Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hey, there! (Yeah, I'm still here...)

Holy schmoly, has it really been two months since I've posted here?! What a slacker I am! LOL Yeah, right. I assume most of you follow me on my main author's blog (www.KristieCook.com) so you know what I've been up to - blog tours, Genesis release, holidays, pulling Devotion together for its upcoming release... Yeah, not much slacking going on here.

I really haven't had much to say in regards to writing, but I thought it was time to at least drop in and say "Hi!" and let you know that I'm still here.

I'm in the midst of editing Devotion, so not many new words being written, and I get tired of complaining talking about revising and editing. So I just kind of kept quiet here. I'm slowly making my way through a book on dialogue that I'm determined to finish, though I'm not sure why. I guess I'm hoping there's still something I might learn from it. I'll let you know soon what the book is and my thoughts.

The big talk in the self-publishing circles seems to be about production, production, production. Everyone who's making decent sales is pushing out book after book after book. I can't say that I completely agree. Yes, the more books you have, the more you'll sell overall. Each book plays a role in sales of the others. You can't just put one book out there and expect to become a bestseller. However, my experience proves that you don't have to put out a book every two months, either.

I have three books out, one of which just came out a month ago and had little to do with my sales numbers. And my sales numbers are fantastic. If you didn't see, Promise made it into the Top 100 of all Kindle paid. It's a national bestseller. That was before I even had three books, when my most recent release had been nine months prior. So, no, you don't have to push out a book every 2-3 months to find success in this industry.

Now, if you want to produce that many books that quickly and it doesn't cause you to lose all of your hair, scream at your loved ones until your voice runs out or result in your home being a disaster area that makes the houses on Hoarders look clean...well, then, that's your choice. I'm just saying you don't have to. Just make sure that you're producing the absolute best books you can that have been edited and polished to a shine. The goal should be to be proud of your work, not just throw something out there because you think you're in some big numbers game.

Ruth Ann Nordin wrote about how to write 4+ books a year and she has some great ideas. I know I can't do it like her - I need more than one draft. Like 4 or 5 or 6...or 10 is more like it for me. And that's before the final proofread! But as she says, just as we all plot and plan (or not) differently, we all write on different schedules, too. So it is possible. Not for me, but possible.

What I liked most about the post: her emphasis on the subjectivity of quality. Because she's absolutely right when she says quality is in the eye of your readers. If enough people think you're producing high quality work to keep buying and telling their friends about it, then you're producing quality.

Just keep in mind the "enough people" part. Because you may get a few thousand or even ten or twenty thousand people who think your quality is good, but that's not enough. Not enough to make you a bestseller. Not enough to make you a full-time writer earning a decent living. Even if you do produce 6-8 books a year. Because people's attention wanes. We're easily distracted. What we thought was good for the first 3 or 4 or 5 books might not impress us anymore in book 6 or 7. We might have moved on to something new - another series, another author. And there aren't enough new readers who accept that same quality to make up for the ones who've moved on.

Again, produce something you're proud of. Nothing less than your best. When you're proud of your work, everything else just goes better, from promotions to your response to reviews to, yes, sales. And trust me, readers notice when your quality doesn't reach your potential.

That's my two cents. What's yours? What are your thoughts on producing 6-8 books a year? And I mean actually writing and producing, not pulling out past pieces that are already finished and just need edited. Is that something you can do? Is it something you'd want to strive for?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell


I'm not doing so well on my goal of reading one craft book a month. But it's not that I haven't been reading. I have! It's just been a little slow going with life's events and getting two books ready for publication. It also has to do with the book I've been reading - Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell.