You know, when I sat down behind my trusty Toughbook and began pounding out what would later become Phoenix, I had no illusions of it ever being read by others. I pretty much expected my wife to read it, tell it me it was horrible and then I would delete it from my hard drive. Four installments and two and a half novels later, I still halfway expect her to tell me that my work sucks when she reads the rough drafts, but so far she hasn’t. There’s still that tiny part of my brain that thinks she’s being kind and sparing my feelings, but…I don’t allow myself to stay there for long. Nearly three quarters of a million words later and she insists that each new offering is an improvement on the last.
Now, I am approaching a point where my hobby is no longer just a ‘hobby’. It is quickly becoming a job. One needs to maintain a presence online in order to promote ones work. One needs to keep readers informed of upcoming releases and possible events. One needs to constantly work to improve the quality of the work you put out because now, it’s no longer a ‘hobby’…you’re a published author! That thought alone can keep you up at nights.
I hear other writers who say that they strive to reach a point where they can quit their day job and write full time. I think about what they say and the ramifications of their statements. At what point are they trading one job for another? When do deadlines and events and promotions become so burdensome that it sucks the fun out of writing? If you truly love your craft, can anything truly suck the joy from it? I suppose these are questions that each writer must ask him or herself. But, the fact remains that what my publisher told me is absolute truth. The easiest part is writing the story. Afterward is when the REAL work comes. Silly me, I thought she was talking about what SHE did!
Boy, was I wrong…
The big question on my mind is still, how do you self promote without becoming a nuisance to others? Is there a secret to that game? Is there a right way or a wrong way? HOW does one go about self-promoting effectively? Once your hobby becomes a job, these questions take on a whole new level of importance and can raise anxiety levels to new heights. The rare example of Joe Schmuck pounding out a book, tossing it up on Amazon and it becoming a ‘best-seller’, getting picked up for TV or a movie, then every golden pearl of wit and wisdom they type from then on becoming a best seller is just…well, it’s dadgum rare. Most books on Amazon sell maybe 50 copies over it’s entire life. For most authors, that won’t cover the cost of their cover art much less editing. So…what is a promising author to do? Turn to the pros, that’s what. And I’ll cover some of what I’ve learned from the masters of the game in a future post.
All things considered, I still wouldn’t trade this hobby/job/profession for any other. I may be quickly approaching my golden years, but I’ve finally decided what I want to be when I grow up!