Another year as a writer – time to reflect

Which way?Well, that’s almost it for 2017.  I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a writer and there never seems to be enough time, or it’s just that I’m getting older (as everyone does of course).  However, I sure someone is sneaking days out my years while I’m not looking.  Still, it’s time to reflect, which I think it’s important, especially for an indie-author.  What have I done well and what could have done better?  Where have I stepped up to the plate and where have I shirked or side stepped issues?

1)  Writing

Well since I’m a writer I guess I should start with this.  I’ve done more writing this year and I think I’m better organised.  My writing is improving (I am, as they say, finding my voice).  On taking advice and stepping back to critically look at how I write I now think I’m better organised.  Using Scrivener helps.  I have more smaller chapters and there’s more planning and more detailed planning when I start a new project.  Not that it doesn’t change as I go along as ideas and thought pop into my head.  However, the overall direction is there, which is good.

2)   Revision

If it was my school report it would say “improving but could do better”.  It’s not that I don’t revise, it’s just that, if anything, I think I do too much.  You can always change things, tinker, and a add few words here, take them out there, be a little more original.  However, there comes a time when you have to say “stop, enough is enough!”  It’s just when is enough?

 

3)  Finishing

I guess this ties in with 2).  I don’t know if anyone else has done those Myers Briggs tests?  They are supposed to reveal your personality traits and how you like to work.  Well, I was a “Concept Developer”, what I wasn’t was a “Starter Finisher”.  Which means I get a buzz out of starting new projects, not completing them.  I do finish books, witness the launch of the first of a new series this year (Inspector Kirby and Harold Longcoat – A Northumbrian Mystery).  The second is complete and needs more revising.  However, I’m two thirds of the way into the third, because that’s exciting isn’t it?   I mean I have to get those new ideas down, don’t I, while they’re still fresh?   Yup – could do better.

What’s more I have books two and three following on from my first ever novel.  You’ve guessed it, I need to finish revising them.  Oh, and go back and review the first one.  After all it was the first book I completed.  I have a feeling I know how the first half of 2018 should be spent (a resolution?).  However, I have all these other ideas….  I think one of the problems with being an indie-author is no-one is setting you deadlines other than yourself, which mean they become flexible.

4)  Marketing

I have sold more books, but not that many.  From the feedback I get I believe in my books, my writing.  Having read and researched I think one of the keys may be developing a series.  Which is what I’m working on and will be the goal for next year.  As I’ve said the second Kirby book is written and in review, the third is on the way.  Also, seeing as I have two follow-ups to my first sitting there awaiting completion I should have a good platform.

The series does two things:  1) it is simply more books out there and one of the first things I remember reading about self-publishing is that more books sell more books.  2) If you can get someone hooked on the first book in a series then you’ve sold the rest to them as well.  3) It gives you material to giveaway, and that giveaway is the first of a series.   I know some will hate the idea of giving work away.  It takes no less time and effort to write a book that is given for free as the ones you sell.  However, if they’re not selling then giving one away in the anticipation of selling two more makes sense to me.  For Bleak the story of a shapeshifter I wrote a 10,000 word prequel which is free on Amazon.  I rarely promote it these days and yet 30 – 50 copies are “sold” every week.  My sales of the main book aren’t great, but they’re better than they were.

The other bonus of having sufficient material that you can afford to give some of it away is building that all important e-mail list.  This is the one thing that everyone seems to agree on pays big dividends.  I’ve made a start with my collection of short stories, Dancing with the Devil, which is going down well.  However, if I can dedicate one of my novels to that as well, it can only get better.

5)  Finally

As with most years I don’t get as much done as I hoped and progress is a little slower than I would like.  However, I am making progress.  Yes, I sometimes lose momentum , get a bit disheartened.  But, then my characters remind me that I love the writing, I just want others to love it as well.

Have a good Christmas everyone.

As always comments are welcome

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

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