Every year between 2006 and 2015, J. A. Konrath has written a blog listing his New Year’s Resolutions. He tried to teach his readers to become good writers. In 2006 there was no Amazon, no Kindles, no easy self-publishing.
Here’s Joe’s list of Resolutions for 2006:
I will start and finish my book.
I will always have three stories submitted and be working on a fourth.
I will attend at least one writer’s conference and introduce myself to agents, editors and writers.
I will join a critique group or start one.
I will listen to criticism.
I will create and update my website.
I will master the Query process and search for an agent.
I will keep up my Blog and social connections.
I will schedule bookstore signings and greet customers while there.
I will contact local libraries and offer to do book signings.
I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher’s.
I will spend a large part of my advance on self-promotion.
I will help out other writers.
I will not get jealous or envious.
I will be amiable, accessible and enthusiastic.
Do we all know Joe Konrath used those sentences to become a best-selling author? We should because he did.
However, times changed, and Jeff Bezos developed Amazon. He invented the Kindle and turned every newbie writer into a self-published one. By 2010, Joe Konrath no longer needed an agent, or even a publisher. He was making his living as a writer. His list of resolutions was:
I will self-publish. Last year I earned $1650 in December. This year it’ll be $22,000.
This majority is on Kindle, but I’m also doing print with CreateSpace.
The Gatekeepers - agents who submit books - are no longer necessary.
I’m not saying to give up traditional publishing, but there’s no down-side to self-publishing. At the worst, you’ll make a few bucks. At the best, you’ll make a fortune with agents and editors fighting over you.
Do not take any deal that’s less than you’d make in 6 years. If you sell 1000 books per month, then $144,000 is the advance you need.
I have seven novels, each earning $24K per year. In 6 years I’ll have made a million dollars on them.
I don’t expect them to remain the same. They’ll go up.
In 2016, Konrath’s list of Resolutions is one line:
This year, I’m boiling them down to one word: WRITE!
It’s easy to get caught up in different aspects of a writing career. I’ve helped other writers; I started my own company. I evangelized, blogged, collaborated, experimented, promoted. However, first and foremost, I’m a writer. And writers write! I’ve spent a lot of time on my career, and backstory needs that. But now it’s time for me to plant more seeds.
2016 is going to be my most productive year ever. Come and join me.