Writing is a pleasure and a fun hobby, but I want more than that. I want a career as an author. I have a long-term plan – not a one, two or even three year plan but a 20 year plan. I started it in 2007, meaning that by 2027 I will have fulfilled it.
Why so far away? Because I’m an impatient person. When I want something, I want it now and I get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. By giving myself a far away success date I’ve taken the pressure off and have let myself do things well, which will guarantee success far more rapidly than doing them quickly will.
Since 2007, each year has had a theme. In that first year the theme was beginnings – the year I began to be a writer. The following year, 2008 was the year I found roots. I didn’t focus on writing much that year as I needed to create the environment where I could write without worry. 2009 was the year I got serious about my writing and 2010 I got professional – my thinking processes jumped from hobby-writing to career planning. This year, 2011, is the year I got consistent. I write regularly and produce quality work on a schedule.
This year I also showed that I could publish. I first experimented with a short story and then a novel, putting them up electronically. The short story I edited on my own and designed my own cover. The novel I still edited on my own, but I got a professional proofreader to look it over and hired someone to give me a professional cover.
On top of that I’ve done a whole lot of research into what it means to be an indie-publisher in the current market. Some people have had huge success while others have floundered. The successful ones have taken the professional route and impressed people because of that.
For me, professional means edited, proofed manuscripts with professional covers and print as well as electronic versions readily available. Plus it means a focused marketing program aimed at creating high visibility. All that, however, takes money and time, and lots of careful planning. As the indie-publishing world grows, it’s going to get harder to be noticed. The noise-to-signal ratio will become increasingly off-balanced (leaning toward a lot more noise). I don’t want my hard work to disappear into the virtual pile of unread and unbought books.
If I want to be part of the signal side of the ratio and have that signal get through, I need to be prepared. I need a lot of product to release regularly and I need a clear plan to promote it all.
Right now I have neither.
Which leads me to the point of this article (yes, it does have one!). If 2011 is the year of consistency, 2012 will be the year of preparation and 2013 the year of publication. It seems like a long time away, but 18 months before seeing publication of a book is standard fare in the traditional publishing industry. Moreover, unlike many traditionally-published authors, instead of one book going out to the public, over the year I’ll have several.
During the next year and a half, therefore, I plan to write several more novels and learn as much as I can about this emerging writer’s market. I’ll still be around here in AlexWorld updating you on stuff, but it won’t be a regular thing, nor will I be always hanging around in the world of social media. (You’ve already seen how random I’ve been with my posts as I’ve been figuring all this out.)
In other words, I’ll be gone on an extended trip deep into AlexWorld and will be sending out the occasional postcard to let you know how the journey’s going.