A journey of 1,000 steps…
Posted by jrmurdock
After many false starts writing Of Gnomes and Dwarves, I felt I needed to do something different. That world wasn’t ready to be written and my brain wasn’t fully ready for the task of creating such a monumental body of work. I had several things I needed to learn before I’d ever be able to write my great epic fantasy.
One of the biggest things I needed to learn was how to tell a full story from start to finish. I had limitations on word choice and needed to study up on grammar. There were many holes in my education. I understood technical jargon, but when it came to writing a story, I was lacking.
During NaNoWriMo, oh so many years ago, I wrote V&A Shipping. It was, at the time, intended to be a stand-alone book. I had no intention at the time of writing to create more than one story in that universe. Much like Of Gnomes and Dwarves, Vic and Argmon were from a role-playing game we’d played in high school. Other than the characters, the story had very little to do with the game.
At this time, I also thought I wanted to be a humor writer along the lines of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. Only, when I wrote, that humor didn’t fully materialize for me. There are a few funny moments, but overall, the tone of V&A Shipping is a serious story. Far deeper than intended. Yes, I wrote the story, but it went where it wanted to go.
Now, when I say this was a NaNoWriMo novel, I wrote a majority of it during the money of November, but I finished it off in December. The book weighed in around 100,000 words. It was a hefty work, but I’d finished it. I told the story I wanted to tell and I loved it.
Then I did a re-write because as everyone knows, a good book isn’t finished until you’ve done at least one re-write, right! I subscribed to the myth of re-writes and did that a couple of times with this book before putting it aside and working on Astel. Then Billy Barbarian. Then Paradise Palms. Then My Teacher is a Zombie.
I’ll stop here and pause for a second and try to explain what I was thinking at the time. My intention was to write the first book in several series. I would drop those books out into the wild and see which people loved the most. V&A Shipping and Billy Barbarian I did as podiobooks and got those uploaded. They generated an audience. So, logically, the first book I published was Astel.
You can see where I’m going here. I failed many times over. First off, I should have kept writing in the V&A Shipping universe. Secondly, I should have published V&A Shipping first. Eventually I did, but I’d released so much else first. I compounded my errors by not sticking to one series or even one genre. I wanted to write and publish everything.
Nothing sold (of course).
This caused me to completely rethink what I was doing and I stopped writing and publishing. I’d put out 16 books over the course of 4 or 5 years. Nothing stuck. I’ll put numbers out next week and show where this failure happened. It was depressing.
I’m one of those people that was quite prolific and then disappeared. I’m a “what ever happened to?” writer. I’ve done that a few times. I’d pop my head up and drop something, only to fade away again. Why? Cuz I kept failing.
Now, I wasn’t putting a lot of effort into keeping things rolling. I’d write books and keep track. I blogged. But I wasn’t releasing anything. I came up with more excuses than you can shake a stick at not to publishing anything else.
There is a silver lining to all this. I found my way into the story I wanted to tell and how I wanted to tell it. I wound up with a backlog of books in that story and I’m excited with the direction it’s headed. Much has changed in publishing over the years and with my mindset around what I’m doing and planning on doing. I’m excited once again about what’s coming.
I’m not just excited, I’m pumped! I’m eager to start putting books out again and getting this machine rolling. Why? Because for the first time in years, I’ve a plan, a schedule, and a backlog. With this series of blog posts I’ve been doing over the past few months and with the YouTube videos I’ve been doing, I’m excited once again to see what’ll happen.
As I keep saying over and over and over again, I know this will be a LONG slow journey. I’m not expecting to do well out of the gate. It won’t happen. Each time I’d drop a book, I’d anxiously reload the web pages to see what sold. Multiple times per day. I’d be disappointed. I’m not doing that any more. I know my numbers will stink on ice. I’m starting at the bottom. Lower even. I’ve already put out books that went up the charts and rapidly dropped.
My plan going forward it to, once a month, pull the numbers and present them. How are books doing? How am I selling? How is my platform growing? What am I doing to expand my reach? I’m going to do all of this publicly.
I want you to see what I’m doing and know that I’m keeping an eye on things. That I’m not letting this slip again. I’ll even start posting daily word counts once again so you can follow the progress of the books I’m working on.
I’ve got big plans. Everything is already in motion. It’s difficult to explain how excited I am. I almost can’t contain myself.
Until Next Time!
Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0123-evhu4o
Posted on April 23, 2021, in Blog Post and tagged author, long road, mistakes, publishing, starting over, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
Whoa, that must be quite a grind, putting in so much work but still having to face them challenges. But I love the quote at the end, that you just need to keep at it. Sometimes I feel like it can be a grind too, so I totally relate. Wishing you all the best on your journey!
Thank you, Stuart! It’s a long road and success is never easy. Nothing worth having is easy to obtain. 🙂
“Yes, I wrote the story, but it went where it wanted to go.”
When dancing with the muse, a wise man lets her lead. (You wise, Jay!)
I learned long ago that I only have limited control over the voices inside my head….er…what the characters do in my stories 🙂