I’ve been self-publishing for a year now. Time for a short period of reflection and a reboot. [Side note: I never thought I’d ever refer to myself in computer terms, but there ya go!]
I have learned a lot of things, mostly contradictory. Sometimes the contradiction is because there are always exceptions to a rule. But a lot of times it’s because life is contradictory.
One of the most important contradictions is the importance of searching out and using good advice. I really don’t need to make more mistakes, so if someone else is generously sharing their writing and publishing lessons, that’s a shortcut to success. Except — and here’s the contradiction — listening to good advice ends up freezing me in place because it’s not humanly possible to do and beware of everything. So, the idea is that I need to be an informed and active member of the author community, but I also need to let go of searching for “the rules” and trust my instincts. No one knows my business as well as me.
And that is who I am. I’m a small business owner. I produce and sell my own product, my books. This is THE lesson for me at the moment. I have to embrace the new reality — one which has existed for ages, but which I’ve been shoving under the carpet — I am an entrepreneur.
Not simply a small business owner, but one who produces an innovative product: an entrepreneur. I need to produce books for which there is no substitute. I want people to enter a bookstore, bricks and mortar or online, and not ask for “a romance novel”, but for “Jenny Schwartz’s latest”.
If you’re an author, you’ve probably already identified this goal. But for me, hauling it out kicking and resisting into the daylight, is important.
Do I want to write great books that people love and re-read? Absolutely.
But for my next twelve months, just to re-focus my attention, my motto will be to SELL lots of books. Writing great books is a pre-requisite, but I need this explicitly capitalist goal to keep me on the straight and narrow, and not wandering off into interesting byways and social media gossiping.
I’ll be asking myself, “would an entrepreneur invest their time in _______ activity?” And if the answer is no, then what the heck am I doing?