June 15th, 2014

Macbeth the Usurper

User Rating and Other Thoughts

My user rating has increased over the last active month, hitting 5,982. My secret? I've beed adding active feeds and I've added two readers.

Small victories in this little fishbowl of ours, but victories nonetheless.

(As an aside, I see people who get annoyed at other people who compound words while ignoring all the compound words already in the English language, like "nonetheless." I love English for the living language that it is and its absolute dedication to everything improper and ad-hoc. No other language is so willing to change itself just to make itself understood.)

I thought that I didn't have a business plan, but I am wrong. (See  yesterday's post.) I do have a business plan. Write high-qualities books with a long shelf life. Accumulate IP (which doesn't go bad). In 15-20 years when I retire, hopefully I've built enough capital and skill and take on writing as a post-retirement career. If writing somehow takes off, I can look at retiring early.

So when I think about Russell Blake's advice, I must remember that he is talking about people who want to be professional writers right now. Now I see how that this advice would steer me wrong, not because it's bad, but because it doesn't fit with my business plan. I can hire people to make proper covers for me. I can hire proofreaders. I can hire someone to punch up a blurb. What I can't do is hire someone to write for me. What I can't do is to hire someone to learn for me. What I can't hire someone to do is to test my skills against multiple market segments to see how I write into those segments.

If I were to pick a genre and write in it, and build expertise, then I have an opportunity cost, which is finding a market segment that I may be better suited toward. At this early point in my business (started in 2008 when I decided to write a novel at all cost, dammit), experimentation and development are worth my while. I find it important to experience writing different types of novels, learning whether I enjoy them or not, and seeing how they sell. These experiences have already taught me a great deal.

What is also apparent to me is that I cannot chase the market. I cannot write a <popular sub-genre> because I am just not interested in that sub-genre, and any reader will instantly know that I just don't give a damn. I will not see such a book through to the end. I like money, but my self-experience has show that no amount of money will counteract my disinterest for very long.

Suboptimal? Yes, but those are my practical constraints.

I am also very certain that if I was writing full-time, I would drive myself crazy. There's a certain amount of time that I can spend writing, and then my brain falls out. That length of time has expanded over the years, but I think that that span of time is not yet sufficient for full-time writing.