World, Writing, Wealth discussion

96 views
All Things Writing & Publishing > Is 'keep writing' a sound advice?

Comments Showing 1-50 of 54 (54 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Haunting different groups here on GR, some of which are dedicated to support and help to indie authors, I've noticed that a most popular advice is 'keep writing, pal'. The books don't get reviews, don't worry just 'keep writing'. You know nothing about marketing, don't worry about it - 'keep writing'. No sales, few sales, declining sales - the universal advice would be 'keep writing'. Feeling happy, feeling depressed, author's block, whatever - just keep writing.
What's the premise behind it, you may ask?
Supposedly, the more you write the more followship, overall visibility, goodwill/reputation you accumulate. The more you write the more you hone your craft. Each new book boosts sales of the previous ones. All sound pretty logical.
Now, I ask myself, keep writing and what exactly should I expect? Release of each book costs me around 1k USD spent on editing, cover design and ancillary expenses. I don't see myself writing over 500 titles like Isaac Asimov, not even about 70 like Agatha Christie. Yet, even 5-6 titles require a tremendous effort, time investment + considerable expenses.
What's the advice for someone who has one story and gave his/her best shot at it? After all, not everybody has to be a 'serial' author. 'Confederacy of Dunces' is a pretty cool book, even though its author hadn't written much more than that.
So what I'm asking what happens to those who followed the advice and kept writing? Are they crowding the top spots of NYT bestselling lists and we should ask them now to 'stop writing' to give us a chance?-:)
What to expect? I ran here into fellow authors that have much more titles than I do and still report abysmal sales and struggling even after 10-15 years to gain recognition and some sales.
So, keep writing sounds great, but what exactly does this advice imply and where does it suppose to lead?


message 2: by Angel (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:12AM) (new)

Angel I think people when they say "Keep writing" it doesn't mean necessarily to expect anything exactly. It basically means to not give up, to stand by your convictions, to not give up your dreams and aspirations of being a writer, especially if you feel it's meant to be, if it's your calling. Because this is a tough business we're in and giving up is not an option if you ever want to have a snowball's chance. Staying in the game, rolling with the punches, staying steadfast with the process is the key and only the fittest survive. You can't achieve your goals if you give up.


message 3: by Kat (new)

Kat Well said, Angel.

You can't gain momentum if you're not writing, so...


message 4: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Writing is for pleasure. Those who like it, why would they want to give it up? It's almost like saying "keep breathing".


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Thanks for your insight Angel, Kat and Mehreen. I understand what you mean, of course. "Give up" is probably worse advice than "keep writing" -:)
Whoever writes for pleasure, there is no problem to keep writing and enjoying it.

For many others though it's not just writing for pleasure, it's self-publishing books which usually entails expenses. Judging by my own expenses (around 1K USD) on each book, I'm not sure that spending a budget of 4-5 K on release of more books is better than spending the same budget on marketing.
I'm hesitating, but I'm attentive to your opinions -:)


message 6: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments you can self-publish free on amazon and Lulu.com. No money involved. However, you might have a spend a bit marketing if you want to take up writing as business. For me, I would be happy of course if my books were best sellers. But I'm also happy to be contributing in doing my bit.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Mehreen wrote: "you can self-publish free on amazon and Lulu.com. No money involved. However, you might have a spend a bit marketing if you want to take up writing as business. For me, I would be happy of course i..."

Sure, publishing itself on Amazon doesn't cost me, but as I'm not a native English-speaker and still want to be more or less professional, I need to hire an editor/proof-reader. Also I spend on cover designs. These are two items that cost me money.
Agree with you that being content or happy even with what you do is of paramount importance -:)


message 8: by William (new)

William Davis | 13 comments Nik, your thoughts are those we all have from time to time. Now that I've retired from the work-a-day world, when people ask, I can say that I'm a writer. Now that I have three books published I can see that I have more options for promotion. So the advice 'keep on writing' has proven to be true. Have I seen a profit? No. I spend dollars and I get back dimes. I imagine we're all looking for the 'magic bullet' that will break our writings out of massive sea of available options. Having recently released my third novel, and working with a limited promotional budget, I trying to discover if there really is a 'magic bullet' to drive sales.


message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer I agree with what Angel said about keep writing meaning keep going.

What surprises me is how many 'keep writings' there are for so many posts. I'm amazed by how many authors published with the expectation of becoming a bestseller--the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have confidence and a dream to succeed, but it seems many authors published blindly. It's demonstrated through all the post titles Nik originally listed in this thread.

I'd love to arrive on the NYT bestseller's list. No author would refuse that kind of status. But even when I was wet behind the ears, I always knew about the struggles of a writer. There are 100s of books published daily. I remember reading, on average, a self-published author is lucky to sell 40 books a year. Many traditionally published authors don't even break even with their royalties.

Writing is a lonely process, but it's also a personal one--to improve the craft. A personal achievement.

Even if you haven't sold a book in months, it doesn't mean something can't happen. Years ago, books had a limited shelf life. Now, books have an unlimited shelf life. Just because a book was published 5-years ago doesn't mean it can't become a hit in the future. One never knows.

As for own expenses, that goes with anything. Self-publishing is a business. If you want to do something, you have to cough up the money to start. People start businesses without having a clue on how to run one. They put all their savings into it, only to see it fail and lose everything. When you look at the bigger picture, $1,000 USD isn't that much compared to other businesses.

So, if you enjoy writing, keep writing. :D That's all I got.


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments William wrote: "Nik, your thoughts are those we all have from time to time. Now that I've retired from the work-a-day world, when people ask, I can say that I'm a writer. Now that I have three books published I ca..."

Thanks, for your input, William. Yep, writing is an excellent venue to spend your downtime. Sounds like you have a pragmatic strategy there. I'd probably try some paid promotion after the release of a third book too. If you find this 'magic bullet', don't forget to share with us -:)


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Denise wrote: "I agree with what Angel said about keep writing meaning keep going.

What surprises me is how many 'keep writings' there are for so many posts. I'm amazed by how many authors published with the ex..."


Sure, I pretty much agree with your approach. More so, I found writing kinda addictive, so I'm not sure I'd be able to quit that easily -:) Strictly business speaking, what I'm less sure about is whether spending more money on release of new books is superior to spending the same money on promoting what you have, unless of course you have enough budget for both...


message 12: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Promoting is always a good thing, and somewhat continuous. I've updated both my book covers, and I recently had my first book up for a Goodreads giveaway. I plan on doing another Goodreads giveaway of my second book, at the same time, an Amazon Giveaway of my first book.

My first book was originally published in 2011, and I'm still promoting it. I published my second book in 2014, and I'm still promoting it. Even though I'm putting in the money to promote my current books with new covers and giveaways, I'm also writing my next book. When I'm done with this book, and its second book, then I can flip flop my promotions. A dabble here, a dabble there. :D


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Denise wrote: "Promoting is always a good thing, and somewhat continuous. I've updated both my book covers, and I recently had my first book up for a Goodreads giveaway. I plan on doing another Goodreads giveaway..."

Sounds solid and easy -:) You and many others on the group are much farther on the road than I am and longer time in the game. If you find any particular way of promoting especially successful, I'd appreciate the heads-up -:)


message 14: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Will do, Nik. I'm still feeling my way around with publishing and promoting. Below are some unique promotional ideas:

- You can create a book sell sheet, whatever size you want, put a picture of your cover and an excerpt from the novel, along with pertinent information, cost, website, genre, etc. Print some and leave them at coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.
- If you have a good rapport with a doctor's office, ask if you could provide a waiting room copy of your book.
- Put a bird house in your front yard with a sign, "Honor system: Free books, feel free to read, return, and add." You can put a few books in it along with yours.
- Create a book app for your book(s) and send out to family, friends, post on Facebook, etc. I think this site helps you make one - http://www.appmakr.com/
- Make a youtube video of you reading parts of your book with a link to where your book can be purchased.
- Do a Hangouts meeting for readers interested in your book, and then offer a copy for the first person who responds, or whatever way you want to do it.
- Create a Storyboard on Pinterest. This is a link to mine to give you an idea - https://de.pinterest.com/denisebaer7/... I haven't done one for my second book.
- Have readers take pictures of them reading your book and post on Pinterest.


message 15: by William (new)

William Davis | 13 comments Wow! Great ideas Denise. I also agree with your earlier post. There's something about writing, like creating anything I guess, that gives one an inner sense of accomplishment and worth. Sometimes, when I review what I've written, I think, "Gee, did I really write that?" (Then I find a typo and say, "Yeah, that was me all right.")


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Denise wrote: "Will do, Nik. I'm still feeling my way around with publishing and promoting. Below are some unique promotional ideas:

- You can create a book sell sheet, whatever size you want, put a picture of y..."


Some extraordinary and unorthodox ideas indeed! Thanks for sharing.
I'm not sure everything would work in a non-English speaking country, but I still have plenty to try.
Love your Pinterest Storyboard. Really well done!


message 17: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer William wrote: "Wow! Great ideas Denise. I also agree with your earlier post. There's something about writing, like creating anything I guess, that gives one an inner sense of accomplishment and worth. Sometimes, when I review what I've written, I think, "Gee, did I really write that?" (Then I find a typo and say, "Yeah, that was me all right.") "

Thanks much. Your comment made me laugh because I can completely relate to that. Sometimes I am amazed by what I've written, and sometimes I'm amazed by what I've written and delete it fast.


message 18: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Nik wrote: "Denise wrote: "Will do, Nik. I'm still feeling my way around with publishing and promoting. Below are some unique promotional ideas:

- You can create a book sell sheet, whatever size you want, put..."


Yeah, some things might not work well in certain areas. I need to do a storyboard for my 2nd novel.


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9517 comments Nik wrote: "Haunting different groups here on GR, some of which are dedicated to support and help to indie authors, I've noticed that a most popular advice is 'keep writing, pal'. The books don't get reviews, ..."

Making headway is a problem. I now have ten fictional ebooks and four scientific ones. The scientific ones are really my archiving of some of my work in the theoretical ones, and trying to be helpful and put some sense into an issue that concerns me (e.g "Biofuels"). I self-edit, and for the scientific ones I create my own covers, so while these are hardly best sellers, I do not lose money.

The fiction is more difficult. Again, I self-edit and compile, but for half of them I have commissioned covers. In terms of whether my covers or commissioned covers work best for me, the jury is still out. Getting reviews is extremely difficult, particularly as I live in a country (New Zealand) where ebooks have not really taken off, and getting sales here is difficult, at least for the sort of fiction I write.

So far, however, my literary efforts end up with a net profit. Not a huge one, but enough to pay a modest amount of tax and buy some luxuries I otherwise would not purchase.

Why do I have trouble getting sales? The various options are: I can't get my head above the morass of competition; I can't find a way to get my books to the attention of those who might purchase; they're not good enough [horrors :-( ]; I live in the wrong place to promote what I am producing; nobody actually wants the sort of thing I am writing; nowhere near enough reviews . . .

In short, I have no idea how to remedy this situation. Fortunately, it is not the end of the world. I do not need the income (as opposed to, it would be nice if . .) So I shall probably keep going.


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments As long as it's a profit and hopefully a great deal of enjoyment, all sound pretty good. And there is always a potential for more...

With today's Global village, your location in NZ is hardly a disadvantage. Maybe on the contrary even - as it provides a more tranquil surroundings for writing books... -:)

Admire your composure and humorous approach


message 21: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Denise wrote: "Will do, Nik. I'm still feeling my way around with publishing and promoting. Below are some unique promotional ideas:

- You can create a book sell sheet, whatever size you want, put a picture of y..."


Hi Denise, excellent ideas, great ideas, wonderful ideas.

(when just one word is not enough...)


message 22: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Re "keep writing."

There's always the next book.

Once switched on to writing - would you willingly switch off?

I for one could not stop.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments If you've written one or two books or eight books and they're not selling and you're unhappy then stop writing. Then wait a week or two weeks or a month or six months and if you still have that burning urge to put your thoughts down on paper and hit publish, if you still feel a thrill every time you write then you know that the sales aren't the biggest indicator of whether or not to continue. As for the money that is spent on editing, cover design etc. I feel that is money well spent although this is just my opinion. Why would you work so hard on something and not send it out into the world with its best clothes on LOL. And when we are dead and future generations realize just how absolutely brilliant we were LOL hour descendants won't be embarrassed at least :-) :-) :-)


message 24: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Graeme wrote: "Once switched on to writing - would you willingly switch off? I for one could not stop."

That's the problem -I argue that writing is addictive!


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Tara wrote: "As for the money that is spent on editing, cover design etc. I feel that is money well spent although this is just my opinion. Why would you work so hard on something and not send it out into the world with its best clothes on LOL...."

I'm in around minus 2.5K USD on 3 released books. I'd hate never seeing them back. On the other hand to bring things a little into proportion - it's probably my cheapest hobby, for I can only imagine how much I spent on cigs in 20 years of smoking or on booze -:)


message 26: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments There are a lot of interesting thoughts here. I've published my first book and have a second in the planning stage. As for writing it - not a chance in the summer. It's too hot here and I'm worn out all the time, boss and his family are here (arrgghh!!) so writing will have to wait until the autumn. It's taken a summer in Italy to realise that I am a winter person, I'll come alive again once it's cooler.

On top of all that I am currently 60 miles away from last week's earthquake epicentre, thankfully I just had an early wake-up call at 3.37am and no damage here at all. I adore the people of central Italy and this tragedy is just so heartbreaking for me. I'm still trying to get back to my normal sleeping pattern, and before that we had the darned stone marten trying to rip tiles off the roof at 3am!


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Stay safe, Jen, and clear of Vesuvius just in case


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments The news about the earthquake last week was heartbreaking. My prayers go out to everyone in the region.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments The news about the earthquake last week was heartbreaking. My prayers go out to everyone in the region.


message 30: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Nik wrote: "Stay safe, Jen, and clear of Vesuvius just in case"

Will do Nik - I did check a seismic fault map before I came here! We're well away from the major faults which are much further east and south. The area around Vesuvius is potentially very dangerous as they would have to evacuate 4 million people if it ever blew again and experts reckon that it's impossible in a short space of time. Still, I would love to have a visit to Pompeii again, *sigh*


message 31: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Jen wrote: "Still, I would love to have a visit to Pompeii again, *sigh* ..."

Yeah Pompeii is nice. Also, a place of a great tragedy, if you look back all those years...
Now, that Dynamo ended up in one group with Napoli in Champion's league, I might consider re-visiting this location a little more attentively -:)


message 32: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Jen wrote: "The area around Vesuvius is potentially very dangerous as they would have to evacuate 4 million people if it ever blew again and experts reckon that it's impossible in a short space of time. ..."

Precisely.

Something to note.


message 33: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Tara wrote: "The news about the earthquake last week was heartbreaking. My prayers go out to everyone in the region."

It was Tara, the people round here are so lovely; salt of the earth, kind, honest and generous and it seems awful that this should happen to communities like these. It's great though to see that the rallying of support in Italy to help them has been so widespread and generous.


message 34: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Part of the beauty of humanity is how people will typically help strangers in times of disaster.


message 35: by M.L. (last edited Aug 29, 2016 09:25AM) (new)

M.L. I write because I enjoy it and publishing a work is, well, it's fun. So for me there is no real 'keep' about it, I write. That's that.


message 36: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Nik wrote: "Graeme wrote: "Once switched on to writing - would you willingly switch off? I for one could not stop."

That's the problem -I argue that writing is addictive!"


We'll just have to endure love it...


message 37: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan M.L. wrote: "I write because I enjoy it and publishing a work is, well, it's fun. So for me there is no real 'keep' about it, I write. That's that."

Well said, M.L.


message 38: by Matt (new)

Matt Parker | 35 comments The writing itself should be the most important, but it's sometimes hard to drag your brain away from thoughts of promoting, getting reviews, ect. I only have one book published, so I know my time would be better spent finishing the next one. For that reason, I don't want to spend too much time on the marketing side of things, and try to divide my available time properly, but what normally happens is that I start to work on promo stuff (research, looking for reviewers ect) for an hour, and the next thing I know, two or three hours have passed, the kids are about to get home from school, I've done no writing and feel like I've achieved nothing.
I tell myself that I'll get a few hours writing done once the kids are in bed, but that sometimes drags on, and by 9 PM I'm not at my most creative.
Must focus, I know.


message 39: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Matt,

That is the key challenge.


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments To keep or not to keep? -:)


message 41: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9517 comments Keep. But maybe I am a silly optimist.


message 42: by Roger (new)

Roger Jackson Ian wrote: "Keep. But maybe I am a silly optimist."

That's better than being a serious pessimist.


message 43: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments How are you with 'keep writing' advice?


message 44: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9517 comments Right now I am not writing :-(


message 45: by Eric (new)

Eric Klein (wheelguyeric102963) | 20 comments i've wanted to write a loving tribute to my deceased mom with limited family help what can I do?


message 46: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Eric wrote: "i've wanted to write a loving tribute to my deceased mom with limited family help what can I do?"

Just go for it and see how it works out. With such a purpose in mind you shouldn't lack motivation and inspiration. Once in the process, it'll probably be easier to convince the family to join the project


message 47: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 358 comments Eric wrote: "i've wanted to write a loving tribute to my deceased mom with limited family help what can I do?"
It's a nice idea, Eric. But I think that first you have to answer one or two questions; Why do you want to do that. What would you do with the results. Why doesn't your family want to help?
On the other hand, if it's just to get you through the grieving process then, as Nik said, go for it. It would be best to do that by just writing to yourself; it will mostly be with emotion. If you want to write something that you or your family will want to read in ten years time, then give it time when the emotions are not so raw.


message 48: by Rita (new)

Rita Chapman | 152 comments I think 'keep writing' is particularly useful if you have a series. The latest one helps to promote the previous ones.


message 49: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5351 comments Eric wrote: "i've wanted to write a loving tribute to my deceased mom with limited family help what can I do?"

I think it's always good to relate specific stories about the deceased that show how she affected your life or what made her special or interesting. Maybe you can also ask for a story from the family members who are willing to contribute.


message 50: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments How do you like 'keep writing' advice?


« previous 1
back to top