Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Hey, y'all! I'm happy to see I was on the ball and posted that Villainess 3 was live. I was afraid I had missed that since I tend to neglect the blog here, save for when I come back to "real life" work and decide to update.

Now, in reference to my title, what I'm going to talk about today is "making it" as a independent author. I won't give out solid numbers, but I figured if I want to quit my job and do this for a living, I'd need to make about $1500 a month three months in a row. Not only would that give me a sizable nest egg to fall back on, but it would show consistency month to month like that. That would be working a full time job in addition to writing, not just writing full time. Since I'm at work (*looks around*) obviously, I'm not making that.

I won't lie and say that it's not my dream to write for a living. It is! Of course it is! It's every writer's dream to be the next Stephen King, or heck, even Dean Koontz... or EL James. I think I first got into erotica because I thought, "Oh, hey, easy money." And while it is easy, and there's money, it's not exactly "easy money". There's work involved. There's stuff I'm not so good at doing involved... like making covers, and networking, and promotion. It's not just writing a story and sending it out into the universe, expecting it to be popular. Sometimes, yeah, you can get lucky, but those instances are pretty few and far between. It's work. It's hard work, but because I love telling stories, it makes it easy for me.

A couple people know this, but I started a romance pen name too. No, I shan't be giving it out here. At least, not yet. Romance isn't my thing. Like, writing about dirty, filthy sex is one thing, but writing romance? It's a lot harder. There are formulas you must follow there to be successful, and tropes you need to learn because readers expect it. It's a learning process. I won't say that process is fun cause it's not. It's work. But I still get to tell stories, even if they are romances. Who's to say there can't be derring do and all sorts of fun stuff in it?

A couple other people know I'm writing "legit" novels too, though they are not published yet. I put legit in quotes because the erotica I write is legit, but people scorn it. Hell, people scorn romance, yet romance is probably THE top seller anywhere. Neither are easy to write. This novel I have is sizable, and I'm thinking it's probably to complex and doesn't make sense and all sorts of other negative things... but it's the one I've put the most effort into. Even my Villainess and Delilah stuff, which I love dearly, haven't gotten even a tenth of the work this novel has. Does that mean it's better? No. It means I've just put more work into it... and that I've dragged my feet trying to publish it.

Through all this, I'm not a popular author. I have fans, which is still trippy to say, but not popular. In general, the stuff I write is at worst, average, and at best, mind blowing. (seriously, someone said that!) I can handle that. Even the femdom stuff, the Dominating Her Man series, I've been told was better than much of the other stuff out there. It wasn't super hard core... but it wasn't meant to be. It was meant for people, myself included, to dip their toes into different aspects of the BDSM culture. This one might be about pegging. This one might be about bondage. This one might be about humiliation. And so on. Even when I haven't put my heart into it, it's still alright. I can deal with that.

I think what's holding me back is pushing. I don't push. I'm not a pusher. I CAN be aggressive, but in general I'm laid back and kinda nervous about pushing my stuff onto people. It's promotion, and I have remind myself that it's OK to push because that's part of my job as an indie writer... to push and wave my hands and say "Look at this! You'll like it!". But it's all part of the learning curve. Before I could write, I had to learn how to write, how to put stories together, how to make sentences, how to punctuate, spell, and all that other stuff. Before I can promote, I have to learn HOW to do it and get the mindset for it. I shouldn't (and don't) expect success overnight because while I learned how to put sentences together all of my life, I've only been a few months at learning how to promote myself. Each step forward takes me a closer step to my goal. And say I only make ten bucks a month, or fifty, or a hundred, or five hundred... each dollar gained is closer to my goal. And it's more than I would have had had I just sat on my ass and not did anything.

I've been at this for a year now, and in that year I've published over 45 stories, a couple of which have been full length novels, and at least a dozen novellas. Think about that. Does your favorite author put out novels twice a year? Of course not. (Of course, I don't have to go through copy editing and editing and approving covers and waiting for publication either. Advantage of self-pubbing there.) On a work day--because I write during my work days--I can write five to ten thousand words. That's inbetween working at my "real life" job. I read somewhere an average writer only writes about two thousand. If I did this for a living, anything under ten thousand a day would be a failure for me.

Some authors work really fast. I know of one who puts out a story every day to every other day. He's amazing. I know other authors who can't write that fast, who have real life responsibilities they must attend first and are lucky if they write two hundred words. Yet we're all in the same race. We're all learning, albeit at different speeds, and growing. We're all moving along to our dreams and while some of us are at the end of the race, cheering the rest on (and it's true, the "made it" indie authors tend to be really supportive of the little guy; it's pretty amazing), others are still racing at our own pace. It's been said this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that is so true. We'll get tired and winded. We'll get revitalized by the crowd. We'll work at a steady pace with periods of rest and periods of frantic activity, but each movement puts us one step closer to our end. The people I'm racing with aren't my competition; they're my companions. We're all doing it together.

*waves a hand* Inspirational thought for the decade. :)

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