When I first started writing, it was strictly for pleasure. I didn't know that anyone would ever read my book, so I didn't really stress over word choice, or plot pacing. When Siren Publishing picked up my work, no one was more shocked than I was.
This was when the rude awakening hit. Writing strictly for pleasure was over. What I enjoyed doing to unwind, what helped me relieve stress by escaping to another world was no longer just a hobby. It was a job.
Like any job, it's important to take stock every so often and figure out whether it's really a thing that you want to be doing. All over social media, I've been talking to other people doing much the same thing as I've been for the past few days. Taking stock.
Some have decided that writing is no longer financially feasible. Believe me, making shitty money and putting your guts on the page time and time again can be really discouraging. I've gotten many a royalty check that left me saying, "Oh. Good. I guess I can swing through the drive thru now!"
What I would say to anyone who has doubts (and what I remind myself when *I* have doubts) about this whole writing thing is this. We spend a finite amount of time in the universe and I don't intend to miss any chance I'm given to make my mark on it.
1) Increase my back catalog.
2) Increase reviews from major blogs
3) Increase sales (duh!)
4) Try other publishers out.
Awesomely enough, I managed to nab a Readers' Choice Award for Best Shifter Book of 2015 from Evernight Publishing. Bite Me was an Editor's Choice. Several of my books were top picks across multiple review sites, and I managed a few bestsellers with Amazon. I wasn't really aiming for those things as a specific goal, but they were definitely good for my tortured artist soul. ;)
On the down side, I spent a ton of time and effort on promo. There is a quicker, better way of doing things, and I'm going to find it, dammit. I didn't write as much as I would have liked, even though I put out several (seven) books.
What's on the horizon for 2016?
1) Quality vs. Quantity (shooting for six books to publisher this year, plus the smaller projects I'll self pub)
2) Keeping reviews and sales on an upswing
3) Self publish a few short stories
4) Manage time more efficiently
In closing, here's a little snippet of The Truth Laid Bare, the second in my The Forsaken Few series:
By the time she got it together again, she was clinging to him, her tears running down his chest. He considered himself a direct man. Maybe a little blunt, but never cruel. The way that he’d callously broken the news to her didn’t sit well with him. He still wasn't sure what her motive was for being here, but, unless she put on one hell of a performance, then he probably had some things to atone for.
“I'm sorry. Jesus, I don't even know your name,” she said, hopping up from the glider to stand nervously. She wrapped her arms tightly around her body, her fragile frame almost shaking.
“Ty. Ty Flynn.”
“Listen,” he said, gruffly. “Come inside and we'll talk. I had a late night and need some fucking coffee.”
She hesitated for a moment, roll of toilet paper in hand, and then followed him through the front door. She looked around, obviously taking in the room around her. “Not that I don't appreciate the whole naked lumbersexual vibe you're giving off here, but could you maybe put some pants on?”
He snorted, cracking his first smile of the day. “Lumbersexual? I’m not even gonna ask. But, yeah, lemme go find some pants. Make yourself at home.”