Thursday, September 25, 2014

I just want to write!

If you follow my blog you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been posting about many promotions these days. Except for a few websites that have posted my books without informing me first, I haven’t been too visible for a while. Here’s why.

I’ve been writing ferociously for the last 35 out of my 45 years on this planet. Yep, that officially makes me a middle-aged man. You learn a lot about yourself and your needs and what makes you happiest as you get older. Things become clearer and sharper with age. You find yourself having deep, personal self-revelations about how much time you’ve got left on this planet and what you want to accomplish.

When I was a young author, I certainly wanted to be as rich and famous as Stephen King (doesn’t every writer). I spent tens of thousands of hours alone, writing, in pursuit of that dream. When I wasn’t writing I was querying agents and promoting myself any way I could. My twenties were spent entirely on my writing career.

In my early thirties I was lucky (or talented) enough to land a powerful New York agent. My agent was so well known he had his bio written about in the WD Guide to Literary Agents. He was always in the magazines posting recent sales. I thought I had it made and was relieved of the time spent looking for an agent and now could spend nearly all my time writing. I churned out several novels in the nearly four years we were together, but alas, none of them sold and my dream agent and I parted ways.

I was shattered and thought my dreams of fame and author’s riches were over. Then a miracle in technology, Kindle Direct Publishing opened up their worldwide distribution to any author who had a properly formatted book to sell through their site. To me, this was the phoenix rising from the ashes. I hired a formatter, editor, and cover artist to turn my seven completed novels into saleable merchandise. And I did, along with another three that I’d written in the last two years.

I jumped fully into the indie publishing revolution, joined every writer’s site imaginable, spent weeks downloading my material to anyone who would feature me, and did interview after interview on blogs, in print newspapers, and in magazines. My books sold, not in the millions that I’d hoped, but enough for me to hit the Amazon bestseller lists for a few days here and there. My name gained some recognition and I was invited to participate in prestigious groups and speak at book clubs. You would think this would have made me very happy.

As I said earlier, as you get older your perspectives become clearer. I’m beginning to realize the incredible joy I get out of writing fiction is seriously negated by the toils of marketing and promoting. I now dread the hours it takes to achieve notoriety and find it almost torture to spend hours downloading files, and my biography, and my book summaries, and their links. I just want to write.

I know many of you who are reading this will simply say that’s what it takes to hit it big, you must sacrifice, and sacrifice, and if it were easy to do than everyone would be a famous author. The problem is… I don’t know if I really want that anymore. In the height of my marketing efforts I was selling a lot of books and getting a lot of great feedback. It made me feel good that so many readers liked my material and that my old high school and college friends, and family were proud of what I’d achieved. I’ve even been recognized a few times from having my picture in local media. And after all this, I’ve discovered that what still makes me the happiest is sitting alone in front of my computer and living in the worlds I create inside my mind.

In conclusion, you may not be seeing my name so much on the hundreds of new writer’s and reader’s sites that are popping up every day. I just don’t have the energy to keep up. I’m still writing feverishly, I always will, but the hours a day of marketing torture are going to slow considerably. You’ll still read about me here and there, but I refuse to be a slave to the oversaturated global promoting machine if it’s taking away my joy in creating. I just want to write.