With the stress of the holidays, or maybe just the distractions, many authors are finding it hard to stay on track with their writing and marketing. I’m reading blogs that mention burn out. For me, it’s both. I’m thinking of what to get my family for Christmas, and I’m shopping with my daughter at the mall. There are parties and plans that preempt my writing. Meanwhile, I’m losing the momentum of the story.
Hence my blog is late, and my writing even more behind schedule. My editor is yelling at me and my publisher is disgusted with my procrastination.
The hardest taskmaster of them all.
To feel better about this author experience, I offer several blogs for writers intent on becoming authors. The first, if you haven’t read it already, is Hugh Howey’s blog on becoming a writer. If you have read it, now’s a good time to re-read it. He offers great insight into the writing process.
1. His first insight is that the only obstacle to writing is you. To become an author you have to start writing. As simple as it sounds, many authors use various excuses to block their goal of completing a novel.
2. You can’t compare your rough draft to books you’ve read. Those have been polished and edited by professional people.
3. There is no special qualification required…to write.
4. The best writers are the best readers.
5. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep it in mind, oh impatient one.
6. Whoever works the hardest will get ahead. In this insight, High mentions that it is easier to work hard if you are passionate about what you do. I find this very true.
7. Competition is complicated. The number of books out there isn’t important. Your book may be the inspiration or escape needed for a particular reader. Don’t let the numbers swamp you.
8. Be helpful and engaged. Authors should help and encourage one other.
9. Know your readers
10. Know your industry. Treat your writing as if it were a business.
These are the highlights of his discussion with important and insightful comments to support them. To read the complete blog, go to:
Then, I recommend reading his follow-up blogs starting with writing rough drafts. I swear he was a fly on my wall. I do a lot of my writing in my head in the shower, before I fall asleep, or generally while driving. Then, I put words to these scenes I have created. He describes this same process for his writing.
At the moment, I’m at what he calls “the crux.” Noting that it was a normal phase in writing relieved a lot of my current frustration. I eagerly read where he describes how to get out of this impasse. Give me that machete so I can cut my way out.
There are several more blogs on the writing process that I’ll visit in a later blog.
The second blog I recommend is the Passive Voice. PG (passive guy) writes a lot about how Amazon has changed the industry in this blog and ends up with these statistics on author earnings that I found interesting.
You may, too.
A few facts from Author Earnings (emphasis is PG’s):
In 2016, two-thirds of traditionally-published fiction and non-fiction books were sold online.
• About 75% of adult fiction and non-fiction books (including both traditional and indie published) were sold online (77% of fiction, 72% of non-fiction) in 2016.
• In early 2017, Big Five publisher sales on Amazon were 20.8%–or barely one fifth–of all Amazon US consumer ebook purchases.
• As far as the earnings of individual authors who have debuted in the last three years:
◦ 250 Big Five authors are annually earning $25,000 or more from Amazon sales
◦ 200 recent small or medium publisher authors earn $25,000 or more from their Amazon sales annually
◦ Over 1,000 indie authors who debuted in the last 3 years are earning more than $25,000 per year from Amazon sales
• Looking at earnings of debut authors from the past five years, more indie authors are now earning a $50K-or-better living wage from Amazon than all of their Big Five and Small/Medium publisher peers put together.
• Fewer than 115 Big Five-published authors and 45 small- or medium-publisher authors who debuted in the past five years are currently earning $100K/year from Amazon sales. Among indie authors of the same tenure, more than 425 of them are now at a six-figure run rate.
PG suggests that traditional publishing’s greatest challenge is demonstrated by numbers like this.
Lots to think about.
Another reason this blog has been delayed is that I was reading the 800 page tome by Robin Hobbs called Assassin’s Fate. I have been an avid reader of all Hobb’s books, and I am particularly fond of Fitz Chivalry and the Fool.
There are eighty-eight percent five stars out of 755 reviews. So, I’m not alone.
The story: Fitz Chivalry’s daughter, Bee, is kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society that uses dreams of special children to mold the future, often for their own benefit. Fitz Chivalry and the Fool believe Bee is dead, and they embark on a revenge mission to wipe out the whole island where this sect lives to destroy them utterly. The Fool had vowed never to return to where he grew up, was tortured, and finally escaped. But now, he joins his closet friend to wreak vengeance on his earlier persecutors.
Unbeknownst to them, Bee survives and is dragged across the land and sea by her sadistic abductor, who believes she is the chosen one. She brings along a small group from the island who bend to her commands. One minion, when given the spit of the dragon, can control the minds of those around him, except for Bee, who has special talents she hides. She can dream the future also, but she doesn’t reveal this fact to her tormentor. Others bend to her kidnapper’s vicious demands and also bully Bee.
So, yes, there are dragons and ships and magic and many old familiar characters from several of her other books that make a cameo appearance.
Read the earlier books first, write up all your apologies for chores being left undone, appointments missed, late blogs, and then enjoy this fine conclusion to the story of Fitz Chivalry and the Fool.
2 responses to “A Writer’s Insights and An Assassin’s Fate”
Great post, Sheron. Thanks for all the industry news – good news for indies! And for the review of Hobb’s latest book. I haven’t read this one. I thought the series was over and didn’t even know about it! And Happy Holidays!!!
Happy holidays to you, too. Glad to let you know about Hobbs latest.
Indies still have to work hard to make it in this highly competitive field..
I enjoy reading your blog too.