Choo choo! As I’ve alluded to several time, including a couple of weeks back (what? you missed it?) is that this journey as a writer can feel a bit like limbo at times. Sure, I’m on the train and I’ve left the station, rolling on towards my destination. But for some time it seems like the scenery is just rolling on by without me actually getting any closer to arriving.
Perhaps I should be done with the metaphor by now……
The whole affair just seems like the embodiment of how emotional states inhibit ones thinking. Feeling like you’re in quicksand soon makes the world appear to be sucking you down no matter how hard you struggle. As one modern poet put it, “your enemy is how you think.”
So maybe instead I’ll double down on it, and stoke that engine with a bit more fuel! What’s needed is a head of steam – no, F-that! – what’s needed is a mag-lev, high speed, super sonic bullet train right into the heart of success!
It’s all about positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts…….
INPUT vs OUTPUT
All too often I get hung up over-thinking blog post. Then the drafts pile up and I never get around to finishing them, and months go by etc etc. Sporadic posts are the result. I assume that it effects the algorythms because after posting a fortnight ago (and posting a reminder just in case anyone missed the notification) my analytics inform that maybe four people have looked at it. But according to those same analytics Tuesday morning was the best time to post. I don’t know, maybe it just wasn’t worth reading……
I can get with that. I was in a pretty funk. No one wants to hear about self pity. Just get on with entertaining us, right? But that could be harder than I thought. According to the experts, I should be spending 20 hours on one post and writing on a subject that I know so well that I do it better than anyone else. That’s how the pro’s get paid apparently. Yet I wasn’t thinking about getting paid for doing this. I’m doing this because I was advised to build up an online presence. In that respect, there was one thing that the experts said which resonated with me: your social media profile is like a business card on the net, always there, and the aim is to drive viewers towards it.
So the notion that maybe it would be better to just make like infinite chimps bashing type writers, churning out more quantity than quality with the hope that every so now and then something approaching genius pops out, might be the wrong one. Yet a little bit of keyboard bashing does seem to get the ball rolling (such as last weeks post, the Sonographic Sketch #1). Not a great success, but simple and fun and on subject – just what I want, an increase in output and a reduction on the burdens of input.
PUNCHING THE TICKET
Ideally, I want to have a core of faithful fantasy fanatics following me because the advice offered to prospective writers (by those in the know) is to approach an agent with a prepackaged readership. If you offer them a dowry of a guaranteed money-maker because you have 5000 followers then the marriage is on. It doesn’t even matter whether the book is any good or not, it’s going to get published and that’s just the way the world works.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have to put heart and soul into what I do. I think we can all see that popularity contests don’t produce anything of longevity. Hells teeth! Popularity is no marker of quality either and honestly, I’m not bitter about the reality that shit can sell straight off the proverbial shovel. It is the way it is, and the only thing to do is to keep pushing forward with the work. It ain’t easy, and every step of the way is a reminder that it won’t get any easier. But it’s going to be worth it when it all comes together.
So, to punch my ticket, I’m going to need followers and as much as I love my Facebook friends, they ain’t exactly hard core fantasy fans. No, what needed is to load this hype train with fresh passengers and get it right up to speed before taking it into the station where either the agent/publisher is waiting with a big fat handshake saying “about time you got here.”
However, there is still the niggling problem of publishing vs self publishing lurking here. I recently read that Alan Campbell’s third book in the Gravedigger Chronicles wont be released because of poor sales. Really sucks as I loved the the setting and characters. So the only way us as readers will get to know how it all ended is for the author to self publish the last book. I don’t exactly want to hand over the work if it’s not going to go all the way – I’ve got at least five books here (one near finished, two more draft and exact plans for book 2 and 5).
Either way I need followers, so what’s the best way to attract them? It seems seems a bit chicken and the egg. You want people to follow you because you want them to like your work, but you need to put your work out there and have people like it first, but to get it out there you have to have people read it, and to read it you have to have followers.
SO HOW ABOUT……. TEASERS?
Yeah, so how about it? It seems that for all the time I’ve spent writing this blog I have achieved the first half of it’s purpose – the business card, the social media presence, the writer’s journey stuff with a little bit of biography in it – but what I have avoided is putting any of my actual work up for reading.
So (with some trepidation) I would like to make the announcement that I’ll be posting some work soon. In the run up to Christmas I’ll be posting the initial prologue and chapters of Red Star Rising with a dedicated focus of getting a basic readership on board with a bit of promotion. All that’s required at this time is to do one final proof read. Then the near finished product is gonna go viral on social media, I’ll have them bashing in the e-door trying to reach me…….
I’ll let you know how it turns out.
There’s also a piece of work that I recently wrote for fun which should appeal to fans of Terry Pratchett. I tried to do something contained, but that might flower if there’s any interest, and I kind of hope so because I certainly enjoyed writing it. There was a freedom in just letting my mind cook up something fun, and it turned out to be just the sort of project with low input for high output. A quick test read is being prepped, so expect it soon.
And so, suddenly, it really seems like I’ve actually come a lot further than I thought, that all that time I was irritated was just another one of those troughs that comes along every now and then. Hell, even as I’m finishing this I’ve got a nasty stomach bug but here I am pushing to get things done.
The abruptness is startling, and pleasing. The feeling of not getting anywhere was just an illusion.
I’m rolling on into the station.