Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rumors of My Demise May Have Been Exaggerated

Just a week ago, I was contemplating my retirement. I had dropped the ball with regard to marketing my books (I hadn't even checked my Amazon pages in a while—I just discovered I have some new reviews! Yay!). I hadn't written anything in weeks. I wasn't sure I could write anything. I wanted to...it just wasn't there, and I didn't know how to fix the problem.



I did know the source of the problem: this old gray mare ain't what she used to be. My focus is nowhere near what it once was. Just a year ago, my characters were living their lives inside my head 24/7. It was crowded in there, but I didn't mind. Now, nobody's home. Not even me, most of the time. Not only was I not writing, I wasn't doing much of anything else, either...the housework, laundry and cooking weren't always getting done. More than once, I'd end up scrambling to get Collin something to eat or wash his clothes before he had to leave for work.

Why?

Because I was online—sometimes five or six hours a day. By the time I got offline, I would be so drained mentally, I was no good for anything but sleeping or sitting in front of the TV. It should have been a no-brainer, right? Just cut back on the online time. I'm no internet junkie. I'm perfectly happy with a couple of hours online a day. But in my own defense, this has been discussed among my friends and fellow authors at Facebook on more than one occasion. Too much time spent social networking is cutting into a number of authors' writing time. It's an epidemic! Nobody intends to do it. It just happens. You start chatting with friends and the time gets away on you.

I've cut back because I have to, if I want to ever publish another book. No more email, Facebook, etc. after lunch.

But that's only half the problem. Now to decide the direction I want to take. Do I still want to write fiction? Yes. But I'm not sure it's in the cards. The projects currently in the works have been in limbo for a while. The nonfiction project, on the other hand, is flying along.

I'm not sure I want to bother with print editions in the future. They're a pain to create and earn very little. In my opinion, they're too expensive, anyway. I might sell half a dozen copies (total) of each novel—and those are usually to my friend Carolyn, who brings them to me for signing as soon as she receives them. My friend Shelly Arkon does well with paperbacks. I don't. Ebooks are where I make my profits...so doesn't it make sense to put all of my focus there?

I had a brief discussion with fellow author Rosanne Dingli on Facebook the other day. Amazon doesn't allow us to separate our own books from used copies of our backlist books being sold from third-party vendors—for which we get no royalties. I've considered switching to a pseudonym so when anyone clicks on the page for my current books, those third-party offerings aren't there to usurp my profits!

Before I close...The Unicorn's Daughter is still available for free at Smashwords today and tomorrow. Just use coupon code SP26W!


9 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm glad you're cutting back on online stuff and going back to writing. Do like you're planning--assign a certain time for online stuff--and stick to it.

    If the non-fiction's calling, work on it. I find if I can't work on something, going to something else refreshes me and lets me come back to whatever it is I need to work on with a new perspective.

    I've self-pubbed an old Silhouette I got rights back to and also a new romantic mystery. I see no need to put them in paperback because, as you say, ebook sales are where the market seems to be.

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  2. It's a waste of time as far as I can tell. I Just looked at my Create Space sales reports. I have no idea how often they update them, but I'm fairly certain they don't earn enough. And Create Space puts s limit on how low we can price them. Since I won't pay more than $3.99 for an ebook, how can I ask anyone to pay a higher price, even for a paperback?

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  3. Every writer is going to be different. I think right now you're working on finding the balance you need, and I do think you're going in the right direction.

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  4. Social media can certainly do that! (I email and blog, but no FB, twitter etc...and it still seems to take 1-2 hours a day average, inc. time to take pictures). I like the idea of planning out your time and seeing what works best. I'm sure you'll find that balance!

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    1. Email takes 90% of my time--and even then, it's hard to keep up with it! I hate schedules, but this seems to be the only thing that's going to work. I've been very productive in the past two days!


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  5. My comment didn't post....
    It was long.... anyways I said being house bound I seem to spend more time on my computer. I don't do facebook, twitter pincrest .... for that exact reason. too much wasted time.
    Plus the pills I take have dulled my focus and I find I only do 1/3 of of what I even did a year ago and am exhausted .
    I think you need to find the problem, you have, and then try to address it the best you can.
    I have to plan what I do on any day with what I need to do that week. I never run errands two day in a row.
    I had a friend that started to work from home, after she dropped the kids off at school that was her time to work. But everyone would call, drop over, family kept wanted her to do things for them... She finally figured out a work plan, answer phone and blinds down in the front of the house but it was not easy.
    Hang in there.

    cheers, parsnip

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  6. I think you're right, Gayle!

    A lot of writers I've known have been literally driven from their homes and forced to lease offices by family, friends and neighbors who kept interrupting their work. One had a neighbor who expected her to get her packages, let repairmen in and watch her kids when they got home from school. It cost my friend a few hundred dollars a month to get away from her!

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  7. I think you're a successful writer no matter what you do. It's your lot in life. Your tarot or karma or whatever--it's just who you are Norma.

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