This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog topic is lessons: Name one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to be open to anything.
Nothing is sacred. Nothing is assured. No rule is absolute.
Every book I write, I do it slightly differently. Every sale I make is because of something new I tried (because too frequently what works once won’t necessarily work again). Nothing stays the same and nothing is guaranteed.
That’s what I’ve learned by being a published author for the past thirteen years — both traditionally published and self-published.
Is that sad? Perhaps, but it leaves me open to trying new things.
Is it frustrating? Sometimes, because I would love to have a formula for selling books.
Is it freeing? You bet! I get to try new things, have fun, explore and learn.
Because I don’t tie myself to any one method of either writing or selling books, I give myself opportunities that others, who keep doing the same thing with each book don’t allow themselves.
I know where my strengths in writing lie. I know how I work best — yes, I’ve tried writing by the seat of my pants and learned that that’s not how my brain works. I need to plot and plan; I need to fill out numerous worksheets to figure out who my characters are and what their goals, motivations and conflicts are. I need to know what their misbelief is and how they view the world in order to write their stories. So, I know where to start my writing, but sometimes I fill in worksheets for every scene, sometimes I fill out 3×5 cards, and sometimes I don’t do either one. Sometimes I organize my book using Scrivener, sometimes I use a W graph on a blackboard. Sometimes I use a four part structure, sometimes a six part structure. Every book is different and needs to be written differently.
There is no formula.
For selling my books, I’ve tried Facebook ads, Amazon ads, Bookbub ads and ads on smaller sites as well. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I usually put my book up for pre-order, but I’ve published without doing so as well. Sometimes I start the book out at .99, sometimes I start it at the price it’s going to end up (they’re all priced between 2.99 and 4.99 except for the first in the series which is either free or .99–that, I know, works well). I almost always get my cover done professionally (a few I’ve done myself) and I always get my books professionally edited (by the same person) and usually I get them professionally proofread as well (depending on whether I have more than one reader who offers to do it for me–if I get two or more offering to proofread, then I just go with them instead of hiring a professional). And I always try to have my books beta-read by at least three people, although I don’t always follow the advice of my beta-readers. 🙂
So, here I am, open to everything and anything because the only thing I know for certain is that whatever worked or didn’t with my last book isn’t necessary going to work or not work with this one. Nothing is certain except for one thing: I love writing and nothing is going to stop me from writing what I love.