I was going to start today, since January 1st was a holiday and I didn’t think I actually needed to start my resolutions on a holiday. But Fate stepped in. It was the day of my writing club’s monthly meeting and at ten a.m. the wife of our scheduled speaker called to say her husband was too sick to drive two hours to our clubhouse and give his talk. I’m program chairman so it was up to me to save the day. All I could think of was a speech on self-publishing that I was working on for a program in April, so I hurriedly finished it, dashed to the meeting and gave the speech.
Then my husband returned from his meeting and we went to dinner, after which I realized I had to do end-of-month and end-of-year bookkeeping and write this blog. And I hadn’t even decided on a New Year’s resolution yet. Then I remembered I had just read two resolutions by other writers, so I’d follow their advice.
J. A. Konrath‘s blog repeated what he’d said every year from 2006 to today. In the past, he advised writers on ways to find a publisher or agent, how to work with them and how to do their own marketing if the publisher didn’t.
Today he says he has 10,000 Twitter followers but seldom goes there and hasn’t been on Facebook or blogged in months. He says he will never do another book tour or traditional book signing or attend book events. He says he won‘t read reviews, go on message boards or Google his name. He intends only to write more books.
That works for him, and his sales continue strong. But back in 2006 he’d already been published by major New York publishers and, no doubt because of all the book tours and book signings he did in those days, he can turn his back on it now. He’s been there, done that. And because he did, he made a name for himself and has a platform. Readers know him and seek out his books.
So what about those of us who never had that chance, never got published with big-time houses? What about the newbies - as he calls them - who are just starting out? How will anyone find their books among the 300,000 self-published books of last year? I salute Mr. Konrath who paid his dues and now only needs to write more books to make a six-figure annual income. But his advice doesn’t work for me or thousands of other writers.
Basically, Dean Wesley Smith advises the same thing: write more books and don’t worry about promoting them. But Smith, in his New Year advice, gives something else, something I can put to use. He tells how to find the time to write when we constantly claim there is none. He breaks it down into a simple question: How many words can you write in an hour? 1000? Good. All you need is five hours to produce 5000 words and all you need is a week to do it. Anyone can find five hours in the 80 waking five-day-a week hours we’re given. And if you do that every week, you’ll have written 400,000 words in a year. That’s five 80,000-word books. Can’t write that fast? How about 500 words an hour? That would equal 200,000 words a year or 2-1/2 books.
In addition to having written all those words, at only five hours a week, you’ll still have 75 hours every week for all your other chores: rewriting, marketing, paying bills, shopping, exercise.
So it’s a no-brainer for me. I’m following Smith. No more procrastination for me. No more excuses about why I can’t start my new novel this week. No more discovering it’s May and I have yet to stick to my resolution for even a week.
But first I have to clean my office.
Dean Wesley Smith