Learning and doing are two different animals as far as I am concerned, that is, when I think about my writing journey. We all start with that yearning and passion for writing, followed by another desire – publishing our works. You set sail to learn as much as you can about the craft; and if you are like me, you spend years learning the path. This is when it gets interesting, at least for me.
I learned much before deciding to publish my novels; however, I have to admit that I did not do as I learned. Much of what I read was tailored to traditional publishing. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that self publishing became a more acceptable vehicle for writers. England still struggles a bit with the concept, for what I have read, not as welcoming as the USA; however, getting better. When I was thinking about publishing my work, what I was learning seemed to go against my grain; however, I kept learning and informing myself as much as I could – learning the entire process, and writing, until I got to the point that I was ready to decide, I mean, ready to send that first query, that first manuscript, which somehow, did not feel right to me. So I sent one query, and it wasn’t until I physically did it, that I realized that I did not want to take that path. At least, now I was going somewhere, although I was glad for the time spent learning. Soon, I realized that I was yearning for the Indie lifestyle, to self-publish and be there (participant) the entire process, responsible for every bit of it – despite the immense task that it presented. I realized that I wanted to become an indie author. I set sails again, learning as much as I could about the process. In my heart, I knew that it was the path I wanted to take; however, the self-publishing frenzy that was going on, added to the still negative talk about self-publishing, kept me waiting, unable to dive into it.
I learned the process, but I was unable to dive into the vast sea. I questioned my indecision – it wasn’t until I understood my fear of being branded as an indie, of becoming an abomination, a heretic in the publishing arena, even when I knew that it was the right match for my working style, my ethics, and my personality. For some reason, the information that I had consumed earlier, had led me to believe that once I became an indie author, there was not going back – the damage was done, permanently. How had I become to believe such absurd idea? Understanding where my worry originated made it easy to take the plunge, and so I did. This year I published Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit (book 1 of The Dinorah Chronicles), which are available via Amazon. By the end of this year I expect to publish The Book of Sharon (book 2 in the chronicles). Once I decided to become what my heart was telling me, the rest was easy.
I had entered the indie world, lonely at times, however exciting and challenging. I branded myself as such, and after learning about many indie authors who have gone back to publishing the traditional way (offered contracts) or traditionally published authors who have become indie authors (setting themselves free), I realized that what you learn and what you do sometimes becomes a dichotomy, for whatever reasons. To each, its own.
Now, what about heavy promoting and marketing? The learning continues, and so the doing, which seems to differ, once more. Although, I will do some promoting and marketing of my novels, I won’t fully dive deep until I feel that I have at least 5-7 novels under my belt. There is a reason for it, and it does not translate in total disregard of my work or marketing it. Instead, it responds to my desire of building a brand, developing it, and tie everything together. To me, it seems easier to heavily market your work when there is more of it, exposed, than to do it when there is only a few (1-2) samples out. It makes sense to me. I rather use that energy (because believe me, promo/marketing requires tons of work, effort, and commitment) to write more novels, build my brand, so later I can dedicate the right time to it, despite the fact that the information I consume tells me that you have to market your novels before releasing them, but I am talking here about a more in-depth marketing, which will require more of my time and commitment as well as a more detailed business/marketing plan.
I have set a goal of reaching my magic number in the next two and a half years. I will be working hard to reach that number. In the mean time, the learning, the writing, building a brand, and the creation of a marketing plan continues. I will blog about this topic in future posts.