Indie author Ben Galley provides us all with a licence to spend more time writing and shares his four top tips on how to make it happen.
2015 may be the year featured in Back to the Future 2, but it’s also the year I go back to the book.
As any indie will know, being an author in today’s market means a fine balancing act between many different roles. There’s of course the marketing – the many-faceted, day to day to-do list that helps you sell your books. There’s the business side – making sure you’re keeping track of sales, income, and taxes. There’s the publishing as well, of course – the cover design, the editing, the formatting, and the constant finger-on-pulse work of keeping track of the market. And then, to top it all off, there’s the actual act of being an author – the writing.
If we had to rank these in order of importance, what would you put at the top? Ask yourself, what is most crucial to you?
I don’t know about you, but I would put writing at the very pinnacle of that list.
Writing Should Be Every Writer's Priority
We are authors, first and foremost. We are in this game because we write. We self-publish because we can, because technology and marketing forces now allow us to, but we write because we want to. That’s where the real passion is, and I’m worried we modern authors are losing sight of that passion in our search for success.
As the market becomes more saturated, our readers become more savvy, and their time becomes all the more precious, I believe we will see a shift of focus; a shift towards quality and level of enjoyment. Just as we write through passion, our readers read for the same reason, and life is too short for bad books. Books that are bold, that are well-written, that are clever, and those that are just simply spectacular will take the lead, irrespective of where they’ve originated. That’s where I see us headed: back to the book.
Publishing: A Means, Not An End
Of course, professional publishing is still important. You want to do your hard work justice, but the way I see it, publishing should be a phase of a book’s life-cycle, not a constant focus. Marketing will also always remain important, but think about this: if reviews and word-of-mouth are the strongest methods of marketing, then how much easier would it be if readers are already raving about your book after page one? All you have to do is write a book that puts jaws on the floor.
That’s the crux of it for me. If we thrive or die on the strength of our books, then why aren’t we focusing more on the writing of them?
Writing: My 2015 Focus
That’s why, this year I’m making a change. I will be focusing almost solely on writing. I want to improve my art, focus on what it is that I do best, and then do it even better. I want to do nothing else but provide the very best for my readers. The only way to do that is through practice, and luckily for us writing sorts, that means more writing. And I am very confident that the strength of my writing will pay dividends in every area of my self-publishing career.
Yes, I will be marketing. Yes, I will be running myself as a business. Yes, I will endeavour to publish correctly. But I will keep these aspects on the periphery – the 10% of my day to the 90% of writing.
For me, 2015 is the year of the book, and although we may not have hoverboards yet, I’ll be writing books like they’re going out of fashion.
Top Tips for Writing More
Here are my 4 top tips for going back to the book:
- Take stock of all the facets of your self-publishing self – if you examine all the aspects you spend your time on, and rate them in order of importance, you may find you can drop a few things, or streamline others., such as the business elements.
- Slim down your marketing – ask yourself what your most effective and least time-consuming marketing methods are, and then formulate a 6-12 month plan around them, leaving plenty of space for writing.
- Write. Every day – Practise makes perfect as they say. Writing every day, as much as you can, will keep you improving. I set aside 3-4 hours a day if I can, or roughly 4000 words per day. Rates will vary for each author, but having a measurable goal helps keep you focused.
- Read great books – a lot of authors, myself included, don’t have time to read when we’re working so hard, but it’s very important for expanding your horizons and keeping your inspiration at maximum.
OVER TO YOU
How does Ben Galley's focus on writing chime with your goals for 2015? Would you like to add any top tips to his writing advice? Please join the conversation via the comment box!
“This year I'll most be #writing – and so should you, says @BenGalley at #AuthorALLi: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/back-to-the-book/ #selfpub#amwriting”