Saturday, July 21, 2012

Going Indie - Day 3: Opportunities

Grab a Copy of My Little Pet Dragon!
Every day is an opportunity to add another title to your catalog, or at very least, make significant progress on it. When putting out a title in a short period of time, I find it's best to set everything up the night before and do the major production in the morning.

When I don't do this, I find myself struggling. I need to do a rough draft of the story, acquire all the pictures and other resources, create the cover, decide on a title, create the first couple slides (for picture books), etc. It can be hours before I finally get to the meat of the story. That's no good. If I grind all day long but come up short, I know exactly where I faltered. At least I've made significant progress, and it will be easy to pick up where I left off in the morning.

So that's my dilemma this morning. I've acquired most of the assets that I'll be using on my picture book Adorable Dogs: Labradors, but I still need a few more. I've written most of the story, but I don't have an ending. I haven't decided upon a cover, but I have a few ideas in mind. In short, I've got a bunch of pieces, but not an actual book. That's my job today and every day: to make something out of these scattered visions.

Otherwise, who knows how long this book will remain just a vague sketch? The longer it festers, the less likely it will be completed. I have other projects that I need to move on to, and today is the perfect day to get one more off my plate. If I work hard all day, I'll get there. Stay focused and relentless, and good things will happen.

This brings me back to something that Guinness World Record Holder Ryoki Inoue said about writing. Writing essentially comes down to three things: organization, discipline and hard work. Discipline is what brings you to the table each morning (practice the butt-in-chair technique, it works). Organization clarifies what you hope to accomplish and how you intend to do it, and hard work makes it happen.

So get yourself organized, come to the table willing to work, and you will make it happen. Your new book will be done before you know it.

Progress Update

What I've come to realize over the past few weeks is that the difference between finishing projects and letting them languish for days is largely a matter of will. If you want to complete a project, you’ll find a way to finish. Certainly there are times when you need to put projects aside so that you can come back to them with a fresh eye. But there's no reason why you can't get 90% of the work done in the meantime. And when you're that close, the project will bug you until you put the finishing touches on it and submit it for publication.

I hate it when I'm extremely close to my goal. Even though I'd like a nap or grab something to eat, nothing seems to help. I can't turn off my mind; it's still working out problems, even when I sleep. And when I figure something out, often at the most inopportune moments, I have no choice. I have to dive back in or else I'll lose the insight forever.

Today I've done a ton of work on Adorable Dogs: Labradors, but it's still not done. It looks like this book is going to be about twice the size of my two other dog books, so I might have underestimated it a bit. Though I'd like to finish it off and enjoy UFC 149, I'm going to back off and give myself another day to complete it. This book is for a friend, so I don't want to rush it. Still, I won't allow myself any more than another day.

My Little Pet Dragon Update

As for My Little Pet Dragon, it's had a fairly underwhelming performance thus far today. It was stuck at #24 for most of the afternoon before sliding to #29. There's still a chance that it could jump into the Top 20 overnight, but it seems less likely now. Tomorrow will mark the 5th day of the promotion, and 15,000 people have already downloaded it (not including previous runs). The real trick is converting all of this interest into actual sales. Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but my chances are good.

I should be fine. (Famous last words.;)


  1. I appreciate your observations on the process of becoming a successful indie author. Discipline, organization, and hard work are definitely key elements, as well as learning from other authors.

    On your advice I tried going free for the full five days with my last promotion of DANGEROUS TALENTS. I also did a better job than in the past of notifying the free book sites of the promo. The results were fantastic! DANGEROUS TALENTS reached #22 overall, #1 in Fantasy>Epic, and #2 in Romance>Fantasy, Futuristic, Ghost. My downloads reached nearly 16,000.

    So far my post promo sales have exceeded those of previous promotions, too.

    This really is a great time to be a writer!