Note: Smashwords are running their usual Read an Ebook week promo – a few of my books are taking part.
This is my annual dull indieversary post in which I traditionally talk about myself more than usual. Check out year one and year two if you’re interested in how long I’ve been this much of an egotistical arsehole. 😀
Boo-yah. Three years ago today, I clicked publish for the first time. Little Girl sold something like five copies that month. 🙂 (Incidentally, it had its best sales month ever in January of this year, which was odd and reinforces the whole unpredictability thing).
A couple of big things have happened since the year two post. We moved out of Dublin. The bukes hit a nice even sales milestone. I have my own space to work. I shocked everyone who knows I’m the laziest person on the planet by temporarily turning into a raging workaholic. I finally finished a series. *Insert some kind of embarrassing yet appropriately celebratory dance here*
That was the biggest deal for me, actually. I finally accomplished my first Big Dream that never seemed possible before (I’m looking at you, Cursed, you nightmare of my soul). I’ll be thirty this month(!), and I was afraid I wouldn’t finish that series before then. I did it, so suck on that, impossibly old ideas that never go away, make me love you and hate you at the same time, and leave me in some kind of weird writer depression when you end.
I’ve put a lot more money and hours into my books than before. While I would love to publish more frequently, I can’t without sacrificing editing, and I can barely get away with using British English. 😉
Not judging anyone else’s output, nor am I saying any other writer sacrifices editing, just that I’m not that good. 😀
I feel like I’ve worked harder over the last year, partly because the Big Burning Desire is to see obvious improvement. Sometimes that doesn’t come fast enough for me, but I’m a trier. (And there is nothing like the hell of reading your old embarrassing stories while cringing at every sentence you could now rewrite into something better – the best part of finishing a series is never having to read the first book again…) I do sometimes feel like I’ve maybe sacrificed a little bravery for the sake of learning the craft, but this is a lifelong learning curve. And while I enjoy working on my series, I spent most of last year looking forward to the end so I could move on to what comes next. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the old stuff, but I’m ready to move on with the new.
On the negative side of this past year, I’m exhausted. 🙂 Let’s just say my kids love it when I burnout. The most frustrating change since year two was probably relying on people who let me down at the last minute. It happens for various reasons; you have to rely on other people, and I’ve learned you really need a backup plan. This is partly why I’m glad I decided the series stuff needed the same people. I’ve been lucky enough to find an editor and cover artist I trust and enjoy working with and who are worth the cost, but I seem to have heard of far more people being ripped off or let down during the last twelve months than before. Inevitable, but sucky.
I still love writing, and I’m even beginning to appreciate editing – there’s something kind of fun about layering. In the coming twelve months, I expect series two to be done and dusted, but I’m not certain there will be a fourth indieversary post.
That’s not some kind of weird, vague threat or anything! I’m genuinely concerned about the quality of book I can produce right now. Besides that, I’m supporting a large family on something incredibly unstable, sales aren’t steady, and when my partner goes back into full-time work, I’ll have to write while five young kids clamour for my attention. All. Day. Long. (Wait, that happens now…) I’ll still write, even if I can only finish one book a year. 😉
This isn’t supposed to be gloomy btw. Last year was probably a peak year for me, and I’m okay with that. For an Irish writer, I believe I did good. Honestly, I was very lucky, but luck can run out. I don’t have any stand out bestsellers, and I still avoid the active promotion thing like the plague, but across all markets, the numbers happened to add up last year. (Still advocating diversity vs. exclusivity. After my experiences with the whole copyright thing, I’m extra loud about this one). There are way, way, way more writers out there doing the same thing as me. Plenty of them doing it much better. More than the outliers we hear about. I don’t think I’ve met any Irish ones yet, but I’m sure they’re out there. The problem remains the same though. No stability. No way of knowing what will come next, and that isn’t something that everyone can handle. Most of us can’t predict what book will rise or fall, and plenty of people have gone into this full-time only for it to fall apart. While I kind of enjoy the risks, I have to make joint decisions that put my family first, and in that regard, I keep myself prepared for change, whenever the need arises. 🙂
Tl;dr: Writing good. Publishing hard. Guarantees non-existent. Life exciting. 😀