You probably haven’t heard of Joe Konrath unless you own a Kindle. He’s one of the monsters in indie publishing, pulling in over half a million a year. Lucky for me, he’s also an indie advocate. If you’re looking for inspiration, for assurance that yes, you can make it without a Big 6 publisher, Joe is the man to light a fire under your ass. He’s certainly lit one under mine.
I’ve set a deadline for my first book to go live: early June if I’m lucky, late June if things get complicated. It’s a window, it’s smack dab in the middle of the year, and that’s a good thing… because I’ve somehow convinced myself that one book isn’t enough. Somehow, by reading anecdote after inspiring anecdote, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to grab success, I have to pump out two books a year. Two novels. You know, those things that some people take years to write.
Don’t look at me like that. I know what I’m doing. (Um, right.) Here’s the thing; even in the world of e-books, there’s such a thing as ‘virtual shelf space’. One book doesn’t take up much space, but we’ve all got to start somewhere. Books sell other books. If you like an author, you’re probably going to check out their other stuff as well. Having one book stalls that process. Having two doubles your revenue.
The last book I wrote took me eight weeks–a new record for me. But there’s more than just writing. There’s revising, editing, there’s contracting a cover designer and giving them ample time to create a cover that’s going to work for your novel. There’s formatting the whole thing for Kindle and Nook and the iPad. There’s updating websites, advertising (hopefully devoid of begging and pleading). When I started writing this novel in January, I did it because it was nagging at my brain; I wrote it for the sake of writing it. But after I came across Joe Konrath’s blog, after I learned about the e-book boom and the fact that if you do it right then yes, you can make money (sometimes boatloads), my ‘hobby’ has suddenly turned into a business. And that’s exciting.
But it’s also intimidating.
Two books a year. That gives me six months each. Two months for the first draft. Four months for revisions, rewrites, cover design, formatting. If I manage to put out my first book by June, I’ll have another for sale by Christmas. That’s nuts… but it’s also an exhilarating proposition. It’s a massive undertaking, but this time there will actually be a payout in the end, and that’s something totally new for me. Sure, the payout may be peanuts, but at least my work will actually be out there instead of inside my laptop, sitting there, mocking me for all the time and effort I put into it… and for what? Self-satisfaction? Call me crazy, but self-satisfaction gets a bit old.
So that’s the plan. Will I be able to stick to it? I think so. Will it be difficult? Ugh… I don’t even want to think about it. But hey, if it gets me to a place that I’ve wanted to be for the last fifteen years, I’d say the effort is worth it.