As 2016 draws to a close, I am reflecting on some of the decisions I've made as a writer, and also as a publisher. Being an indie author kind necessitates the two: artist twisted around entrepreneur. It's caused some me to learn some real lessons.
The sum of it is that I spent 2016 breaking a number of rules. Specifically, rules of writing, self-publishing, business savvy, etc, etc. Why? Because I wanted to - I was being a bit contrary, in a way, but in all honesty, most of it was simply because I wanted to have fun. I know that doesn't sound right, but I'll explain.
Pick a Genre & Master It
The first rule I broke in 2016 was to take a hiatus from writing my epic fantasy series, The Reaper's Seed to complete a mixed genre novel I'd starterd writing back in 2010: The Nobleman. If you search the wide world of web opinion (and wowsers, are there some), it's not a real good idea for someone trying to establish themselves in an art to jump around from one art form to another. Writing is no different. Even if you do make it big as an author in a certain genre, it can be pretty hard to mix it up. J.K. Rowling was so successful with young Potter that she has created an alter ago by the name of Robert Galbraith to venture into writing mystery novels.
Hmmm. Well, I just spent the last year bucking that good advice. But let's just remember, such advice is for the writer that wants to make money and establish him or herself with writing as their day job. Inner Self: "Wait, . . . I thought that was what we were trying to do? I've been working hard at this!?" Self: Well, yeah, but . . . I wanted to have fun and play.
Don't Go Until You Know
Not only did I spend 2016 writing a novel outside of the genre and audience that I was only beginning to find footing with, I decided that I was going to publish it as a serial novel online. A smart businessman or two encouraged me to reevaluate my idea given the fact that I was jumping genres/audiences, and that I still hadn't really built a fan base. I had what I still think are some really good ideas, but once again, I was thinking like the author who had already made it and had several hundred thousand fans ready to try whatever ink I dropped on paper.
Hmmm. I did it anyway, as seems to have been my style as of late, had a lot of fun, but ultimately just discovered an expensive hobbie. Inner Self: "If you want an expensive hobbie, we could have kept at the triathlon thing and stayed in really good shape at the same time! C'mon!" Self: It could have worked. And it's not money that measures success, but the love of creating. Inner Self: "What about a loss of money? Does that measure success?" Self: Moving on.
In gearing up for 2017, and the potential completion, publication and sale of both Book 3 & 4 of The Reaper's Seed, I'm looking back on 2016 as a formable year in my artistic identity. In fact, I've actually double down on my "bad decision" in a sense. I wouldn't take it back. Writing and publishing The Nobleman was fun, and I have two more novel ideas like it that I hope to write some day.
So, I've branded myself as a multi-genre author. We'll see whether that's really such a great idea over the next stretch. But, in the meantime, it's back to the epic fantasy. I left a lot of characters in the lurch!