“The lament of the modern author, whose writing must now compete for purchase with every other book, from classics like the Iliad to the newest self-published odyssey, all of which will now be preserved digitally for all time: how do you add to that in any significant way?
The answer is to write the book that only you can write.”
That pretty much says it all when it gets to how I’m feeling right now after wrapping up my first draft of The Mayonnaise Murders Volume 2.
But then, no, it doesn’t. Because I must say I’m also feeling rather proud of myself as well. Early last week I said I was going to be finished by the end of last week, and damned if I didn’t make that target. Largely because of that 2,000 fiction words per day target that I set for myself several months ago after reading Write, Publish, Repeat and re-committing myself to the principle that if I’m going to be a writer then I need to keep writing every day, and a lot more than just a few well-crafted sentences. Volume does matter.
The other thing is that I need tone up front here and admit that my book has yet to meet the ceiling-shattering sales goals I had hoped for when I first completed the first volume a year ago. Back then, after I had read about the wild success of Amanda Hocking, a self-published author who decided to try self-publishing after being rejected repeatedly by traditional publishing houses and wound up selling a ton of books – and making a ton of money – within a couple years, inspired me to think, “Hey, why not me?” I even purchased a couple of Hocking’s books to see what all the fuss was about. I admit Hocking definitely has talent, and I’m pretty sure all those who rejected her are crying together at the same bar somewhere in New York called “What the Hell Was I Thinking?” Still, I felt my stuff was just as good so surely I should be able to rake in the cash. Heck, even if I managed to pull in one-tenth of what Hocking was making, I figured, I’d be doing OK, and it would give me a good base to grow on.
My wife warned me not to get too excited, and she was definitely right. I still think my book is good (as a lll authors do) otherwise I wouldn’t have got to work on a second volume, and I definitely wouldn’t be planning the third volume to come. But since that day in March, 2013, when I proudly published my very first novel on Amazon, I have become considerably more educated about and familiar with things such as marketing and promotion, but more importantly I have learned the values of patience and persistence. Hocking’s success is well-deserved, but it is also a million-in-one shot. I don’t know her and have never met her, but I think even she would be inclined to agree that her success was not simply because her stories were so incredibly much better than all the rest, or that she worked so much harder than every other self-published author. Hocking was also very fortunate, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the rest of us need to realize that fortune doesn’t smile on all equally – or at the same time.
And that’s not a bad thing. I’m still inspired by Hocking’s success, and it still keeps me believing that my day will come. But I know for sure i will never come if I don’t keep on believing – and keep on writing.
The answer is to write the book that only you can write.