Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's not a race, it's not a race, it's not a race...and yet it is.

Wait. What?

Getting published is not a race. There's plenty of room out there for books. There are plenty of readers out there who will enjoy my books. I'm not competing against anyone here.

My journey is not a race. I get to decide "where" I want to go, what I "see" on the way, and what "route" I take to get there.

Over the last ten years or so--since I've been a member of Romance Writers of America--I've heard and read and listened to most of what the organization and its members have shared about writing and publishing in the romance genre. Granted, most of it has probably been more osmosis than anything, but if you hear something enough times, it sticks even if you're not an active listener.

As the years have passed and I sort of drifted (okay, not drifted--I served my chapter every year but one) along in my local chapter, learning and watching as my fellow chapter mates followed their own paths and published one by one, some to big six publishers, some becoming indie authors...

There are few people in my chapter not published, and those that aren't have been part of the group for a much shorter period of time. At this point, I think there are only two people who've been a member longer than I. My journey, my timetable. But I digress.

...I gleaned from fellow authors' trials and tribulations, as well as their successes, what kind of journey I wanted to take. I've kept my expectations realistic.

I get to decide when and how this journey begins and mostly the path I take, but once I start the car and pull out of the driveway, what then? Then outside forces get a say in my journey. Weather, traffic, road construction...

In publishing, I've learned that momentum is everything. This is where the journey becomes a race. (to a degree.) A race against time and outside forces. I have a schedule now for getting the books published in terms of length of time between releases, but I have to make sure all the books in the series are written or can be written/edited/finalized by the time it's any given book's turn to be published.

And then I have to be ready with the second series at whatever interval I decide is appropriate and do-able. Sustainability is the key.

But the thing is...I haven't held down a full time job in a decade aside from wife and mother. I know that the writing muscle becomes leaner and stronger and more powerful as it's used, just like the muscles of our bodies. Writing is going to have to become at least a part time job at some point. More structured, more focused, more deliberate. Writing can no longer be done just when I feel like it and am in the mood.

One of the reasons I haven't started my publishing journey is because I got stuck, somewhere, somehow, on book six--think of me on a large roundabout, to continue the driving metaphor, going around in circles and not knowing where I am or what the correct exit is. I'm working on the book again now, trying to string ideas for scenes together that tell the story I had envisioned, but I lost a month and it was important to me that book six be as complete as possible before I started publishing.

I'd prefer if book seven was at least started as well, and I think it will be, because I've got characters and plot pretty well hashed out. Book eight has characters with backstory and the basis of a plot. Book nine (last one) is a shimmery notion, but that's okay. My brain can only process so much data. Or the gas tank can only hold a max amount of gas at one time and must be refilled periodically. (Am I maintaining my travel/journey metaphor still? Or have I run off the road???)

Once I finish this series, how much time do I need for the next one...? I have the series premise. I know how many characters/books there will be. I know the basics of a couple of plot lines.

So it's become a race to do this in a timely fashion to get the best start and the proper momentum to keep the income stream primed and flowing for months and years to come.

 I guess I need to keep training.

Have a great rest of the week.

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