***A guest post I requested from Kevin G. Summers on why Indie authors should keep writing and publishing, working every day, because you never know when something good is going to happen***
Michael asked me to write this little guest post on his blog, not because of my background in teaching or because I’ve read 19x more books on writing than he has, but because we share an experience that will likely be of some benefit (at least as an illustration) to the other authors out there on the web.
Earlier this year, Michael and I co-wrote a book called Legendarium. We published this through all of the usual sites and even made an audiobook through ACX. The book did quite well, especially for me, and continued selling for months and months. We did a big sale on the kindle edition over the summer, but by late fall, sales had begun to decline. For me, Legendarium was a huge success. It’s the book where I fully embraced indie publishing, and even though the royalties weren’t paying the mortgage, they were paying the phone bill, and that’s something.
And then something unbelievably amazing happened.
On December 3rd, Audible made the Legendarium audiobook a Daily Deal and marked the price down to $1.99. We couldn’t track the sales as they happened because ACX doesn’t show you that kind of information (someone should look into that!) but we knew it was big because our sales ranking and author rankings went off the chart. By the time I went to bed that night, Legendarium was the #1 audiobook on both Audible and Amazon, and Michael and I were sandwiched between J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Kirkman on the Top 100 authors list. Pretty nice day, thank you Amazon!
What makes it even nicer is that while sales dropped off after the sale ended, the book remained high the rankings as people continued to buy it at full price. As of today, we have sold over 5000 audiobooks this month! I’m simply floored when I look at that number, but bragging is not the reason why MIchael asked me to write this post. There’s actually something important he wants me to talk about, so I’d better get to it.
After Legendarium was published in March, after the traditional celebration for a job well done, I went right back to work. I started the first part of a serialized weird western story and by the end of the summer the book was available in both ebook and print editions (I’m waiting until the storyline is done before I release an audiobook). When Part 1 was finished, I got to work on Part 2. And when I sent the first draft of that book over to my beta readers, guess what I did the very next day? I started work on an Apocalypse Weird book. The day after I turn in my Apocalypse Weird draft, I’m going to start on Part 3 of the western. No down time.
Now, if you read the advice of practically any successful author, from John Gardner to Stephen King and almost everyone in between, they will tell you that the secret to staying on track with your writing is to write every day. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but I can guarantee that unless he is in the hospital, Stephen King is putting in at least a little bit of time every day, come rain or shine. Personally, it was so much easier to glide from one story to the next instead of doing what I’ve always done in the past, which was to wait for months and months before I got back to work. Every time that I did that, the first week or maybe even first two weeks were spent knocking off the ring rust.
There’s an added benefit to continuing to work, and that is that you generate more books for people to read. When Legendarium initially released, I had a significant number of readers sample the rest of my writing. Honestly, if I had more books out at the time, I would have had even more of that type of sale. And now there are 5000 new readers (minus the ones that took Alistair Foley as a personal attack, of course) that are potentially willing to read my other work.
So, that’s about all I have to say. If you’re a writer, and I know that a lot of writers follow Michael, the #1 thing that you should be doing for your career is to write consistently. It doesn’t matter how many books on the craft that you read (though you should read John Gardner’s books on the subject) or how many books of encouragement that you read (you should also read Here There Be Dragons, it’s not a fantasy novel), the thing that will make the most difference is to get your ass in the chair and produce. You never know when lightning is going to strike, but you can be ready to seize your opportunity when it does.
Get the Legendarium Audiobook!