Ahhh.... here I sit, groggy at my keyboard, trying to get back on to eastern time after traveling to Vegas for four days. And figure out what to write. I think blogging on topic is often easier, but a part of me truly wonders who we are blogging to in this group? Is a writer-focused blog the best way to reach readers? How many readers actually read blogs? And why would they read ones that focus on writing?
Getting away is good. It often opens your mind up and helps you to re-examine a situation and evaluate the best course of action. I looked at some hard facts this weekend:
Are you working too much on the business end of things in publishing? Yes. Without a doubt I can say 'yes'. The amount of hours I spend on learning how to upload files at various locations, reformat existing ebook files to acceptable formats, designing covers, working on effectively worded ads, posting interactive "status updates", managing creative personalities in groups (which I don't always do with success), analyzing sales figures across multiple retailers, working on new strategies to monetize wisely.... Good God, it is exhausting.
Are you writing enough new material? No. Now, let me be clear-- we must all be honest about what we can produce and what should be a good personal goal. I finished Johnny Living Dangerously in January. I had about eight thousand words done prior to the winter holiday break and wrote the remaining twelve thousand words and polished the novella up within the month. I also did the cover and got all the files ready and out to launch on February 4th.
My girlfriend got her novella out the week before and it did gangbusters. I was truly inspired. I sat down and wrote my next erotica novella, More Than Tolerable, in about three weeks and got it polished and up for sale within the same month - it released on Feb 24th.
March arrived and I was so busy uploading new files to various retailers, and correcting mistakes I didn't know existed in the various nine ebook files I'm responsible for, that I never did much new writing. I started a new short story collection in the Patriotica line, but haven't done more than about 5k words.
And now, the realization that I've worked on other projects more than the novel I have broadcasted everywhere I'll be releasing the end of June hits me square between the eyes. There is no doubt what I need to focus on, right? The novel that is due. But you know what's really hard? When you have such a long project with intricate subplots and layers combined with memory issues. It is making the big project a HUGE challenge.
Are you using your blogging time to reach readers? Yes and no. As a writer, we are told to build a platform. No one really tells you how in a short period of time, but lots of people have advice on it. We try lots and lots of things and then see what sticks. Want to know the number one blog post on this site that drove thousands of readers here for weeks? One Greg did a few months back that mentioned Jennifer Aniston and had a picture of her. No, I'm not joking.
Are you utilizing social networking well? Sometimes I think "yes, I am." Other times I think it's a big time suck. I like the people I've met and have connected with, but I lose "fans" on my page whenever I post anything. Sure, I gain a few to replace them each week, but I have no idea why the others left or their name to even follow up and ask.
In the end, it all comes to balance. Balancing the time I spend on other people's work - be it editing, cover design, file upload, maximizing profits through research, building a website I never wanted, "branding"... the list goes on and on... with what I need to do to be a writer. I need to write, plain and simple.
Figuring out all the aspects of the Everything Erotic site and Red Hot Publishing has been time consuming. Have I learned more than the average writer in a very short span of time? Yes. Have I managed to sell books and release new titles while doing so? Yes. Have I worked my ass into the ground for other people, while not earning a dime on them? Yes.
Would I change a thing? Hell no. Life is about learning and moving forward. I've come so far in such a short period of time and yet I've poured so much of my life into it in the process. Is it worth it? Who can decide and how is such a thing measured? Simply in book sales?
Getting away helped me to relax and pry myself from the computer where I constantly check email, do social networking, obsessive researching of sales, marketing, promotion and publishing... you name it. It helped me realize what was important and what I need to do above all else:
I need to write.
Sure, I still have to do all the other stuff. But I have to have work written first and foremost.
It's great to be back, even if the time change is still kicking my ass and I think I need to nap. How do you recharge? And when you do, are you able to keep on top of the bigger picture easier? I'll find out in the weeks to come if I can sustain all my lofty aspirations!