking, so stretch out of the comfort zone and 1) Join a writer discussion group on any number of social media outlets; 2) Join a goal-setting writers group, like Round of Words in 80 Days (I met some of my best writer friends through that group!); and 3) network in person at writers events. Many major cities have writers organizations, and they can be a great way to get to know what’s going on writer-wise in your town.

You have nothing to lose, except that fear I mentioned.

All of the innovations we see in the book market today were once someone’s dreams. When they tried something new, we all benefited. When you try something new, you might stumble on the next great thing. At the very least, you’ll have some fun and stop taking everything so seriously. Is that why you’re here, to stress and moan over how hard it is to learn?

No. You’re here because you’re a natural at learning. Because you love it.

If you’re anything like me, part of why you’re interested in a writing career is the ability to always be charting new territory. So do it. Chart your way into the future -- YOUR WAY.

Be the creator you’re meant to be. Your writing career will be one of a kind. I can’t wait to see what you make of it.

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: To Stretch Thy Wings, Thou Must Try New Things" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: Eyes on the Prize -- What Is the Prize, for You?

As you progress as a writer, you’ll notice the payoffs that are considered important in popular culture for writers. Of course you’ll notice them! You’re one of those pop culture, conventional wisdom suckers, too! (We all are until we investigate further. That’s why it’s called conventional wisdom.)

What are these culturally promoted payoffs of being a writer? Bestseller status! Oh, how we crave it! (Erm...not really.) An agent to book things for you, especially book signings where people are lined up out the door to see little ol’ you! (Uh...REALLY NOT.) And money. Loads of dollarz.

Anyone who makes it beyond their first book is not doing this for any of those reasons. Well...if they’ve been huge successes for decades they may NOW be doing this for those reasons, but these payoffs simply don’t exist for the beginning writer, unless lightning strikes.

So, what are the payoffs that make writing worth it for you NOW?

Why are you doing this crazy-making thing, anyway? Hehe! The BIG QUESTIONS.

Is it the joy of reaching your daily writing target and moving your story forward?

Is it the satisfaction fo getting there even on days when you thought you couldn’t?

Is it that feeling when you write THE END?

Is it dreaming of new worlds, of places only you can make?

Is it the making of those dreams, into something others can finally consume and be consumed by?

Is it that Amazon author page that is now looking so tidy and POPULATED?

Is it the wonder at how far you’ve come -- and the joy of having done what so few have?

Spend a little time thinking about what it is that drives you to make this your life. Consider your payoffs, and make sure you’re taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments, even as you strive to keep learning and growing as a writer.

Keep your eyes on the prize. But not the prize that our media-saturated culture presses on you. Keep your eyes on YOUR PRIZE.

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Eyes on the Prize -- What is the Prize, for You?" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Monday, March 9, 2015

Water Rites Is Available Now!

Water Rites, a YA contemporary fantasy that explores the powers of the depths, is available for purchase where ebooks are sold! 

Water Rites
***Release Date March 9, 2015

In the centuries old struggle for territory between selkies and finfolk, Lorelei Dorian is something new.

Secrets, once uncovered, can change everything. And they will for Lorelei Dorian. She thinks she’s a normal girl, with a talent for swimming and an unparalleled adoration for math. When a new friend confronts her with her true nature, her world will never be the same. Instead, a whole new world awaits her. Can the selkies and the finfolk share the sea – and Lorelei – or will they tear her to pieces as one more pawn in the long game hidden under the waves?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: Staying Positive, Even When It Hurts

No matter what I say, if you’ve yet to publish a book you will learn more from doing it than I can ever tell you. More about your fears, the things that hold you back, and how to overcome them. I continue to learn about mine, and even a decade into serious pursuit of fiction writing I’m finding new fears as I progress.

Fear hurts. It’s probably the thing that hurts most in the writer gig. There’s also the “someone said something mean” kind of hurt for writers, but the reason it hurts is tied to fear.

When that time comes, I shall be here in your corner. Solidary among all writerkind!

What you’ll find is that fear comes in all sorts of nasty shapes and sizes. Some of your fears don’t seem like fears at all, they seem like planning, like preparing...until you spend years at that and are no further along developing your craft or your career.

Once you finish a book, there are new wounds waiting to be opened -- new fears that will assert themselves and force you to find a workaround. But...that’s the deal. With a creative career, there’s no avoiding fear. Tackling that which hurts, which causes the rawest emotion, is how you find your voice, where you create your best work.

If you feel like getting upset over the “performance” of your first books, whether readers like them, whether they sell (if/when you publish them), whether people review them...maybe indulge it for like a minute and a half with your first book. But I will tell you I have seen writers lose their minds with what comes after the publishing. Namely, crickets.

The crickets hurt. Writers are often tapped into their emotions, which is rather important for adding depth to story, but can be a damn nuisance when trying to parce out what’s a normal reaction to just having reached one of your life dreams. The post-first-book stretch is something non-writers can’t quite get. You have this *thing* out there, and it contains a piece of your heart and soul...and even your spouse is tired of hearing about it.

However, take the crickets as a blessing and stay positive about your potential. Not the potential of that first book. YOUR potential.

In the long term, spending all of your time worrying about the book you *wrote* instead of worrying about the book you are *writing* is a disaster. Remember the long game? Remember how Rome wasn’t built in a day, and only a village of Amish can raise a barn that fast?

Keep right on doing your thing, even when something from outside your writing zone and thus outside of your control slaps you upside the head with mean. A blogger didn’t like your book, and has posted a two-star review. A former friend is doing nothing but spamming you about her Etsy company, but can’t be bothered to read your books or lend you support in any way. Your sister snarks over you missing a family gathering because you have a book to write/finish/edit/publish. A friend/relative says he’d love to write a book, if only he could find the time. (I hate that one. Can you tell?)

Refocus. None of that matters. (How you comport yourself on the interwebs matters. It really does, but that’s for another post.)

If you find that something is affecting you negatively -- yes, I mean your writing productivity, but I also mean your spirit -- try to cut it out. Whether it be Facebook, or reading reviews, or active promoting...if it hurts, don’t do it. Especially not in the early years. But do think about why it hurts, and try to move forward bit by bit, working through whatever fears you uncover.

The key to writing well and often is to stay positive and keep at it. Know that you are not alone in experiencing fear -- every writer has to tackle their fears to move forward. But the key to being a writer is to write, a lot. So don't get mired in fear -- keep on producing.

It may help to picture yourself in a fortress in these first years. Maybe it’s a mountainside castle, or a fort on a stormy peninsula, or the last outpost of humans in the universe...whatever floats your boat. Make it your happy place. You make the rules. You decide what breaches those walls. Know that your future is in your control. What you’re building right now is your own.

What you have accomplished starting out as a writer is nothing compared to what you’ll do in years to come. Enjoy the ride! Stay positive!

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Staying Positive, Even When It Hurts" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: Use a One Touch Policy

The One Touch Policy: If it only takes a few minutes, don’t add it to your to-do list, just take care of it with one touch.

The idea of a one-touch policy comes from a major professional mentor of mine, who still happens to be what I call my “superboss.” My manager’s superior and at the second tier in our organization.

He’s amazing in all sorts of ways. First off, he’s a great person, and thus it has been wonderful to work for him and learn from him for the past ten years. He has a touch with people, with understanding their needs and communicating with incredible tact, on top of a serious knack for organization and critical thinking. He manages to operate at multiple levels, switch gears between a bazillion responsibilities, all in the midst of an insanely booked calendar -- and he also manages to have a life on top of it all. Volunteer firefighter, active in his church, a parent and husband.

In the first weeks of my employment, his administrative assistant shared a tip of his with me: Use a one-touch policy. If a task will only take a few minutes, don’t add it to the to-do list, just do it right now.

Here’s an example. As I sat down to write this, I noticed that one leg of my chair at the dining room table where I often write was wiggly. Actually, I’d noticed it three days running. Today, I turned the darn chair upside down and tightened things up. If I’d done that two days ago, I wouldn’t have broken my writing stride three times over the same tiny detail. (Some of you might laugh at me for this husband isn't laughing, let me tell you. There are some details that skate by my notice again and again, making me a bit hard to live with at times...I know you love me, babe, even if I'm frustrating!)

Sure, this applies to lots of physical parts of our daily lives. But it also applies to your writing life. When you notice something wrong, just fix it. Receive the details on a promotion you'll need to schedule on your blog? Draft the new post right now. Notice you haven’t updated your blog? Just update it. Right then. You can spare the three or four minutes to do so...because the truth is that if you don’t, you’re going to have to think about it again tomorrow. If you don’t just do it, you’ll end up spending much more time on it cumulatively than if you’d just taken the few minutes to correct the problem, solve the issue, or add the detail.

This is part of what I meant by the subtitle of this series -- "don't let it own you." Because these tiny things we need to accomplish, which add up and are crucial to our eventual success as creative professionals, can suck us dry with their taskiness. (Yes, I know that's not a word. I am using it anyway.) They can end up owning us by chaining us to that never-ending to-do list. When you save up these dry and boring tasks by adding them to a to-do list, you're asking to be bored with your writing time. Don't do that to you! 

By only touching it once, by not letting the topic leave your brain-space until it’s done and never letting it add to the dreaded to-do list, you will save major time over the years. Not to mention saving on brain clutter and reducing the items on your to-do list. Just do it. Use a one-touch policy.

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Use a One Touch Policy" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ira Glass on the Creative Process -- YES!!


My Own Your Writing Career post for the week is up below this one, and when I saw this video by Ira Glass, I had to add it here. Spend two minutes listening to Ira's take on the creative process, especially at the beginning of one's creative work. Well worth it.

Write on, people!!

Own Your Writing Career: Make Every 10 Minute Block Count

Yes, you read that correctly. One of my main success tips for not losing your mind with all of the teensy-weensy to-do items an author maintains is to ensure you're making the most of each ten-minute time slot you have in the day.

We each waste many ten-minute blocks of time each day. Of course you can't reduce or reuse (or recycle) all of them -- but think of what you can do by replacing just two or three a day with productivity! One or two of these blocks go by in the morning as we stumble around after rising (maybe you keep those, depending on your morning personality). We waste five or ten minutes switching gears between meals and work, reading snippets of articles or following silly links through social media. Watching one show on TV equates to three of these blocks, and one drama on Netflix adds up to four.

If you make those minutes work for you, it adds up significantly over time, and prevents wasting big blocks of time on working out those tiny to-dos. This is about working smarter....and a little harder. :) The following lists will vary based on the specifics of your writing career. Mine are geared toward a publishing fiction writer.

What can I do with ten minutes? Hehe, here we go! This is where the rubber meets the road.

In ten minutes, I can:
  • Write 200-250 words. This is the best choice for those ten minutes, by far!!! I can't emphasize this enough!
  • Format a short story
  • Start a blog post
  • Edit a blog post
  • Add links and images to a blog post
  • Update a page on my website
  • Add a link or image to Facebook (which feeds through to Twitter)
  • Add images on Pinterest (my graphics or images related to my series count as work...but Pinterest is fun for playing, too, so don't get lost and count that!) 
  • Add content to Wattpad -- the first three chapters of a new book, or a new free short story
  • Update a product description
  • Update my read books on Goodreads
  • Review what's selling in my genre (types of books, prices)
  • Read a blog post or article about the business -- one that matters, not a dramatic one. What "matters" is up to you, of course. :)
At those golden times when I can find three of these sweet little blocks together (that's 30 minutes, people), I can:
  • Write 500-700 words. Again, writing new content is by far the best choice for a writer!! 
  • Publish a book (provided I have pre-determined product description, keywords, and everything organized)
  • Format a book
  • Add a Table of Contents to a book
  • Write a book description
  • Write a blog post
  • Format and schedule pre-written blog posts
  • Implement a larger change to my website
  • Update a book's information (or price) across sites
  • Schedule or organize a promotion
  • Make a short story cover
  • Outline a story I'm working on
  • Research for a story I'm working on
  • Look into a business tip or strategy I'm considering

You might notice a couple of things about the above lists. First -- there's a lot that I could have put on there that I didn't. These are just examples. Also, there are a lot of non-writing things on that list! And I'm a non-marketing type, right? I populated this with the stuff that I do...but every author is different. There are so many possibilities for promotion and getting your books out there that I am certainly not wading into all of them. Again, do your research. And once you determine a strategy, keep reading and keep tweaking it...forever. This type of to-do list will always be part of the author gig. No matter how you publish, keeping your book in view is your deal. The harder you work at it, the more visible you'll be. What I've added here is my minimalist approach. There are many, many other ways to spend these ten-minute blocks of time...

Which brings me to the last point I'll make about the lists above. I bolded the most important item in the ten minute list, and the thirty minute list -- WRITING. You may have noticed that the math between the ten minute writing sprint and the thirty minute writing block doesn't work. If I can get 200-250 in ten minutes, shouldn't it be 600-750 for the thirty minute increment? I haven't found this to be the case. In fact, I am the most productive minute by minute in shorter stretches of time. A ten to twenty minute writing spring is my best amount of productivity before taking a break. Adding several of these with short five or ten minute breaks to stretch and let my mind wander gives me my best word count days. 

Conveniently, I've found that the perfect thing to do between writing sprints is something mindless like a household chore. Doing the dishes or folding laundry will drive me back to my writing chair pretty quickly (surprise, surprise!). I also manage to connect the dots in these short breaks -- like what exactly I'm trying to do with a scene, what's missing from a scene, or where I'm headed next. That makes me even more productive when I return to the writing chair.

Why does all of this matter? Why should you use each of those ten minute blocks of time you can recover productively? Because some writer things take much longer blocks than that. I need my longer blocks of time to figure out major story problems and move a stuck story forward, to outline entire series, to edit large books, and even to edit for the author friends I trade editing with. If I let all of those ten minute things sit until I have a block of time to work on writing related stuff, I am drowning in to-do items that "won't take much time!" -- But cumulatively, they can suck up a large block of time if you're not careful. So, to protect those large blocks of time to work on deep-thought creative aspects or editing, or whatever it is that works best for your brain in large chunks of time, you must check off these smaller to-do items whenever you can.

When you decide to make all of these ten-minute increments of time add up to more productivity, you'll see results! A productive writer is a happy writer. And you'll hardly miss that TV show, or those games you might have played on Facebook. I promise. :)

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Make Every 10 Minute Block Count" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Favorite Baby Gift - Annabel Karmel's Top 100 Baby Purees

I recently attended a baby shower for a pair of great friends I've known for more than a decade. I wouldn't have struggled to choose a gift for this wonderful couple, no matter what. They're just the best. But I didn't even have to think about it. I knew what I wanted these two to have as they embarked on this new part of their lives....

Annabel Karmel's book Top 100 Baby Purees is my favorite baby gift. This book and others like it gave me the confidence to never glance twice at jars of baby food. Once my girls -- now ages four and six -- were ready for solids, I made my kids' food a batch at a time and fed them without the jars. All it takes is a mini food processor and fresh, natural ingredients. When my friends and family have their babies, I like to pass on some of that confidence.

Feeding little children is not really very hard, but it can feel like one of those areas to get mired in all of the choices. Pointing my friends to this collection of easy to make and downright delicious recipes for their babes just warms my heart.

Annabel Karmel has plenty of other books available, too. Check out these books for family fun in the kitchen and great eats for all!

Mom and Me Cookbook

Top 100 Finger Foods: 100 Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Child

The Toddler Cookbook

The Fussy Eaters' Recipe Book: 135 Quick, Tasty and Healthy Recipes that Your Kids Will Actually Eat


Favorite Family Meals

I like to give a book like this in combination with some freezer-safe tupperware or other storage containers, to make storing baby food easy. I often needed to pack the girls' food for the day before I went to work. Pulling out small containers from the freezer, or ice-cube sized portions, made it really easy to get ready for the day. I would cook for the baby most days of the week (just one or two dishes, which doesn't take long). I'd freeze most of each batch so that I could pull from it in preparation for child care.

You could give it in combination with any number of fun things for baby. Maybe a sweet, colorful toy, or a blanket, or an outfit, fill in the blank. :)

Enjoy! And have fun feeding those babies!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Own Your Writing Career: Embracing the Long Game

At the end of my last post, I touched on the fact that you won’t make money with your writing for some time after you start. Likely for at least a few years after publishing your first book. If you do, you have struck gold -- but that’s no way to plan to make a living.

Embrace the long game. If you’re going to be a writer, you’re in this for the long haul. Many years of producing stories, honing your craft, learning to understand business enough to publish...and then it is likely your first books will flop, in terms of sales.

Is that depressing? Quit your worrying. A book does not have to sell today to make you loads of money in the future. It will be in your backlist forever. 

Quit worrying.

Instead of worrying (I know that when I told you to quit it you got very worried), write another book.

Write another book, and another, and another. Because in five years, that’s where your success will be found. In the fact that you consistently produced, say, two books a year, and a couple of short stories to boot? That’s ten novels and ten short stories. If it’s two complete series at that point, you need to publish bundled series, for two more publications. And you’ll also group your short stories into collections, for two more. That’s twenty-four publications in five years.

Is this really possible, you ask? YES! It's how writers have been making a living forever -- by writing regularly and always producing. Two novels a year is, say 100k, or maybe 140k if you write long. Two short stories could be 10k or almost 20k. So...let's do the math based on 160k of publishable fiction. I tend to rely on about 1,000 words in each hour of writing, which I hear from many authors is about what they are used to. Slow enough to consider where your story is going as you write and get it close to right the first time. (Getting your fiction to this point is a matter of practice, as it is for all artists, but if you're consistently working at it, you WILL get there.) So, 160 hours per year, once you're a practiced and dedicated artist, will achieve that rate of two novels and two short stories per year. That's just over three hours a week.

Want to quit your worrying and get your butt back into the chair yet?

When people ask me how I write so much, I can't understand it. I put out several books a year, but I still don't feel like I'm writing as much as I could. (Kids. Day job. A house that seems downright mutinous.) I would love to be able to write more. And if I do, some will look at that and say I must be writing crap...but it's really just a matter of honing your craft. It takes a lot of work -- I'm a decade into regular fiction writing as a part of my weekly schedule -- and it takes a lot of reading and learning from other writers.

And yes, there's a lot more to writing a book and publishing it than just the time in the chair writing. There's the idea, the research, the honing of theme and character and understanding of why you want to write this book, need to write this book... (I love this part best out of everything.)

On the other side of the writing process there's the editing, the formatting, the cover and marketing materials, the schedule to release day... It goes on and on, and this part you can choose to make downright cumbersome for yourself, or you can do just as much marketing as you enjoy and get to work writing the next book. I've already shown you which side of that equation I'm on. Write the next book!!

Embrace it. It’s the nature of the game. Yeah, it’s your life, your time, your joy, your heart on the line. Some game, right?

Eventually, once your backlist is extensive enough (still getting there myself), promotion will become a thing. You’ll need to occasionally mention you have books out there. But when you have a lot of books, the opportunities to do so begin to expand. I've already seen that happen, with seven books on the market. 

As you publish more books you can run inventive sales, you can structure series to be kind to existing fans who’ll snap up the whole thing at once… The variety of business options available to you just keeps growing as your library does. This, too, is a long game. Again, embrace it as such.

Get comfy. And push yourself out of that comfort zone creatively, because you're here to grow. But know that you’re in for years of work before you see benefits anyone else will understand. Who cares? Quit worrying.

Embrace the long game.

I'll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!

"Own Your Writing Career: Embracing the Long Game" copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson