I play cards with my wife’s grandparents every Thursday. Today, the wife’s cousin (who lives there) asked m how the business was going. I told him I was happy at how it was growing. Then he asked me a question that stumped me, and I’d like to share my thoughts with those of you who wish to become authors.
He asked me what the hardest part was.
Is it the writing? I don’t think so. It certainly isn’t the hard part for me. Whatever I’m doing from day to day, I have to think I type somewhere between 1-3 thousand words a day. Now only a portion of those words are for my career as an author, but I don’t think it’s hard to write (at least not the way that I think of it). Now I don’t want to go off on a tangent about why some people may struggle with writing, but I want to establish that writing isn’t actually that difficult.
Is it the editing? Well, I hate it, but it’s not actually hard. It’s tedious. It always feels like I’m just looking at evidence of how bad a writer I actually am. However, when I sit down and get to it (after I’m done moping), it works out.
It’s not the designing. It’s not the marketing (though I still have a long way to go).
So what, then, is the hardest part.
I realized the hardest part is the grind. I affirm I could take any hopeful writer and help that person get a book published on Amazon in less than a calendar year. I would only require that individual promise to spend at least two hours a day on said book. Outside of that, I could help anyone. But hidden in there is another example of the grind.
I’m aware of at least a dozen people who started a book. What happens though is people start out with a burst of inspiration and ambition. It’s like a person who just chugged a Red Bull. Sure, you start off hot, but you eventually burn out, and that’s my point.
The people who start a book and the people who finish writing a book are only separated by one factor: They keep going.
The people who finish a book and the people who get published are only separated by one factor: They keep going.
The people who don’t sell any books and the people who sell hundreds of books (or more) per month are again only separated by that same factor: They keep going.
I can personally attest to the first two above assertions. Several people started writing books when I had started writing my books. I kept writing, and they stopped. They had their reasons and excuses, and I’m not here judging them for those decisions. I’m only stating that, with the blessings and by permission of God, I finished my book because I kept working on it. I got it published because I kept looking for ways to make that happen.
Now, I currently only average about eight sales a month, so I’ll understand if you don’t think much of this little motivation blog I’m writing. However, when I first started selling books, I was amazed whenever I sold a book. I’d go months without selling a single copy of anything. Then I started working on my marketing. I started studying and acting on what I learned. This has lad to a small, but steady, increase of my sales per month average.
The tough part about being a writer doesn’t actually have anything to do with the difficulty of any one task. Even if one argues editing, writing, or designing is hard (even if I respectfully disagree), it’s still not that difficult. But writing every day, day after day, for years. That’s hard. The commitment it takes is ludicrous.
I’m here to tell you it still works. The effort usually reaps equivalent rewards in time. Now I’m still limited to the time God allows me to be on this Earth, but while I’m here, if I keep working toward a goal, it usually happens.
Determination, I propose, is the only real distinction between people who accomplish a goal and people who don’t. This isn’t an absolute. I can train every day for the rest of my life, and I’m not making the 49ers roster. Talent and genetics plays a role in some areas, but not writing. Over the long haul, almost anyone can do almost anything with enough time and effort.
This is my message to you all today. You can choose to give in to despair or disappointment, or you can choose to keep going. You can accept that what you were doing is no longer intrinsically motivating and decide you don’t want to do it anymore. You have that right, and I won’t mock you for it. I just don’t want you to feel like you will continue to fail just because you have failed. Indeed, you will fail if you stop trying simply because you succeeded once.
I have to finish the Oneiros Log. I have to finish Images of Truth and revise and publish a whole bunch of other novels. They can’t be purchased if I never make them available for sale. So if you’re discouraged, please consider this motivation I offer to you. If you still want that goal, keep pushing. Keep working. If you stop, you’re guaranteed to fail. But you might succeed if you just try one more time.
Thanks for reading,
2 thoughts on “The Rubber Tree Plant: The True Challenge of Being an Author Businessman”
Agreed, the grind is definitely the biggest challenge from a macro view. I think about all the projects I want to get to long-term, and it’s incredibly exciting. But then I realize that I still have 7,000 words to write to meet my monthly goal on my current project, and it feels like some of those bigger ideas are so far away. While thinking about the individual aspects of the publishing process, I think the act of publishing itself is the hardest part for me. It’s that hard line between a work-in-progress — something to be reviewed and improved — and the Finished Product, the one thing I can’t take back once it’s in the ether of online sales. I always have a cautionary moment of hesitation, of thinking over all the steps I had intended to take to reach that point, hoping I didn’t miss something. That’s entirely a mental thing, but it always feels momentous to me.
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I can sympathize with that. I do think I let go a LOT easier than anyone else I know. If I enjoy it, I release it. It’s sort of like saying, “Hey, I liked this thing. I hope you like it too.” For me the trick was finding the right number of drafts. I still have things I’d like (more alpha and beta readers), but I do the number of drafts I think is right for me, and then I send it out. I hope that helps you with your goals. Miss talking writing and marketing with you, Steve! Hope the projects are going well.