I self publish. I’m an Indie. At some point I heard it was good advice to create a business plan. I did, even though it was simple and not filled with some of the intellectual language I’ve seen in other samples.
I also heard it was good to create a production plan, which I do. It’s on a digital sticky note and it goes into the year 2016. At some point I had to stop going so far into the future because I kept changing my mind. New ideas would rise up, demanding to be written. Or flashy ideas that I thought had merit needed more time to simmer.
That is the delicate balance between art and publishing.
If I were a robot, spitting out words just for profit, different stories would be on my production plan. Ones that made more sense. Ones that were part of a large series and with romance and kissing. Ones that fell into commercial genres. And sometimes, I write those stories.
Just today, based on the Create Bravely theme from NESCBWI and everything I talked about here, I deleted every project past this coming December. I will finish projects I’ve started and there’s a certain sequel I want to write. But then it’s all free and clear. And I love it!
Sometimes I have to follow my heart and write the stories that are a challenge, that are scary, that seem to fall outside those genres that sell well. Sometimes I need to write the stories that call to me, those that I will love writing, those that won’t let me go.
There’s nothing wrong with writing to sell, with choosing a genre that you know sells well. Nothing at all. I’m just saying that there is no guarantee no matter how you publish or which genre you write that a book will sell well, so you might as well write what makes you happy.
Anyhow, I am always thinking about what I’ll be writing next, trying to find that balance between art and running a small business. It isn’t easy.
So for now my calendar is open while different ideas push at the envelope of my creativity, wanting to be written. I honestly don’t know which one will win.
How do you deal with this balance? I would imagine a similar struggle exists for those pursuing the traditional path.
If you’re not writing what you really enjoy, what’s the point?
I guess if I wanted to sell better, I’d write romantic science fiction. (Yeah, right!) Or fantasy. I do want to try my hand at that genre some day, but i’m comfortable writing space opera at the moment.
I totally agree! And I bet you’d write great romance science fiction. 🙂
I need to revise my business plan, because things have changed quite a bit for me since I first put the original plan in motion. And I was a bit overzealous in what I thought I could accomplish in too little time. I’m learning to forgive myself partly for being too ambitious, but I’m also learning to push myself a little bit more as I can handle the pressure of it.
The mantra I continuously return to for having a prayer for success in this industry (and it’s the lecture I give myself every morning) is this: I’ve got nothing until I have a damn good story. And even when I have a fantastic story, it doesn’t mean much until I write another damn good story. And so on. Story first. Presentation second (which is easier with a good story). Everything else comes after that. It still might take four, five, ten books to feel like I’m finally settling in, but I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s not social media… It’s not who I know or might meet in this industry… It’s not how many early reviews or blurbs I can get… it’s about making sure my story and writing are the best they can be first and for most.
Wow, I didn’t mean for that to turn in to such long lecture to myself. But since I’m still hanging out on the internet past my deadline to turn the internet off this morning, I obviously needed the above lecture. 🙂
Yes! It all starts and ends with story. 🙂
Interesting question, and one I’ve been pondering a lot lately.
My retirement goes into effect at the end of June, and since it’s not really retirement but a change of career, I need to think: What am I going to focus my attention on?
Writing the 3 books in the Eighth Day series while teaching full time just about killed me, and ironically, the most grueling demands of that series will pretty much wrap up at the same time as the teaching. (Unless HC options two more.)
So what’s next? I have several projects I’ve already crossed off my mental list because I’m not sure they’re marketable — even though I’m still interested in writing them. And that’s kind of a shame, isn’t it?
I can’t imagine teaching full time and working for deadlines. Possibly but I’m sure extremely hard while giving top effort to both. Congrats!!
And you nailed it. That’s the struggle. Trying to be commercial while writing the stories you want to write. Are you going to be writing full time?
I like how I just blogged about being brave and I hop over here and that’s essentially what this post is about. You’re so right. it’s good to know what sells, but we also have to be brave enough to write the books we love.
I loved your post, Anna! I think we need bravery for every step of the writing/publishing process. For sure!