I just want to write the damn book…

Image result for hamster wheel

There are times when it feels like publishing is the equivalent of spinning on a hamster wheel. We can go really really fast, and yet feel like we’re getting nowhere at all.

This happened to me last week, and so of course I vented to one of my Mastermind groups about it. We’re all in different stages of our careers, and writing different things, but we’re all lamenting that for the number of hours we put in, things are not as lucrative as they once were (consider that most writers make well below minimum wage based on the hours they put in). The answer that often comes up is to do more marketing. And if not MORE marketing, smarter marketing.

There are a few problems with that.

  1. Smarter marketing often = paid advertising, and there’s not always the $$ to make that happen
  2. Smarter marketing means using what is most effective – which can change so frequently it’s hard to know what to do.

I tried a lot of things last year that didn’t really make a difference to my bottom line at all.

And while most of the time I soldier on, every now and again, I have a day where it just feels futile and I seriously Just.Want.To.Write.The.Damn.Book.

So after having a good vent about it, I came away feeling not exactly better, but definitely calmer.

The first thing I did was start reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s series on Discoverability. The comforting thing there is that I started thinking more about the long tail rather than the short tail.

Then I read Nick Stephenson‘s newsletter yesterday. Now, I love Nick’s advice and IMO he’s got a lot of great things to say about readers and engagement. He pushes newsletters hard because it’s a direct conduit to a reader, unlike social media. BUT more than that, I love his newsletters. I love the tone, the personal nature, the smarts… I like it not just because he has salient points to make but because I know that his flights got cancelled when he was on a trip and was “stranded” on a beach… and he posted a pic of how “rough” he had it. Yesterday’s newsletter began with this: “One major thing that nobody EVER talks about with growing an online business (as an author, entrepreneur, or anything) is how LONG things take.” The title of the newsletter is Persistent + Consistent.

And it reminded me that I need to relax. And yes, write the damn book, because I want readers to read and then perhaps look for backlist and then tell their friends or relatives that they read this great book.

So that’s what I’m doing. We’ve been so focused on the marketing aspect for so long and data and hits (and those are still important) that we forget that there’s magic in creating. And magic is what needs to happen for your reader. The methods of finding those readers change, but what has to happen once you get them has to be…


I like it.

Have a great week. Stay warm. Read a good book. Smile at a stranger.


2 Responses to I just want to write the damn book…

  • Amen to this, Donna. 🙂

  • This reminds me of how I used to keep track of every sale and updated it almost weekly. I eventually got so burnt out, I quit all together. And my writing suffered too.

    The key, to me, is balance. It’s picking what works best for you and researching that. Sometimes you’ll write a great book and it’ll take off without any effort and that’s amazing. It’s rare, it’s impossible to understand or reproduce so we have to focus on what we can control and keep everything balanced. Stressing over one particular area is the quickest way to burnt out and get lackluster results in my opinion.

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