Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fight The Fear!

This is more of a self-help post than the kind I normally write.

There is a lot of pressure on independent writers nowadays. Everywhere we turn there are hundreds and thousands of other writers publishing their work, daily, hourly, every minute and every second. It's fast paced. It's new and exciting. It's also terrifying!

How do you get noticed in a vast ocean of books?

Most bloggers and independent authors I read say to write as fast as you can. I agree with this, but I have to say that this advice does instill a certain fear in the back of my brain that likes to pop to the front every so often, making me freeze up like a deer in headlights.

Produce more? Faster? It was enough to just get a single manuscript to its second draft! Now I'm supposed to speed up and crank out three books a year? That seems impossible!

Wait a second. Take a deep breath.

Nothing happens overnight. Sure, some of these authors pulled five all-nighters in a row to publish three books in five months. Great for them. Personally, I know that I can only work at my own pace creatively and that when the well is dry, I need to replenish it. That takes a day or so of reading, watching a great television program, or playing a game and being outdoors for a walk.

In this internet age we must be focused on our next product. But I will urge everyone who is out there producing things in their own studies (like me) to please also think of quality. There is a huge amount of media out there, some of it fantastic, but a lot of it mediocre and rushed. Quality over quantity has and will perhaps always be my mantra, and I think it's very important in this digital age. Now, I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't crank out as many books as you possibly can in a single year. If I can get three our before December 2014 I will be the happiest man on the planet!

But, I'm going to give each of those three potential books all the loving, tender care they deserve and demand before I throw them out into the world. Publishing and building up a catalogue is a slow process. Even the gods among us like Joe Konrath worked years to get to where he is. That was a ton of work! More than I've done yet in my career. Still, it's tempting to rush the books when we see someone's backlist out on Amazon, ready to be purchased. It's enormous! I wish I had that. But, I don't. Not yet. And that's okay.

Focus on the quality of whatever project you're currently working on. It will pay off in the long run with an eBook that will be read and re-read because it was a piece of art that deserves attention. Why else do I go back to read Lord of the Rings each year? It's beautiful! I want my own book to be beautiful as well. With patience and attention to craft, it will be. I just have to fight the fear that I'm not producing fast enough.