Yesterday I wrote a piece for Medium. It was my first overtly political piece in a long time. I think it was a decent bit of writing, but I have to admit to a bit of trepidation. See, I’ve stayed out of politics a bit lately because I’m trying to build my reputation as a writer, and I’m not sure how much I should bring my personal voice into it. I mean, sure, what I feel, what I think about writing – but this is different.
Now, having said that, it’s an important topic to me, and I don’t believe in hiding behind fake objectivity or anything. I think that in the end, you have to be true to your personal beliefs and if that costs you some readers, well, I guess it’s back to eating instant ramen. I’ll survive but I won’t survive if I don’t follow my conscience.
I believe that too many writers follow the demands of success, don’t think enough about what it actually means, about the fact that writing is a voice you are putting out there for the world to read, and that voice has to be an honest one, one based on your core truth.
I write a lot of short stories, and fewer novels – although I do have three novels that are fairly far along. One is over 35k words right now, and I’m going back to that one. I will finish it, then I will finish the 23k one, then I will finish the 19k one. After that I will start to work back on smaller pieces or even start new projects… but only once those ones are finished.
I’m also instituting a new rule for myself. Novel work at least four days a week, I can do short stories the other three if I have ones that really need it. Again, contest entries or deadlines on a short story mean I can reprioritize until that story is done or the deadline has flown past me.
This schedule is designed to get work finished. When my goal was just to develop a catalog and it didn’t matter how long it took me to get that catalog written the way I was working worked fine. Now though, I have a limited time to get this writing thing working. It’s a little less than ten months by the way, although if after five it looks like it isn’t happening I have to go back to IT and keep writing as a hobby. So, five months to get a few novels out and start making money. It doesn’t have to be sustainable by the five-month mark, but I have to see that it’s a real possibility that it could be.
When I promote a new piece of facebook and twitter I usually get a few sales. Typically only three or four, but that’s cool. I’m building a catalog of content, and over time I hope sales will increase. What is currently freaking me out is spontaneous sales. That is, I look at my stats and discover someone has bought something I wrote without me doing anything to market it.
Now, it doesn’t happen often, in fact only a handful of times so far, but it has happened. People have found my work and decided to buy it spontaneously. On the one hand it’s a cool feeling, but on the other hand, I’m still new enough and dealing with small enough numbers, that I’m shocked by it every time. I even had people read a short piece of mine on KDP select. A true shock (it’s written under a different name, so doesn’t really advertise my main writing identity). I have actual KENP now!
Of course, this is the goal, so I probably shouldn’t be too shocked when it actually happens, but I still am. Maybe someday, a few years down the road, I’ll be more interested in the number of people who bought one of my books… but right now it’s still a surprise when a single one sells.
At the moment my Patreon is sitting at a solid 0 subscribers. Good numbers!
Now, when I say you know you want to, I would love to get some of the folks reading this to subscribe to my Patreon, so that I could see some actual results, but for the time being, I’m less worried about that than am about why I’m at 0.
So, here’s the ask: tell me what would help you to want to subscribe to my Patreon page. I’m going to be working on that from a bunch of different sources but at a minimum, I would love to hear from my friends and family. What would inspire you to shell out a couple of dollars a month? Is my $4.00 per month too high an ask? I was thinking of setting a $1.00 level (with a reward of my gratitude). Is it the wording I’m using? Is what I’m asking for too strange?
I’m clueless here.
And of course, should you decide to subscribe you will have my gratitude, and a signed copy of A Long Walk