Write What You Know
Writing what you know allows you to write faster and probably better as well. I do this a lot with non-fiction and the words just fly from my fingers.
So what do you do when you write fiction? I try to really go dialogue-heavy in mine, maybe because I wrote so many dialogues and listened to so many when I was teaching in China.
I know all about that so I write all about that. It works for me.
Write What You Like
A lot of people also give up because they find they just don’t like it.
Writing about what you like is pretty much writing about what you know, or at least what you read a lot of.
- I like to read fantasy books and that’s why I’ve got 4 of those.
- I also like to read history, so I’ve got 2 of those.
- I’m interested in SEO, so I’ve got 2 of those and another on the way.
Boy, kinda like baseball cards – wanna trade?
I like to read all kinds of stuff, and I write all kinds of stuff, so a lot of people would say I write Speculative Fiction. What the hell is that? I don’t know, but I guess I write it.
Write Until Something Takes Off
Maybe you have just one book, but that’s more than most people have. Something like 73% of people who start a book never finish one.
Maybe you’re like me and you have 28 books, but none of them has taken off. Sure, I sell a few of each title each month, and maybe a couple dozen of 2 or 3 titles if I’m real lucky. But that’s about it.
I have to keep going, believing that eventually one title will take off. Whether that’s a new release or something I did months or even years ago that suddenly gets noticed, I don’t know.
I do know I’ll have a helluva back catalog for fans to work their way through when it does happen!
Experiment Until You Find an Audience
Believe me, when something does take off the pressure will be immense for you to stick with that one formula that worked. And I think this pressure comes more from you than anyone else.
Take chances while you can! I write all kinds of crazy stuff. I do fiction and non-fiction. I write in one genre then just start in a completely different genre, not even thinking twice about it.
So far it hasn’t done much for my sales, but it has been fun, and I’ve seen many more successful writers than me that have just a title or two, are getting better sales, but can’t seem to put anything else out.
I don’t have that problem and I treasure it.
Always Have Something on the Back Burner
These are various projects, most of them started, that are just waiting for me to get to them, or get back on them, or whatever.
When you know what you’re going to do next you won’t fall into this trap that I like to call PPD – Post-Publishing Depression.
Now, PPD makes me feel listless and worthless. Yeah, I just published a book and should be feeling happy, but instead I feel rudderless.
Thankfully this only lasts a day or two before I get pulled into one of those other projects on my back burner.
Write More, Promote Less
His formula also says you should write 75% of the time and promote 25% of the time.
I’ll go a little further and say you should only promote at certain times.
Sure, we all like to sit around those self-publishing forums, read and post on blogs, and generally do everything but writing, but that wastes too much time.
I like to get my big writing blocks out of the way earlier in the day so I feel better about myself. When the end of the day rolls around, when I’m too tired or lethargic to write, I’ll hit up those blogs and catch up on those old forum posts.
Let Reviews Come to You
The rest of my books? Not so much.
Most of my books don’t have reviews, and the majority that do have reviews have but one. Thankfully most of these reviews are good, 4- to 5-stars. I have one book that got a 2-star very early, and then a 1-star to top it off. I haven’t sold a copy of that book in 3 months.
I like natural and organic reviews, even better than some of those reviews you might get from blog tours or ARC (Already Reviewed Copy) readers. They just seem more real, you know?
Blog a Lot for Creative Juices
Many of the books I have, the non-fiction books, came about because of blogging. Some authors don’t do this, and I can’t help but think they’ll fall behind.
A great way for you to get started if you haven’t already is to simply start a Goodreads blog. I have one of these that I started at the end of December, and I’ve gotten about 10 posts on it. All of those posts are about 200 words, but if you’re doing nothing now, why not?
Avoid Time Sucks
I see a lot of authors on writer forums (I think they’re authors) that put up a lot of words and also hang around a lot, but they have no books.
Alright, I can understand this, but after 3 months, 6? I can’t help but think the forum and other time sucks like it have something to do with that.
Watch Others, But Don’t Follow Them
Hey, this is a great strategy in many ways. But should you do it?
Let’s say I wanted to follow some really successful authors and write stories with the same number of characters, the same kind of settings, and the same overall plot.
How would that do? I guess it could do alright, but I have a feeling the book you’re copying didn’t get popular by following the same template. I bet it was a bit more original. Shouldn’t yours be as well?
Lead By Example
The best thing to do is lead by example, keep publishing, and act decently.
Sure, you might offend some people sometimes, but I’ve rarely seen a serious discussion where someone wasn’t offended. I’m not sure anything constructive is produced from such.
And don’t back off from conflict. People will hate you for selling 10 books in a month, because that’s 9 more than they sold. How do you think they’ll feel when you sell 100 or 10,000?
Bat away the flies that buzz around your head, but don’t scare off those that want to listen either. Lead by example and let your actions speak. Yes, you may be a writer, but I think we’ve all read something stupid from even the best.
Attract Followers, Don’t Seek Them
Does that hurt me when it comes to finding fans? Perhaps. But the fans I do have are probably a little more genuine as they came to me willingly.
Listen, I’m no eBook marketing expert, but like my above strategies, you probably should be able to tell by now that I write and worry later. I think more readers like that strategy, it just takes a helluva lot longer before they catch on to you.
Have a Clear Message of Hope
- My books will never be popular
- I’ll write a new book that for whatever reason, takes off.
- One of my old books will suddenly get a lot of attention, who knows why.
Those are the three main options I see, and with those last two I feel real good – I’ve got a backlist of 28 titles for people to choose from.
And when you get those mega-fans, even your little non-fiction books ranked #1,328,938 will get bought up in droves.
The main thing is to stop daydreaming and start hitting those keys. I do it everyday and I’m convinced one day out of the blue it’ll pay off. Will that be tomorrow? No, probably more like a year or two. How about you?
Well, that’s my publishing philosophy. Notice that it primarily relies upon me. Sure, I get some covers designed, but that’s it. And traditional publishing isn’t even a consideration for me. If they want to call I’ll listen, but I’m not expecting it.