Around New Year’s I ask myself what I accomplished that year.
Usually I’m disappointed.
As 2015 was slipping away and 2016 eased in, I promised myself this year would be different. When 2017 comes round the corner, I’d recall the year and feel proud of my actions.
One of my goals for 2016 is to generate an income from my books that can easily pay for all of my monthly bills and then some.
Cool. Goal Set. But then I’ve been investigating – how the heck do I do that?
Independent publishing is more than slapping a pdf up on Amazon. It’s running a business. Businesses have lots of moving parts. Content creation, marketing, branding.
As a writer, all of the aspects of running this business is on my shoulders.
I started writing when I was about 12. I fell in love when books when I was even younger. Since then I’ve always dreamed of seeing my name in print. I’ve fantasized about writing stories that entertain and mesmerize. Books for me have always been a fun place to escape to, a place of solace, a place of exploration.
That’s the core reason why I write. It’s fun.
Yes, I struggle with aspects of the craft. How often do I use said? Do I use –ly adverbs? Is the pacing good? Are the characters compelling? Does the plot make sense? Am I overusing dialogue tags? Would my character really say this? Have I done enough research?
And so on, and so on.
That’s the craft part. It’s tough enough. But if you are an indie publisher, a ton of stuff comes after that:
Hiring a proofreader
Hiring a book cover designer
Requesting book cover edits
Formatting the book
Deciding if sell on Amazon or all platforms
Uploading the book
Building an author website
Building a list
Driving traffic to the book
Setting marketing budgets
Choosing how to advertise
Researching the platforms to advertise
Creating author social media pages or not
Posting content on social media sites
Etc, etc, etc.
Figuring out what to do and how to do it is frustrating. It takes time to figure out what’s right for you and your business. The learning curve is long and arduous. But that’s the nature of the beast.
So back in 2015, I told myself I had to two things above all else.
Creating my own income stream has been my dream for a looooonnnnnng time. I’ve created and dumped many, many business ideas and endeavors.
I have a bit of, or actually, a lot of Shiny Object Syndrome. I start a project, launch it, don’t get the returns I want, then go onto something else.
So that’s the reason for #1 above.
Online, I’d read story after story about wildly successful indie writers. They all shared one common dominator.
They worked hard. Really, relentlessly hard.
I decided to do the same.
From October 2015 to February 2016 I HUSTLED. I published four books. (Though I started writing during the summer.) I wrote two of those novellas in a week.
So for a while, my life looked liked this.
HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. REVIEW. ADJUST. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE.HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE. HUSTLE.
After the launch of Macaroons, Mummies and Murder, I noticed my energy and desire was waning. I was still doing some things, like promotions and plotting out the next books. But I was seriously procrastinating on getting BIC (butt in chair) to write.
Yup. I was living in burned out city.
Now, I’ve done this before. Worked on a project so long and hard, I burn out my internal gears until I’m driving on pure vapors and sheer will power.
But Living in Burned Out City isn’t just eating Haagen Daz and blowing off writing. It’s also living with the self-blame of not getting more work done. I still have the desire to reach MY GOAL, but I’m worn out.
Ever work out until till you got sick? Or ran until you couldn’t run anymore? Or just pushed your body until you couldn’t move? You may have wanted to keep running or working out, but your body had reached its physical limits.
That’s how it was (is) for me. I reach a wall and then I’m done.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. My issue is, my breaks last too long and I get behind schedule. My dream moves a little further out of reach. Then I have to play catch up.
What does this mean?
1 – I still have to focus.
2 – I still have to hustle.
But I must also
3 – Balance
I can’t be writing or thinking about writing my entire day, seven days a week. And that’s what happens when I get into super HUSTLE mode. Even when I’m doing other things, I’m thinking about a story plot, or checking stats, or logging into my facebook writing groups, or checking out writing blogs.
I have to turn the business of writing off. When I’m doing other things, that’s what I’m doing.
Here’s to developing new habits that don’t involve double chocolate-chip ice cream.