My debut novel, Winter Seedlings, went live on Amazon one year ago today. Today is my 1st Author Birthday!
I look back at the past year and I am overwhelmed with what looks like amazing accomplishments. I published two novels and two novellas (one as only e-book format).
The amount of hours spent on getting those books to publication well exceeds what I would have worked at a “regular” job, not to mention that I invested my own money at every turn. Did I make enough money to warrant all that? Hell no.
Want to be an indie author? You better have another source of income.
But let’s not dwell on the negatives. It’s a celebration! My title of Author is now officially one year old! Winter Seedlings is also one year old! (And if you haven’t read it yet, you can get it at a discounted price until Friday because it’s a celebration!)
I reflect back on how far I have come (or not), and think it might be useful to make a list of what I have learned and the changes which have occurred. I’m curious to see how this list grows and changes next year.
- I no longer believe that writing a good book will = having a lot of sales.
- Diversity in books is a great movement, but not necessarily a financially profitable one for authors (<— not saying it isn’t worth it for other reasons.)
- Stories set in Appalachia very much appeal to readers in Appalachia, not so much everywhere else.
- It’s important to have a high quality book cover that reflects the tone of the story, but you’ll be lucky to earn back the money you spent to pay for it.
- Being honest and vulnerable when telling a story may mean the story becomes something other than mainstream. Do it anyway. Accessing painful truths is what takes one’s writing from tinkering to art.
- Straight people can read and enjoy, with empathy, stories about LGBTQIA characters. Even in Appalachia.
- When someone takes the time to tell you they loved your words, whether on a blog post, a poem, or a published work; value them endlessly. Don’t be creepy; but seriously, do not take them for granted.
- Know why you write. Type your reason. Print it out. Tape it to the wall so you see it every single day. Without keeping focus on *your* reason, you risk being swept up in other people’s reasons. You’ll start to compare yourself with Stephen King when you don’t even like horror. Stop.
- Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, seriously edit. Edit in every single room of the house, on every different device you own, even hang upside down to try to see it differently and then edit the damn thing one more time.
- This journey is not about what you get out of it. This journey is about what you give the world. If it’s not saying something new, pushing a little harder than is usually pushed, or offering a better understanding of something often misunderstood… why do it at all?
And with that, I’m going to end this blog post and get back to writing my *next* novel. Look for it in early 2016. Until then, consider buying my other books: