Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 2, Day 5

Saturday

We started out the day taking Elizabeth to her first gymnastics lesson, which was fun. Following that, I had some time to work on my stuff before we headed out to play some live poker. That took a long time, because it always does when you finish in the money and almost win. By then it was pretty late, but I had some time to write the weblog post for yesterday and most of today’s.

Writing

Yesterday I had two problems: I couldn’t figure out how to begin Threshold of Vengeance, and I didn’t know what the series would look like. This morning, I awoke with answers to both of those questions. Thanks, brain!

Most of my writing time today was spent writing down the parameters for the series. Already it is three books, with more around the corner, and the interesting thing is that each of these takes place in a different phase of the series. The characters are the same, except they are different ages in different phases, with different occupations and situations, but in each Denis Grey is thrust into the role of amateur sleuth, using his wits to solve a mystery over the objections of local law enforcement.

I did get started writing the text of the story, but I only logged about 250 words for the day. I need to build up to Pulp Speed.

On Promotion

I found an interesting post today by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Promotion. The post is from 2011, but given that her analysis indicates that the human nature affecting the situation has stayed the same for over a hundred years (or more probably ever), her points are still valid.

Her post basically analyzes with some amusement the mythology that surrounds book promotion. It’s a great read, with a lot of excellent research, and I’d recommend it to other writers like me, if I knew any. The conclusion in a nutshell is that the best promotion any author can do for his or her book is to write the next book, and what’s more, it is only writing more books that can generate the sustained sales necessary for a career (at least for 99.9999% of writers).

That post was a breath of fresh air to me. I’ve seen a large number of authors and marketers who were involved with some success and suddenly know the secrets that any author can use to sell lots of books. These pitches strike me as almost total bullshit, but sometimes, I have to admit, I am tempted.

Her post has made me wonder about my own current plans. As you may recall, I strive to conduct weekly promotions and do outreach activities to reach new readers. The price promotions take little time and definitely spur sales, but the outreach activities take nontrivial time for debatable value. By Rusch’s logic, my time would be better spent writing another book. Actually, the math may be simple. Pretend the time required is two hours per week. Those two hours would be 2,000 words, which over 50 weeks of the year would add up to 100,000 words, two decent-sized books. Those books would be perpetual, tireless ambassadors of my work, without any further effort needed from me. Applying those same hours to outreach, however, leaves nothing to show at the end of the year. Would 100 hours of outreach effort be enough to warrant the sacrifice of two books? Not in my experience.

I’ll have to think about this some more, but I like her logic, and the simplicity of removing the outreach tasks is appealing.