Long ago, when I first started releasing books, I did it all wrong. I didn’t know, and there was no one to teach me, so I made it up as I went along. According to Google, I was advised to write the first book in a series, just in case the publisher didn’t want to contract the whole set, so I wouldn’t waste my time. So that’s what I did.
Then, I found that traditional publishing isn’t for me. I wanted to get paid for my work (yeah, I know, crazy stuff). I wanted to have control over the representation of my characters. No white cover models for my black or Hispanic characters. I wanted to have boundaries be pushed and lines get crossed. I wanted to write MY stories, not the diluted type expected with mass media. I don’t do well sitting back and letting someone else make my decisions for me, and work doesn’t scare me.
So, I put out my stand-alone book, One More Day. It was well received, even if hardly noticed. Wonderful reviews, but very few of them. I realized my problem was discoverability, so I wrote another book. Then another. The whole time, I was working on more in the background while I saved up enough to publish. And still, I didn’t think I should finish a series. I wanted more options. It never dawned on me that indie publish and trade publishing have such different rules and needs.
Now, I have too many series on the go. Rise of the Iliri is almost done (Will be finished in Mid 2019). The Demons’ Muse should be done by the end of 2019. Gamer girls will end early in 2020. And, during one of those breaks, I decided to release a trilogy to fill the gap. It’s done, so why not?
BUT! And this is a big but. I will not be making myself insane going forward. Instead of following the pressure of reader demand, I’m going to write out the entire series and quick release. I like how this is going with the Dark Orchid series – three books in three months, even though I spent a quiet year writing them in the background. The readers enjoy the fast releases. The visibility is good for my sales (and thus keeping my lights on) as well. It’s like a win-win.
This means that 2019 will have a LOT of books coming out. It means I will be pushing myself a bit. It also means that 2020 will be simpler, easier, and cleaner.
To all authors just starting out, learn from my example. DO NOT release the book when you finish. Write the entire series. Give yourself the room to make fixes before you’re on a deadline. I know it’s thrilling and exciting, and you think this is going to be your big break, but that’s not how it works. You end up spending most of your time trying to get noticed, and not putting words on the page. You find that the deadlines you’ve made aren’t long enough. You get frazzled, feel stressed, and have a greater chance of giving up because of it.
But if you do, push on. Anything can be fixed. All mistakes are chances to learn and improve. If I can clean up the messes **I** have made, then you, too, will be fine.
And 2020 is going to be SO NICE. I’m really looking forward to a bit less insanity.